Part of becoming a good pitcher means learning how to use and harness the power of momentum. What do I mean by this?
Momentum can be described with the simple equation: mass x velocity = momentum.
If you think of an 18 wheeler, it takes a lot of force applied over a long time to get that thing moving. But once it’s up to full speed, it’s going to take a lot of breaking power to slow it down. That’s momentum in action.
With pitchers, we tend to think about the role of momentum in terms of mechanics. But more than that, you can see the power of momentum at work in every facet of your game. You can see it during the course of a game, between pitches, in a series, over an entire season, in your training… and in every other imaginable way.
[h4]You Can See the Power of Momentum at Work:[/h4]
[h5]In Your delivery:[/h5]
As I discussed in my earlier article on the importance of early momentum, a powerful pitching delivery is all about creating momentum and then transferring that momentum up your kinetic chain as you throw. If you want a more scientific explanation, here is a great research report (worth a read when you have time):
The Kinetic Chain in Overhand Pitching: Its Potential Role for Performance Enhancement and Injury Prevention – Shane T. Seroyer, MD,* Shane J. Nho, MD, Bernard R. Bach, MD, Charles A. Bush-Joseph, MD, Gregory P. Nicholson, MD, and Anthony A. Romeo, MD
“The lower extremity and trunk generate and transfer energy to the upper extremity. Coordinated lower extremity muscles (quadriceps, hamstrings, hip internal and external rotators) provide a stable base for the trunk (core musculature) to rotate and flex.”
“The legs and trunk serve as the main force generators of the kinetic chain.”
“The baseball throwing motion is a complex and coordinated body event that culminates with a ballistic motion of the throwing extremity…”
Put simply, a powerful lower half and the efficient transfer of momentum up your chain are the key ingredients for a powerful pitching delivery.
Look at this video of the king… that’s a bad man.
[h5]In your training:[/h5]
Momentum isn’t just about your physical movement and your mechanics. You can think of momentum as a tailwind that can work for you in everything you do. A body in motion tends to stay in motion… Allow space for small achievable goals in your training. When you make progress, however small, you want to recognize it, build on it. Let it fuel your fire to keep putting the work in, keep getting better.
“The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.” – Vince Lombardi
That quote speaks to momentum. When you put everything you have into your training over a long period of time, you become almost unstoppable… It’s like trying to stop that eighteen wheeler.
[h5]During a game:[/h5]
If you’ve ever been in a good groove on the mound, you know how momentum can work for you in the course of a game. You feed off every good pitch, every strikeout, your confidence growing as the game goes on.
But there’s also such a thing as negative momentum. When things start going against you on the mound, it’s easy for things to snowball and get out control.
Here’s where you need to take a step off and squash that negative momentum before it has a chance to build. Take back control, and refocus your attention on the task at hand. For more on this, click here: The Mental Game of Pitching: Part I
[h5]In a series and over a season:[/h5]
You hear it all the time in sports, especially during the playoffs after a big win. “Momentum has shifted back to…” And there’s definitely something to that. When a team plays well, that good experience breeds confidence which can carry over to the next game.
Then there’s the old adage: “Momentum is as good as your next day’s starter.”
And that’s part of what makes pitching so great. You get to create your own momentum. Sometimes this can carry you over the course of an entire season. I’ve seen it over and over, where a pitcher get’s his season off to a good start and then it’s just like he’s coasting. Every time he gets the ball, you expect him to deal, it’s almost automatic. They’ve built momentum and they’re letting it work for them.
So understand the important role of momentum, and start putting it to work!
Bottom Line: Learning to truly harness the power of momentum and use it to your advantage won’t just make you a better pitcher… If you apply it to everything you do, momentum will make you more powerful and productive in every facet of your life.
We are all capable of much more than we imagine. Too often we get off to a good start only to get derailed, slow down and get stuck. With momentum on your side, if you keep moving forward, there’s no telling what you can do.
Keep moving, keep growing… don’t be afraid to see what you’re truly capable of… You’ll be amazed.