Sunday, March 14, 2010

Giving it the thumbs up.

So there's been all of one grand move in free agency today. Jake Delhomme, the much maligned QB formerly of the Carolina Panthers has been picked up by the Cleveland Browns. The fact that this makes the Browns a better team is..... scary. More so if you're a Browns fan. But something even more interesting (to me at least) happened today. I decided to take my new Wilson NFL Tackified Composite Ball (which I can't recommend highly enough!) out for a test run with a friend who, to be generous, can't throw for %£$@. But at first I didn't get it. I walked him through all the motions, everything, and he seemed to be getting it all down and in place, but he was still throwing what could best be described as a Power sliding pass. I just could not figure it out. So I stood next to him and had him grip the ball. Then I showed him my grip. Then looked at his again. And Vice Versa. And then something clicked. Just for one last time I asked him to hold the ball, then compared it to my own grip. And then I was sure. I made one very minor adjustment to his grip, stood back, and watched a nice(ish) spiral come flying towards me. And all I did, was move his thumb down a little. And it struck me as odd. How often do you ever hear a coach talk about the placement of the thumb, other than just a cursory word or two about it? And yet it has such an important part to play in how the ball is gripped, how power is delivered into the ball and how you are able to move your wrist, both during and just after the throw. I really was stunned at just how minor this change was and yet how much of an effect it had on his throw. All that was happening was his thumb was too close to the tip, so as the ball came over the top, the tendency was for his hand to come over the top slightly palm forward and end up pushing the ball away like a shot putter as opposed to being slung away gracefully as if from a sling. All that was required to remedy the situation was to lower his thumb a little so that there was a distinct Ninety or so degree angle between the thumb and the index finger. And it got me wondering, how many others suffer the same problem purely because of this? Just remember, next time you see a ball leaving someones hand sideways, think about the thumbs!! Nice short one today. But tomorrow I'll take on the unenviable task of trying to convince you that expensive tickets, beer and programs are all in your own interest. Have a nice day everyone.

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