Since the beginning of organized baseball there have been many books and articles written on the extremely difficult skill of pitching. Hall of Fame players and former Major League pitching coaches have produced much of this literature, sharing decades of experience from the baseball “trenches” with those who aspire to follow in their profession. In recent years a more analytic approach has been taking place in private labs and many MLB teams are heading in that direction as well. However, despite the thousands of publications written over the last century, little research-based information is available relating to the actual performance of elite Major League pitchers during live competition. Only by a study of those “most skilled in the art” can we hope to gain a correct and accurate understanding of the essential body mechanics required to achieve success at the highest levels of baseball. Biomechanics is the science of measuring and describing human body movement. The purpose of this book is to define the “art” of pitching a baseball using knowledge gained from the science of biomechanical analysis.
In early 1985, Bio Kinetics Research & Development began conducting biomechanical research to better understand the body mechanics of the best pitchers in the game of baseball using data captured by multiple high-speed, calibrated and synchronized video streams (cameras) during live Major League competition. This book addresses the results of those three-dimensional analyses that we performed on hundreds of Major League pitchers over the course of three and a half decades. It is important to note that the information presented is NOT based on any past or present pitching theories or on simple two-dimensional observation (such as with single video or still images), as is the case with almost all prior publications. To the best of our knowledge, the scope and depth of this work is unique, and no other organization currently has both the process and the expertise employed by Bio Kinetics Research & Development.
In addition to our 35 years of historical data captured during live Major League competition, some of the most helpful information has been derived from our developmental research. For many years Bio Kinetics has used this same technology to perform three-dimensional motion analyses on dozens of the more popular pitching drills to better determine just how helpful or detrimental a specific drill actually is to the health of the throwing arm, the efficiency of the pitching delivery and in the development of specific pitch types.
It is the science of biomechanics, not simple observation, that provides the irrefutable data presented in this book. However, this book is not a research publication, but rather the author’s common-sense view of the information collected over the last 35 years, in addition to his own personal experiences working with professional and amateur pitchers during this same time period. Under the title of “Pitch Out,” that will appear frequently in the chapters of this book, the author shares many of the experiences of this 35-year venture.
While the focus of this book relates to the specific and essential body mechanics required to pitch a baseball safely and successfully, it is important to point out that pitching is more than simply a mechanical skill. Although often affected by mechanics, the mental, developmental and training components of this skill are discussed as well.