So, you want to throw hard … but, how much do you really understand about the way you produce velocity?
The pitching motion is like any other sport skill in that there are specific physical skills within the skill that need to be developed and practiced. And when it comes to performing the skills that contribute in a large way to velocity, there are three skills that I immediately evaluate when a pitcher comes to me to troubleshoot his loss of, or inability to, produce the velocity he knows he has inside.
The skill of sequencing and separating the rotation between the hips, lower trunk, and upper trunk is necessary to accumulate the angular velocity derived from the rotation phase of the pitching motion. The stretch-factor derived from separating the levels of rotation is actually the pre-stretch that will convert to the contraction that produces the transfer of power to the ball. Troubleshoot your rotation to be sure that your hips and trunk are not moving in one piece and/or that your upper trunk is getting ahead of the lower trunk rotation.
The skill of trunk tilt (flexing at the level of the hip joint of the landing leg) toward the plate (not to be confused with lateral trunk tilt, which is a sideways tilt away from the pitching arm at ball release) is necessary to release the ball as close to the plate as possible. The more efficient the trunk tilt, the greater your ability to get over your front leg. Troubleshoot your trunk tilt by making sure that you are not “sitting back in a chair-like position” at ball release. Your shoulders should be moving ahead of your feet, not staying behind them as you tilt forward. A stable front leg (not sinking) and proper use of the rear leg for stability are two requirements for producing a great trunk tilt.
The skill of internally rotating the shoulder and simultaneously extending the elbow at acceleration is essential to maximizing the enormous power of shoulder rotation that is obtained through the pre-stretch of the shoulder accelerators. A delay or change in the position of the shoulder musculature due to faulty arm mechanics can rob you of your velocity. Remember, force production during contraction is based on how well you pre-stretch a muscle — and couple that pre-stretch with the contraction. Knowing how to do this requires understanding the skill and practicing it. Troubleshooting this skill can start with making sure that the stretch you begin to feel around the shoulder joint as you start to rotate your hips toward the plate is not lost during the following moments of rotating the trunk as you square your body prior to acceleration.