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Cycling vs. Pitching (Baseball)(21 posts)

Cycling vs. Pitching (Baseball)jtkirk15
Jun 13, 2002 11:12 AM
A year ago I graduated college where I was a pitcher for the baseball team. I currently pitch now in an adult league. My question is, how similar is cycling to pitching. Bear with me. I am out of shape by your typical measures. I couldn't run a mile in 10 minutes and I get winded walking up a couple flights of stairs. However, I can pitch 9 innings and maintain a fastball in the mid 80's with no problem. I attribute this to having excellent mechanics. So I wonder, how important is mechanics to cycling? I've only been cycling for 4 days/3rides. I don't have clipless pedals. In fact, I have flat pedals and wear tennis shoes. Each of my 3 rides have been about 20 miles with an average speed of 15 mph. Is this good for a beginner? Again, how important is mechanics?
That's great for a beginner....tronracer
Jun 13, 2002 11:19 AM
Here's why you need clipless pedals though: you not only push the pedal, you pull it also with the opposite leg when you wear cleats and clipless pedals. I guess that would partly answer your mechanics question. So averaging 15 mph is great considering you're a beginner. Keep up the good work :-)
That's great for a beginner....jtkirk15
Jun 13, 2002 11:27 AM
Thanks! I really enjoy it thus far. I just dropped a bit over $1k for a Bianchi Campione + accessories so I'm not yet ready to invest in shoes (bike came with Look pedals). I think it would be wise to build up a solid base of miles then go clipless. I was thinking about 500 miles or so. How does that sound? Also, what factors go into "the stroke?" Keep circular? Other stuff? With baseball, if you have mechanics, you use your entire body to take the stress off the arm. Can something similar be done on a bike?
That's great for a beginner....ishmael
Jun 13, 2002 11:38 AM
the mechanics while seated are different from standing obviously. In both cases people use a different cadence(speed) but I dont think either is dicidedly better, its more preferance, but most beginers dont do as many rpms as would be efficient. I think most pros average around 90rpms on flats. People sometimes ride with one foot to realize the full pedal motion, you'll need clipless pedals for that though. Ive seen all kinds of physical movements when it comes to riding beyond obvious cadence speed. Hand positions, bent arms, shape of your back, stuff like that when seated can vary. When standing there's even more variation I think- swinging or rigid, pulling, pushing,holding drop of bar or hood. Its all prefferance, experiment,everyone works differently mechanically but I think it's safe to say that some positions are better for anerobic movement and others aerobic. You'll figure it all out, although even after a couple of years I'm still learning to corner fast and still not sure what works best mechanically.
I pitched through HS...biknben
Jun 13, 2002 12:00 PM
As you know anyone can throw a ball. It is the pitcher that works on the details like mecahnics to sharpen their skills. They work on their motion to increase speed, grip to maximize ball rotation, or release point to sharpen pitch location.

Being new to cycling, you are just playing catch at this point. As you gain fitness and experience you'll improve. To take it to the level that you are at in baseball you'll have to focus on small segments of your riding to keep improving.

Like someone said, pulling up on the pedals rather than just pushing down is something you'll get to soon as you get clipless pedals. There are a ton of ways to make slight advances in cycling. One thing that seperates cycling from pitching is the bike itself. Advanced rider probably spend as much or more time tinkering with the bike than their own mechanics. Different types of equipment can produce different results. Using lightweight versus aero wheels comes to mind right away. Just imagine using a ball with more pronounced seams for a braking pitch and a lighter ball for the fastball.

If you enjoy trying to squeeze every inch of curve out of your breaking ball you should enjoy cycling. You can spend an eternity trying to get everything just right. When you think you've got it another gadget will pop up and make you rethink everything.
Great thread...MXL02
Jun 13, 2002 11:51 AM
and very interesting question. I was a golfer for years and found it to be very difficult because it was such a technique dependent couldn't just muscle one's way through a round. I would often get beat by guys drinking beer and smoking cigarettes, definitely not fit, but they had a great swing and superb mechanics. With cycling, I have found that although there is some technique to the sport, it is a much more fitness related sport.
You are doing well at your stage, but what you will soon realize is that 1) upping your average velocity just 1-2 mph takes alot of conditioning, and 2) no matter what your technique, pushing yourself aerobically, using a HRM, etc, will help increase your speed. Once fit, technique will definitely help, especially with increasing power, endurance, etc. Getting a bike to fit correctly in terms of saddle position, etc. is also very important, especially for endurance.
not the same at allDougSloan
Jun 13, 2002 12:07 PM
Throwing a baseball is much more "mechanics" intensive.

I'd say riding a bike is 99% about getting oxygen to your muscles. Sure, mechanics improves the efficiency and power, but the basics are pretty easy to master.

not the same at allIseemo
Jun 13, 2002 2:06 PM
I'd disagree that cycling's only 1% mechanics/skill (I think that's what you're saying). I believe cycling takes a lot of skill, if done well, and if he's got an appreciation for the skill involved in a sport, he'll have the patience to develop that in cycling. I think transference to cycling after you've been in any competitive sport is always a big plus. (Although, excuse my slam of baseball, but since there are so many fat guys playing it I don't think aerobic training is emphasized too much, so he'll likely have to build on the aerobic part!).
maybe just personal perspectiveDougSloan
Jun 13, 2002 2:10 PM
I can beat everyone down the hill (especially twisties), but everyone beats me up the hill. I'd say the downhill part far more emphasizes skill, and the uphill aerobic fitness. And I'm not even fat :-(
not the same at alljtkirk15
Jun 13, 2002 2:17 PM
I don't want to start a flame war, but it's clear that you've never played baseball. Let me explain some things about pitching so you don't pass on your thoughts about pitchers. Pitching can be done regardless of size. Pedro Martinez is like 5'11 180 and is dominant. David Wells is like 6'3 230 and can be dominant. Each can probably outrun the vast majority of athletes endurance-wise. Pitching often rewards trunk-like legs and waist. The majority of ones velocity come from the legs and trunk. Pitchers (especially in the MLB) run constantly. Pitching is actually very endurance oriented, very exhausting. That's why I think my transition to cycling can be smooth once I get the mechanics down. The sport specific endurance will come. Sometime try to throw 110 pitches as hard as you can and you will see just how tough it is. Even fat guys can do it, but you couldn't!
Jun 13, 2002 2:37 PM
Even good runners can have a hard time making the transition to cycling, and vice versa. The two are far closer than cycling and pitching, wouldn't you say?

Some people may naturally be good at both. In fact, it's probably much more difficult to be a good pitcher than a good cyclist. Heck, even many baseball players could not pitch. I was a catcher. I could zing one by the pitcher's head and land a ball about 3 feet next to second base, but I'll be damned if I could ever strike out a batter.

If you are a natural athlete, you might do well at both. My bet, though, is that normally there would be very little correlation between pitching ability and cycling ability (and if you were talking about a first baseman, even less).


P.S.: I doubt anyone who is 230 pounds could "outrun the vast majority of athletes endurance-wise."
Jun 13, 2002 3:34 PM
I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make it sound like the mechanics in pitching were similar to those involved in cycling. I was aiming more for the idea that pitching becomes relatively easy when the mechanics are mastered, and then perhaps cycling becomes relatively easy when the mechanics in the pedal stroke are mastered. Of course this assumes a given level of athleticism and ability. In no way, shape or form did I mean to suggest I'll have an easy transition. It's been a lot tougher than I imagined, but this makes me want to improve.

As for the 230 pound pitcher, I'll take Roger Clemens, Bartolo Colon, David Wells, etc., any day over your average athlete. Those guys work their tails off. Maybe I should clarify that I didn't mean your average PRO athlete, just your average, every day, Joe Average Athlete.
Jun 13, 2002 4:03 PM
I think you hit the nail right on the head in regards to how pitching and cycling, or any other sport for that matter, become easier with mastery of mechanics. Related to that is the mental toughness required to excel in pitching and cycling. While both are team sports, a pitcher and a cyclist really have draw upon their individual motivation like runners.

As for your clarified statement about Roger Wells' endurance. I honestly believe there isn't a pitcher in the major leagues who is in better cardio condition than your average high school soccer player. Baseball players don't get those guts by working "their tales off."
Jun 13, 2002 5:02 PM
"As for your clarified statement about Roger Wells' endurance. I honestly believe there isn't a pitcher in the major leagues who is in better cardio condition than your average high school soccer player. Baseball players don't get those guts by working "their tales off.""

Now that's just silly. Are there baseball players that are overweight and out of shape? Absolutely. Do you have to be in peak physical condition to be a MLB player. No. Woody Fryman and Mike Fetters come to mind.

I think you'll find, though, that a vast majority of baseball players are in excellent physical condition. Guys like Clemens, Ryan are/were in excellent condition. To say that no MLBer is in shape just isn't true. Are they going to run marathons? No, but a vast majority are conditioned athletes.

I try to play beer leaugue softball and get as many miles in on my bike as much as possible. I get the best of both worlds. :)
still think cycling is not about the mechanicsDougSloan
Jun 13, 2002 8:00 PM
I think you can master the cycling mechanics fairly easily. You sit there and spin the pedals around. It's not that big a deal. What is really, really hard, though, is building strength, getting lots of oxygen to the muscles, and developing the physiology at he cellular level that uses oxygen, fat, and glucose efficiently. You can do that and still be a relative dork in the mechanics department and kick lots of butt, but not vice versa.

I think some people are confusing...Wayne
Jun 14, 2002 4:55 AM
physiologic or biomechanical efficiency, that is producing a certain amount of power per unit of energy consumed vs. the amount of energy you expend to ride the bike as a whole. In the former case, you have the whole spin circles don't mash idea, which I would be extremely surprised if you trained a person and measured their wattage vs. calories in a very controlled setting makes even a measurable difference. That is you wouldn't be any more mechanically or physiologically efficient by learning to spin circles (cycling lore, notwithstanding). But you can learn to be a much more efficient rider by any number of strategies including not braking or maintaining an even pace (not slowing and accelerating, esp. in pack riding situations), carrying your momentum through turns, selecting the right gearing when hitting a hill, being "relaxed" on the bike, etc. all these things and I'm sure many others make you a more efficient bike rider. But not in the sense that the engine itself is more efficient just that you don't use the engine as much!
not the same at allIseemo
Jun 14, 2002 4:22 AM
Not to beat a dead horse again today, but I seem to always get that statement from baseball fanatics, 'you've obviously never played baseball' - but I never get that from other activities/skills I criticize (and I always criticize golf in the same manner - I appreciate the skill, but I don't understand how it's a sport); but I have an ongoing gripe with baseball's standing in the American sport heirarchy, anyway, so I'm quick to criticize.
Since I think I started the fat baseball guy slam (all in good fun) - I certainly didn't intend to say all were overweight - but many are. There are a rare few cyclists that are overweight - if they're competitive on an amateur or professional level. Only sprinters can even be categorized as heavy-set (but that's because that body-type is proficient for sprinting).
Regardless....I still disagree with Doug - there is much skill to this sport of cycling (and it needs to be learned if you plan to do training rides or races - and it sounds like you're a competitive guy who will likely one day want to race). So, have patience, ride many, many miles, do group rides and you'll develop both the skill and the aerobic capacity. I've seen many competitive runners come into the sport that have the aerobic capacity and no skill to go with it - and it's an ugly sight (not to mention dangerous to your group riding buddies). But, as long as they have the patience to try to master the "skill" part - they become excellent cyclists.
re: Cycling vs. Pitching (Baseball)empacher6seat
Jun 13, 2002 4:11 PM
Try comparing, say, an Acura Integra and cat nip. It might be a bit easier!

I think a strong aerobic base is more important for a newbie then proper technique. I mean, if you can spin properly at high rpm's, that's great, but you wont be able to do it for long without being in good shape! As a fellow newbie to this sport, my focus on technique has been pretty minimal. I try not to bounce in the saddle and I practice spinning when I can, and on hills I think about, well, anything except how my legs are feeling at that moment!
Just keep plugging away and getting in those miles and becoming more familiar/comfortable on your bike. Don't forget to have fun!
re: Cycling vs. Pitching (Baseball)jtkirk15
Jun 13, 2002 5:10 PM
The one reason I dislike forums is that some points get missed. Alas, I am used to it, and some good information can be found regardless. Just as in cycling if you have poor aerobic endurance you will fail or do poorly, in baseball if you only have the arm strength of a ten year old, you won't be successful as a collegiate pitcher. Work with me here guys! I simply wanted to know if/of specific mechanics that improve cycling.

Back to pitchers' guts. Not to toot my own horn but the last time I went to a showcase camp we had to do as many situps in 60 seconds as we could. Guess who won out of 160 guys, gut and all. Me! Whereas other guys had 6 packs and were great athletes, they couldn't match my strength in the gut. Don't judge a pitcher by their looks. I know too many pro pitchers to doubt their endurance. Please don't think I'm trying to be like others on this forum by speaking in the first person, it was the only example I had.

While I'm building my endurance, I'd like to have other stuff to work on as I pedal. Any ideas on mechanics or other things I can do while I bike? A pitcher never just throws the ball to build arm strength, he's constantly working on aspects of his delivery (well, the good ones do). Thanks for the response guys!
re: Cycling vs. Pitching (Baseball)von flash
Jun 13, 2002 5:51 PM
just think of spinning in complete circles with no dead spots and plenty of rpm's, 90-110 and build from there. This should get you started in the right direction.
theres more to it than thatishmael
Jun 14, 2002 5:58 AM
I think the true mechanics of riding is figuring out the mechanics of your own body and knowing what you are capable of. I'd think the mechanics of monitoring your own aerobic and anerobic threshold is where the true mechanics of cycling comes into play. Knowing when you can or should push hard and when to recover. Knowing how to do this while on a course with varying terrain is probably the most complex aspect of the sport. these decisions can make or break a performance.
Back to the cadence issue, maybe you arent a spinner and like to mash the pedals more, some do. But, the pedal stroke and finding out which works for you isnt too complex and likely will present itself quickly.