Editor's Notes: In the Clubhouse today is Nick Abel a Pitcher in the Mets organization. Nick shares with us the pitching fundamentals that helped him increase the velocity on his fastball from 86 MPH to 94 MPH his senior year at Stony Brook University. The increased velocity caught the major league scouts attention and earned him a professional contract with the Mets. Nick gives you easy to remember keys and simple to practice drills to create that solid foundation, proper alignment & transfer of energy to a stable front leg. Master these pitching fundamentals and watch your fastball velocity increase by 8 MPH, and more importantly see your fastball hit the mitt for a called strike! Nick credits his pitching instructor, Rob Steinert with D1draftable.com, for helping him get a college scholarship and a professional contract. Clubhouse Gas would like to thank our friends with the Savannah Sand Gnats for allowing us to access to its players and coaches. Stay tuned to CHG for more shows with the players and coaches of the Savannah Sand Gnats. Better yet after watching the show and getting to know the players and coaches go catch a minor league game featuring the Savannah Sand Gnats! Minor League Baseball the best value in sports! If you like this show, be sure to check out our “videos on-demand” feature for more great shows on your favorite subject: youth sports. You can subscribe to CHG or share today’s show with your friends and family by clicking on the “Subscribe and Share” tab in the menu at the top of the page and following the directions.
Casey: Here on Clubhouse Gas we’ve talked a lot over the past year about arm injuries in young pitchers. Some people say it’s over use, some people say its poor mechanics. What we haven’t really done is delve really deeply into how to correct those mechanics. What are the proper mechanics? Not from necessarily your arm or how to throw a curve ball but for your body.
Today, single light for the Savannah Sand Gnats, Nick Abel is here and we’re going to work on those specific techniques to help you stay in line and help your kids be healthy and be more effective pitchers. It’s going to be a great show you don’t want to miss a second of it right here on Clubhouse Gas.
Nick: The first thing I’m going to talk about is a lot of coaches you know they talk about throwing strikes consistently and you know a big thing is fastball command and you know their always dressing you know, they want their kids to get ahead in the count and to do all these things but honestly if you don’t have the right alignment there’s no way that you can do that so the first thing that I’m going to talk about is alignment.
And right down here you just, you find the spot where you can draw a T you know preferably a dirt spot and you just draw one line right here and then another line perpendicular to that and this is going to help you with your alignment so I’m going to set my back foot in the middle of this line right here and it’s going to be parallel to this line and I’m a rightie so my left foot is in front and the main thing you want to do is you want to land— my target is straight ahead which is in line with this line right here I’m going to land this front foot in the middle of this back foot so if I pull it back not on the line right here.
So the main thing you want is to simply step towards your target, alright. So I’m here, I’m toward my target not on line alright. So after that the next thing I’m going to show you about is the linear rotation. Now linear rotation is very complicated term if you don’t study physics or kinesiology but basically what’s it saying is that your rotation is going circular forward this way as opposed to going this way and coming off and I’m going to show you what this broom drill what you can do to make sure that you have linear rotation.
And basically you have your alignment, you set the broom here and your spine is straight and now you just pull in and rotate forward. I’ll do it one more time. My feet are aligned and rotate forward. This is going to allow you to maintain a stable spawn. You’re legs will be activated. When you do this drill you should feel almost pulling on your groin and on your hamstrings and you’re going to feel that a lot and that’s another reason why we emphasize strengthening the legs, the back, the core, when it comes down to it you know.
If you have a house and you need a solid foundation for the house before you start building on top of that so if I have a wobbly foundation say like this broomstick and I put a 100 pounds on it what’s going to happen. It’s going to wobble and eventually it’s going to either crack or it’s going to fold. So you’re legs are the same way and you’re feet are the same thing. If you’re feet are not firmly placed on the ground then there’s no way you can rotate linearly forward and throw a baseball correctly and efficiently.
The other part of it is a lot of coaches like to say stay close, stay close and emphasize that and through a kid what does that mean do I keep my head closed, do I keep my glove closed, do I keep you know my feet closed and a lot of the misconceptions are that’s staying closed is doing this when you’re throwing in that direction. When you talk about staying close it’s actually your hips that are going to stay close.
So if I do a frontal view and you see, you should not see my back knee so right now you can see my back knee I’m open, okay, now I have really nothing behind me going forward. If I’m closed right now you can’t see my back knee. My feet are still aligned but I’m rotated back and I’m neutral right now maybe a little bit back. You have all the pressure kind of on your back leg here now you can spring forward while I’m still closed right now as you can see and then you release that.
And that’s that snap and that’s how you get that drive on to your front leg which ties in to a next thing which I’m going to talk about is the finish and one drill I like kids to do is they have their alignment, they have their T right here. They land good, they’re balanced, athletic position, this position is athletic, you know if you’re a linebacker you’re here, if you’re hitting you’re right here. If you’re a pitcher, same thing, you would go back and forth. You’re not going to be off balance.
And the last thing is bouncing on their front leg and what that tells me is that they can maintain their energy going forward on to their front leg. If I see a kid fall of this way their energy is going this way when trying throw a ball that way. That’s no good. So instead I tell a kid, “Listen, I want you to concentrate on keeping your body over your front leg after you finish and the result is balance right here.” I can stand here all day. There’s a lot of pressure on my leg. You can see my leg it’s kind of shaking because it’s trying to stabilize.
That’s where your muscles in your leg in your core allow you to stabilize in that front leg.
Casey: Nick than you so much to ask you to do it for us today. Thank you so much for joining us we’ll look forward to seeing you right back here next time for another edition of Clubhouse Gas.