Pitcher rants on Twitter, ugh

So the other day, as I’m scanning through my Twitter feed, I noticed a pitcher (who had some success in college) sent a tweet that struck me odd. I’m not a big fan of broad generalizations, to begin with, and the tweet seemed to be a rant about a pitching style that is called ‘hello elbow’. The style, made popular by Doug and Jenny Finch, can be helpful, at times, in keeping girls from chicken winging their elbow out and rolling their wrists as they are releasing their pitch. This finish-high training aid can help to create less torsion (or pull) on the shoulder and less stress on the elbow joint if the pitcher is not keeping the elbow tight to the body on release. I probably would not have replied if it were just that single tweet, but I saw other college pitchers (that also had a bit of success) liking it.

I felt compelled to quickly reply with a video showing the great Cat Osterman releasing her pitch with a very, very high elbow. By the way, Cat has one of the nastiest drop balls on the planet, hmmm… I wonder why?

softball-pitching-tweet-rant

I felt compelled to quickly reply with a video showing the great Cat Osterman releasing her pitch with a very, very high elbow. By the way, Cat has one of the nastiest drop balls on the planet, hmmm… I wonder why?

The simple fact that two of the best pitchers to ever throw in the game of fastpitch softball, Jenny Finch and Cat Osterman, have either delivered pitches (at times) with a high elbow, or they have instructed young pitchers to utilize this (depending on what pitch they are throwing) points me in the direction that, at least for some girls, a high elbow may have a place. The reality that both of these softball pitchers have at one point or another utilized this style of a high elbow finish (in fact, see image!), and both have gold medals in the USA Olympics and are in the record books time and time again. Isn’t that a reason by itself to not totally discredit it, or at least, not rant against it? Don’t misunderstand me. I do not teach “hello elbow”, but I also do not lock all girls into a single pitching style where they cannot finish with a high elbow either. Outside of the safe fundamental mechanics, there is room for individual style and uniqueness.

What did I reply?

I simply stated that all girls are different. Some girls, especially when they’re very young, will benefit from something as pneumonic and straightforward as the phrase ‘finish high’ to alleviate a bad habit that is forming or even work on a more advanced version of the peel drop. In this situation, this effort could help keep them from potentially damaging their shoulder when they’re throwing a pitch. All girls are different physically! Again, beyond the core fundamentals that keep a girl’s pitching mechanics efficient and safe, they should be allowed to make these explosive pitching motions and finishes somewhat their own, especially when two of the greatest fastpitch softball spin pitchers to ever play the game are doing and recommending it on occasion.

2 thoughts on “Pitcher rants on Twitter, ugh”

  1. It’s clear you don’t actually understand “Hello Elbow.”

    Neither Osterman nor Finch pitched this way (because it’s wrong).

    What’s worse: Hello Elbow is how you destroy your shoulder. It’s absolutely not safer.

    I strongly encourage you to actually learn what people are criticizing with Hello Elbow. Then look at how all the elite pitchers pitch. You’ll see not a single one of them uses it (a few, like Finch, use the false finish that might look like she’s using it).

    1. You misunderstood. The post is not about “Hello Elbow”, but more about the dangers of broad generalizations. And frankly, I’ve spent more hours studying elite pitchers than I’d like to admit.

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