How can a diamond athlete safely generate more power and speed without over-working the arm or shoulder? Simple, improve Ground Force Production and incorporate more functional core and leg exercises into their workout plan. An extraordinary amount of power can and should be generated through the use of the lower half.
Hitting and pitching have many similar qualities when it comes to lower body mechanical sequencing. It all boils down to Ground Force Production. This is the body’s ability to use the lower half. The goal is to tap into the body’s maximum capacity, which is accomplished through maximum efficiency.
Increasing strength, stability, mobility and flexibility increases the body’s maximum capacity. While optimal sequencing, quality mechanics and training that is functional, aid in producing maximum efficiency.
Ground Force Production in PITCHING
When analyzing Ground Force Production in pitching. A PITCHER using the lower half efficiently will allow for maximum capable velocity.
Once the non-dominant foot comes off the ground, the kinetic chain of a pitch begins. The front hip then leads, allowing drive from the legs to create momentum to the plate. As the lead foot comes in contact with the ground, the hips begin to turn and separate from the shoulders. This is know as creating “torque” from the body’s core. Once all of this has occurred the upper body is free to rotate and deliver the pitch.
Depending on the efficiency of the players mechanical sequencing, coupled with the fast twitch and power generated to the plate, inevitable determines the velocity the ball travels. That being said, having a strong, balanced lower half will take stress off of the arm and shoulder.
It’s no secret that baseball players, especially pitchers, throw a LOT throughout the course of a baseball season. So, doesn’t it make sense to do everything possible to take stress off the arm and shoulder.
Ground Force Production in HITTING
As a HITTER, using the lower half efficiently will allow for maximum total body power. Once the front foot touches the ground on the “stride,” the legs start the kinetic chain of a swing. Then the back foot and hips turn. Allowing the hips to separate from the shoulders, creating “torque” from the core. Now, the upper body can do its part and rotate to the ball. This is all done in the blink of an eye.
Very similar to pitching. Depending on the efficiency of the players mechanical sequencing, coupled with the fast twitch and power generated to the ball, inevitable determines the power produced at contact.
Think of the body as a catapult, with the legs as the “foundation” that support EVERYTHING. The core is the “torsion bundle” that allows the athlete to generate “torque.” Lastly the human arm is of course the “arm” that slings the projectile (baseball).
In that same sense, a catapult built with weak materials can’t expect the “arm” to produce significant propulsion or withstand extended use. The “foundation” (legs) and “torsion bundle” (core) are just as important as the “arm”. When all three aspects are strong, balanced, and coupled with proper mechanical sequencing, health and sustainable maximum capable velocity are the by-product.
So next time you’re training, consider whether your workout is incorporating enough functional leg and core work.
Also, as we discussed in a recent blog post, make sure the work you’re doing is not compromising or neglecting your “joint integrity”.