Monday, September 04, 2006

The Final Stage

Stage Eight:
Elbow Extension

As the pitcher breaks through “The Wall of Resistance”, release is about to occur.  In order to throw a strike, the pitcher must extend their elbow and place their forearm in a straight line toward home plate.  Often, pitchers may have to slightly tilt their head to the glove side.  This small tilt creates space for the pitcher’s arm to stay in a straight line with the target.  By allowing the elbow to extend in a straight line, the pitcher applies force to the back of the baseball toward home plate.  In fact, if the pitcher has proper elbow flexion in their mechanics, they will be able to apply force longer toward the target.  The extended force application time increases a pitcher’s throwing velocity.  

In the picture above, the pitcher has just released his pitch toward home plate.  His elbow has become completely extended during release and his head is slightly tilted toward the glove side.  In the picture, the ball has just been released from the pitcher’s fingers.  Notice how far out in front the pitcher is able to release the ball.  Just by practicing proper elbow flexion, pitchers can slash the distance to the plate by 10% or greater.  This distance reduction not only produces faster pitches, but helps pitchers maintain healthy arms.                 

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