Proper mechanics can reduce injuries
Posted July 23, 2014
Hillsborough, N.C. — Former Bull Matt Moore, former Tar Heel Matt Harvey, and Washington National Stephen Strasburg all have so much in common. They are talented young pitchers, who throw hard, and they have all had Tommy John Surgery, a common procedure to repair a torn ligament in the elbow.
Justin Orenduff, a pitching instructor at ITS baseball in Hillsborough has been studying the recent injuries.
"The mechanical pattern over the last 25 years became simplified,” Orenduff said. “At some point coaches and camps tried to figure out a way to teach pitching in steps, kids became more methodical and more robotic."
Orenduff developed an interest in the subject when he hurt his arm. He was a first round draft pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2004 and never made the big leagues because of an injury
"The mechanics that I was taught, is kind of a product, now that I know, of the last 25 years of teaching,” he said.
So he went back and studied 54 Hall-of-Fame pitchers. He discovered 94 percent of those players took their hands over their heads during the pitching delivery, a windup which includes the entire body, not just the arm.
"The style and the looseness and the rhythmic fashion that used to encompass the pitching delivery became lost,” Orenduff said.
Orenduff is now on a quest to bring the old school look back, using Hall-of-Famer Sandy Koufax as a model for coaching young kids.
And Ordenduff says it is healthier for the long term stability of the arm.
"It’s a very efficient process to where we can allow the body to work together and do the force production, instead of relying purely on our arm," he said.
There are so many theories about why pitchers are having a tough time staying off the injured list in the modern era. Ordenduff is hoping his research can lead to longer careers in the future.