This is an incredible look at pitching from a scientific perspective. This week, we salute our Instructor of the week, Jonathan Hon, in the Chicago area. Jonathan is an aeronautical engineer who sees pitching in a fascinating way. Oh, he is good at what he does, and I can assure you that he doesn’t talk to the students in such scientific terms. Simply put, he produces some great ones. So, let’s talk to Jonathan. It is fascinating. He says he has found a great relationship between his edication and pitching. “Aeronautical engineering is just a more profitable way of applying energy transfer and spin. The graduate degree in statistics helps me test the data from sequence experiments. It’s just in my nature to think of pitching back to its essential roots of Energy. We know energy is everywhere and it cannot be created or destroyed, only transferred or transformed. In the facility we focus on acquiring, storing and transferring the energy through each movement of the pitch in the most efficient sequence. Ball velocity and spin (Magnus) are just the results of transfer purity. Transfer purity is the heart and sole of pitching in my research. When you trace takeoff force to glide velocity and energy storage through impact absorption and release revolutions, it doesn’t matter if you’re talking airfoils or slings, it’s just energy. Magnus is where it gets fun but it’s no different. It’s just transfer purity through Tangential acceleration of a sphere. My pee wee soccer days were the perfect training ground for this. Energy doesn’t lie and neither does spin direction.
Once the pitcher understands the energy flow of the pitch then we can begin Spin direction and spin rate discussions. That’s what separates the average pitcher from the great ones. Spin efficiency is tedious work and the ones who complete it see great rewards. Great pitchers know their spin because it’s their masterpiece and they’re willing to put in the work to perfect it. Once they get it, we start back at the beginning of the sequence (acquire, storage, transfer purity) all over again.
Now, so many things underlying go into transfer purity. Strength, mindset, positions, angles, nutrition so the ones who achieve it are eating right, sleeping enough, strength building, training sequences every day in addition to school work and pitch design It’s important to know Nearly everyone who is successful also has someone at home that’s in their corner. Helping with encouragement, nutrition, catching, shuttle driving a d etc. It would be so much more difficult without, so THANK YOU to them!”
Next, I asked Jonathan why he thinks a lot of pitchers come up short. “It’s easy for pitchers to fail. The system is stacked against them. College equivalent goals are placed upon 12 year olds. The season is unrealistically long for pitchers to perform for this duration. We need to build superhero’s I suppose.
Most Pitchers who fail don’t have the necessary strength to maintain positions and repeat patterns. If they’re fortunate to have adequate strength, it’s usually not balanced. The imbalances are typically from bad movement patterns and training practices. That can be challenging for them to correct. Willingness to do the work is so crucial. It’s difficult to get the body ready to pitch, then master the pitch and eventually endure the season. The willingness to continually improve is a tremendous quality, so many pitchers get comfortable in their less efficient patterns and sequences that they’ll never achieve transfer purity and therefore their maximum velocity and spin efficiency.:
A wise old person once said, “It’s much easier to teach someone to fly than it is to teach them to pitch”.
— I actually said that.”
I told you it would be fascinating. Yet, working with Jonathan, he comes across as basic, simple, and he gets incredible results. And, that is why Jonathan Hon is our Instructor of the Week.