Russ Burroughs: Former pro LHP - Instructor at 2 SN camps

 

 

https://youtu.be/rutxjszUMYA

 

https://youtu.be/7V40G5eVVxs

 

1. Could you tell us your story on dropping down?

I first started throwing sidearm in 2014 during the middle of the season.  I was having some control issues over-the-top.  My manager put me on the DL and told me that I had ten days to figure my stuff out or I was going to be released.  That was when I decided to throw sidearm.

 2. What are some of the advantages you had from your arm angle?

The biggest advantage I have is being left handed.  Now I could be used as a true lefty on lefty specialist.  I tried to setup as far to the 1st base side of the rubber as possible so that my arm angle would actually be behind the left-handed hitter.  It would give the illusion that I was throwing either behind or right at him. 

 3. If you didn't drop down, do you think you would have had the same success?

I wish that I would have dropped down earlier in my career.  Honestly, I wish I would have started throwing sidearm in High-School.  I threw hard from the top, but the consistency and control wasn’t there.  When I switched to sidearm it was much more natural and the control was there.

 4. What would you tell someone debating on changing their arm angle?

Anyone that wants to change their arm angle I would tell them that it’s a lifestyle change.  It is a way of life.  You have to embrace the weirdness.  Also, 99% of people will not be able to help your mechanics.  It is up to you and you have to do what feels right for your body.

 

  5. Are there any mechanical tips that you'd give to someone throwing sidearm/submarine?

The single biggest advice I can give for sidearm mechanics are to keep your chest down.  The hardest thing for me was to keep my chest down and not allowing my chest to fly open.  Also, try to feel as if you are in a hallway, you want your entire body to stay straight thru the hallway.  If your body goes outside of that hallway then you have momentum going away from where you want the ball to go. 0-100 momentum straight from the mound to the plate.

6. What pitches did you throw?

As a specialist and setup guy I didn’t need a lot of pitches.  I had 3 pitches; fastball, sinker, and slider.  The only time I ever really used my fastball was if I need to pinpoint a get me over pitch.  I stick to mainly sinker and slider.  I topped out at 87mph.  I didn’t need to throw my fastball, as I was not a strikeout pitcher.  I wanted to pitch to contact so I stuck with my two pitches with the most movement.

 7. How did you pitch to lefties/righties?

The later part of my career I was seeing more hitters from both sides.  So now that I was not just a lefty specialist I had to learn to pitch to both hitters.  What I found out was that the more I threw inside to righties the harder it was for them to hit.  I break more right-handed hitter’s bats than I do left-handed hitters bats.  I would stick to hard in and soft away for righties to get them off balance and uncomfortable in the box.  With lefties, I would go soft in and hard away.  The main thing I watch for is the hitter’s tendencies.  You can tell a lot about how a hitter just by his stance and how he swings at the previous pitches.  I will study each hitter to determine the best type of pitch and location to throw.

8. What was your favorite part about pitching from down there?

 The best thing about throwing sidearm was that it saved my career.  It allowed me to continue to play and to live out my dream as a professional athlete.  Another great thing about throwing sidearm is that we are unique.  Everyone looks at you differently and its almost people are mesmerized at how you are able to throw.  Pitchers from over-the-top are a dime a dozen, but pitchers who throw differently will stick out to everyone.