After 5 years of yelling at my 11 year old to throw over the top I have conceded. I told him to throw however it felt comfortable and this is what we get. He threw about 50 pitches on this outing and was adamant that everything felt great, better in fact than when I make him throw over the top.
I have some questions:
- Is this a true sidearm delivery? I've never really started breaking it down until this week.
- Are his mechanics solid enough to reduce (i know there is no precluding) injury?
- If he is a sidearm, where is a good resource for training exercises? I did a small search on this site already.
- Any advice? I feel like i am out of my league here.
This is my first time posting. Thanks for all the advice already!
Sorry if you viewed this and the link didn't work. I think I got it now!
Your boy is a sidearmer, and he looks like a good one for his age & size. As he grows and develops, if you and others don't discourage him from it, he could become a very good pitcher with his sidearm delivery.
Constant pressure to change his natural sidearm delivery will do him no good whatsoever, in my opinion--it seems to be an oft-repeated mistake made by untrained dads, youth coaches, and peers who think that 3/4 is the only release point, because that's all they ever see in their limited experience. Truth be told, constant exposure and training on pitches released from a consistent 3/4 arm-slot actually favors hitters--you hit best that which you are used to hitting.
Here's some video of a pitcher your son can use as a touchstone:
There are many other good ones, but they tend to be more apparent at the upper levels of baseball, where coaches better understand the full range of pitching deliveries and how to make use of them.
Here's another clip that may be worth your while to look at...
I know it's a goofy clip, but it attempts to put some issues about arm-slot in perspective, without a bunch of technical detail and lectures.
Thanks for the quick reply and there will be no more discouragement. I was using "conventional wisdom" this whole time and feel like a horrible dad. He had a great time throwing and I saw he currently has about 40 good pitches in him befoe fatigue sets in.
Time for me to hit the research books. I don't really have many side slinger coaching options here in my town. My main concern, as I stated, is his health.
Man, thanks again. Great news!
Here's another pitcher you and your son might want to have a look at...only the most feared RHP of his day:
Are his mechanics solid enough to reduce (i know there is no precluding) injury?
There is no "special" threat of arm injury to a sidearm pitcher. In fact, kids who try to please coaches that tell them to "get the elbow up" and "throw over the top" may be at greater risk than kids who simply throw with whatever release point comes naturally and feels right to them. The reason being: An accomodating kid who tries to blindly follow the "get the elbow up" advice may very well go too far--there is good scientific research to show that a pitching delivery in which the elbow actually gets higher than the plane of the shoulders (the acromial line) can be a big problem.
If he is a sidearm, where is a good resource for training exercises? I did a small search on this site already.
There is no special training/conditioning for sidearm pitchers that I am aware of. Depending on his true level of interest in pitching, start getting him involved with consistent strength training that is appropriate to his age/development level. For kids at 11 - 13 yo, this would usually mean isometric work like prone holds, that strengthen the shoulder and subscapular muscle groups, regular push-ups and "triceps pushups" to tolerance, cariocas without weight....that sort of thing. Most coaches don't recommend weight training until after puberty...after 13-14 yo, there is plenty of good stuff for dedicated conditioning and training of pitchers in Tom House's books.
- Any advice?"
Gonna sound trite, but have fun with him and let him keep it fun right now. Any conditioning work he does at this age will be inherently boring, compared to pitching, so you can help with that by doing the work right alongside of him. My kid used to laugh uncontrollably at my feeble attempts to stay in a prone hold for longer than about 1 minute...anyone who has done them will know why.
If you are able to swing it financially, look into spending a week of your summer vacation in Los Angeles at the USC campus where both you and your son can have your lives changed at one of Tom House's pitching clinics. He's the best in the business, IMO, and it's always a wonder to me that pee-wees like your son can get the same quality of hands-on training from Tom that his numerous pro clients get.
If you want to learn about more conventional wisdom, check out Tom House's book, Arm Action, Arm Path and the Perfect Pitch: Building the Million Dollar Arm. It's a good read. You can find it on the
or on Amazon.com (I believe).
Just to chime in on your question about specific ways to train a sidearm pitcher.
When I first developed my sidearm motion I did alot of research on the motion and the stress put on the body. I came across an article from Eric Cressey on training sidearm/submarine pitchers, he suggested an increased workout on the abdominal muscles as well as the back muscles. He also suggested extra soft tissue work on the elbow (UCL in particular)
Thanks for all the support and information. His coach saw him pitching the other day and is going to throw him on Friday if the opportunity presents itself. He seems to place the ball well but he ha only pitched a few games in his entire "career."
I'll let you all know how he does. I have quite a few sites to check out!
So, we ran a tight game tonight and due to his lack of experience we almost didn't pitch him but we decided to throw him in anyway. It was 9-8 bottom of the 5th with two out and two on. He threw 4 pitches to get us out of the inning with a K.
Then, he came in the 6th and threw 9 more with one hit allowed (a GO, a FO, and another K. The last K was to a big hitting lefty that jumped out of the box on strike three. Clutch!
He threw 18 total pitches to 5 batters (5 balls and 13 strikes). Pretty cool. Thanks again for all the help. He had a ball!