Aumont, Cortes, and Halberd-Pike Castle Defenses

GL with a fair question:

+++ Idiotic mechanical musings here...

I wonder if locking the front leg allows a pitcher to get more leverage on the latter part of delivery, and thus to throw harder.  Also I would image that keeping the knee bent requires more strength in that leg.  My thinking is this is why tall pitchers (or any pitcher) might get used to doing it, it gives you a couple mph.  When you don't need as much control in the lower tiers, the velocity makes you good...

But when you look for it and see it, it really does look like a problem and you can see where it would sap any efforts at control.

Did notice he's landing ball-of-foot first, so he's got that going for him.  The bent leg would make his release & follow through much smoother. +++


A fair question indeed, and we will crusade on this one until the stars burn out :- )


My volley back is that it is mechanically un-possible for a locked front leg to create extra leverage, unless your goal is to crack your skull on an object shortly in front of you. 

Think of the "locked front leg" as skating along on a skateboard blindfolded, and then suddenly YEEAARRRRGHHHHHHHH!!!!! folding over a hand-rail waist-high. 

It might create a whiplash effect for your head that could be considered "leverage," but the resulting chaos can't possibly mean anything good for the "springload" effect you are trying to create between your chest and throwing arm.  All it could do is disrupt your centrifugality.   The vector that is suddenly, externally imposed on your folding torso IS AT ODDS WITH the accelerating, perpendicularly located arc that you are trying to achieve at shoulder level.

Even worse, the CG develops a "humpback" blip in its travel when it crashes into the front hip, which can't do anything other than impede acceleration for the CG itself.

There are no two ways about it.  Flopping over a "pike in the ground" front leg is the opposite of what acceleration mechanics are trying to accomplish.

I'm not fast to be absolute about these things, but there isn't an aiki sensei -- or a Japanese pitching coach -- in the world who wouldn't come sprinting across the dojo the first time he saw such a deceleration.  I'm serious.


Also there is no question that the Japanese are more highly evolved than us in terms of CG control for pitchers -- and ask them what they would think about skewering yourself on your front hip :- )


For Cortes, Jered Weaver is an obvious and easy model.  Weaver starts high and comes through high, but he flexes his landing knee just enough to allow his torso to bend over his leg smoothly.  The result is control, as opposed to a 57/50 control ratio.

I would like to know the faintest argument against a pitching coach telling Danny Cortes, "Hey, amigo.  Here is a video of Jered Weaver.  You're 85% matched to him already, except for the bad stuff.  Let's finish like he does."


Most aiki-style mechanical flaws are actually fixed with internal thoughts, not with physical exercises.  Aumont's and Cortes' are easily fixed with "land on the tiptoe and glide over the foot."  Three bullpens and they literally wouldn't even be able to remember how to lock their knees if they wanted to.


There are some mechanical checkpoints that are debatable.  Not the locked front knee.  That is a flaw, a bad one, end of story.


Dr D


okdan's picture

Not really knowing anything about the subtleties of pitching mechanics, other than what looks "normal", the locked front leg syndrome is very noticeable to me. It's just jarring, and seems as though the pitcher is stopping needlessly short. It seems like you would gain so much more control and leverage by following through naturally. It also seems like it puts much more stress on your arm, as once you lock that leg, you're putting all of the work on the arm to catch up with the rest of your momentum.
Like I said, I don't know the first thing about proper mechanics, but Aumont and Cortes seem like they've succeeded in spit of their delivery.

glmuskie's picture

Why then is Aumont not already 'fixed'?  (IIRC, he has been seen recently still locking the front leg).  And Cortes hasn't yet been?
Seriously, if this is such a mechanical flaw, that is so easily fixed, why isn't it coached out immediately (or why hasn't it already)? 
I know with running, the conventional wisdom of the day is to let people run how they feel comfortable running, because that's how the natural way their body wants to run.  You can tweak some stuff here & there, but you shouldn't try to run in an uncomfortable way just because it is mechanically 'correct'.
There has been a ton of money & time & thought put in to pitching mechanics.  Why isn't the locked front leg obvious to everyone else?  Or if it is, why aren't they acting more vehemently on it?


American sports coaches, other than wrestling and boxing coaches, do not think in terms of the center of gravity.
Mike Marshall thinks in terms of the centerline, but not as much in terms of CG acceleration per se.
Japanese sports coaches speak a different language.  They think in terms of controlling your body weight first, and then they will speak in terms of applying that body weight to this or that task at hand.
Take three months of aikido and you will experience a 'scales falling off your eyes' effect as it applies to American sports coaching.


In America, men-in-uniform positively *dislike* conceding that a suggestion is correct, if it comes from off the field.
We have seen an inordinate amount of emotional *resistance* to the Aumont syndrome.  For whatever reason, in baseball most folks see themselves as being in competition with everybody else, whether it be with respect to judging a player, diagnosing a mechanical flaw, writing a better article, or what-have-you.
Japanese people compete too, but the cultural emphasis on politeness leads to a more civil, open-minded discussion of the unfamiliar.


++ Like I said, I don't know the first thing about proper mechanics, but Aumont and Cortes seem like they've succeeded in spite of their delivery. ++
The human body will find the path-of-least-resistance around ANY disharmonious habit.   Randy Johnson won a lot of games early on, leaning backwards and then landing on his heel.
The question is how good they'd be if not fighting themselves on every pitch...

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