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  • kijosh
    replied
    scapula

    From a real-world perspective is virtually impossible to "practice" effective separation. Because high-level players exhibit no more than 1 to 1/2 frames (30 frames per second or less than.05 seconds) of separation between hips opening (initiating rotation) and shoulders following (rotating).

    Swinging is a ballistic activity. It occurs rapidly and without a lot of thought. Attempting to "think" separation is in my opinion a prescription for disaster.

    Other than initiating rotation using the pelvic I'm not sure what one can do to optimize separation other than attempts to increase swing quickness and bat speed through a trial and error process.

    Also if there is an attempt to create separation there is a significant possibility that one loses the effect of "stretch reflex". Stretch reflex is a very important physiological property of the muscles that creates stiffness in the connection between body segments, in this case between hips and upper torso.

    Attempting to create too much separation has a significant possibility of interfering with this stretch reflex process and in doing so actually decreases the amount of momentum transfer between lower and upper body


    Here is a interesting report to read:

    Training the Shoulder Complex in Baseball
    Pitchers: A Sport-Specific Approach
    Jeffrey J. Jeran, MS,CSCS
    National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health Wellness Center,Morgantown,West Virginia
    Robert D. Chetlin,PhD, CSCS, HFI
    West Virginia University School of Medicine,Morgantown,West Virginia

    "The act of pitching conforms to specific laws and principles that govern movement. Newton’s second law, the law of acceleration, states that “the rate of change of momentum of a body is proportional to the applied force and takes place in the direction in which the force acts” (2). In other words, the acceleration of an object depends on its mass and on the amount of applied force, and, therefore, objects with less mass are easier to move and will move before heavier objects they may be attached to. Normal arm abduction is possible because the mass of the scapular fixators is greater than the deltoid, thus causing the arm to move in the expected direction. If the scapular fixators were paralyzed by a denervation injury, for example, then attempted abduction of the shoulder would result in an awkward rotation of the scapula (which would move first because it is less massive) and not shoulder abduction. Scapular kinematics is, therefore, an important consideration for competent pitching motion, according to the law of acceleration, because weak scapular fixators may adversely affect arm strength (via insufficient scapular stabilization) and accuracy (via unwanted scapular movement).

    Inappropriate scapular kinematics may be further illustrated by the biomechanical principle of levers. Throwing a baseball involves thirdclass lever action, where the glenohumeral joint acts as the fulcrum, the baseball acts as resistance opposite the axis, and the muscles responsible for delivery are located between the fulcrum and the resistance. Imagine that your arm, shoulder, and scapula form a type of catapult (a classic third-class lever), where the scapula forms the base (i.e., the fulcrum or axis), the shoulder, upper arm, and forearm provide the desired muscle action (i.e., the effort), and the basket (i.e., the hand) holds the ball (i.e., the resistance). If the scapula or base is weak, or not tightly fixed, and you have the strongest arm in the world, the law of acceleration assures that your unstable base (i.e., scapula) will be difficult to control, resulting in improper mechanics, inaccurate throwing, poor velocity, and increased susceptibility to injury. Therefore, we believe that a strong base (i.e., the scapular fixators) is vital to both skilled performance and injury prevention. The scapular fixators, therefore, should be trained as diligently as those muscles that are directly involved in accelerating the ball.

    In our experience, many training programs for pitchers overemphasize strengthening the rotator cuff muscles, overlooking the fixators of the scapula. The exercises presented at the end of this paper are specifically directed at not only improving performance, but also protecting the shoulder complex from repetitive or traumatic injury. We will also discuss the training variables of mode, intensity, frequency, and duration for both rotator cuff and scapular fixation exercises. There are 2 fundamental applied training principles that must be understood before prescribing shoulder exercises. First, the principle of sport specificity necessitates that exercise training should approximate, as closely as possible, the movements associated with the sport in question. Unfortunately, some exercise professionals may fail to do an activity analysis on the sport, which leads to the same exercises prescribed for the general population being directed toward the thrower (2). For example, traditional internal and external rotation of the glenohumeral joint, with elbow held tightly to side and motion in a transverse plane about a vertical axis (Figures 2 and 3), has few, if any, sport-specific implications for throwing a baseball. However, this exercise certainly has clinical benefit as a means to strengthen the internal and external rotators of the glenohumeral joint.

    Second, the specific adaptation to imposed demand (SAID) principle implies that the body will adapt to the demands of the training stimulus but will not adapt beyond the scope of that stimulus. For example, endurance training programs will not produce gains in strength (2). The complexity of the shoulder joint dictates a multifaceted training approach, which includes (a) training targeted to agonist, antagonist, and fixator muscles, (b) training that emphasizes strength and power, (c) resistance exercise performed in the planes and about the axes of motion associated with the intended activity (consider that many conventional shoulder exercises are not always performed in activity-specific planes, and that the rotator cuff should be trained in affiliated planes of motion), and (d) an emphasis on improvement in concentric, eccentric and isometric strength. The literature indicates that excessive eccentric loading (especially of the supraspinatus tendon) is strongly correlated to rotator cuff injury (18, 27). We emphasize that shoulder training modalities should utilize combinations of concentric, eccentric, and isometric muscle actions."
    Last edited by kijosh; 03-02-2006, 11:19 AM.

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  • Steve Englishbey
    replied
    I think you[Swingbuster] misunderstand the term "connection " in the real meaning of the term. Simply put ,connection is about FUNCTION ,ie .,its about the ability to efficiently transfer momentum from the body to the barrel.

    For ex. you cited Sheffield's arm action ----how he moves the upper body in loading ---as somebody that violates the principle of "connection".

    This is incorrect. As is the case with essentially all major league hitters , Sheffield neither lags, or drags the bat or pushes the pushes the hands ahead of the rotation to initiate the swing.

    He functions in such a way as to connect the bat to the momentum path of the shoulders very quickly.

    How he does it [form ] in terms of movement of the upper body is not terribly relevant . And however he ---or anyone else ----"gets there" does not at all violate the principle of connection.

    Connection is about function much more so than it is about form.


    Now having said this ,as regards young hitters -----in THIS context you are typically dealing with all kinds of inefficiencies with regards to swingplane /swingpath issues -----in combination with "rotational deficits ".

    Simply put ,they are trying in every manner to create "the energetics " of the swing via arm action. [This is why I have said "arm action is king ---for mediocre hitters". Since they really do not know how to use the body mass [and I include here the scapular complex] to create movement and generate large "impulse " and momentum ,they only have the arms left to try to compensate for this fundemental flaw .]

    From my perspective ------as someone PAID to help people reach towards their potential ------I am obligated to try to make the case that one cannot develop their true potential unless they begin to understand how to manipulate the body mass [shoulder complex included] to create optimal movement ,leverage ,elastic energy ,momentum , greater impulse and rate of force development, etc.

    And as an aside ----and you may well fall into this catagory simply because of the nature of the environment you find yourself in-----many people are NOT that interested in developmental issues. Many are interested more along the lines of "how in the hell can you help my son or daughter for this weekends tournament ?"

    To which I would ---and have said ,"how the hell do I know ".

    I dont know and I really dont much care.

    I have a developmental perspective. And from a developmental perspective I am interested in finding ways to restrict certain movements and "natural tendencies" in order to force people into utilizing the body mass more effectively.Because I know that if they do not learn very well how to go about using the body mass efficiently----if they do like most and simply use their arms and legs to try to create movement, they are not going to even get close to their potential. Their paying days will be pretty limited and largely an exercise in frustration. If they really want to avoid that ,they will have to learn how to utilize the torso more effectively .

    And I am interested in and motivated towards getting them to better understand a relatively simple model of a swing that amounts to a singular and coherent model of the bat and body creating one rotational pattern.My experience suggest that if they understand this model pretty well ,they will have a much better chance to build a good swing over time .

    Once this is fairly well understood [or if it is simply done well by a hitter] then the idea is to build upon that pattern in any number of ways .And those ways could involve all kinds of things. Simply put ,it depends.

    In terms of hitters who are reasonably good , there will most certainly be a focus on any number of "technique building " type ideas that will have to do with "arm action" ---arm action in the context of creating an overall loading /unloading process.

    Contrary to what some think , I see very little evidence ----either from motor learning research , training methods ,or my own practical experience ---that good arm action creates ,ipso facto , good movement of the body mass, ie that it CAUSES optimal functioning of the body mass.

    There is absolutely nothing in my experience ------as a player, as a teacher reflecting back on my playing experience , as a researcher of applied science , as a teacher of hitters of varying levels and aptitude----nothing that lends itself to asserting that the arms are THE KEY to reaching your potential as a hitter. Or getting closer to your potential.

    There is no one key . To really reach your potential you will have to fully engage the mind ,cns, and muscle system .It will ALL have to be functioning at a very high level. This is an entire mind -body affair if you will.

    To better help hitters understand what it takes to even approach that level ,and better understand how to at least head towards that type of high level engagement , I am going to focus on getting young hitters to focus on that which they least focus on -----that which most separates them from elite athletes.

    Which ,simply put , involves getting them to better understand how to create movement and momentum via the torso [scapular complex included].

    steve

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  • tadlock11
    replied
    Originally posted by Ursa Major
    Everyone who knows Steve has such stories. Apparently, one is advised to never invite Steve to stay at your house without getting ahead on your sleep, as he'll keep you up 'til all hours talking hitting. Then again, some of us would consider that nirvana.
    Try waking him up before 10am! We nearly had to call in a rescue team. h

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  • bluke1
    replied
    Okay

    I think what you guys are referring to is kind of what I was thinking. It seems to me (and I'm guessing a little here) that if you stay "fluid," or what I believe is "connected" that scap loading will happen as a by product of "swinging from the middle." I realize I'm using terms which definitions I am not completely comfortable with, but is that the guts of what you guys are explaining? Should a player make a conscious effort to scap load? I believe what is being stated here is that it shouldn't be "overdone." I will admit that I have not seen the DVDs yet, (they are on the way ) please don't beat me up too bad

    As always thanks

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  • swingbuster
    replied
    the problem that I have consistently seen in terms of "operationalizing" scapula loading is that it tends to be overdone ,ie creating too much retraction ,too much magnitude of movement , such that it creates ,in effect ,the same problems that counter-rotation creates
    AMEN

    While I agree with that statement...Steve will disagree with this one so while the two are linked "in my mind and in my application"( this will be in a box soon) and I do not use him to support what I think here.

    As I see players try to operationize scap loading, I have seen and used cues about " hand loading' attain the same appearance as good scap loading without the overdoing and 'locking up " of shoulder cues and thoughts.

    There is a smooth flow of the shoulder action and unconscience scap loading FOR SOME KIDS when they " think " load the hands ....bottom hand under the top" and let the bat go where it wants to go.

    AROD

    http://s6.invisionfree.com/Hitting/i...0#entry4067318

    There is a "gulf " of disagreement concerning what this can mean in terms of the physics of of P-C-R and whether hand action can enhance the C-R or whether they are at opposite ends of the hitting spectrum. The hand torquing and then getting them into the momentum plane yields amazing results for some kids and it is employed my many MLB players. Does it work as a stand alone without the P etc ....no

    I see them as closer than first cousins physically and I see them brothers in teaching for cartain players..usually the gifted athletically . I see this daily in application

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  • ssarge
    replied
    Cletus is absolutely indefatigable.

    Hand him a Seinfeld or Shield DVD, and go grab a couple hours sleep.

    Tell him Tom Guerry posted that he [Steve] doesn't know the first thing about scap loading, then hand him a computer, and go grab a couple hours sleep.

    Find him an obscure treatise on kineseology and motor skill development among the Intuit Eskimoos, and go grab a couple hours sleep.

    Or learn to go with no sleep.

    Regards,

    Scott
    Last edited by ssarge; 03-02-2006, 02:53 AM.

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  • Ursa Major
    replied
    Bluke1 said: Thanks to all. UM, I did notice Steve's passion earlier than an hour into the conversation, the thing is I didn't think I would be on the phone for an hour.
    I guess you don't know me well enough (or know Steve's reputation enough) to know I was making the big joke. My first call with Steve was 86 minutes (on my cell phone, and I had to pull off to the side of the road as I was about to cross a bridge spanning San Francisco Bay and would likely have lost him).

    Everyone who knows Steve has such stories. Apparently, one is advised to never invite Steve to stay at your house without getting ahead on your sleep, as he'll keep you up 'til all hours talking hitting. Then again, some of us would consider that nirvana.

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  • jsiggy
    replied
    Steve, make sure I'm following correctly. Your concern with my description is not the pull back (bow-arrow movement around glenhumeral joint) vs. pull around (scap a[db]duction) as much as it is the amount of pull involved with the bench press description? Or is it both the magnitude and the actual motion?

    Btw, I also have used the bow-arrow analogy... a problem I saw, and the reason I jumped in, is a couple of kids already pulled the arm straight back (toward catcher) in what I think of as a bow-arrow fashion. And, I may be wrong, but it seemed to lead to an arm load/arm unload mechanic rather than a shoulder load/unload. In other words, more active arms. Thoughts?

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  • bluke1
    replied
    Thanks to all. UM, I did notice Steve's passion earlier than an hour into the conversation, the thing is I didn't think I would be on the phone for an hour. I figured I would tell him my name and find out how to get the DVDs and that would be that. I wasn't sure I was important enough to matter. He talked my ear off, and I enjoyed the hell out of it!
    Once again, thank you all for answering the scap load question. I look forward to learning more from each of you.

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  • Steve Englishbey
    replied
    John , the problem that I have consistently seen in terms of "operationalizing" scapula loading is that it tends to be overdone ,ie creating too much retraction ,too much magnitude of movement , such that it creates ,in effect ,the same problems that counter-rotation creates.

    Problems in other words that tend to create swing plane misalignment----which then negatively effects barrel accuracy and swing quickness.

    Scapula loading/unloading -----understood correctly ---can be seen as functioning in a number of ways :

    1] To create stability;
    2] To help create directional force ,ie helping to get the barrel very quickly into the momentum path of the shoulders;
    3] As something that "energizes " the swing by a rapid eccentic to concentric action of the scapular complex:
    4]As a way to facilitate greater "separation" or subtle segmental differentials between the hips and shoulders [And I do emphasize here the SUBTLE nature of this separation of segments in terms of firing patterns.And that the separation involved in elite loading /unloading patterns is essentially one continuous "twisting and untwisting "or loading /unloading that starts with the "moving out/defying gravity " [better known as the stride ] that elite hitters create with the very effective control of the pelvic region ---that very few non-elite hitters create.In other words , "good separation" as created by elite hitters is always a function of very good pelvic control of the movement [loading] ---in conjuction with good scapula action .

    It has been my experience with many hitters ,that in thinking of the scapula action as being synonymous with the "bench press analogy" ,they have a tendency to move the back shoulder in ways that create swing plane /posture problems.

    I have ---for the most part ,with most hitters ,increasingly attempted to focus on 1 and 2 above [stability and direction] in terms of scapula action.As opposed to trying to emphasize magnitude of loading or movement---or as opposed to trying to emphasize magnitude of the "stretch-shortening "[eccentric to concentric action] process.

    Almost always in terms of what I try to teach /convey ,I first try to focus on eliminating some of the common inefficiencies that I see regularly in most hitters.

    Creating stability/control and finding ways to better direct the momentum path of the barrel are first and foremost in the context of scapula action.

    This is not to say that subtle forms of loading the shoulders cannot be "built into " 1 and 2 above. Subtle forms of loading do indeed need to be built into scapula action. And I do teach and demonstrate some of these subtle ways to create this .

    I am not saying here that you are inherently wrong in your "bench press analogy ".

    But I am saying that my practical experience with most people's interpretation of "scapula loading " is that it tends to be overdone if you will.

    And taken out of the context of the entire load -unload process interms of the efficient movement of the ENTIRE body.

    In other words your analogy is NOT problematic for those really understand how to load and unload the body in a highly efficient manner.[My experience either with players are coaches is that there are very few in this catagory.]


    Hope this explains a little where Dave was coming from with regards to his "bow string " analogy.

    steve

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  • hiddengem
    replied
    Originally posted by jsiggy
    HG's shoulder blade pinching description is accurate. However while I'm no archer, I think the bowstring example may not be a good analogy. It seems to me an archer tries to minimize movement for accuracy sake and typically does this by removing any scapula movement and instead "locks the scapula down" and reduces the movement to shoulder and elbow flexion only - resulting in another form of loading where the hands are being pulled straight back toward the catcher.

    To me, a better image of the loaded rear scap is the position you're in at the bottom of heavy a bench press. When hitting (as opposed to the bench press), the front side is stretched in an opposite fashion of the rear scap load.
    I like your analogy as well. I used the bow analogy because Steve used it with me and it made sense.

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  • swingbuster
    replied
    It amounts to getting the shoulders around the spine to rotate the shoulder unit on plane with the ball. Top hand focus is a little dicey for me. Best to illustrate them working together.

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  • Ursa Major
    replied
    I have spoken with Steve E and ... can verify that it is hard not to notice his passion for what he does. If you don't notice it in the beginning, then it does become evident about an hour into the conversation!!
    I'm absolutely shocked.... shocked to hear you say this.

    It took you an hour?????

    Back to scap loading. Does it look something like this?
    Last edited by Ursa Major; 02-28-2006, 03:58 PM.

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  • bbjunkie
    replied
    Originally posted by jsiggy
    It seems to me an archer tries to minimize movement for accuracy sake and typically does this by removing any scapula movement and instead "locks the scapula down" and reduces the movement to shoulder and elbow flexion only - resulting in another form of loading where the hands are being pulled straight back toward the catcher
    I do not want to play arrow catcher.

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  • jsiggy
    replied
    In hitting, scap loading is a "replacement" for counter rotation.

    HG's shoulder blade pinching description is accurate. However while I'm no archer, I think the bowstring example may not be a good analogy. It seems to me an archer tries to minimize movement for accuracy sake and typically does this by removing any scapula movement and instead "locks the scapula down" and reduces the movement to shoulder and elbow flexion only - resulting in another form of loading where the hands are being pulled straight back toward the catcher.

    To me, a better image of the loaded rear scap is the position you're in at the bottom of heavy a bench press. When hitting (as opposed to the bench press), the front side is stretched in an opposite fashion of the rear scap load.

    Paul has some very good animations showing this from various views on the Setpro site for anyone who has access.

    Oh, and yes the DVD will answer ALL your questions.
    Yeah, if I recall correctly, Steve's DVD has his drill which properly loads the rear scap while working on posture/swing plane which should clarify further.

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