Before we begin, it is important to understand where this study originated from. Over the past few weeks/months, quite a few of our players have made colossal strides with velocity improvement. Like a few other programs out there, a part of our program calls for maximum effort, run and gun (crow hop) throwing efforts. Often after a break out day, players want to immediately hop on a mound and find out what that translates to. Depending on where arm conditioning and progression through our system is at, this is the last thing we want to allow. This prompted the question, what does this translate to? Which in turn yielded all kinds of qualifying questions that led to this post.
So the big question is, if I can max effort crow hop X velocity, what will that mean on the mound? Mechanical efficiency plays a role and is not really able to calculated at this point but we looked at what was, and if there was a correlation.
Data points were collected from 35 high school and collegiate players, ranging from 15 to 20 years old. We looked at the top velocity recorded from crow hop throws and the top velocity recorded off the mound. This is what we found.
The average velocity lost from crow hop to mound was -4.1 mph. Approximately 65% of throwers fell within 1 mph of this differential. The highest loss of velocity was -7 mph with the lowest being 0 mph. From here, a new question was derived. Was there a correlation among the throwers that we could manipulate to eliminate some of the bigger differentials? Specifically, we looked at Body Mass vs Height utilizing the Body Mass Index( for reference, people with a higher BMI or Body Mass Index are heavier for their height, conversely lower BMI means you are lighter for your height). This is where things got very interesting.
Looking at the trends in our data we selected two categories. Pitchers that have a Body Mass Index of 25.5 or higher, and pitchers with a Body Mass Index under 25.5. Here's the data!
Pitchers with a BMI of under 25.5 lost an average of 5.48 mph from crow hop to mound velocity.
Pitchers with a BMI of 25.5 or over lost an average of 3.15 mph from crow hop to mound velocity.
Lastly, players were far less likely to have a differentiation above 5.5 mph( 6 pitchers <25.5 vs 2 pitchers >25.5)
While there is always exceptions to every rule, players that carry more mass for their height tend to translate more of their maximal effort throws into mound velocity. That being said, I am sure there is a cap on how much mass is too much, but we don't have the data to present any reliable findings. So for most of you, the real takeaway is--if you aren't eating while reading this article, you should be!
For more personalized velocity instruction,
contact John Snelten at firstname.lastname@example.org