Arm Angle at Different Points in Throwing Mechanics March 27, 2015 20:39

Greg Maddux Throwing MotionA HeadCoach follower posted a picture of Greg Maddux on our Facebook page today. In the photo, you see Maddux at a point in his delivery where he is fully striding towards home plate. His arm is still folded, or in the “cocked” position, elbow bent and, in this case, below his shoulder. From looking at the photo, you might believe that this was how Maddux delivered the ball, but it is essential to remember one thing when looking at this picture. It is BEFORE his trunk and shoulder rotation.

Throwing motions vary to such extremes that you can almost say they are like snowflakes: no two are exactly the same. I don’t know if this is true, but I do know this. If a player forces their arm to stay in the cocked position all the way to release point, if their hand stays next to their head and their elbow remains dropped below their shoulder, they will struggle to throw the baseball or softball effectively, with maximum velocity and accuracy. Most importantly, they will be putting themselves at risk for serious arm injuries in the future.

Greg Maddux Before RotationLet’s look at two more photos of Greg Maddux. In the first, notice where he is holding the baseball. Crazy, right? It is almost touching his head. However, in the second picture, after trunk and shoulder rotation and at the moment of release, his arm is fully extended and his elbow is above shoulder height. Why is this? It’s because he allowed physics to take over, instead of forcing his hand to stay in an unnatural hand path.

Greg Maddux Throwing Fully Extended
The same goes for Yankee catcher Brian McCann. In the first photo, his arm is cocked, but notice his shoulders. They are still turned, with the front shoulder pointing towards his target, in this case, first base. As he rotates on delivery, notice his arm angle. Full extension! And although he looks to be side-arming this throw, look at his shoulder tilt. His shoulders are almost parallel to the ground with very little tilt at all, giving the appearance of throwing side arm. If you go back to Maddux photo #3, you will see that his left shoulder is dropped slightly, which produces a more “over the top” delivery. However, the most important element here is that both players are using the torque from their trunk and shoulder rotation and allowing their arm to work with physics and not against it.

Brian McCann Throwing MotionFighting physics is a losing battle. In the case of throwing a ball, fighting physics comes when you force your throwing hand to stay in close to your head all the way to delivery. Force equals strain, and strain leads to injury. Too often, young players are taught that getting the ball to a target, such as another player’s chest or the catcher’s mitt is the only thing that matters. I understand why coaches make this mistake, but when the result is given more emphasis than the process of throwing the ball, this is how bad mechanics are developed. A coach will reward a kid for, “hitting Tommy or Sally in the glove”, but ignore the fact that the player had to drop their elbow and push the ball like a dart to get it there. This is where we at HeadCoach can make a difference. We want to train players to throw the right way, whether they are just starting to play the game or if they have developed flawed mechanics over time and want to improve the way they throw.

Brian McCann Baseball Throwing MotionThe HeadCoach places an impediment (our patented Velocity Increasing Arms) in the way of this unnatural hand path to release point. If a player has developed this flaw in their mechanics, The HeadCoach will guide their hand into the optimal arm extension. If you hit the VIA, you know you need to let your arm get outside. Just follow the HeadCoach VIA. It points right to where your arm need to go. Up and out! Like Greg Maddux and Brian McCann, it’s not where your hand starts that’s important, it’s where it is when you release the ball. To get the most out of your arm, you need to let it, and physics, work for you, not against you.