Friday, November 19, 2010

Throwing Strikes - Control the Glove

It is critical for a pitcher to have good glove control. Pitchers who control the glove side throw more strikes and reduce their chance of injury.

This young pitcher finishes a throw with the glove up behind his back - with the body totally exposed to a hit up the middle. The uncontrolled glove arm puts a lot of strain on the shoulder. Blocking the glove, in front of the chest, would help solve the problem.

Problems I see with young pitchers:
- glove side elbow moves behind the center of gravity creating counter rotation
- no glove control; the glove goes way behind the back causing shoulder strain
- yanking the glove into the armpit causing them to open up to early
- glove flops to the side and causes release point to be off

Lack of glove control results in fielding problems:
- no glove protection from a line drive
- glove is out of position for fielding ground balls
- pitcher is off balance, falling way off the mound, with their back to the hitter

Midshipman 2nd Class Tom Van Dam throws a pitch during the U.S. Naval Academy season home opener game against University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). Note the glove position. photo credit

How to maintain glove control:
- "block the glove" by keeping the glove out in front of the body
- watch slow motion videos of pro pitchers for examples
- practice blocking the front side in front of a mirror

Pedro Martinez controlling the glove side.

Advantages of controlling the glove side:
- blocking the front side leads to a consistent release point
- serves as a timing mechanism
- creates leverage for a stronger throw
- glove protection from line drives
- reduce arm and shoulder strain
- better fielding position with the glove out in front
- better balance when throwing
- easier to locate pitches
- throw more strikes

Note the glove position of Greg Maddux

Greg Maddux controls the glove side on release

Blocking vs "Pulling the Glove to the Chest" (video clip)
Demonstrates the benefits of "blocking the front side" as used by pro pitchers. Quarterbacks, tennis players and other athletes use blocking the front side to improve technique.


Suggested Reading

The Importance of Good Glove-Arm Action by Phil Rosengren

Stabilizing the glove arm - with examples of pro pitchers

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