Meet Cam Kundig.
Four weeks ago, his velocity had reached a plateau and no matter how hard he trained, nothing had transferred in over two years. That all changed over a 3 week period on the Blue Carpet here at The Core Velocity Training Studio in Huntington Beach, CA.Cam came into the training facility hoping to increase his velocity by increasing his hip and shoulder separation as well as learning how to stay closed longer, I remember him saying the first day. So, you can imagine the surprise when we told him that we don’t focus on increasing hip and shoulder separation. In fact, we never even discuss, drill or train it.
Thankfully, I unsubscribed to the Pitching Mechanics Model years ago.
- We don’t do ‘mechanics’.
- We train to FEEL the movements.
I think Cam would agree with me when I say, until you can FEEL it, you’ll never own it or transfer it. Cam had no problem doing both.
As I was looking over his eMotion Capture he shared how his velocity had been stuck at 83 mph forever, it seemed. I could feel the frustration and tension as I witnessed his with my own eyes drawn to the clinched fists, and bits of anger. He tried any and everything that had to do with weighted balls, velocity programs, pitching mechanics, lower-half work, you name it we tried it. Nothing worked.
"It freaking got worse. And kept getting worse."
- Velocity - He had been stuck at 83 mph many questions center around increasing velocity or being stuck at a certain level.
- Consistency - some questions are focused on consistently throwing strikes or locating pitches, while others are about mechanical consistency.
- Lower body mechanics/efficiency - several questions ask about effectively using the lower half to increase power output and velocity.
- Mental part of the game - questions about confidence and overthinking are common.
- Arm health/conditioning - concerns about arm soreness, pain, and injury prevention are frequently mentioned.
Take this Test: Anchor the Lift
Most pitchers fail this test. They cannot lift the lead leg independently without the pelvis swaying, knee locking and feet shifting. Because their first movement is inefficient it causes every movement thereafter to compensate.
Long story short. The reason most pitchers can't separate their hips and shoulders is because they can't Anchor the Lift.
- Domino Example
- Trashy Creek example
Most struggles are attributed to pelvic control. Look at these numbers (2 studies linked)
He was surprised to learn we used plungers and laser pointers instead of electric cords and $100,000's machines.
I told him they buy the machines to measure downstream mechanics. We buy plungers and lasers not to change mechanics, but instead to shape the body's natural movements that form mechanics.
o change the mechanics on tWe do the opposite. We
Take this test and tell me how you do in the comments.
Back to Cam.
When Cam began The Core Velocity Mound Transfer Challenge he topped 83 mph from the mound. In just over three weeks, his velocity jumped 5 mph, to 88 MPH. How did that happen?
Before I share the videos and layout the program he followed, let’s discuss some of the areas he was struggling with to cause his struggles with velocity.
Up until this point, Cam spent the majority of his training time on flat ground. He had developed a nasty flat ground pattern that prevented him from increasing his velocity. His velocity had been stuck at 83 mph for over two years.
"I was stuck and no matter how hard I trained, nothing increased or transferred."
The reasons his velocity reached a plateau was due to his training preferences with pitching drills and flat ground work. He focused on drills that targeted hip and shoulder separation and other positions we’ve been tricked into believing are ideal, or proper. Sadly, most pitchers continue to focus their training efforts on positions that should naturally happen, IF you get the first part of the delivery correct. In case you didn’t know.
Our staff at Core Velocity doesn’t waste time with pitching drills chasing outcomes, or reactions. Instead we focus on improving the quality of movement in the beginning of the delivery and before the front foot ever lands.
- Because any position seen after landing (hip/shoulder separation, early front shoulder, flying open) are reactions to an earlier problem.
- They are not the problem but merely a clue to a movement flaw which happened upstream, earlier in the delivery.
Just so it makes sense, think of it this way.
- If you found trash floating downstream past the waterfall, where would you begin your search for where the litter bug dumped his trash?
- Upstream of the waterfall or downstream?
Sounds obvious, right?
Apparently not, because 100% of pitching info on the internet targets, trains and focuses on what happens after landing and nothing before.
Here were the mechanical flaws Cam was struggling with:
- He struggled to keep his torso and shoulders from flying open early and no matter how long he delayed his shoulders it was very difficult to get results or see any level of change.
- His lead leg and hips were called a ‘swinging gate’ because the leaked energy by opening them early. (There’s no way around this for quad dominant pitchers who lack hip awareness, control and stability)
- The cause of his problems, his domino effect, was traced back to the very first move. He could not Anchor the Lift because he didn’t have the necessary FEEL for his hips, or control, to lift the lead leg independently without swaying the pelvis, locking the back leg, or shifting weight inside his feet.
- Because he had lower levels of FEEL for his hips and very little control, he relied on his legs to push him down the mound which caused consistent sequencing problems leading to him pushing the ball and throwing with all arm.
- This type of lower-body action is by far the most common and we often refer to it as quad-dominant.
Cam's Video Analysis at 83 MPH
Here's an inside look at how he increased his velocity and changed his mechanics, without trying to change his mechanics.
Week One: Anchor the Lift | Move the Middle
Get a FEEL for the middle. We tested different setups and FEELs focusing on heightening awareness for the hips and creating stability in the back leg to enable Cam to utilize ground forces by staying plugged in, longer.
We spent a lot of time daily on the stability blocks inside his throwing program combined blending (alternating) his timing/rhythm and tempo on the mound with slow motion and “Ride the Slide” FEELs. The Core Velocity Belt Anti-Gravity Setup seen below on the right side, is one of my favorites.
The primary setup was on the front hip using The Core Velocity Belt at various angles. The reason for the various angles was two-fold. Feed the mistake of opening early and force Cam to control the middle of his body and prevent being quad-dominant. Meaning, he pushes, or extends, his hips versus rotating.
Quad dominant pitchers will always open early with the front leg/hip/shoulder.
- Because quad dominant pitchers have very low levels of FEEL for this hips, they struggle to rotate. Instead of efficiently rotating by utilizing ground force and the hinge, quad-dominant pitchers push the body forward as one piece.
- They cannot move the middle of the body efficiently enough for it to drive the kinetic chain the way nature intended.
- Quad dominant pitchers are forced to manufacture ideal pitching mechanics, instead of them naturally occurring like you'll see in a moment.
- Instead, of initiating movement from the middle of the body they go the opposite way and push from the ends of the body. (feet)
Week Two: Ride the Slide | Resist Rotation
The goal of this phase was to:
- Get the FEEL for the first move being stable and under control.
- Beginning the initial move towards the plate with your hips matching or mirroring the slope of the mound.
- Utilizing ground force by keeping your butt behind you and resisting rotation until it's time for the body to naturally unwind.
Began moving to double cord and isolating his front hip at different angles. We also created a setup we refer to as “Resist-Rotation” which is shown below. You’ll notice how he continuously blends these movements without throws in the beginning.
The order of progression is
- FEEL (hold or resist)
- Throw. (Throw a baseball or medicine ball or plyo ball).
Again, every single training day was performed on the mound this week with special emphasis on high volume and low intensity.