The 7 Secrets of World Class Athletes   Get your copy of Steven Yellin and Buddy Biancalana's new book:
The 7 Secrets of World Class Athletes

• Order Online
• Read Reviews

Every athlete has his “what ifs.”

Mine came after the 1985 World Series, when I played shortstop for the World Champion Kansas City Royals...

George Brett -
Baseball Hall of Fame

"I spent three hours with Buddy on the golf driving range. It was an extraordinary experience. I am a 5 handicap golfer and I have a fairly consistent swing. But after working with Buddy and his program, my game went to another level. I was hitting the ball further with less effort and making more solid contact with the ball. Even some shots I normally had problems with were corrected and became more consistent."

Dr. Fred Travis On How
Fluid Motion is Created in the Mind

Dr. Fred Travis Talks About
EEG Coherence and Putting

Instructional Videos
Available to Members
Paul Azinger Recommends
7 Secrets Book to Tiger

Buddy Biancalana's Success
with Seattle Mariner Pitcher

Former Major Leaguer
Buddy Biancalana On How
To Prevent Sports Injuries

Baseball Prospectus Article
on Buddy Biancalana

Royals' Davies credits
mental training with Biancalana
for his September success

'Getting out of your own way'

The Subtle Science of Pitching

By Steven Yellin and Buddy Biancalana

There are a few keys to pitching effectively–effortless power, fewer working parts, repetitive motion and balance.

Effortless power comes not only from correct mechanics, but also just as importantly and maybe even more importantly, from the quality of all the muscles during the process. Watching a good pitcher is like watching a repetitive motion machine–doing essentially the same thing over and over again. But it is looking inside the machine where it gets interesting. Everyone is marveling at the same motion, but they can't see that the inner life of the muscles is the real key to the motion, not the motion itself.

It is the quality of the muscles during the whole process that gives a pitcher the edge–all the muscles, not just the ones in his fingers, wrist, arms and shoulders. If the muscles are not completely loose everywhere in his body, they will take away from the effectiveness of the muscles in the wrists and other key places. You can't have one set of muscles going one way, not super-supple, and another set of muscles going another way, very supple. Loss of power happens when this occurs.

But of course everyone knows that being loose is a crucial part of effective pitching — probably the most crucial part. The only problem is that you can't turn looseness on and off like a faucet. If you could, then every pitcher would probably only have good days and we know that doesn't happen. You have to look under the surface level for the hidden switches.

When you do look under the hood, you will see where effortless power comes from. Effortless power means just that — it doesn’t look like much is going on, but enormous speed is being generated. For that you need LOLA always by your side — LOLA is the Law Of Least Action. She gives you that effortless power. When effortless power is there, guaranteed, control will be there as well. The two go hand in hand and probably can’t go anywhere without the other following right behind.

Of course the origin of the whole process is in the mind, but many pitching coaches have missed this. There is no such thing as muscle memory because the muscles can't remember on their own; they remember from processes taking place in the mind. When the mind has fewer working parts during a game, the motion will reflect this, and it will have fewer working parts.

Fewer working parts are a pitcher's best friend. It reflects that his motion is fluid and effortless, the real key to power and control. Fewer working parts means everything is working in synchrony with everything else. If any part of the body during the motion is doing anything more than necessary, that will detract proportionally from the effectiveness of the pitch. But you can't tell someone to have fewer working parts; that has to be a by-product of something else. If you don't have that secret, then it becomes a hit and miss affair that will drive pitching coaches crazy. “He had his stuff last time, where the heck did it go today.”

Repetitive motion does not come from muscles memory. This is the biggest intellectual mistake coaches make. But because it is the only paradigm they have, what can they do? If you are working with a hammer, all you can do is bang in nails. You don't find repetitive motion, it finds you. It creeps up on you on certain days and disappears just as quickly on others. And it may be the minutest aspect of the motion that is not being repeated and that detail completely misses everyone’s attention. It may be the quality of the muscles during the motion that is not being repeated, not the surface obvious aspect of the motion itself. For that, you need a different set of eyes, a different understanding of where motion originates and certainly a different set of drills to fix.

This is the knowledge we have.

© PMPM Sports