The game of baseball is the most individualized team sport around. An outfielder oftentimes cannot play shortstop like a shortstop. Pitchers are considered “non-athletes” in the field, and clean up hitters are not lead off hitters – unless you have bad coaching, it's not all about mechanics.
Every defender, hitter in the line up, and pitcher on the staff has a specific role. Although they may be able to have success playing under a different “job title”, baseball’s system of numbersrequires specific skill sets from each player – in order to win.
So what is the “Baseball System of Numbers“?
Let’s break it down using the MLB level, because this is the only level that provides accurate statistics. In comparing lower levels, we may not have accurate statistics to reference, but just know that the only difference is that the game is slower because the athlete is not as quick, strong, fast, or smart.
Let’s break it down using MLB stats from 2007-2013:
- To steal a bag in the big leagues, the average is 3.48 seconds. This provided a 71% success rate.
- An average catcher POP time is 1.85 seconds. The average pitcher delivery (stretch) takes 1.3 seconds, for a combined turnaround time of 3.15 seconds. These numbers vindicate why MLB replays of stolen bags shows that the difference between safe and out is a fraction of a second.
- Taking these numbers, one can see that NO MATTER WHAT, a catcher must have a POP time of 1.85 seconds or he will not be an MLB catcher because every BB, HBP, WP, Hit, or ER is a double (and potentially a triple), if the catcher and pitcher cannot perform to the numbers described.
Let’s examine pitching…
- The average ball off the bat traveled at 88MPH (127 feet per second) in the big leagues between 2007 and 2013.
- It took an average of 1.6 seconds to reach the infielders (quicker for the corners and longer for the middle).
- Infielders covered an average of 27 feet on any grounder (range valuation).
- The average infield POP time was 1.8 seconds (glove to glove).
- If it takes the hitter an average of 4.3 seconds to reach first base, you can see that the difference between safe and out is miniscule, as it takes an average of 3.4 seconds to field and throw the runner out. Not enough range or arm strength and runners are safe.
- Hitters have 0.4 seconds to react to the average MLB fastball of 92MPH.
- Their hand speed averaged 88MPH. Again, no matter how good the mechanics, the hitter must catch up to the fastball, react in time, hit the baseball at least 88MPH, and run 4.3 seconds down the line…..or they have no job because the numbers require such.
Youth, HS, and college baseball have slower numbers. But the ideals of what is required to perform are the same.
So why is everyone still teaching mechanics? Why are athletes still buying into this myth?
MECHANICS VERSUS MOVEMENT
If the game is based upon numbers and statistical advantage, what place does mechanical training have?
Will your mechanics create a HS prospect, college All American, or MLB All star?
Nope…..it just produces an athlete whom understands how to swing their bat, create a good delivery, or field robotically.
Mechanics teach the steps within movement, but not the overall move that puts up STATISTICSand WINS.
A college or pro scout is seeking “TOOLS” that move and compete within the “system of numbers”. For any athlete to compete, they must be able to keep up with the analytics of the game.
As the saying goes, “If he throws hard, we can teach him to throw strikes.
Think back before player development got infiltrated with analytics, video analysis, and millions of different mechanical approaches that ‘Google‘ hit counters now total over 150,000,000…..
How did many of us learn to field? Many threw a ball against a wall and tried fielding it. We got tired of chasing the baseball and learned FIRST how to move “to and through” the baseball.
We learned how to stop, plant, and throw the baseball hard because we wanted quicker rebounds or loved the sound of seams cutting the air.
This type of training taught us how to throw and receive accurately – or we would end up chasing baseballs all day long.
For pitchers, the wall was our best friend….
We threw to a spot and got better by moving quicker and learning the leverage points within our movements. Then we threw the baseball harder (to the wall), backed up, and threw it further.
Basically, past generations of baseball players learned how to move before we learned how to mechanize.
The issue is that the human body is designed to move – not be robotic in its movements. Mechanics delay the physiological processes required to move efficiently because they change the kinetic chain reaction.
PLAYER DEVELOPMENT DONE RIGHT
As coaches, we tell our athletes to do something and hopefully they do it. Many coaches do not understand why they are teaching the skill, but go off the same empty reasoning they are preaching.
As an athlete, you must believe in what you are doing and that requires purpose.
If coaches can explain the reasons behind why one competes or trains a certain way, athletes and coaches can TOGETHER start building process.
For example, you have to hit the baseball harder and farther because the fielders have more range and throw the baseball harder at higher levels. The pitchers throw harder so you have to catch up to the fastball. And you must run faster or you will get thrown out by increased range and arm strength in the field.
A great training tool that enhances movement and unlocks performance velocity is VeloPRO Baseball’s Velocity LOAD Harness. Used by 8 MLB teams and over 60 NCAA baseball and softball programs, the VL Harness has proven its worth at the highest levels of the game.
Simple in design, the VL Harness includes a waist belt, foot strap, and two specialized resistance bungees that can be put on in thirty seconds or less.
The revolutionary design kinetically connects to the athlete’s linear drive force and provides negative and positive sensory feedback with every rep. Hitters and pitchers can use the VL Harness with any practice or training application – as no exterior anchor points are required. This provides free and uninhibited movement during throwing, bullpens, and batting practice.
If you want to develop into the NCAA or pro baseball product you dream of becoming, start training MOVEMENT – not mechanics.