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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Pitching Mechanics - Using an Elastic Chord to Fine Tune Your Mechanics?

By Dan Gazaway

My favorite topic to discuss as it relates to Baseball is Pitching Mechanics. But I want to write about pitching mechanics as they relate to elastic chord pitching workouts. If you aren't involved in a pitching workout routine that involves using elastic chords to strengthen the tendons and ligaments that support your surrounding muscles, I would highly recommend it. However, were you aware that an elastic chord can help you with your pitching mechanics?

Here is the exercise that I would recommend you try if you want to see if your pitching mechanics are up to par. Attach an elastic band (surgical tubing) to a fence (or anything stationary) shoulder height. Stretch the band far enough to feel resistance. You'll want to hold the band away from you (toward second base if you were on the mound) as you would with your fastball pitching grip. Once you do this you can try any mechanical maneuver (the correct way or the wrong way) from the stretch position to see if you need a mechanical tune-up. The key to doing these drills is to "feel" the difference in power as you pull the chord the right way and "feel" the difference when you don't.

To prove this drills effectiveness, you need to understand some basic mechanical flaws so you can try it yourself. One of the most common mistakes a pitcher will make is opening up too soon. They will open up their shoulder and hips prematurely before foot strike. To "feel" that this isn't mechanically correct, purposely open your hips and shoulders before foot strike and pull the elastic chord forward. What do you "feel"? Do you feel less power?

Another common mechanical flaw is to lift your pivot foot up too soon before release of the baseball. To prove for yourself that this will decrease your pitching velocity, try it with the elastic band. Once you lift your pivot foot too soon (before release) the stretched elastic band will start pulling you back. You know you have lost power; you also know you shouldn't do it. If you keep your foot planted on the ground until release you clearly have control.

You can try these drills to test your strength throughout your entire delivery. If something doesn't feel right (pressure in your arm; less power) when you pull the elastic band forward, then you know it's time to tweak your pitching mechanics. If your serious about improving your overall pitching performance, I would recommend you get some pitching instruction from a certified coach in your area.

Dan Gazaway is owner and founder of The Pitching Academy in Utah. He is known as a premiere pitching instructor focusing on pitching workout programs, pitching mechanics an baseball pitching grips []

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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick