10 Year Old 1st Inning


#1

This is the first inning of tonight’s game and is typical of how he pitches during a game. Any glaring weakness that he can work on to improve his mechanics? He throws mainly fastballs, and his pitch dives in on RH hitters making it difficult for RH to get a good hit. What he does seems to be fairly efficient: In 13 innings this year he’s given up 3 hits, 5 walks and has 24 Ks.

Thanks. I know there’s much he will learn between now and HS, and he will always need to make adjustments as his body matures.


#2

i’m not a pro myself but i teach 11-12yr olds. many of our pitchers started out pretty much like this kid. good basic stuff for his age. what i taught the pitchers that look like your son is some simple fun things:

1) the slide: bring the lead leg up, then drop it down towards the ground (about 4-6 inches above the ground), then slide it towards the catcher (without touching the ground). mechanics to watch? the foot doesn’t point towards the catcher until the last second. the stride should be as big as possible. i check the kid’s height and give them a goal of 80-100% of their height as a stride length. put a marker on the ground where they land and have them try to get out further until they eventually reach their goal (this will take a while).

in the video, your son drops his leg from a high point instead of sliding lower to the ground.

  1. the chicken wing: i set the kids in a position where their glove side elbow aims at the target and have them pull their elbow to their side to start the throw. what this does is keeps their glove close to their chest after throw to protect their upper body from a hit ball coming back at them.

  2. the pick pocket: the kids practice throwing softly and having their arm follow through to their glove side pocket. i believe this drill was designed to help relieve arm stress during the slow down after release.

these are some simple drills that most kids have fun doing and remember them by the silly names i gave them. at his age, it really needs to be fun.

i tried some more advanced drills but found that the 9-11yr olds really couldn’t benefit much by them. the 12yr olds showed marked improvement but quickly went back to their old mechanics when the game was on the line.

make it fun and don’t let him do anything that hurts his arm, including throwing too much.


#3

[quote=“singtall”]i’m not a pro myself but i teach 11-12yr olds. many of our pitchers started out pretty much like this kid. good basic stuff for his age. what i taught the pitchers that look like your son is some simple fun things:

1) the slide: bring the lead leg up, then drop it down towards the ground (about 4-6 inches above the ground), then slide it towards the catcher (without touching the ground). mechanics to watch? the foot doesn’t point towards the catcher until the last second. the stride should be as big as possible. i check the kid’s height and give them a goal of 80-100% of their height as a stride length. put a marker on the ground where they land and have them try to get out further until they eventually reach their goal (this will take a while).

in the video, your son drops his leg from a high point instead of sliding lower to the ground. [/quote]
For this 10yo pitcher who steps “out then down”, the “down then out” approach would be a good improvement. For older pitchers, the “down then out” needs to become “down and out” to make them quicker to the plate.

Keeping the stride foot closed until the last second is good.

A stride of 80-100% of height is probably too optimistic at this age.

I agree that the glove will be positioned well to defend himself. However, this mechanic will create a glove arm that is too quick leading to early shoulder rotation. If the pitcher extends the glove arm out front somewhere over the front foot and in a position that is symmetric with the throwing arm, and then swivels it over but stabilizes it there while bringing the chest towards the glove, he will buy himself the timing to delay shoulder rotation. And the glove will still be in front to defend himself with.

I can appreciate the intent but the finish location should not be the same for all pitchers unless they all have the same arm slot. Pitchers with higher arm slots will finish lower (e.g. by their glove-side thigh or knee) while pitchers with lower arm slots will finish higher (e.g. by their glove-side elbow).

Keeping it fun is a must.

You have to keep after them. BUT, you also have to let them know that you expect them to do their new mechanics in the game and that it’s ok if they can’t do as well as that is just temporary.

For sure.


#4

Video of two-pitch warm up between innings. Not sure if it shows anything more than what the 1st inning video shows. He pitches again on Thursday, and I’ll try to get some shots from the front and the back.

[quote=“singtall”]i’m not a pro myself but i teach 11-12yr olds. many of our pitchers started out pretty much like this kid. good basic stuff for his age. what i taught the pitchers that look like your son is some simple fun things:

1) the slide: . . . a goal of 80-100% of their height as a stride length. [/quote]

Is it typical for the kids you teach to achieve 80-100% of the height as a stride length when they’re 10? I don’t see this much in our LL. His stride is much longer when he’s throwing at full velocity, but in game situation he cuts back to about 80% of full velocity which allows him to maintain a 70% - 75% strike:ball ratio. Also, would you work on this during the LL season or wait until after the season to make an adjustment. I’ve seen some Major League pitchers with short strides, and then there’s the Lincecum stride. Is this critical at this stage or something that is worked on as he matures? This is his 1st year in the majors (95% age 11 & 12, 5% age 10), and he still has two more years in LL to make adjustments. If it’s critical now, I think he’s mature enough to work on “down and out”.

At age 10, [quote=“singtall”]make it fun and don’t let him do anything that hurts his arm, including throwing too much.[/quote]

Definitely. Fun means doing his best and letting the ball bounce where it will. IMO, he just a kid having fun getting hitters out and wants to be better. He doesn’t want another kid to hit the ball off of him where the ball gets out of the infield grass.

[quote=“chew1109”] House’s evaluation of the participants found that elite pitchers throw with 40 to 60 degrees of hip/shoulder separation. The average velocity increase from the knee drill to pitchers mound was 15MPH. From that, House also concluded that about 80% of velocity was from hip/shoulder separation and 20% from stride, direction off the mound, and arm speed.
[/quote]

What is the typical age for kids to perfect hip/shoulder separation, where 80% of the power comes from? Although I’m aware of how important this is, I’m not sure if it’s the most important thing to focus on during the season at the age of 10, while still keep the game fun. We worked on this before the season, but once the games started, it hasn’t been a primary focus.

Thanks for the reminder. I’ll make a not of this during practice. It may take some time before it’s actually accomplished.

On a list of priorities, what are the three most important mechanic to work on for a 10 year old? It seems best to work on one mechanical flaw at a time before moving onto another one. I’ve tried to put an emphasis on balance first, hip/shoulder separation second, and the landing third. The glove location hasn’t been a focus since we’re still working on the first three. I definitely see the glove issue needs to be worked on and it not protecting him from a line drive.

Thanks for the input.


#5

we spent a lot of time working on hip/shoulder separation and made some great headway, but by the time of the first game many kid’s instincts went back to the old ways.

i think teaching 10yr olds hip/shoulder separation is possible, but weather they actually stick with it is another question.

i teach kids by starting in the foot plant position with a really big stride. i make them learn this position while standing on a 4" wide board. no cleats of course. both feet should be pointing forward and have them stay up on the back toes. have their shoulders closed and arm cocked and ready to throw. i have them rock back and forth before throwing to feel when to push off. push off hard with the back foot and don’t release until the back foot drags forward at least several inches.

i will try to post a video of this drill asap.


#6

[quote]i’m not a pro myself but i teach 11-12yr olds. many of our pitchers started out pretty much like this kid. good basic stuff for his age. what i taught the pitchers that look like your son is some simple fun things:

1) the slide: bring the lead leg up, then drop it down towards the ground (about 4-6 inches above the ground), then slide it towards the catcher (without touching the ground). mechanics to watch? the foot doesn’t point towards the catcher until the last second. the stride should be as big as possible. i check the kid’s height and give them a goal of 80-100% of their height as a stride length. put a marker on the ground where they land and have them try to get out further until they eventually reach their goal (this will take a while). [/quote]

IMO this will lead to a front side driven throw. Power is more effectively generated (and transferred through the chain) by the rear hip/leg. The focus should be on the backside area, not the front leg.

[quote]2) the chicken wing: i set the kids in a position where their glove side elbow aims at the target and have them pull their elbow to their side to start the throw. what this does is keeps their glove close to their chest after throw to protect their upper body from a hit ball coming back at them.
[/quote]

I’m sorry but this just seems ridiculous. What high level thrower/pitcher throws like this?

[quote]
these are some simple drills that most kids have fun doing and remember them by the silly names i gave them. at his age, it really needs to be fun.

i tried some more advanced drills but found that the 9-11yr olds really couldn’t benefit much by them. the 12yr olds showed marked improvement but quickly went back to their old mechanics when the game was on the line.

make it fun and don’t let him do anything that hurts his arm, including throwing too much.[/quote]

I agree on keeping things fun, and articulating in a manner that young kids can relate to. But I really feel that you should educate yourself more before you go teaching kids how to throw like this.

Ingraining bad habits now will take 10X longer to fix down the road when they are teenagers. A wise man said “no instruction is better than poor instruction”. I applaud you for your efforts of teaching young kids but you really need to look at what you are teaching them to do.


#7

thanks for the cut-downs my friend. like i said, i’m not a pro. the sad thing is that the program here is so bad that they asked me to coach pitchers.

quick response to 1) i failed to mention that the weight must be on the back leg during this drill. striding out on the front leg is bad news. if you keep the weight on the back leg and stride with the glove side hip leading, you will be in a more pro position.

  1. the chicken wing crap is something i just picked up last week from a long time member of this forum. so who you gonna trust? i thought if it was said here, it just might be worth trying. after reviewing video of pitchers doing this during a real pitch, i see them losing core torque and spinning out too early. bad drill.

  2. as far as the education, i’m doing what i can. i’m here aren’t i? i am submitting videos and asking questions. i am all they have and i’m just a dad volunteering unwillingly to some degree. how about a break?

not saying this is you or anyone in particular…but it seems like every forum has a smart guy that knows everything and waits to cut down people just trying their best. if i wanted any crap, i’d ask my wife for an opinion. lol

seriously, thanks for the help everyone.


#8

[quote=“101mph”]

Power is more effectively generated (and transferred through the chain) by the rear hip/leg. The focus should be on the backside area, not the front leg.[/quote]

For LL he’s a power pitcher, staying strictly with fastballs and challenging the hitters. Therefore, it seems at this age the primary focus should remain on the rear hip/leg. Is this correct?


#9

With regard to teaching 10 year olds to stride out to 80-100% of their height - absolutely, yes, they can be taught this. Can they all do it? Most I have taught can do it instantly. Some kids are not at all fit or flexible and have trouble and some don’t want to listen to anyone, but for the overwhelming majority I have helped, it was an easy fix. 95-100% is not unusual for most kids to achieve.

Regarding the chicken wing thing, IMO it is good to use the front upper arm (shoulder to elbow) as a site for target practice, like looking down the barrel of a rifle, but the arm should move in synch with the throwing arm (equal and opposite). Some pitchers will throw the glove at the target and some will throw the elbow, but either way it is used to line up the eyes to the target. I believe it is preferable to keep the glove “inside” the arm after ball release, so tucking it to the chest or bringing the chest to the glove makes sense - and it does put the pitcher in a better fielding position.

Regarding hip/shoulder separation, I don’t think it is something that should be actually taught to 10 year olds. I think the emphasis should be on proper weight shift, long stride, stay sideways as long as possible, intent to move fast, and late hand break. Keep it natural and flowing and explosive; direct everything to the plate; remove all hesitations and movements that slow the kid down as well as those that aren’t directed straight to the target. If a kid gets those things down, the timing will improve and hip/shoulder separation will naturally occur.


#10

[quote=“West2East”][quote=“101mph”]

Power is more effectively generated (and transferred through the chain) by the rear hip/leg. The focus should be on the backside area, not the front leg.[/quote]

For LL he’s a power pitcher, staying strictly with fastballs and challenging the hitters. Therefore, it seems at this age the primary focus should remain on the rear hip/leg. Is this correct?[/quote]

Yes. Really…it doesn’t matter what type of pitcher it is.

Let me qualify this statement by saying (and this has just been my experience with the players I’ve helped) effective loading of the rear hip as a player throws the ball (in this case a pitcher) creates a better load, and more efficient energy transfer through the chain.

It helps with the “hip/shoulder separation” that everyone talks about, and also helps - dare I say - avoid things like flying open too soon, and a “weak” or “lazy” lower half etc…

Seems to me if you are focused too much on what the front leg is doing you create all kinds of nasty things and bad habits like stalling over the rubber, not getting the hips moving, poor momentum transfer etc.

Just my opinion of course. YMMV 8)


#11

With regard to the rear hip… yes, I agree that the load starts on the back-side, but I don’t think of it as the hip, per se. The weight starts over the entire back leg with the head and shoulders over the back hip, knee and ankle. Then the first actual movement toward the plate is to lead with the hip and drive forward with the back leg while keeping the upper body mass centered throughout (I think “nose over belly-button”). So, yes, the focus for proper weight shift is not on reaching with the front leg but rather driving sideways with the entire pelvis toward the target.


#12

Agreed. For the most part.

I think it is not essential to keep the head over the belly button. In fact, you will probably get a better load, and potentially more velocity if you have a little “tilt” (toward 2nd base) as you move out (ala Sandy Koufax 8) )


#13

I would agree… to a degree!!!

I don’t think it’s a good idea to teach a leaning back but I do think it is ok to keep your nose slightly behind your belly-button. I think if you start out with the weight over the back leg and lead with the hip, there will be the appearance of a lean back but in reality the shoulders still remain close to horizontal. I think a true tilt-back may cause some balance issues as well as timing issues. True, Koufax had a huge lean but I just don’t think that is something to teach young pitchers.


#14

If the tilt is achieved by the hips moving foward first, that is fine. But if it’s achieced by the head moving towards 2B, then that is directing energy in the wrong direction.

Also, while it is subjective, there is a point where too much tilt becomes detrimental.


#15

[quote=“Roger”][quote=“singtall”]

in the video, your son drops his leg from a high point instead of sliding lower to the ground. [/quote]

A stride of 80-100% of height is probably too optimistic at this age.
[/quote]

A little off-topic but curious, we’re watching the Phillies last night and Roy Halliday. How long is Roy’s “stride?” It doesn’t seem to be that long in comparison to the Lincicum slide.


#16

[quote=“Roger”]If the tile is achieved by the hips moving foward first, that is fine. But if it’s achieced by the head moving towards 2B, then that is directing energy in the wrong direction.

Also, while it is subjective, there is a point where too much tilt becomes detrimental.[/quote]

I don’t think I’ve ever talked about head tilt with him. We just try to keep everything directed towards the plate and see what happens.


#17

[quote=“structuredoc”]I would agree… to a degree!!!

I don’t think it’s a good idea to teach a leaning back but I do think it is ok to keep your nose slightly behind your belly-button. I think if you start out with the weight over the back leg and lead with the hip, there will be the appearance of a lean back but in reality the shoulders still remain close to horizontal. I think a true tilt-back may cause some balance issues as well as timing issues. True, Koufax had a huge lean but I just don’t think that is something to teach young pitchers.[/quote]

It could be that rather than limit/determine when to employ the tilt by the players age, it may be more prudent to look at how athletic and coordinated they are.

I’ve seen 10 year olds that could barely walk and chew gum at the same time. Their throwing ability was very weak. In this case I would agree with the argument of not teaching this to that type of player. Not trying to belittle or make fun of a kid like this, but it is what it is, and you have to leave it at that. Just keep things as simple as possible for them. Maybe later on they could handle it…maybe never.

On the other hand, I’ve seen kids who were quite athletic, and their throwing ability was quite good for their age (even though they may not be any more physically mature than the first kid in this example). So why not teach a tilt to this type of player if it means he can thrower harder and more effectively/efficiently?

I think it would be a great thing for them to be able to improve their throwing skill with a simple move like this.

I guess I look at it from the view point of, fix and improve as much as you can at an early age, because by time you are in your mid/late teens it becomes nearly impossible to make any significant changes to the way you throw and it’s even MORE difficult to fix problems.


#18

[quote=“101mph”]

It could be that rather than limit/determine when to employ the tilt by the players age, it may be more prudent to look at how athletic and coordinated they are.

. . . Just keep things as simple as possible for them. Maybe later on they could handle it…maybe never.

On the other hand, I’ve seen kids who were quite athletic, and their throwing ability was quite good for their age (even though they may not be any more physically mature than the first kid in this example). So why not teach a tilt to this type of player if it means he can thrower harder and more effectively/efficiently?

I think it would be a great thing for them to be able to improve their throwing skill with a simple move like this.

I guess I look at it from the view point of, fix and improve as much as you can at an early age, because by time you are in your mid/late teens it becomes nearly impossible to make any significant changes to the way you throw and it’s even MORE difficult to fix problems.[/quote]

I definitely want to instruct him in the proper way. He’s quite athletic, both physically and emotionally mature beyond his age and only wants to pitch. Sounds like I need to get a professional instructor to go forward since he’s getting beyond my ability and knowledge of pitching.


#19

[quote=“West2East”]
I definitely want to instruct him in the proper way. He’s quite athletic, both physically and emotionally mature beyond his age and only wants to pitch. Sounds like I need to get a professional instructor to go forward since he’s getting beyond my ability and knowledge of pitching.[/quote]

That’s fine. Just be very careful about who is teaching your son, and WHAT they are teaching him. Always compare what they teach to what the best in the business do (video clips & research). Don’t just look at their “credentials”. Look at WHAT they teach.

It doesn’t hurt to educate yourself as much as possible in the meantime.

You still have time, and there’s no reason with some effort you couldn’t do just as good a job (maybe better) than a “professional” instructor.

You’re his dad, and who will care more than you or put in the amount of time and effort as you? If you want to “build” a great thrower, it is a 24/7 - 365 day/year project.

Afterward, not only will you have a kid who can throw the crap out of the ball, you will have built a bond and relationship that few others on this planet have with their sons.


#20

[quote=“101mph”]

. . . be very careful about who is teaching your son, and WHAT they are teaching him. Always compare what they teach to what the best in the business do (video clips & research). Don’t just look at their “credentials”. Look at WHAT they teach.[/quote]

Probably why he’s home taught so far. I’ve not been impressed with the pitchers (with the exception on one kid) I’ve seen in LL so far who have professional instruction.

I’ve studied pitching this past year, and this site has been a great help.

You have more confidence in this than I do. Is it possible for a student of pitching to teach someone to master pitching? He pitches better than I ever could.

Well said. The 24/7 - 365 day/year project incorporates every aspect of his life; socially, academically, artistically, emotionally, spiritually and physically. To see who he becomes ten and twenty years from now is the goal.

My older son, after hitting a monster HR off of one of the harder throwing kids in the League, said the pitch was nothing compared to his little brother, who throws the crap out of the ball. I cannot imagine what his throwing will be like in his last year of LL, in 2012. The task to develop this gift seems beyond me.

The ultimate goal of raising sons to be men. They say time goes fast between now and when they leave for college, and we only have a short time to build these lasting bonds.