For starters, the main concepts in this article may be difficult or hard to master at first, but with proper baseball instruction and practice they develop over time. The specific pitching drills that will be taught by Core Savvy Baseball will make this progression as smooth as possible. Once you make a big adjustment and see results, it is greatly rewarding for yourself and the Core Savvy staff as well. As I like to call them "lightbulbs" will seemingly go off in your head once everything clicks. These realizations happen so often that I recommend you have personal journal of your baseball progress.
Now to the information that will change you as a baseball player
In the previous post on pitching I listed the four absolutes of pitching that every pitcher needs to do. Believe it or not, you already do these four things. They all happen in every pitching delivery no matter how you throw. The difference is that some people do them well, either naturally or coached, while others are simply unaware of the importance of these checkpoints. Lets start with the first absolute of the delivery:
Collect & Balance
Balance is the most important step in getting rhythm on the mound. As I stated in the previous article, rhythm is undoubtedly the most important part of pitching. Balance gives you control of your body, which is vital to a good rhythm. Players with poor balance will often have an unpredictable delivery. Whenever I start with a new lesson, rhythm is my biggest focus so I start by working on their balance.
Now what is good balance? Good balance is being under control of your body and most importantly, your center of gravity. Balance starts when all the weight is being collected on the drive leg. This step is called collecting. One of the biggest coaching flaws taught in pitching is to be able to stop or hold at the peak of their balance point. It is important to actually be leaning forward as soon as your lift leg is being brought up. An angle of 6 degrees of lean, from perpendicular, is what most major leaguers create when at peak leg lift. This creates momentum to the plate, which has helped many pitchers unlock hidden potential for more velocity. Notice how Justin Verlander immediately starts to create momentum when he begins his leg lift.
When the leg reaches its peak, with a slight lean toward the plate, the next step is to drive with the load leg down the mound. Once headed down the mound, the center of gravity must stay aligned. Meaning that the head, through the belly button, should create a straight line down. This keeps the pitcher's center of gravity, which is necessary to achieve the most powerful delivery.
Aroldis Chapman shows here how his center of gravity is strong all the way up too foot strike. (Also notice his equal/opposite hands).
The balance at the end of a delivery is tricky which is why I will cover it in a later post . For now just remember that collecting, and keeping center of gravity will dramatically help you to unlock potential you never thought you had.
This leads us to the next absolute in the Core Savvy pitching philosophy
Equal and Opposite Hands
You will hear me say this a million times, "Your hands are your timing". What I mean by this is to have your hands in the equal and opposite position when they break. When a pitcher breaks his hands to begin the throwing motion, they need to be symmetrical or mirroring each other. It also needs to be a continuous motion, with no stopping of the hands at any point. When the arms stop at any point, this takes away from the building of arm speed. It also makes it much
harder to stay in rhythm when the hands are starting and stoping.
Think of a man on a tight rope walking with his hands out. One will go up, when the other goes down. His hands are helping him with his balance just as they are with a pitcher. And yes, balance is needed throughout the delivery, not just when the leg lift is at its peak. A smooth, symmetrical arm circle will lead to great rhythm and balance.
The steps happening between or simultaneously, between the points of balance and equal and opposite hands are:
These will be looked once all of our absolutes are covered. Stay updated on the next Core Savvy Baseball post that will cover the last two absolutes, foot strike and locking up.