You have all heard me talk about mechanical repeatability. How the most successful athletes are the ones who repeat proper mechanics more often then anyone else. These athletes seem to have greater control over their body then do most people. They seem to repeat their mechanics with greater ease and effortlessness then do athletes with lesser abilities. What allows them to do this?
Control over one’s head is probably the most important and most overlooked aspect of mechanics in any athletic movement. Hitting, pitching, fielding, running, whatever movement you are trying to perform you will be able to perform the mechanics much easier if you are able to have a stable head. We spend so much time on the different aspects of mechanics but we rarely spend any time working on keeping the head stable. In my experience I have found that in many cases stabilizing the head of an athlete takes care of many of the athlete’s mechanical issues and their ability to repeat those mechanics.
Think of your head as a big bowling ball sitting on top of your body. With this weight sitting on top of your body it has the ability to direct what the rest of the body does. When the head moves the body always follows. In hitting for example: if the head tilts to the side the shoulders will follow the head. As a result the bat will follow the shoulders causing the swing to lengthen out. In pitching it’s the same thing. Many times athletes try and throw harder by jerking their head to the side producing more effort. The problem is when the athlete jerks their head the body pulls to the side with it. The end result is the pitcher is not able to get the most behind their pitch. While the pitcher placed more effort into that particular pitch they will end up with a worse result.
Head stability is especially important in any sport that is rotational. Hitting and throwing are obviously rotation in nature. In order to rotate the body to it’s maximum speed the body needs an axis to spin around. The head acts as this axis. If the head is stable it allows the body to rotate faster. If however, the head moves forward, back, or side to side the athlete’s rotation will be slowed and they will not be able to produce the results they desire.
If you are having trouble repeating your mechanics check your head. Focus on keeping your head as still and as straight as possible and you will be surprised at how easy it becomes to repeat your mechanics. Head stability will enable you to repeat your mechanics more often and rotate faster. It’s often overlooked but probably the most important aspect of all athletic mechanics. Stabilize your head and your results will improve.