Do Not Copy the Wrong Things

In every pitcher’s motion, there are two specific types of movements:

1-Those which give her speed and power.
2-Those which are necessary to compensate for other problems within in her motion that are robbing her of speed and power.

Before imitating any motion of another pitcher you must know the difference. Let’s start with a simple fact. There are no perfect pitchers. A perfect pitcher would never allow a hit. The goal is to live up to your own potential, and to minimize any issues which detract from reaching that level.

With that in mind, every great pitcher will tell you there is at least one thing in her pitching motion that could be better. That creates compensatory moves. If the takeoff is weak, sometimes she will fling the glove outward in an effort to pull the shoulders forward. She may not even realize she is doing it. Some pitchers may not align their hips properly or they cannot fire the back hip forward with power. They have to use a re-plant (crow hop) in order to get both hips moving in the right direction. Some pitchers make dramatic moves, such as very high upswings, extreme bend-over before takeoff, or a big hop at the landing, trying to find ways to overcome weaknesses elsewhere in their motion. Which of these things actually help a pitcher? Which ones are compensation as she tries to make up for a weakness in her motion?

If a young pitcher, or her parent, watches video and decides to copy a specific movement, the possibility exists that they can adopt the compensation move, thinking it will somehow help her. Make sure you are copying the right things. Sometimes we see kids who imitate things that they think look good but actually hurt their performance. Sometimes they are just spending a lot of extra effort doing things that they do not understand for reasons they cannot explain. If it takes twice the movement and twice the energy to deliver every pitch, have we gained anything?

Studying great pitchers is wonderful. We encourage it. Before adopting any specific move, just be sure you understand its specific purpose, how it must be done correctly to create that explosiveness that you seek, and carefully measure its effect on your performance in real numbers, whether speed, stride length, or the amount of movement you achieve on your pitches. In hitting, running, or throwing overhand, the general goal is always to find the quickest, shortest, most efficient path to the desired result. In other words, how can I get the greatest return on the amount of energy I put into every single pitch?