Compensations In The Throwing Motion That Rob You Of Speed

The throwing motion has been divided into many different phases.

At the OAI we break down the throwing motion into 8 phases. We evaluate each individual phase to determine if the athlete is maintaining stability and using their body correctly to create effortless velocity and power.

These are the Eight Phases (in order of how they occur in the throwing motion):
  • Loading
  • Take Away
  • Early Cocking
  • Late Cocking
  • Acceleration
  • Delivery (propulsion)
  • Deceleration
  • Follow through

In each phase of the throwing motion, compensations exist that we have observed in analyzing thousands of throwers that contribute to inefficiencies, consequently robbing the athlete of velocity and power. Each of these compensations needs to be addressed with a corrective exercise regimen that will allow the athlete to progress seamlessly and efficiently from one phase to the next optimizing their ability to create velocity. We have defined these compensations below so you will be able to recognize them in your throwing motion  and be able to utilize our corrective exercise methods properly. Some of these compensations are structural and some are habitually learned.

Abbreviations have been used to define rotations.

Loading Phase:
  • Decreased hip IR on the loaded leg (weakness in hip external rotators)
  • Hip abduction (weakness in hip abductors)
  • Lumbar hyperextension (weak/tight paraspinals and weak core stability)
Take Away:
  • Decreased trunk rotation (stiff thoracic spine or weak lumbar rotational stability)
  • Inefficient loading of the back leg (lower extremity weakness)
  • Early shoulder ER or extension
  • Supination of elbow (lead to arm being left behind)
Early Cocking:
  • Arm lifted behind the scapular plane, creating a longer lever arm
  • Inefficient core muscle activation (rotation in transverse plane)
  • Early extension (reverse spinal position)
  • Inefficient or (improper use of core musculature) poor dynamic core stabilization
  • Poor biomechanical position or glenohumeral/elbow joint
  • Late elevation of the ball to its apex
Late Cocking:
  • Improper sequencing with the shoulder and elbow, leading to long lever arm usage
  • Supinated wrist and elbow (early release, UCL stress)
  • Elbow extension vs elbow flexion
  • Shoulder and elbow behind the scapular plane (improper sequencing)
  • Anterior vs. neutral pelvic tilt
  • Reverse spine angle (poor abdominal strength)
  • Early glenohumeral ER
  • Inefficient loading over the front leg (weakness in hip extension)
  • Excessive Stride Length (hamstring strain)
  • Limited Thoracic Extension (poor scapular/GH position)
  • Improper Loading of the front leg (varus/valgus)
  • Knee Flexion (limited/excessive)
  • Elbow Supination/Pronation
  • Long Lever Arm (excess stress on RTC)
Delivery (propulsion)
  • Decreased Tricep Activation (inefficient velocity production)
  • Excessive Lumbar Sidebending
  • Improper Position of Lead leg (learned vs. consequence)
  • Ball Reaching Apex too late (stress on GH joint/Elbow)
  • Excessive Transverse vs. Diagonal plane rotation
  • Land foot positioning (too closed/too open)
  • Early ER (early external rotation behind scapular plane!!!)
  • Incomplete Trunk Rotation
  • Limited Trunk Flexion
  • Early Glenohumeral joint IR (RTC deceleration strain)
  • Short Deceleration Arc
  • Decreased hip IR on lead leg (weakness in hip external rotation)
Follow through
  • Limited Lumbar Flexion (tightness in hamstrings/paraspinals)
  • Decreased Knee Extension
  • Short deceleration arc (inadequate scapular protraction)

As you can see, there can be many contributing factors to inefficiency and biomechanical breakdown. At the OAI we have spent years investigating the throwing motion, how it correlates to injury, and performance maximization. We challenge you to find another program that has the depth of knowledge that we have acquired in working with athletes for decades. The Internet can be a useful tool for information gathering. It is confusing and difficult to decide what information is appropriate for your son, daughter, or yourself when attempting to find a training program that will truly be beneficial.

As therapists, we treat the athletes that purchased these training programs and ended up in therapy, injured as a result of the instruction offered in their program. We don’t want you to make that same mistake.

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