The Law of Opposites

Anyone who has seen the Ben Stiller movie Mystery Men probably remembers the part in the middle where the wannabe heroes meet up with their “spiritual guru” — the vaguely Native American guy who offers to take them under his wing. Like the typical mystical guy in these types of movies he is constantly making cryptic quotes. At one point Stiller finally calls him on it, saying there’s nothing profound in what he says. He simply says that to do one thing you must first do the opposite, like to become strong you must first become weak.

While that is just a bit in the movie, it definitely has an application in pitching. I call it the Law of Opposites. Essentially, it states that in order to perform any movement pitch, you need to take your body in the opposite direction from the way you want the ball to move.

There’s nothing new per se in this idea. For example, pretty much everyone teaches that to throw a curve ball the pitcher should step across the power line. What’s new here is a way of explaining it so it makes more sense, especially to youth players. In my experience they seem to be able to grasp the concept better as a universal law rather than a separate set of instructions for each pitch.

According to the Law of Opposites:



  • To make the ball go left (as in a curve ball from a right handed pitcher) you must first go right.

  • To make the ball go right, (as in a screwball from a right handed pitcher) you must first go left.

  • To make the ball go down, you must first go up (get on top of the drop ball).

  • To make the ball go up, you must first go down (get under the rise ball).

Simple, isn’t it? Yet by showing the opposites relationship on all pitches, it seems to make it easier for kids to understand. There’s just a core logic there that helps.

I’ve been getting good results with the Law of Opposites. And it allows me to walk around like the Mystery Men guru, sounding wise. What could be better?

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