Today, we room going to emphasis on the communication side of to teach mechanics. More specifically, we’re going to look in ~ why us don’t agree with how most coaches believe in to teach mechanics and explaining just how we teach them.

You are watching: Entirely focusing on body mechanics and movements

We don’t think the traditional type of teaching mechanics is an effective method of implementing change.

We view the usage of ours constraint drills and PlyoCare balls together teachers that mechanics which fundamentally readjust how we connect with and cue our athletes.

Where current Coaching principles Go Wrong

Most of today’s baseball coaches are a mix of two different coaching styles: experiential and technique coaching.

(These interpretations come native the book, Dynamics of skill Acquisition: A constraints Led Approach.)

Experiential coaches space the big number that coaches the were previous players at college, minor, or significant leagues. It’s no mystery that plenty of baseball players invest their play careers to better prepare for a task as a baseball coach.

Method coaching breaks down the “correct” an approach by piecing together certain movements in a mechanical fashion. It should be listed that every coaches use this model, even if it is they have actually played baseball or not. Essentially, coaches play baseball in the past and teaching is mostly focused on breaking under pitching mechanics right into “good” and “bad” buckets. What they see as “good” or “bad” mechanics were additionally often teach to them.

There isn’t anything wrong v this in and of itself, the trouble we watch is at any time mechanical transforms are attempted, lock are almost entirely do by verbal cueing.

The large reason why we don’t choose this format of coaching is since cues space not nearly enough to change a movement by themselves.

There is tiny evidence to imply that having a coach tell a player that should readjust a activity pattern is efficient in one of two people immediately changing the activity or creating a lasting change.

After a couple of years the playing, it’s clear everyone is recycling the same cues. Possibly each coach uses the exact same cues, but have lock all had the same meaning of the cue? exactly how is it feasible to know? It’s vital question.

Below room some frequently recycled cues.

“Use your legs more.” Produce more force? Or relocate faster?

“Don’t paris open” Upper fifty percent or reduced half?

“Stay back.” For exactly how long?

This is whereby we see points go wrong; cues are often the just attempt to readjust mechanics and they space poorly defined.

Because nearly all coaching is linguistic cues, we don’t take the moment to research their effectiveness and also what we are actually questioning our athletes to do.

What We room Asking of ours Athletes

While soaking up any linguistic cue the body has to

Define it. (What walk driving an ext off my foot mean? What does gaining ‘on top’ mean?)Distinguish how that is different than what the human body is currently doing. (How carry out I understand when I’ve do the change?)Bridge the void from its present movement frequently without any internal ability to distinguish what the athlete is right now doing indigenous what the body wants to do. (Is what ns feel in reality the difference that the coach wanted me to make?)

Not only do we ask athletes to make these adjustments, however the cues provided in baseball are frequently what we think about internal cues. This means that coaches space cueing athletes to have actually an internal focus on specific body parts and also where they should be.

So because that cues with an internal emphasis athletes need to

Figure out how the activity of a part of their body is wrong.Guess just how the new movement is intend to feel.Bridge that gap, often depending on video or instructor feedback top top whether improvement is in reality occurring.

Telling a player he needs his arm higher, back more, or that he requirements to load more in his lower fifty percent is asking more than we think since these cues are identified differently between each coach and player.

Broad cues paired with assorted levels of spatial awareness aren’t ideal combinations for motor learning.

Telling her player the they should load much more into their ago leg is most most likely to result in different movements from various players.

Not to point out many feeling or inner based cues are concentrated on slowing down a motion that not only has a high level of coordination difficulty but also happens incredibly quickly.

Less have the right to Be More

We all understand that there often isn’t just one point that a coach is telling a player to occupational on. It end up being little adjustments every few pitches.

Introducing an ext cues pipeline an athlete trying to define and distinguish multiple body motions in a short duration of time, every while relocating at any type of incredibly quick speed.

Below is a great example, from an unnamed optimal MLB prospect, on exactly how introducing one fix can very quickly and also easily multiply right into many:

“My key thing is simply using mine legs far better when i’m pitching, be able to drive off the mound and also kind of journey the ball residence as protest to flying open up which is what i’m doing a lot. I’m doing a most towel drills come make certain that I’m using my foot to drive forward and also then continue to be on heat to throw downhill with great plane. Yes sir a lot of work to be done, definitely.”

Drill selection aside, if review closely, we have the right to see the “main thing” is making use of his foot better, and also if we connect the dots (as originally mentioned by Casey Weathers), he is actually working on:

Using legs betterDriving off the mound betterDriving the ball to homeNot paris openDriving forwardStaying ~ above lineThrowing downhill through plane

It is asking a lot come tell athletes come hit seven various benchmarks of where their body should be when moving different body components in all three planes the motion.

It’s incredibly easy come overload an athlete through cues, particularly when they are being used in a reactionary measure. This means that ~ a pitching is thrown, a cue that advice is introduced to shot and adjust the movement—which, choose we experienced above, can multiply really quickly.

Let’s compare having a goal and focusing top top one cue:


With concentrating on lot of cues:


This additionally can develop an atmosphere where every little thing needs to it is in perfect once nothing about pitching ever before will be. A great pitch can be thrown, yet a pitcher deserve to still think he’s “flown open” or “didn’t usage his foot enough,” which deserve to turn every pitch into a an unfavorable experience.

We don’t think plenty of realize how transforming pitching right into a near-constant an unfavorable experience can influence someone’s development.

Lastly, introducing a significant number of cues is one easy method to coach one athlete out of everything his herbal pitching mechanics might be. At this point, many coaches teach mechanics come what “looks good,” not necessarily what may be the many efficient.

The “perfect” or “safest” mechanics have actually not however been defined, but we frequently cue football player to endlessly search for castle without allowing them any capability to view what activities feel best.

For as lot as we desire to have actually one safe and also effective pitching motion, since of differences in body types and body lengths, there is a much greater chance that there being a variety of “safe” and also effective pitching mechanics. What that selection is, us don’t know.

To simplify, we don’t like coaching just through linguistic cues because

Cues are regularly the only attempt to change a movement.What a cue actually way is poorly definedCues are frequently used in high volume, i beg your pardon can easily overload one athleteIntention & Movement

We mentioned previously just how cues are also used in a reactionary manner. A pitch the doesn’t fight its wanted location is generally the culprit, and a cue is presented to deal with it. This often method that if a pitcher is trying to hit the same spot because that ten pitches, that may have actually received 4 or five different cues on exactly how to “fix” his mechanics. Also though his intention during those ten pitches, come hit the exact same spot the the target, has actually remained the same.

This is often a forgotten item of the coaching puzzle. Pitchers and coaches room on the very same side through the very same goals. As soon as a pitcher misses a point out he wanted to throw to, the likelihood the the the purposefully adjusted his mechanics to no hit that spot is zero. As we have displayed before, being turn off by simply one level can adjust the final location of a key by a foot!

If you tell a pitcher come throw five fastballs top top the external corner and none that them do it there, we require to know that the pitcher is do the efforts to figure out the best movement sample to achieve that task during those 5 pitches.

This works together with the over-cueing that we talked around earlier. If coaches room coaching an intention (such as hitting a spot), then the athlete demands some room and time to work on accomplishing that task.

We continuously underestimate the complexity of the pitching motion and also oversimplify it with broad, undefined cues.

A look at just the stride component of the pitching motion demonstrates the numerous moving parts in all 3 planes of motion.


Pitching is an extremely difficult. At some time we simply need coaches and athletes ~ above the same page regarding what the goal for the work is and also then let the pitchers explore the level of flexibility they have easily accessible in accomplishing that task.

As we’ve mentioned previously, the ideal “command” regime for youth athletes is providing them a target, letting them throw, and also not speak anything. This goes for basic movement training as well.

We conveniently forget the story of the athletes that learned come throw merely by picking a target, a tire swing or a mark on a wall, and repeatedly throwing at it. Probably there is something come that.

How Driveline thinks of Cueing Athletes

At Driveline, we strive to produce independent, self-sufficient athletes by minimizing cues, coaching intention, and also letting athletes explore movement.

In comparison to the common coaching layout we have actually talked about throughout, our model deserve to be thought about a an ext “hands-off” approach. Through our meaning that means

Speak less and be more focusedLet one athlete discover the movement

This format of verbal interaction is combine with changing an athlete’s setting by using our plyo balls and constraint drills.

This way we don’t have to coach arm path as lot as other coaches because the plyo balls space going to do that on their own. Our constraint drills currently narrow under the focus of the movement since of the positions we teach, which enables us to be an ext selective and also focused during verbal feedback with our athletes.

We have the right to think that coaching athletes in our drills as teaching lock what we see as basic good-movement ethics that pitchers must have. How precisely each pitcher will execute those in your pitching mechanics, ~ above the mound, is walking to differ from athlete to athlete.

This is fundamentally different than exactly how most coaches teach, and also it regularly requires an adjustment duration when athletes are brand-new to it. Athletes are so use to a top-down, consistent verbal-cue coaching layout that being told they require to check out their own activity is a shock.

What this often tends to typical is mechanical questions are athlete, fairly than coach, driven. One athlete is make the efforts to number out an efficient method to throw, which leader him to lean on a coach together a check-in and video for feedback.

We don’t desire to cue athletes right into body positions us think are appropriate for them; we desire them to figure out what works ideal for them and that method allowing them the flexibility to explore their movement.

Changing feedback from constantly coach-driven to mainly athlete-driven and adding in the usage of video are huge parts of help an athlete make continual mechanical changes.

This proceeds when athletes pitch turn off the mound; we rarely make adjustments on the mound itself. We may comment on something us see, but making mediate is because that our PlyoCare drills and also usually introducing more mound work. 

This likewise draws a line between competing and training. If you just make mechanical alters on a mound, then exactly how is an athlete suppose to leave all the accuse behind throughout a game? when an athlete is pitching in a game, it’s time to compete, no worry around mechanical cues.

Mound occupational is vain practice, whether mound velo or bullpen. The plyo wall is for movement and mechanical work, since it the end the environments and the objectives of each.

Examples the Cues

When trying to come up through cues because that athletes, it’s precious the initiative to use external-focused cues over internal-focused cues. Over there is plenty of research arguing that an external focus have the right to produce more efficient movement. External-focus cues also give one athlete an ext freedom to check out the movement.

We’ve spanned this subject on our research study page, and the gentlemen in ~ Strength and Conditioning Research also have a good summary on external cues that finished through this tidbit.

“Large, powerful, full-body activities such together plyometrics and also probably also resistance exercises can be significantly intensified by appropriate, externally-directed cues.”

If girlfriend can’t come up through an outside cue, climate revert to ascendancy number one: speak less and also be an ext focused. Only give your athletes one cue to focus on at a time.

Below are some examples of some cues we’ve used:

“Spread the floor”

“Drive v the ground.”

Some velocity-focused cues include “throw through the catcher’s glove” or “throw it with the wall.”

Athletes additionally tend come respond differently when called to try throwing harder, quicker, or faster. Due to the fact that all athletes have their own definition, adjusting the intention and also using simply those 3 words have the right to results in higher velocities and better movement.

Refocusing the intentionally to target at eye level can also clean up some mechanical worries when functioning on the plyo wall.

We can also slightly adjust the setting by having actually an athlete host a green ball in his gloves hand, to work on hopeful disconnection.

Not every cue is walking to work the exact same for each athlete. We’ve viewed this in pitch architecture work as well as mechanical work. For this reason it’s crucial to come up through a selection of cues and additionally communicate v the athletes top top what they room thinking and feeling come come up through the ideal fit.

Give castle one cue to work on something and also let them explore the movement.

Bringing It every Together

To plunder up, we don’t agree v the means verbal cues are used in instruction due to the fact that they are often the only type of feedback supplied to shot and change mechanics. There are often bad or no definitions behind the cues that are used, and different athletes deserve to take the very same cue and give it various meanings.

Because cues space the dominant type of instruction, castle are provided in high volume. This provides it really easy to overload athletes through too lot information. It deserve to take away from one athlete discovering what activities work ideal for him and instead lock him into movements that may not be ideal for him.

Pitching isn’t easy and neither is coaching it. If we want to produce self-sustaining, effective athletes, we must take a action back, be an ext focused on just how we connect with them, and also give the room to watch what activities work best.

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This post was written by associate Researcher Michael O’Connell

Want to learn more about what us know about gaining fastball velocity? inspect out the large array the blog posts we have relating come velocity structure here.