Understanding the Importance of Linear Versus Rotational in Throwing the Baseball Balanced
Balancing your body when pitching is a very important part of the mechanics of pitching. To throw a ball in a straight line, whether it is hardball or softball, angles of the body have to form linear angles at certain degrees of angulation and all angles have to compliment the other in order to transfer the energy from the feet up through the large core muscles for the projectile (The Ball) to be thrown in the direction of the strike zone. In this article I will explain the theory of linear versus Rotational the later being the problematic issue at hand.
At times pitchers will have control problems and those particular problems are caused by issues with what is called leading with the elbow with regards to hardball baseball. These particular problems happen more so with hardball than softball. Why you ask? Softball is a natural motion and hardball is not. First of all to the basics of anatomy. Our arms hang down towards the ground. A softball pitcher throws underhand which is a natural motion. Most hardball pitchers or baseball pitchers throw against the structure of the human anatomy. Thus it is more likely to have a higher percentage of injuries based on the unnatural positions of the body at the point of release. So certain counter measures or angles have to be in the proper positions to balance the body and to also rely on each other in a balanced configuration, which is primarily Linear.
When a softball pitcher delivers the ball they are completely square to the target; but their bodies are in an anatomically correct position. When a baseball pitcher releases the ball they are not anatomically correct, with regards to the way the body stands at posture and at release.
From the beginning a baseball pitcher, because of the unnatural state of his or her mechanics is fighting a constant battle with that unnatural state of position. Loading the body starts the motion and the precise angle of loading at posture is important to the rest of the motion. The leading side of the leg must be loaded at the beginning of the leg raise position, no less than 90 degrees. A slight turn of the pelvic segment of about 20 degrees is important. As the body begins it’s forward motion and unloading of the energy. This turning of the pelvic area should be to the negative X, 20 degrees or pointing the leading knee towards the first base area or third base area which ever is the case Right or Left handed. As the leading leg drops the glove and the throwing hand will begin to drop with the glove hand beginning to move forward and the pitching hand will move backwards. This is called separation of the hands. Timing is essential to keep the leg and the hands moving together. The trailing leg or side will be dropping to about 30 degrees in the Y segment or the up and down getting into the position of driving the energy and the body forward. With regards to the body’s position. Primarily the lower body segment moves forward, it will cause the upper body to move forward also. The upper body segment should angle it’s position towards the trailing side leg, keeping itself behind the lower segment while awaiting the transitional phase of the upper torso to occur.
The leading side hip and the shoulder should be in sync driving towards the target this will keep the body from leaning to much to the right or the left and keep the shoulder closed and balanced. As the leading foot hits the ground the arm or the throwing segment trailing side should be caulked and ready for the loading of the arm to occur. This is the beginning point of the transitional phase were the upper torso begins to move and rotate transferring the energy through the abdominal muscles or large core muscle up through the shoulder and to the ball. The shoulders should maintain an angle of 20 degrees and a maximum angle of 30 degrees. The Trailing arm or throwing arm is now at the position of parallel and is in secondary loading phase prior to release of the ball. Most of the clinical scientist miss this important phase of loading because the upper torso is now in a position of 0 degrees on the X plane a still moving forward but the arm is actually stopped for a brief milli-second and loads before proceeding on to the point of release. The energy is at it’s maximum at this point. Think as if you have caught the energy with your elbow and you are now going to shoot it to the hand and the ball. Once the upper torso has begun to move forward the arm then begins to excelerate again. The elbow of the trailing side or throwing arm should be located at the side of the head around the ear location. The elbow will stop briefly and the radius and the ulna of the forearm will proceed to release the ball as supanation and pronation occur. The arm should be in position with the head extended away from the body at the point of release. There are exceptions to the rule for side arm pitchers and softball pitchers. It is the exact opposite. The hips must be square to the plate or the target. If the hips are blocked this will restrict the energy to move in the proper methodology and will cause stress to the other parts of the body especially the shoulder. Effected areas are the labrum, Deltoid, Rota cuff, and biceps tendon.
If the upper torso begins to rotate to early the elbow will begin to lead. This is caused by the leading shoulder opening up to soon. You will lose control and subject yourself to injury. Most injuries occur at this particular phase. The shoulder of the leading side should be pulling down to the ground and back away from the target creating no less than 20 degrees and no more than 30 degrees of angulation. If you look at the rotation of the shoulders with liner angle applied then the rotation of the shoulders should point to the target and toward first or third base as mentioned in the sentence before.
A true and balanced motion will give the athlete many years of performance free from injuries.