Analyzing Arm Slot: The Myths

May 11, 2010 at 2:26 pm 1 comment

This is going to be a little series on a pretty important part of pitching mechanics, arm slot.  In this piece I’m going to tell what an arm slot is, the rumors of arm slot, and how to properly obtain a decent (if not great) arm slot.

What is arm slot?

Arm slot in lay mans terms is the angle of your arm that you throw with.  In slightly more complicated terms, your arm slot is the angle at which you pitch from in relation to your body and typically comes in one of four varieties:  side, 3/4, overhand, and submarine.

Now as with most pitching aspects, conceptually this is simple.  However, there are rumors that cause pitchers to take an improper arm slot.

Lets dis spell the rumors.

Common arm slot rumors

  1. An arm slot is a natural position and shouldn’t be changed. This one is easily dispelled.  Nothing about the act of pitching is in anyway natural.  You can try to make a motion and delivery as smooth as possible but it most certainly is never natural.  Another way to dispell this rumor is that if arm slot was indeed natural, no pitcher would, or could, change arm slot.  Each position is different, provides different advantages, and to even throw submarine you should have a special instructor.  Special instructors hardly equal “natural.”
  2. Proper arm slot is created by bending the elbow. Arm slot is never achieved with the elbow.  It is always achieved by the shoulders.  Throw side arm, the shoulders should be flat.  Throw at 3/4, the shoulders should be tilted to a 45 degree angle.  Throw overhand, guess what?  The shoulders should be tilted be parallel with the rest of your torso.  With those three slots the elbow should always be a little be below the shoulder, even with a side arm slot.

Now I say this in practically everything I write, but it’s true across the board when practicing improper pitching mechanics.  Improper arm slot increases injury risk.  Not by leaps and bounds like other poor practices, but if loading rates are not properly maintained joints such as the elbow and shoulder can become overloaded.  Overloading causes injury.

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Entry filed under: Terminology. Tags: , .

Coming to Terms: Loading Rate Analyzing PitchF/X: Rick Porcello

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