Wrong Conclusions

A good magician fools your eyes. You are distracted by one hand while the other performs the “magic”. As humans, our eyes are often drawn to the wrong place.

On a windy night a plastic bag blows across the road and we inadvertently slam the brakes. Such events happen in sports as well, especially in softball pitching.

Recently a new student came with elbow pain. After studying her motion it was obvious that a flaw in her motion was causing the issue. A sudden deceleration of the arm at release was causing muscles above and below the elbow to become extremely tight. The elbow was not the problem. The muscles on either side of the elbow were knotted and pulling against one another, resulting in painful stresses on the elbow. I did a special release on each muscle, the pain immediately subsided. If we had gone back to pitching her old way, the pain would have returned and, yes, the elbow would eventually succumb to injury. Instead, we lengthened the movement, her speed dramatically increased, and the pain did not return.

Too often we focus on symptoms, failing to understand causes. Softball pitching is quite confusing to many people. What they think they are seeing may be far different from what is actually happening. The arm and shoulder do not produce power. The vast majority of injuries come from people who do not understand this, and incorrectly try to strengthen the end of the chain or put far too much emphasis there when trying to teach kids to pitch.

The arm is a result of things happening elsewhere in the body. Let me explain. One of my consultants is among the top Sports Medicine Physicians in the nation. He uses this illustration. Try to throw a ball from the outfield with your feet nailed to the ground. The throw will be weak and the risk of injury to the shoulder will increase exponentially. Because the rest of the core was eliminated from the pitch, the arm and shoulder tried to do all of the work. They are incapable of the task.

Let’s consider a related task. If you are a softball pitcher, stand on one leg, stay on just that one leg, and try to throw with blistering speed. You don’t have to try this, and we do not want you to try, but just visualizing it helps you understand our point. The arm and the shoulder are only channels for energy…energy which is created in other parts of the body and makes its way through these channels.

Another example is an elite power hitter. Have her sit on a bucket and try to hit home runs. She cannot create power in the right places, revealing instantly that the shoulder and the arms are only transferring power created elsewhere.

As you know, we are involved in the first comprehensive youth softball injury and performance study in history. We are so honored to work with the world famous Andrews Institute to ask questions never before posed and to study relationships never before considered. The goal is to forget all pre-conceived notions and start from scratch. The first few weeks of thinking in that way are exciting and revealing. We will talk more about that soon. For now, just remember. Don’t get so caught up in the bag blowing across the road that you steer into the wrong lane. Always remember that the obvious answer often isn’t.

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