So I worked with a new high school pitcher last night.

And normally with an initial session I’ll include a full motion analysis of his pitching delivery.

You know, to get a baseline, identify/establish anything he needs to work on…

But with this pitcher I let him know pretty early on that we would NOT be doing that.

Here’s why.

See, there are times for a formal motion analysis… And then there are times where it doesn’t make a lot of sense (and can actually do more HARM than good).

So does that mean I didn’t use video at all?

Far from it.

Actually, we looked at video WAY more than I usually do during a session. 

Let me explain.

The first thing I typically do with a new pitcher (after discussing goals and going through a full warmup) is just to play some light catch.

I want to see the ball out of his hand, get a general sense of how he throws.

Every pitcher is different.

And it was funny because when I’d asked him before we got started if there was anything in particular he wanted to work on, he said:

“My glove arm. My coach has been working with me on not swinging it open.”

What do you think was the first thing I saw when playing catch with him?

I stepped aside and had him just throw to a target for a bit so I could take a quick video.

Then I asked him, “What do YOU see here in this video?”

(Light bulb)

“I’m swinging my glove arm open.”

Yup… BIG time.

Then we did a little focused drill work, and the difference was night and day.

I showed it to him side by side.

(Light bulb #2)

From then on throughout the session he was able to make the correction almost immediately anytime his glove arm got a little wild…

Without ME even needing to SAY anything.

Too often, we as coaches use a bunch of complicated words and it totally gums up the works.

Incidentally, he told me the coaching CUE his coach had been using for his glove arm action.

Let’s just say, not good… (and probably not the one you’re thinking of).

There are few things worse than a bad coaching cue.

Because when it get’s misinterpreted by the pitcher it only compounds the problem.

Anyway, my point here is this.

Video is a great tool.

But there’s a time and place for a FULL motion analysis.

In this case, there was some pretty clear Stage One motor learning work to do.

That aint the time for it.

But… Here’s what a lot of people miss.

Often you CAN use video during this stage and have even MORE impact on a pitcher’s progress.

It’s all about HOW you use it. 

I go over all of this inside my new Motion Mapping Method program. In fact, the entire program is BUILT around this concept.

And I show you exactly how to use video in each of the 3 Big Stages along with all of the tech involved (made simple for parents and coaches like you and me).

Yesterday I opened the doors to people on the MMM Waiting List giving them the chance to get in early and grab TWO of my other programs completely f.r.e.e.

It ends at midnight tonight.

Tomorrow morning, doors officially open to the masses.

Stay tuned.

Committed to Your Pitching Success,

Coach Phil

What’s the difference between praise and feedback?

In some ways, praise is a form of feedback I guess.

But there’s something I’ve learned over my years coaching – and this REALLY hit home when I read the book “Mindset” by Carol Dweck.

mindset

A great (and important) read if you’re a parent or coach, by the way…

And that’s the idea of praising the EFFORT, not the result.

Because the first develops a growth-oriented mindset…  Through effort and practice developing a skill, you can get better at it…

You GROW.

But, as I was reminded the other day, there’s also a time to praise the result.

I witnessed a touching moment the other day.

It was Bring-your-Daddy Day at my daughter’s nursery school.

So fun, and was great how excited she was about it… Someday in the future, I’m sure that won’t be the case.

Anyway, when I got there I learned that all the kids sign in at the beginning of class.

First Avery went to the table and wrote her name on the sheet, then I put mine next to hers.

I have to admit I was a little nervous for her. The girl before her wrote her name so well – so clearly.

See, for a while, my daughter had been having a hard time with the letter E… The horizontal lines in the uppercase E would just go on forever dwarfing the other letters.

But she’s been working on it (we’ve been finding ways to make it fun).

And when she wrote her name I was impressed. I even took a snapshot.

A few minutes later, we were at one of the tables playing and her teacher, Mrs. K., came up behind her.

She touched Avery’s shoulder, leaned in and said softly,

“That’s the best E you’ve ever done.”

It was really a touching gesture. One the teacher didn’t need to make.

Was she praising the “result”? Sure…

But in that moment, she was also recognizing the effort that had gone into it.

And if you’re a parent or coach, that’s a big part of it.

Not just providing feedback when a pitcher’s doing something wrong… Give feedback when he’s doing something RIGHT. Especially if it’s something he’s been working on for a while.

Take that few seconds it takes to tell him, “Hey, that’s the hardest one you’ve thrown today. You’re getting it.”

Or, like an email I got from a coach who’d been working with his pitcher on developing his curveball…

The pitcher had been struggling with it, even saying he just couldn’t throw a good curveball.

The coach then worked on it with him, following the approach in the Curveball Mastery system, and minutes later he told that pitcher…

“Yes you can… And you just DID.” He said the pitcher was smiling ear to ear.

That’s valuable feedback.

Praise the effort? Definitely…

But don’t forget to recognize the effort with a little positive feedback (praise) when things start to click.

It goes a LONG way.

Until next time…

Committed to Your Pitching Success,

Coach Phil

Yet another SNOW day here in CT… What else is new.

But before I head out to shovel-attack the driveway once again, I wanted to share this with you.

I got this email the other day.

Bob writes:

Phil:

I believe power comes from torque, among other things. Do you have any drills that will provide muscle memory for creating torque. I would like to see the chest facing third base when the stride foot lands. Do you have any drills that will accomplish this motion?

Bob, great question!

And I’d absolutely agree… I even wrote about it in this post a couple years ago: betterpitching.com/pitching-mechanics-better-tempo-increases-torque

Anyway, here’s the thing.

If you want a POWERFUL pitching delivery, you’ve gotta START with the foundation.

See, in the pitching delivery you spend most of your time on one foot.

You’ve gotta be able to transition well from back to front…

With Power & Stability. 

It just doesn’t make sense to stack powerful movements on top of a wobbly foundation.

But once that foundation’s in place, you want to start building those explosive movements…

And you’re ready to focus more on creating that TORQUE and WHIP…

Basically throwing with your ENTIRE body, not just your arm.

So do I have drills for creating torque and hip-to-shoulder separation?

Absolutely. In fact, I have an entire system for building these movements into your pitching delivery.

And in it, we go DEEP into developing things like:

  • Upper Half/Lower Half Timing
  • Early Momentum
  • Loading the Hips
  • Torque & Hip/Shoulder Separation

As far as which drills specifically teach the feel for TORQUE and separation:

  • The Torque & Turns are actually the first throwing drill in the program. They help you learn the FEEL for separation right in your warmup.
  • Then when we get into the Power Pitching Drills, you’ll build up through a very specific sequence.
  • The Momentum Catapults teach you to move explosively towards home plate. In the process you create separation almost like pulling back a sling shot.
  • Then with the Hip Loaders and Load & Go’s, you combine that drive and separation with powerful rotation.

Not to mention the Med Ball Throws & Slams which I’ve found to be EXTREMELY effective for giving pitchers the feel for maximizing torque and whip through their core.

So do I believe “torque” is important for power and velocity?

No question. It’s big…

But as I’ve mentioned (a zillion times?) before… It’s not about just getting to positions…

It’s about building powerful MOVE-ments… Having a system that works and doing the little things every day to get better.

Here’s where to get started: http://ballisticpitching.com/blueprint/

Committed to Your Pitching Success,

Coach Phil

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