Pitching Coaches and Movement Professionals working with pitchers can optimize pitching velocity of any age pitcher by understanding the significance the entire kinetic chain has on force generation and ultimately pitching velocity. An added benefit of training the kinetic chain specific to pitching instead of an isolated muscle focus, is injury prevention, resulting in increased protection from elbow and shoulder injuries to your pitching staff.
Analysis of a pitcher’s mechanics is an important piece to individualize a pitching program. Analysis of and correction of “poor mechanics” through verbal correction and drills is not the whole story. For instance, on analysis it can be seen that your pitcher has too short of a stride and is landing too closed. The most effective solution may not be to solely instruct your pitcher to step out further. Rather, find the root cause biomechanically and correct the limitation.
To increase velocity and/or to rehab a shoulder/elbow injury in a pitcher, you need to find these root causes by starting with a thorough injury history of the entire athlete….not just the arm. Past injuries anywhere in the kinetic chain(both sides of the body) can influence the mechanics of the pitching motion. Key areas to evaluate are
1-Stance leg hip strength in all three planes of motion
2-Landing leg posterior hip and eccentric trunk strength.
3-Stance and stride leg ankle strength and proprioception
4-Abdominal strength in the transverse plane in a trunk extended position
5-Hip Extensibility: Stance leg Hip flexors and adductors in the frontal and transverse planes. Landing leg: Posterior hip in the sagittal and transverse planes.
Assessment of these areas go far beyond a typical manual muscle test, max lift testing and single plane flexibility tests. Testing should occur with the foot on the ground with the body driving over the foot as well as including speed and endurance as part of your assessment. To learn more go to www.tristretch.com for information on functional training and rehabilitation.