Baseball Rebellion Position Player Case Study: Jacob W. 76 to 91mph

Written By: Dave Shinskie

For my first case study since I have been at Baseball Rebellion I’m going to look at 17-year-old high school junior Jacob W.. Jacob and his parents make the two hour and fifteen minute trip once a week from Lynchburg, Virginia to Baseball Rebellion HQ in Durham, NC for hitting and throwing instruction. The long weekday trips have paid off for Jacob. Beside his dramatic improvements at the plate, he has gone from 76mph in his first initial evaluation to 91mph in his most resent visit. I first met Jacob and his parents in late November of 2017 where I saw him throw for the first time. It is now February 13th, 2018 and I have worked with him for a total of 7 lessons.

At 6’1″ 225lbs, Jacob definitely passes the eye. After watching him in the hitting cage, Jacob seemed to be very explosive with exit velocities over 100mph and home runs over 400 feet. After hitting with Chas for a few months, he asked me to do a throwing evaluation.  I was surprised, despite his stature and ability to hit the ball a mile, he was not able to generate as much velocity on his throws. The following video is his initial evaluation with me.

Jacob W: Initial Evaluation Video 76mph

When looking at Jacobs throws across the diamond, I first saw that he was very tight through his arm swing. He didn’t allow his arm to get relaxed, which made his arm get very far outside of his body during the throw. So we started with the upper body movements and I showed him a variety of arm swing drills which we had him do every day. The arm swing drills allowed Jacob to feel his arm and trunk working together, which promotes healthier and more efficient positions through the throw. At times, we incorporate a slightly heavier ball, like a 10oz plyoball or a football, to start our throwing sessions to augment with the feeling of the arm swing. We also focused on a better deceleration process with a lower and more relaxed finish through the throw. This process is important when trying to accelerate the arm faster. Instantly stopping the arm in deceleration, if not fixed, can lead to loss of velocity and accuracy, and more importantly, arm injury issues down the road.  Basically, these drills helped Jacob relax his body throughout his throwing motion, which is tough sometimes with his body-type.

Jacob also had to work on his hip mobility and speed through his lower half. The lower body is so important when trying to create more intent through a throw. We started Jacob with simple drills, like the Shoulder Separation Drill, to enhance the patterns needed to constantly get the hips and shoulders separated with more speed. The purpose of the separation with speed is to allow the hips to lead the thrower into the throw while keeping their head and chest behind their back hip when the front foot hits. When doing this, the thrower can let their shoulders and trunk rotate forward through the throw. That is is when we saw the drastic change in ball flight and velocity in Jacobs throws after working these upper and lower body drills.

Below is another one of the drill I did with Jacob during is training. It is called the Rock Drill with Transfer.  This drill helps the thrower feel the proper arm swing while learning to transfer his body through the throw. Notice how Jacob uses the motion of a circle to allow his arms to relax and properly rotate through the acceleration phase.

Rock Drill with Transfer

 

Jacob has been dedicated to my program and has been working hard the past few weeks for the following change to occur. I really had no idea that the improvements the Jacob has made were even possible in such a short period of time. It has got to the point where I told him and his father, “I’m really excited to see what he can get!”. Literally every week he comes in with a number goal for that day and he passes it. The past two times he has hit 88mph and most recently an unbelievable jump to 91mph.

Jacob hit 88mph

Jacob was so excited after hitting 88mph but just fell short of the magic number 90. I told him to trust the process and movements because we know they obviously are working for him. Even though it was hard to think that he can make that big of a jump in such short of time. We still wanted to see that 90+ number. He showed up this week and accomplished something incredible:

Jacob hit 91mph!

I am so happy for Jacob and his family and the accomplishments that he has already had Baseball Rebellion. I have enjoyed working with him and getting to know his caring family. I get excited every time Jacob is on the schedule and I promise to keep delivering the information he needs to reach his fullest potential.  Jacob, if you are reading this, I am excited to see you in the facility soon and keep working hard…you deserve all the success you are achieving! Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed!

 

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