Pitching Mechanics

The Importance of Rotation in Your Pitching Delivery

Part 2/2

     Compared to Alek Manoah, there are many guys like Jacob deGrom and Gerrit Cole who can efficiently rotate around their front leg and maintain balance throughout their delivery. It begins by putting yourself in a position to be able to effectively rotate around your front leg.

Unlike Manoah, both deGrom and Cole land with their front foot in line with their back foot, i.e., landing in-line with their back foot, while their front foot is pointed towards home plate. That’s not to say that every pitcher who rotates effectively must land in-line with their back foot or have their front foot pointed towards home plate, as each pitcher’s anatomy and range of motion is different.

While both deGrom and Cole do land in-line, there are many successful pitchers who do not land in-line. As, some pitchers land slightly opened, with their front foot pointed slightly towards the first baseline. Additionally, other pitchers land in a closed off position with their front foot pointed slightly towards the third baseline. The vast majority of pitchers who throw 95< rotate around their front leg very efficiently; however, the way they go about doing it is different from pitcher to pitcher, but each movement pattern works for their specific anatomy.

     These differences affect the optimal way you should move throughout the delivery and think about moving. If you land open or closed with your front foot, with your foot slightly opened or closed, and are still able to rotate effectively around your front leg, then there is not necessarily a reason to make a mechanical change. However, if you are landing open or closed and are struggling to rotate around your front leg or unable to fully rotate, then it may be time to begin trying to make a mechanical change.

     Every pitcher is different, and as stated above, there is no one right way to achieve efficient movement patterns. What works for one may not work for another, and vice versa. However, certain positions must be achieved, such as efficient rotation around your front leg.

     It is significantly more important that you can rotate around your front leg rather than how you go about doing it. You could watch 10 different pitchers throwing 95mph or more, all of whom have different movement patterns. However, despite their different patterns, they all still get into specific positions at certain times during the delivery, such as being able to efficiently rotate around their front leg just prior to ball release.

     As you throw harder and harder, there is less room for mechanical errors and energy leaks to continue seeing improvements in your velocity. For example, your body may have the potential to reach a peak velocity of 95mph, but to achieve this, all energy leaks and mechanical inefficiencies must be addressed. That same person who has the potential to have a peak fastball velocity of 95mph might have a few small mechanical inefficiencies and a couple of energy leaks and is only able to throw 91-92 mph as their current peak velocity. However, if they want to reach their body’s peak velocity, their bodies need to move optimally from a mechanical standpoint while ensuring that they are not leaking any energy throughout their delivery.

The Importance of Rotation

     One of the things that allows deGrom and Cole to rotate around their front side so well is their ability to put their bodies in a position where they can accomplish this movement pattern repeatedly. By positioning themselves efficiently for rotation, their bodies are set up to optimally accept the energy and momentum that they created throughout their deliveries, enabling them to efficiently send the energy they created back throughout their kinetic chain. Thus, ensuring they maintain balance, as the energy they created goes back towards their body, instead of pulling them in a different direction, helping them stay balanced while maximize their output.

     In comparison, a guy like Manoah lacks the ability to efficiently rotate, resulting in positional, mechanical, and balance issues in the latter part of his delivery, as his body is being pulled towards the first base side of the mound from the energy and momentum he created throughout his delivery. These issues negatively impact Manoah’s ability to rotate, preventing his body from working optimally and ultimately affecting the results of the ball when it crosses home plate.

     Upon front foot strike (ffs), ideally, the belt buckle will be pointed towards home plate. This signifies efficient hip rotation and sets the body up for optimal sequencing. This is something that both deGrom and Cole demonstrate throughout their delivery, which also sets them up to have increased hip-to-shoulder separation. However, for the sake of this article, we won’t focus on it. Upon landing in this position, this should be the point where the front knee is bent at the highest degree. From this position, the pelvis/hips will pull the front knee into extension, which enables a pitcher to throw into a firm front side. This is crucial for maximizing output and maintaining balance throughout the latter part of the delivery, which is crucial for achieving a consistent release point.

     Efficient rotation is crucial for velocity, command, health, and more. The way you go about accomplishing rotation may be completely different from pitcher to pitcher, and it doesn’t mean one is right and one is wrong. It’s about finding the best movement pattern for your anatomy and ranges of motion. The objective should be to put yourself in the best position for your body to work optimally, maximizing output and repeatability. The most important aspect is that you can efficiently rotate around your front leg, not how you go about accomplishing it.


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