Importance of Resetting or Rebalancing the Pitcher

As a student of pitching who tries to help those who still have the dream and as an Athletic Trainer who treats overhead athletes, one of the most common issues I see with pitchers is significant loss of mobility. The areas of mobility loss I see the most involve the throwing shoulder’s ability to internally rotate (follow through) and the plant leg hip to internally rotate (trunk finish over front knee).

We know from numerous research studies that pitchers lose mobility from pitch one to their last pitch during a practice or a game. This is a natural occurrence. The issue becomes when the pitcher doesn’t purposefully restore / reset / rebalance that mobility. Tightness from a mid week bullpen sets in and is then added to the tightness from the weekend game which is then added to the second game of the weekend which is then added… See where I am going with this?

What does this look like? How does a pitcher know if he is losing mobility?

A couple of simple tests I use to help pitchers (parents and coaches also) see their motion loss include:

  • After having pitcher lay on his belly with his knees bent and the bottom of his feet pointed towards the sky, I will then gently rotate his hips by separating his ankles away from each other. If the plant leg hip doesn’t rotate as much as the opposite hip, I then know there is a loss of hip internal rotation.
  • For shoulder tightness I will simply have the pitcher place his throwing arm behind his back as far as he can. If he has a “hitch” getting his arm behind and up his back and / or his shoulder blade tilts forward (bottom of the shoulder blade sticks out), I then know that the back of his shoulder is tight.

One of two reasons usually brings the pitcher to see me…

  1. The pitcher (or parent) begins to notice that he begins losing control of his pitches. Upon questioning the pitcher (and parent) it is further revealed that the pitcher is missing high and in the later innings.
  2. The pitcher begins having front, top, and / or side of the throwing shoulder pain during the transition from the cock phase into the acceleration phase or back of the throwing shoulder pain during the follow through phase.

Break the cycle by purposefully restoring / resetting / rebalancing your hip and shoulder mobility.

Wishing you health and success,