In one of the best articles that I have read on sports in general in a long time, The Wall Street Journal published a piece about the similarities in mechanics between pitching in baseball and quarterbacking in football. And the similarities are absolutely eerie.
I’m not an expert by any means, but I pitched in high school and studied my mechanics to the point of obsessing upon them. Even then, I didn’t come anywhere close to perfect mechanics, but I sure can pick out good pitching mechanics. As a result, when I coached a little league football team, I instructed the quarterback of the team in a throwing motion similar to pitching a baseball. Obviously the big difference is that a pitcher can take longer to get rid of the ball than a quarterback can (quick release is absolutely essential), but that aside, everything is the same. I thought that the variation of throwing off a mound when compared to throwing off a flat surface might make the throws mechanically different. Fortunately, I was teaching my quarterback the right things.
Everything from keeping the front side closed, leading with the hips, keeping the upper body loose, and driving with the legs is almost completely the same. The throwing stroke–the position where the arm is locked through the delivery of the pitch/pass–is the same. And NFL quarterbacks are flocking to a pitching coach who had eight years of major league experience for advice on how to improve their mechanics.
Guys mentioned in the article are Tom Brady, Carson Palmer, Alex Smith, and even Drew Brees and Tom Brady are coming to Tom House to learn how to perfect their craft. He has even gotten some of these QBs to deliver the ball with more velocity through better mechanics.
This is how I think this could affect the Falcons. I sincerely hope that Matt Ryan has the correct mechanics when getting to the locked position and delivering the football. I have no doubt that he does. It only behooves him, the team, and the entire organization to have these mechanics. As a former pitcher, Ryan will certainly understand the importance of these mechanics. I’m sure he is continuing to improve those mechanics, in addition to his bulking up with will definitely allow him to deliver the ball with more velocity to his receivers.
I think it is very interesting the connection and similarities in throwing motions for quarterbacks and pitchers. I once thought they were vastly different, but only knew one way to teach the art of the throw. As it turns out, that ‘art’ is more similar than most of us ever imagined.