[h5]Why do pitchers who should play college baseball slip through the cracks?[/h5] [h5]What are the 3 Big Pitfalls to avoid in the college recruiting process?[/h5]

 
If you have questions about the college recruiting process, believe me, you’re not alone. The process can be challenging, confusing, and flat out overwhelming.

But if you’re serious about playing at the next level, your ability to navigate this process can make or break your chances to play college baseball.

Last night I was joined by Justin Cronk, Founder of Diamond College Advisory Team (DCAT), and we put together an information packed webinar for you.

Justin was amazing and covered a ton of ground in his presentation. He’s an absolute first class guy, and I challenge you to find anyone better when it comes to navigating the college recruiting landscape.

If you want to play baseball in college, or if your son plays baseball
then this webinar is absolute must-see material!


 
People pay Justin good money for his knowledge and expertise, but he’s sharing all this great info with you completely free.

So you don’t want to miss this! Thanks Justin, you are the man!
[hr] [h5]Justin Cronk[/h5] Diamond College Advisory Team (DCAT) – Founder & Executive Director
DiamondCollegeAdvisory.com
email: jcronk AT diamondcollegeadvisory.com

“The Diamond College Advisory Team (“DCAT”) is the premier college advisory program in the country for aspiring college student-athletes and their families.”

“The game of baseball has been the same for over 100 years. The college recruiting process, however, has changed immensely. We found that Justin Cronk and DCAT were hugely beneficial to us in navigating this whole college process. Without his expertise, we don’t know where we would have been.” – Craig Biggio, 7-time MLB All-Star

[h5]What is hip to shoulder separation and how can you improve it?[/h5]

Hip to shoulder separation, or torque, has become sort of a buzz phrase in pitching circles in recent years… and for good reason. It’s what you see in all powerful rotational athletes, and it’s what you typically see with high velocity pitchers.

But how does hip to shoulder separation contribute to velocity, and how can we actually teach pitchers to increase torque in their deliveries?


Take a look at this video of Aroldis Chapman… unreal separation.

The hardest throwers in the big leagues use their lower half to create momentum and power while delaying shoulder rotation. In the process, they create incredible elastic energy and torque (for more, do some research on the stretch shortening cycle). When these pitchers use their hips the right way, you also tend to see their feet synced up.

So when the front foot opens into landing, you also see the back foot pop or roll off the rubber… hips open, shoulders stay closed, back-foot turns.

Kimbrell-Price-Torque-Separation

[h5]Better Tempo Improves Hip to Shoulder Separation[/h5]

I recently worked with a D1 college pitcher home on break. Now this is a guy already pitching at a high level with pretty solid mechanics. But when I first got a look at him, one thing that stood out was a generally slow tempo and what seemed like a tendency to “muscle up” after front foot plant.

Doing a motion analysis confirmed this. Things looked generally smooth, and he showed outstanding flex and whip in his upper half, but it was as if he was holding everything back until front foot plant. As a result, he created very little hip to shoulder separation and appeared upper-half dominant.

At front foot plant his back foot hadn’t yet pulled off the rubber and his hips were still relatively closed. He was missing out on of the best opportunities to generate power and build elastic energy in his core.

Over the next few weeks, we worked on increasing his tempo out of his leg lift to get his body moving more powerfully towards home plate. We did this with a series of drills along with his mound work. Part of this included step behinds to free him up from the confines of the pitching delivery and the idea of having “good pitching mechanics.”

One thing he mentioned was that when it came to long toss he was among the hardest throwers on his college team. He could throw 300+ feet with ease. But it wasn’t translating to his pitching, and looking at his delivery it was clear why…

He was moving too slowly. See, when he threw long toss he was getting his whole body into it, throwing with good momentum. But when he threw off the mound he reverted to having “good mechanics” and resorted to “muscling up.”

After just a few sessions, he made some big improvement.

On the left is his video when he first came in. On the right you can see him now.

Notice how much quicker he now moves down the mound. Instead of getting stuck over his back foot, he’s now moving his hips towards home plate, riding a strong back leg.

Pay attention to his back foot as he goes into front foot plant. He’s now firing with the back leg and creating much better torque at front foot plant.

The main lesson here is to stay away from drills and training techniques that focus on positions rather than the explosive movements needed for a powerful pitching delivery.

Instead of training pitchers to be slow and stiff, focus on getting pitchers to move well. And if you’re going to use pitching drills, make sure they train the hips and lower half… make sure they’re dynamic… ballistic.

You can find a complete system of drills for building a powerful, dynamic pitching delivery inside the Ballistic Pitching Blueprint.

 

Lately I’ve been noticing a trend with young pitchers. More and more, I’m seeing kids making a conscious effort to lead with their hips.

It seems youth coaches are finally catching on to the importance of leading with the hips in the pitching delivery and it’s becoming more conventional.

This is a good thing and big step in the right direction. Part of this may be due to big name coaches like Tom House promoting the concept.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hershiser drill can help you learn what early momentum feels like

[h4]But wait, there’s a problem here![/h4]

Just leading with the hips isn’t enough – you need to lead with your hips the RIGHT WAY!

Too often, I see pitchers trying to lead with their hips by pushing their front hip out.

This causes them to lean or tilt way back in their leg lift, collapsing their back leg. Doing this can be just as bad (or worse!) than stopping at the top and getting to a “balance point.” Both will kill momentum.

See, coaches catch on to an idea like leading with the hips, and they start teaching that cue over and over, “lead with your hips, lead with your hips.” And they’re not wrong in saying that.

The problem just comes when the pitcher doesn’t understand how to lead with their hips the right way.

The whole purpose of leading with the hips is to create early momentum in the leg lift/load phase of the delivery.

That momentum is then used to assist a powerful back leg drive, which is then converted to explosive rotational power. When you just stick your front hip out and tilt back you’re not really creating momentum at all.

What I end up seeing a lot as a result is pitchers moving down THEN out, instead of moving down AND out together (the latter is much more powerful).

Leading with your hips the right way really means shifting your weight and getting your center of gravity (think thighs to bottom of your ribs) moving towards home plate in your leg lift.

When done right, this is a gradual process where momentum builds while staying loaded with your hips over a strong back leg. You end up with a back leg on an angle rather than straight up and down.

 

   

 

And yes, you may have some tilt in your shoulders as you ride out on
your back leg, but this is very different than just pushing your front hip out.

[h3]Here’s some video that shows what I’m talking about[/h3] Watch this video of an above average high school pitcher here. He does some things well, but notice how he exaggerates leading with his hips and sinks down before actually building any forward momentum.

(He’s only a sophomore, and he’s a hard worker so I know he’ll be able to fix this issue pretty quickly)

Now compare him to what you see in guys like Jason Motte (I have him flipped around since the HS pitcher is a lefty). Notice the early weight shift and gradual building of momentum.

Notice what you see in the difference between the two pitchers’ back legs. And most importantly, look at the path their hips take as they move down the mound.

With Motte (and most high velocity pitchers) you see the hips moving down AND out together. This allows momentum to build, leading to powerful back leg drive late in the stride phase. The high school pitcher, by contrast, moves down THEN out.

He manages to drive out pretty well, considering, but it’s nowhere near as powerful as it would be if he moved like Motte.

Think of a sprinter breaking out of the starting blocks…

Does he start with his weight back over his back foot?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So instead of just thinking “lead with the hips”, work on creating early momentum and getting the center of gravity moving down the mound!
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