Sunday, March 29, 2015

Yankees Recreate Scene from 'The Sandlot'

Members of the 2015 Yankees recreate a memorable scene from the classic movie, "The Sandlot"

Friday, March 27, 2015

Magic Bullets to Fix Swing Flaws?

Rich talks about what it takes to correct swing flaws and are there really any magic bullets?

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Monday, March 23, 2015

15 Mechanical Faults That Reduce Pitching Velocity

MLB pitcher Zach Greinke displaying good mechanics at landing

You might say that pitching mechanics is simply moving from the back leg to the front leg using a stable back leg and driving down the mound explosively onto a stable front leg.

Without a stable back leg a pitcher’s mechanics are going to suffer and he will lose pitching velocity.  Then once he lands on the front leg if that front leg is not stable and locked into the mound surface so that his front hip and front knee do not move, he could easily be losing 5-7 mph in potential pitching velocity.

Have you ever heard the expression – you can’t fire a canon from a canoe?

Can you picture that scene.  Firing a canon from a canoe.  What’s the problem?  The problem is the same problem that pitchers have.   A poor base of stability at the beginning of their delivery and again at landing.

So you line up the canon to the target from the back of the canoe.  Ready – aim – fire!  What happens?  You go in the water and the canon misses the target by 50 yards and it goes in the water right after you.  Sounds like pitching.

The Pitcher Must Have A Strong Base Of Support

If the pitcher’s base of support is not stable because of a collapsing back leg or poor posture or a swinging lead leg, then two things are affected.  Force production goes into the ground and over toward 3rd base….so velocity drops.  Secondly,  the likely-hood of the ball hitting the target are lessened dramatically since the pitcher is not moving in a direct line toward the target.

Pitchers…are you focusing solely on the collapsing back leg?  Why not?  Much of it is a strength issue.  There are 29 muscles coming out of the hip.   Those stabilizers, which there are many, help keep the back leg strong.

Why do so many of the elderly need those walkers to assist them at walking? Because many became inactive and their hip muscles weaken and eventually atrophy. Thus no strength to hold them up.

The groin is part of the adductor muscle group (there are several) which must be simultaneously strong and flexible — strong enough to function as a core stabilizer of the pelvis and help transfer energy from the legs upward during both early and late phases of throwing and flexible enough to stretch during the drive toward ball release.

This weakness causes the pitcher to rotate over his back hip and start early hip rotation…the biggest initial velocity killer.  Once the pitcher collapses he can never regain that lost power…so his arm has to do more work. Thus more sore arms.

Guys…here’s the skinny.  Most of your son’s have poor core strength.  Weak hips and tight glutes and tight lats.   Or tight hips and weak glutes.  They can’t stand on a single bent leg without wobbling all over the place.

They can’t land with a stable front hip and leg.  And you wonder why the large majority are losing 5-10 mph at the youth, high school and even college levels.

There are several mechanical faults that reduce velocity besides a collapsing back or front leg.

Here are the ones we regularly see during pitching lessons or while doing video analysis that reduce velocity and control and can add stress to the arm:

1.  poor starting position – the pitcher does not position his weight over his back leg
2. poor posture – trunk slumps forward or backward
3. collapsing back leg – knee continues to drift out over back foot toe during weight shift
4. breaks hands too high or too early
5. swings the lead leg out and around
6. doesn’t lead with the hip – the shoulder and hip move out together
7. leans head and trunk back during stride
8. doesn’t use back leg drive to power the lower body into landing
9. poor landing position
*  doesn’t land on the midline
*  lands with front foot too closed off or directed away from the target
*  knee is not directly over the foot – is positioned either to the inside or outside of     ankle
*  throwing elbow not at shoulder height – either too low or too high
* front shoulder not directed at target
* back hip is not higher than front hip
*  head is either too far back behind bellybutton or too far forward
*  stride is either too short or too long
*  glove arm too high or pulled toward the side too early
10.  Does use glove arm properly to help start trunk rotation
11.  Throwing elbow is not positioned above the non-throwing shoulder during trunk rotation.
12.  Hips and trunk are not facing the target when the throwing arm lays back
13. At ball release the head and shoulders are not out over the landing knee
14. trunk is not flexed forward at finish
15. throwing arm does not finish down and outside of landing knee

Most pitchers have 3-4 major faults that when improved can improve velocity 5-7 and sometimes 10 mph.

Remember the pitching motion is not only a very complex action but it contains the fastest human motion in all of sports.  Trying to just eyeball that motion is basically futile. There is just too much going on.

The most important thing that parents should understand is that in order to recognize these faults video must be used and slowed down frame-by-frame.

Instructors who are not videotaping are just guessing.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Scientific Reason Why Baseball Pitchers Should Never Ice Their Arms

If you watch an MLB pitcher right after he pitches you will more than likely see his throwing shoulder and elbow wrapped in ice.   Is this really such a good idea?  No it’s not.  And not all pitchers ice after they pitch.

Some do what is referred to as active recovery, which will prove to be a far better alternative to protecting and helping a pitcher’s arm recover faster with less chance of injury.  We have been providing a product for the pitching arm that not only helps get it warmed up before pitching but with 5 simple exercises after…it helps the pitching arm recover faster.  That is something all sports medicine docs believe to be valuable.

Should Baseball Pitchers Ever Ice Their Arms?

So should any pitcher ever use ice?  The answer is not according to the science or the doctor who first started recommending icing back in the 70’s.

So I would say that a pitcher should never ever ice his pitching arm under any circumstances including after an injury.  Even if he tears his ligament or rotator cuff or labrum.

In fact,  not just pitching arms but sprained ankles or any other injury you can think of.  Do not ice for swelling. Do not ice for inflammation.  Ice does not do a very good job reducing swelling.

Do not ice for reducing inflammation.  Why? Because inflammation is one of the ways that the body starts the healing process.  We could also say that anti-inflammatory drugs are not a good idea since they stop the natural process of healing.  The body knows how to do it much better.  Remember – active recovery.

Ice is also sometimes used for pain.  But do you really want to stop the signal from the brain to the injured site…which could actually cause more injury because you could not feel it.
Thus we can say that the doctors are wrong and have been wrong for over 30 years.  So haven’t MLB pitchers and trainers.

As a former professional starting pitcher I used to drop my elbow in a bucket of ice because I saw Sandy Koufax doing it.  Thus we might say that is not a good idea to copy what professional pitchers do. Including what they do on and off the field.

This is also true of long toss which was proven not to improve velocity but to increase the stress to the elbow.  The study was released in Jan 2011 by the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, AL.  Yes MLB, college and high school pitchers use it as a regular practice routine.  Yet it has proven to be detrimental.

I had an expert on icing in my office recently.  He has written a book on why icing is not such a good idea.

His name is Gary Reinl. I met Gary through my blog.  He is a walking encyclopedia on why icing is a very bad idea for baseball pitchers.

He posted the following comment on my blog about my article I posted years ago titled –  The Myth of Baseball Pitchers Icing: Ice Is Not Nice

Listen to what Gary has to say.  Then look below and read the article by Dr. Gabe Mirkin, who started the belief about icing over 30 years ago.  Do you remember RICE? (rest, ice, compression, elevation).  Dr. Mirkin coined the term.  He has recently recanted his advice on icing.

Gary Reinl:

“Since the “icepack” actually makes things worse (it delays healing, increases swelling, causes additional damage, shuts of the  signals that alert you to harmful movement and provides false  hope … you believe that you are doing something good when in fact you are doing the opposite) … doing nothing is actually better than icing.

What’s best?

Lightly activate the muscles that are tired and or sore. (First Pitch Strike Warm-up and Recovery…I added that which is what we recommend pitchers do after pitching to reduce recovery time) Muscle activation or “active recovery” is not only the best way to facilitate the healing process …it is, in essence, the key to tissue regeneration. And, absolute stillness is the proverbial enemy.

How did we get to the point where reducing swelling and  inflammation via icing are seen as good things?

First of all … icing damaged tissue does not reduce swelling or inflammation. Delay it yes. Increase it yes. Reduce it no.

It all started back in 1962 when a doctor named Ronald Malt reattached the severed limb of a 12 year old boy named  Everett Knowles. Since this was the first operation of its kind, it made big news around the world.

When asked by reporters what is the best way to protect the severed body part while traveling to the hospital, the doctor responded something like this; keep it out of the sun, keep it cool; “put it on ice” if possible.

Over the years, the public converted the doctor’s very specific recommendation that aptly applied to “severed” body parts to put ice on damaged tissue. Soon the myth took hold and the ice age was born.

Interestingly, the godfather of the “ice age”, Gabe Mirkin, MD, recently recanted his decades-old recommendation and now says that “icing” damaged tissues delays healing.

Gary’s book:

ICED! The Illusionary Treatment Option: Learn the Fascinating Story, Scientific Breakdown, Alternative, & How To Lead Others Out Of The Ice Age by Gary Reinl

Here is a article by Dr. Gabe Mirkin –  Why Ice Delays Recovery

Dr Mirkin was one of the very first doctors to recommend icing.  He has since retracted his advice on icing.

There is a hidden message here.  It says to stop copying what others believe to be beneficial including copying MLB pitchers.  They may know how to pitch but it does not mean they know how to strength train and condition or how to protect their throwing arms.

Article Source:

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Little League Pitching Faults Reduce Velocity And Increase Arm Injuries

Little League Pitching Mechanic's faults not only reduce velocity but increase the risk of arm injuries. This pitching mechanics fault, early trunk rotation is common in pitchers at all levels. It significantly reduces velocity because the trunk comes into play too early and thus the arm has less distance to travel to produce force. This means the throwing arm just try to do more work thus more stress to the arm.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Pitching Mechanics - How Efficient Mechanics Produces Higher Pitching Velocity

Pitchers who have more efficient pitching mechanics like Pedro Martinez in this video are able to produce more pitching velocity and momentum and thus more force which can translate into more arm speed. Irrelevant actions such as used by Tim Lincecum in this video, such as the big trunk and hip turn and sweeping lead leg do not help a pitcher produce more force. By improving pitching mechanics so that there is as little turning or rotation until landing will help improve pitching velocity, provide better control and with less stress to the arm.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Kris Bryant: The Future Is Here

Chicago’s Kris Bryant is ready to take the league by storm. Watch to find out how he is getting ready for his next step.

Monday, March 2, 2015