Why Does that Slow Guy Who Can't Jump Throw 90 MPH Off the Mound?
August 21, 2014
Baseball is a sport of lateral and rotational motions.
Think about it.
Pushing off a mound laterally and rotating in throwing
The lateral stride and rotation of hitting
A basestealing start
The way the body turns laterally in a crow-hop from the outfield.
How do we most commonly train for baseball? In a linear (or straight line) fashion.
Benching, squatting, cleans, pull ups, forward lunges, straight-line sprints/foul poles etc. While one would use all of these in some fashion of a balanced program, these movements are all missing a lateral and rotational component.
Often underutilized in a baseball strength and conditioning program are things like lateral lunges, rotational medball drills, and lateral speed/jumping drills, like skater jumps, for example.
Here's an interesting blog post that talks about a fascinating study on college baseball players. The researchers found that throwing velocity in baseball players only correlated with a lateral jump, and not with a linear jump or sprint. Eric Cressey, the author, founded Cressey Sports Performance, where they train around 100 professional baseball players each offseason.
Lesson: power is plane-specific. In other words, just because you're strong in one plane doesn't mean you're strong in another. This is how a pitcher can throw 90+ MPH even if he has a poor vertical jump and runs with a piano tied to his back.
It's also why Olympic lifting like cleans (linear) often leads to increases in vertical jumping (linear) but rarely in throwing velocity (lateral and rotational).
Step-behind Medball Shotput (lateral and rotational power)
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