The two primary components of baseball are pitching and hitting. While they are opposite each other in terms of competition, the mechanics of accomplishing each action are actually quite similar. Throwing faster and swinging harder are the most common goals of pitchers and hitters, and are achieved through similar motions. Let’s break down the similarities between both the upper and lower body mechanics of pitchers throwing and hitters swinging.
Staying linear is key to both pitching and hitting mechanics
Separating the upper and lower-body mechanics of a pitch and a swing is actually a bit complex for one key reason: they work together in motion. One of the most pertinent elements of mechanics on a baseball field is being linear. Whether you are fielding a grounder, throwing a fastball, or taking a swing, propelling your energy forward in a linear pattern is the most efficient way to do the job. The force from your legs needs to move through your hips and towards your target, while that of your torso needs to torque through your shoulders while your chest and chin lead you in the right direction. The only simple reality about baseball mechanics is that each element of the game—pitching, hitting, and defense—replicates the others in motion.
Using separation in both hitting and pitching
Separation in baseball is the act of creating potential energy by torquing the upper body against the lower body. In a batter’s load, the hands and hips move backwards at the same time, but when the hips fire forward, the hands stay back to create torque. Tension in the upper back, or scapulas, at the peak of this separation is what creates kinetic energy in the upper body, allowing strength to guide linear mechanics with the bat through the baseball. The same description of separation is applied to pitchers on the mound. While the initial load in a delivery brings both the upper and lower body back like a compressed spring, the first part of the body to uncoil towards the plate is the hips. By forcing the back hip to push the front hip—and butt cheek, more specifically—towards the plate, the lower body starts the linear motion to the target. Keeping the arm back, similar to the hands in the batter’s swing, creates potential energy and allows for maximum effort in the pitch.
The technical reality of linear motion and separation in both a baseball swing and pitch may seem highly detailed, but they can be simplified. Feel out the most efficient movements you can make towards your target, and then try to focus your strength in torquing the upper body against the lower. By making efficient, linear motions all over the baseball field you will find it easier to increase things like velocity off the mound, and swing speed at the plate.
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