The following are sequences of photographs of Paul’s pitching mechanics from three different angles. The photos are from spring training games and were taken by Mr. Kenneth Carr of Cleveland, Ohio.
The first sequence is viewed from a location behind first base and this angle allows a clear view of Paul’s back. From this view, most of the elements of the long, loose arm swing are very clear. This view also provides the best angle to see how Paul’s weight is controlled. Using this viewing angle, a coach can recognize the player that is getting his weight to the front side too early and consequently isn’t achieving a strong launch position.
The second sequence is viewed from a location behind third base and this angle shows a clear view of Paul’s chest. From this view, the hands are in view and the start of the action is very clear. In addition to the hand break and early arm action, the player’s eyes can be seen to determine if he is consistently looking at the target throughout the throwing motion. This view is also very useful in determining whether the player is lifting or swinging his lead leg to start the throwing motion. The 3rd base view is important to determine how softly the player is landing on his front leg.
The third sequence of pictures is viewed from the front and slightly to the 3rd base side of home plate. This view provides the best opportunity to determine the arm slot that is being used to throw the baseball and allows the spin of the ball and movement on the throws to be seen the best. In addition, this home plate viewing angle allows the closed or open condition of the upper and lower body to be determined. The upper body tilt away from vertical is best seen from this angle and the energy developed from rotation is best determined by viewing the player from the front. The last item that can be best evaluated from the front view is the length of the finish of the arm swing.
View From First Base
AT THE START THERE GOOD FLEX IN THE BACK LEG, LIFT OF THE LEAD LEG, SHOULDERS SQUARE TO THE TARGET AND EYES ON THE TARGET.
THE HANDS SEPARATE EARLY WITH THE THUMBS DOWN AND WITH THE WEIGHT STAYING BACK RATHER THAN DRIVING FORWARD. THE HIPS AND SHOULDERS START SLIGHTLY OVER-CLOSED TO THE TARGET.
THE REVERSE ARM SWING CONTINUES IN A SMOOTH ARC WITH THE THROWING HAND ON TOP OF THE BALL. THE UPPER AND LOWER BODY STAY CLOSED TO THE TARGET AND WEIGHT STAYS BACK, AIDED BY THE UPWARD BODY TILT.
WHEN THE STRIDE FOOT IS ABOUT TO LAND THE BODY IS SQUARE TO THE TARGET, THE HIPS ARE LEVEL, THE SHOULDERS ARE TILTED, THE WEIGHT IS HELD BACK AND THE THROWING ELBOW IS EVEN OR ABOVE THE SHOULDER WITH THE BALL ABOVE THE HEAD AND PALM POINTED BACK. THE LEAD ELBOW IS THE “SIGHT” PAUL USES TO AIM THE BALL AT THE PLATE.
A HARD TURN LED BY THE HIPS AND FOLLOWED BY THE SHOULDERS CAUSES THE ARM TO ROTATE IN THE SHOULDER SOCKET, THE KEY TO WHIPPING THE BALL TOWARD THE TARGET.
THE ARM WHIP COUPLED WITH THE SHOULDER ROTATION MAXIMIZES THE RELEASE VELOCITY OF THE BALL AND A BEND IN THE FRONT LEG HELPS PROVIDE FOR A LONG FINISH FOR THE ARM.
A MAXIMAL EFFORT THROWING ACTION REQUIRES A LONG FINISH OF THE THROWING ARM, OUTSIDE THE LEAD LEG, TO HELP REDUCE THE STRESS ON THE ARM AND SHOULDER.
COMPLETION OF THE MAXIMAL EFFORT THROWING ACTION IS SHOWN BY THE CONTINUATION AND FOLLOW THROUGH OF THE HARD ROTATION. SOME PITCHERS STIFFEN THE FRONT LEG AFTER RELEASE TO REDUCE THE SPIN OFF.
View From Third Base
A BALANCED START TO THE THROWING ACTION SHOWS A CLOSED LOWER AND UPPER BODY, FLEX IN THE BACK LEG AND UPWARD TILT TO THE SHOULDERS.
THE GLOVE HAND AND THROWING HAND SEPARATE EARLY AND START THUMBS DOWN. THE WEIGHT STAYS BACK AIDED BY THE UPWARD TILT.
AS THE RELAXED ARM SWING, BALL LEADING THE ACTION, CONTINUES IN A SMOOTH ARC, THE HEEL OF THE FOOT IS TAKEN TOWARD HOME PLATE. THE REVERSE ARM SWING AND THE LEAD ELBOW STAY IN LINE WITH THE SHOULDERS.
THE MAXIMUM EFFORT LOWER BODY TURN IS NEARLY COMPLETE AS THE ARM IS BEGINNING TO ROTATE IN THE SHOULDER SOCKET. THE HIPS REMAIN LEVEL AND THE UPPER BODY REMAINS VERTICAL AS THE UPPER BODY TURN BEGINS.
A COMBINATION OF SHOULDER FLEXIBILITY AND STRENGTH IS REQUIRED TO ALLOW FULL EXTERNAL ROTATION IN THE SHOULDER SOCKET. THE UPPER BODY HAS NOT COMPLETED ROTATION WITH THE ARM IN FULL EXTERNAL ROTATION.
THE MAXIMUM VELOCITY, FULL EXTENSION RELEASE IS DEVELOPED FROM A MAXIMAL ROTATION EFFORT BY THE UPPER BODY. THE IDEAL ARM SLOT IS A THREE-QUARTER DELIVERY AS SET BY THE SHOULDER LINE.
THE THROWING ARM TRAVELS OUTSIDE THE LEAD LEG AS THE FINISH OF THROWING ACTION CONTINUES. THE BACK LEG IS PULLED FORWARD BY THE HARD ROTATION.
THE ARM FOLLOWS THE LONGEST PATH POSSIBLE TO REDUCE THE DECELERATION FORCE ON THE ARM AND MOVE THE FORCE TO THE LARGE MUSCLES OF THE BACK. THE BENT FRONT LEG IS IMPORTANT TO MAXIMIZE THE LENGTH OF THE FINISH OF THE ARM SWING.
View From Home Plate (3RD Base Side)
THE THROWING ACTION BEGINS WITH A CLOSED UPPER AND LOWER BODY. EYES ARE ON THE TARGET FROM THE START.
THE HANDS BREAK EARLY AND START THUMBS DOWN. THE BODY REMAINS CLOSED TO THE TARGET AS THE STRIDE BEGINS.
THE BODY CONTINUES OVER-CLOSED TO THE TARGET AS THE ARM SWING STAYS IN LINE WITH THE BODY. THE HEEL OF THE LEAD FOOT IS TAKEN TO THE TARGET.
THE WEIGHT STAYS BACK AND THE UPPER AND LOWER BODY STAY CLOSED AS THE STRIDE CONTINUES. THE REVERSE ARM SWING DOES NOT GO BEHIND THE BACK.
THE HEEL OF THE LEAD FOOT IS TAKEN TO THE TARGET AND AGAIN THE REVERSE ARM SWING DOES NOT GO BEHIND THE BACK EVEN WHEN THE UPPER BODY IS OVER-CLOSED.
AS THE STRIDE FOOT IS ABOUT TO LAND THE LOWER AND UPPER BODY ARE STILL CLOSED TO THE TARGET. (NOTE THAT THE EYES HAVE NEVER LEFT THE TARGET).
THE HIPS LEAD THE UPPER BODY IN ROTATION. FULL EXTERNAL ROTATION OF THE ARM IN THE SHOULDER SOCKET IS TYPICAL OF ALL HARD THROWERS.
THE IDEAL ARM SLOT IS THREE-QUARTERS FOR THE OPTIMAL COMBINATION OF VELOCITY AND ACCURACY. THIS ARM SLOT IS DETERMINED BY THE SHOULDER LINE.
Paul was clocked at 100 mph on a few occasions in the big leagues. He was generally classified as having one of the “best arms” on the Cleveland Indians staff as well as in the major leagues. I have put the term “best arms” in quotes, because I believe the term is a misnomer. It is our assertion that a “great arm” requires great technique that utilizes a tremendously strong and quick lower body. Players with “great arms” are blessed with outstanding shoulder flexibility and fast twitch arm muscles, but the ability to generate rotational energy in the lower half of the body and then translate that energy from the lower half to the upper half really determines the “great arm.” All truly hard throwers possess extremely powerful legs and midsections and utilize these major muscle groups to the maximum when they accelerate the baseball.