The complicated windmill motion has many coaches concerned with shoulder injuries where others believe that the natural motion and use of the hips keeps pitchers safe from shoulder overuse injuries. When the hips and shoulders work together, hips supply the power to protect the shoulder.
Can you locate the largest muscles in the body?
You should immediately think about the muscles above the knee and below the navel. Every powerful motion in sports is generated from the muscles attached to the hips.
Proper hip rotation in time with the shoulder rotation is the best way to protect the shoulder so the hips are taking on most of the load. At the start of the pitch, the hips should open during the stride using hip external rotation. On the landing, the knee should be flexed to load hamstrings. The pitching arm should be in external rotation with palm up / elbow down.
The hamstrings pull to straighten the knee and accelerate hips from external rotation position back to neutral quickly. The glutes assist the hamstring in the hip rotation.
Hip rotation transfers through the core to bring the torso back into neutral position. This motion also brings the shoulder back into neutral position. With a relaxed arm, the arm will accelerate through the down phase and release with minimal effort from the shoulder muscles.
Achieving this motion
Proper hip and shoulder rotation requires:
Hip and shoulder flexibility
Shoulder and hip stabilization
Hip Internal and external strength
Following the softball pitcher specific workout that comes with the CoachataClick mini loop bands and grip trainer target all areas required to achieve proper hip-shoulder motion.