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  • Chris - scap loading

    Chris, rumor has it, that locally, some of the students of teachers who teach scap loading as part of a basic pitching mechanics are breaking down physically. I understand that the pitching arm shoulder becomes sore and tendenitis sets in. This one instructor in particular has his students pinch their shoulder blades while flapping both arms as part of the warm up routine. I was wondering if you had heard about similar occurences. By the way, IMO, most pitchers load their scaps to some degree just as part of their normal throwing motion...I'm talking here about teachers who emphasize that loading as a basic part of their mechanics. jima

  • #2
    when I first started the scap load/backward chaining drills (including lift and pinch after Nyman) which I added to forward chaining (following Hodge BIOMECHANICBASEBALL), well more than 5 years ago, I initially had several kids pull the rhomboid, but they all got through it fine and once you know to look for this, you can have them back off when they feel this pinching muscle fatiguing.

    VERY little shoulder trouble, which I attribute to Hodge's understanding of how to teach mechanics that minimize shoulder and elbow stress.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by jima View Post
      Chris, rumor has it, that locally, some of the students of teachers who teach scap loading as part of a basic pitching mechanics are breaking down physically. I understand that the pitching arm shoulder becomes sore and tendenitis sets in. This one instructor in particular has his students pinch their shoulder blades while flapping both arms as part of the warm up routine. I was wondering if you had heard about similar occurences. By the way, IMO, most pitchers load their scaps to some degree just as part of their normal throwing motion...I'm talking here about teachers who emphasize that loading as a basic part of their mechanics. jima
      I recently wrote a piece discussing...

      - Scapular Loading

      Basically, I think it does happen, but I think there is a safe way, and a dangerous way, to do it. Greg Maddux, Nolan Ryan, and Randy Johnson are a few of the guys who IMO do it the safe way with the PAS elbow behind but below the level of the shoulders.







      Mark Prior and Anthony Reyes are examples of guys who IMO do it the dangerous way with the PAS elbow above and behind the level of the shoulders.





      In terms of what's going on with the guys you are talking about, it could be that they are being taught to do it the unsafe way. That means the "M" or "Inverted W" with the elbows both above and behind the shoulders.

      I also question whether this really needs to be taught and actively worked on. I think it may happen naturally. IOW, it's more the EFFECT of velocity than the CAUSE.

      Also, the problem could be that by actively trying to scap load, they are interfering with the normal function of the Scapula and causing problems that way.

      It seems that both Will Carroll and Dick Mills seem to have bought this argument, and are disavowing the Inverted W.
      Obsessed with Pitching Mechanics.

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      • #4
        Also, the problem could be that by actively trying to scap load, they are interfering with the normal function of the Scapula and causing problems that way.

        Would this create the same problems in hitting?
        "Tip it and rip it" - In Memory of Dmac
        "Hit the inside seam" - In Memory of Swingbuster

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        • #5
          Wow, Prior and Reyes have almost identical mechanics. That bodes ill for Reyes.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Postblank View Post
            Wow, Prior and Reyes have almost identical mechanics. That bodes ill for Reyes.
            Tell me about it.

            I think his problems are already starting to manifest themselves in his control problems.

            As I feared back in March and April, this does not promise to be a good year for the Cardinals.
            Obsessed with Pitching Mechanics.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Stealth View Post
              Would this create the same problems in hitting?
              I think it can.

              I know that it can create problems in throwing. By actively trying to flick the wrist through the release point, you can tense up the wrist and end up with less velocity rather than more.
              Obsessed with Pitching Mechanics.

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              • #8
                Just what's a benefit of scap loading? Velocity?
                What Igawa does for fun:

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7KzVSA7eBY

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by AcidLake View Post
                  Just what's a benefit of scap loading? Velocity?
                  Supposedly.

                  I'm skeptical, but I do see something like it in photos of Ryan, Maddux, Johnson, etc that indicate that there may be something to the idea.

                  It may be that Scapular Loading makes an indirect contribution to velocity by helping to enhance hip/shoulder separation (which I could buy) rather than by a more direct contribution to velocity.
                  Obsessed with Pitching Mechanics.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by AcidLake View Post
                    Just what's a benefit of scap loading? Velocity?
                    Mostly. AND, if you do it RIGHT, your shoulder will never give you problems.

                    There seems to be a trend in the last few years of people focusing on this. It's just a natural move that good, hard throwing pitchers have. I think too much emphasis is being put on it.

                    Just as with the swing. The scap reacts to where and how you move your elbow. The focus should be on the arm's path and elbow movement, not the scapula.

                    When you move your elbow behind your back, the scapula pinches. It shouldn't be a thought process of "pinch my scap to get my elbow where it should be." The thought process should be, "get my elbow back (but in a comfortable position), and the scap will pinch."

                    The purpose of getting the elbow back, or pinching the scap, is to stretch the front side of the deltoid, and the pectoralis major. By doing this and keeping them stretched during the first part of shoulder rotation, the upper arm bone is whipped around by the shoulders. Then the deltoid, pec, and other muscles contract, and accelerate the upper arm bone.

                    If you don't get your elbow back and stretch those muscles, you get slop during rotation, which cuts down acceleration, and stresses those muscles as they try to do the work to move the arm, rather than the arm being moved from the core rotation.

                    If you JUST load the scap, it can put your arm through a path that isn't right, and stresses the muscles that move the arm, because they are pulling at a bad angle. The scap is a bone that acts as a moveable foundation for muscles that connect from it, to the arm. It shouldn't be a focal point. It is just the base for the muscles to pull on, to move the arm.
                    Last edited by jbooth; 05-25-2007, 12:55 PM.

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                    • #11
                      I guess a lot of velocity pitchers in the past (Koufax, Feller) could have done good amount of velocity without using their arm like that. I see some pictures make show pitchers 'doing scapula loading', but I think it can depend on camera angle. I don't do scapular loading, but I took some look at my picture of pitching on certain camera view and it looked like I was doing scap loading, but I wasn't
                      What Igawa does for fun:

                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7KzVSA7eBY

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Mike Robertson has some very innovative exercises that focus on scapular muscles used primarily in posture. They have really helped with my shoulder and posture problems. 2 of my favorites are the overhead shrugs and face pulls. Our softball players do face pulls at least once a week. This first article offers an interesting perspective on rotator cuff training.....

                        http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1426252

                        http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=459379

                        http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=459206

                        http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=462481

                        http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=472224

                        http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=535872

                        http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=459846
                        MAXX Training - the latest on sports training & athletic performance! www.maxxtraining.com

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Chris O'Leary View Post
                          Supposedly.

                          It may be that Scapular Loading makes an indirect contribution to velocity by helping to enhance hip/shoulder separation (which I could buy) rather than by a more direct contribution to velocity.
                          I buy the separation angle as it gives you more time to get the hips started, while occupying the shoulder.

                          Additionally is there not a better ability -- as you get off the merry-go-round--, to have the forearm get flat due to enhanced Range of Motion upstream? Because the pitcher got the elbow behind the shoulder, (and thus scap loaded), it gives a little more room for the the ball to get back inside the elbow (135 lets say), which seems to be a common thing amongst the guys who can lay the forearm flat prior to release.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by tom.guerry View Post
                            (following Hodge BIOMECHANICBASEBALL), well more than 5 years ago,

                            VERY little shoulder trouble, which I attribute to Hodge's understanding of how to teach mechanics that minimize shoulder and elbow stress.
                            Who is Hodge, and where can I find what he teaches?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Encinitas View Post
                              I buy the separation angle as it gives you more time to get the hips started, while occupying the shoulder.
                              Just to expand further on this...

                              The concept is that this can help to hold the shoulders closed while the hips are opening up underneath them, which increases the overall stretch of the muscles of the torso. You do this by rotating the PAS arm the opposite direction in which the hips are rotating.

                              There are some holes in this idea, but it's interesting.
                              Obsessed with Pitching Mechanics.

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