By Dan Gazaway
When you are out working on pitching mechanics this off season, take some time and work on your torque. It’s the key to throwing deep into games as well as improved velocity.
This past week I was out at a local baseball training facility working with a bunch of youth pitchers on pitching mechanics. We were focusing on the lower half of the body (waist down pitching mechanics) and looking at some video clips of Big League pitchers. The purpose was to crack the code so to speak and figure out how these guys created so much velocity and torque that allowed them to whip the ball towards home plate.
After the 30 minutes of watching these video clips and explaining, all of the pitchers, ages 10-18 were seeing the secret all Major League Pitchers understand. It’s the technique of creating torque. There are two points that need to be accomplished while working on pitching mechanics in order to increase torque and pitching velocity.
1. The Leg Lift: Most all youth pitchers I’ve instructed on pitching mechanics understand that lifting your leg into the balance position is an important step. We modified the process slightly. Instead of bringing the front leg up into a balanced position with the knee pointing in the same direction as the chest, we turned in the leg some to close the lower-half of the body off even more. This slight twisting motion, or coiling, prepares the body for the second and most valuable torque- creating technique. Take a look at the picture of Harden (above left) for a visual of this step.
2. Delayed Shoulder Rotation: The second part of the torque process will take some more time to work on during your pitching mechanics training. However, once our pitchers worked through the mechanics, they immediately felt less tension on their throwing arm as their body acted like a giant sling shot.
Upon landing with the front foot, the front foot and front knee should be turned towards home plate. The hips will be slightly open, and the chest and front shoulder should remain closed off and not open at all towards the catcher. The longer my guys were able to keep the upper body from rotating, the more whip action they were able to create.