WHAT DO YOU WANT YOUR DELIVERY TO BE?
I’m talking about figuring out for yourself what makes you happy. You have to think outside the box. -Arnold
I hope you enjoyed the video above because Arnold touches on a few, absolute principles that deal directly with an individual’s ability to succeed. Not to succeed in the minds of others, but to succeed in the mind of the individual. If you want to be successful in life, success has to be created from within the mind and body of the individual. Whatever you choose to become, strive, or work towards in life, you have to be willing to make sacrifices and go against the grain of the norm. Carve your own path. Prove to yourself, your family, and critics that you can do whatever it is you choose to do. I often relate this message to many of my students about their own individual delivery.
Far too often, I encounter many students who have no concept of what their pitching delivery could ultimately become. As kids, we all grew up aspiring to be something great, and we tend to look up to the dominant figures in the industry at that specific time period. I will admit as I ventured through high school I wanted to be like Kerry Wood and Pedro Martinez. They were very successful at the time, and I wanted to mold my own individual delivery based on what I witnessed each week on ESPN. I wish I would have incorporated more of a Traditional Pattern (which I will talk about in a bit) now, but I had a goal and I can honestly say, I achieved the goal of mimicking my mechanical pattern to what I saw on TV.
After being drafted in the First Round and playing for Team USA, I believed my mimicking had paid off. I was given a million dollars, and I was well on my way to continue climbing the ladder of success. But at 23, I hit a harsh reality. My delivery actually was problematic to the long term health of my throwing shoulder. I had surgery, rehabbed, continued to pitch, but I was never the same pitcher. So, when I reflect back on what I truly wanted to be, I never knew I had the choice that I could look or pitch like someone like Bob Feller or Sandy Koufax. Their delivery was NEVER present in my own individual development and I was never introduced to the style of their era.
YES, I’m an advocate of the Old School ERA. The time period where there was actually NO instruction, and many pitchers moved into their delivery because it was natural for their bodies. They became pitchers, not an individual obsessed with lighting up the radar gun and who has no concept of how to actually pitch. The pitching delivery has to be a natural synchronization of moving parts, a cadence that allows the body to work together into the final release of the pitch. This delivery has to be repeated in the same manner, OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN. The best in the business have the ability to repeat their mechanical pattern throughout their career. The best judge of this process is YOU.
That’s why, as a TEACHER, I educate all of my students on the entire realm of opportunities that exist within various pitching styles. I let them ultimately choose the path they want to follow. My job is to instill the foundation of healthy movements into the pattern, and let them choose the stylistic motives of how they want to be represented. Below I will outline 3 patterns that I find most prevalent of all pitchers throughout the game of baseball.
Students used in comparisons below are all BR students.
TRADITIONAL (OLD SCHOOL)
Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Jim Palmer, Bob Feller, Warren Spahn
Greg Maddux, Nolan Ryan, Curt Schilling, Roger Clemens
Hiroki Kuroda, Mariano Rivera, David Price, Aroldis Chapman
Once I develop the core movement patterns of throwing a baseball, I allow my students the opportunity to ultimately choose the style they want to work towards. Most of my students resemble a traditional pattern, but they are free to choose. As they become more versed in my teaching, they naturally begin to gravitate toward more of a traditional pattern. But, this natural gravitation can present problems. Many students who choose to incorporate the traditional pattern, will face harsh criticism along the way from middle school, high school, or college coaches simply because it looks different. The student begins to feel discouraged but the coach NEVER explains why he shouldn’t do this other than “it’s too much movement, you won’t be able to throw strikes”. In reality, you have to be willing to challenge the status quo if you want to be different. But being different and finding your own unique style will lead you to finding success as a pitcher. Whatever style you choose, own it. Be unique, be different, and HAVE FUN. Don’t be a robot and allow yourself to conform to a standard of uniformity that you don’t feel comfortable with.
If you find yourself trying to please a multitude of different people, and never train outside of your comfort zone, you will never reach your true potential.
- Justin Orenduff, Leader of the Pitching Rebellion