By his own evaluation, Dr. Tom House “wasn’t a real good big-league pitcher.” After his playing days, however, he became a maverick of the sports science world: As a pitching coach for the Astros, Padres, and Rangers, House developed unorthodox methods that are today seen as the basis of modern pitching mechanics.
House has also trained several notable NFL quarterbacks, starting with Drew Brees and including Dak Prescott, Matt Ryan, and, most famously, Tom Brady.
Below is an excerpt from our conversation with Dr. House:
How do you approach throwing from a scientific perspective?
When I first got into pro ball, people just told you to do something without explaining why. They just said, “That’s the way it’s always been done. If it was good enough for Sandy Koufax or Babe Ruth, it’s good enough for you, shut up and do it.” I think it’s out there that I’m kind of like the father of modern pitching mechanics. We started identifying movement at high speeds, rather than just guessing what our eyes would see.
How did you get into coaching quarterbacks?
Wherever I went as a pitching coach, we always threw a football as part of our preparation and/or recovery from a game. I had been working with [former Chargers OC] Cam Cameron’s kids who were baseball players. He asked me to take on Drew Brees as a client, and when he hurt his shoulder, I got involved with the rehab. When he signed with the Saints, he put up some pretty good numbers in a hurry. The quarterback world is a real small fraternity, so because of Drew and his success, all of a sudden other quarterbacks started showing up.
One of those other QBs was Tom Brady. What was that relationship like?
The second season I was working with Brady, we were walking by Belichick’s office and Bill called us both in. He said “Tom House, tell me why you think I should keep Tom Brady and not trade him. Because everybody’s telling me he’s reaching the end of his career.” I think he was 34 or 35. With Tom sitting next to me, I said, “Well we’ve proven that if you pay attention to process and the right things, there’s no reason you can’t be productive into your mid-40s.” So, obviously, I had the easy job: I just threw it out there and Brady committed to the work. I think the rest kind of speaks for itself.
Read the full interview here.
— Doug Greenberg