10-yr old windup question

My younger brother is 10 years old. He has been pitching for 3 years now and was taught a windup that he has followed closely since that time. With his feet on the rubber, he takes one small step straight back with his left foot, and then continues from there. That is the part of the windup in question. All of his previous coaches have been content to leave it as-is and allow my father to work on his mechanics which are very, very good. It has always produced good results. Suddenly his coach would like him to instead take a step to the side at the start of his windup, which we feel will throw him off especially when he feels so comfortable the other way. I was wondering what you folks thought about that, stepping back versus stepping to the side during the windup?

Ooh - I would leave that one alone! I wish more kids stepped straight back - it helps to stay in a more linear path to the plate… it’s old school and I like it!

Never, never, NEVER mess with a pitcher’s natural motion, and that includes a windup that works for that pitcher! I don’t know why it is that coaches feel they have to futz around with a pitcher’s windup and delivery when there’s no earthly reason for it. What the kid is doing may be “old school”, but if it works, great! Stay with it. :slight_smile:

By rule the first step should be back and not to the side. Technically you can still throw to first base from the wind up with a runner on first. It starts with the stride leg moving toward first base. This first step to the side has become widely accepted as legal due to its common use even though it’s against the rules and a balk if there is a runner on first.

Why would you want to go from the wind up with a runner on first base?

Stretch position…

Eventually…in the end a pitcher should cut his motion as short as possible.
And thats all theres is to it.
(Unless your name ends with lincecum i guess…)

If you wanna tune your pitcher’s motions anyway…just go straight forward from the get go.
(I dont think anybody should be tuned btw)

Both feet on rubber in wind up. It’s legal to step toward first with the stride leg as long as it doesn’t resemble your delivery and there is no attempt to deceive. I have had success getting out overly aggressive kids who think they can take off and steal second as soon as the stride foot moves–a common teach that is FALSE. The pitcher just throws behind him and you get a nice tag out at 2b.

Both feet on rubber in wind up. It’s legal to step toward first with the stride leg as long as it doesn’t resemble your delivery and there is no attempt to deceive. I have had success getting out overly aggressive kids who think they can take off and steal second as soon as the stride foot moves–a common teach that is FALSE. The pitcher just throws behind him and you get a nice tag out at 2b.

Why would you use the windup position and give up the base just to catch the overly aggressive runners. For the most part you are just giving the base to a team who is even averagely coached!

This has to be done from the stretch position. Going into the full windup will give the runner an extra advantage; we must assume that this guy is a definite threat to steal. And we don’t want that, now do we?
When Eddie Lopat was working with me on holding the runners on base he taught me a snap-throw that quickly developed into a very good pickoff move, and he said that what I should do is look over at the runner to see how far he’s leading off. If it looks as if he’s leaning a little too far toward the next base, move quickly—step off the rubber, turn and make that snap-throw! The worst that can happen is that the runner gets safely back to the bag. but he’ll know that you’re watching him and he won’t be so quick to make an attempt to steal. Then you can turn your attention back to the main business at hand: get the batter out. The important thing to remember is that you have to step off the rubber before throwing to the base if you don’t want to get called for a balk! :slight_smile:

Stretch. Trick plays from the wind up are a recipe for trouble. KISS principle seems to work more than others.

I think that says it all right there.

The only reason to futz with a wind up is if it is causing a break in the kinetic chain.

The step back is by rule the only legal first step in a wind up. The step to the side has become commonly accepted, if not by rule. The purpose of the first step, in my opinion is to allow the pitcher to efficiently get into his lift position.

That being said, I don’t think stepping back or side matters in how you accomplish that. You either have weight shifting backwards then forwards or you have weight shifting from side to side. Both of wich can easily lead to trouble further down the kinetic chain.

For me, it’s not about the direction of the first step as it is about keeping it minimal! The first step in either direction should be as small as you can make it to minimize shifts in body weight that lead to troubles getting it going down the target line efficiently.

I think it would be worthwhile to find out exactly why that coach wants to make that “adjustment”. Many times I see coaches advise stepping to the side as an easy way for pitchers to get their “push” foot into that gaping hole in front of the rubber. To me that’s a lousy way to get around proper mound maintenance, but it is at least somewhat legitimate.

I’m not saying this is the right or best way to go, but when my boy 1st started pitching at 9, I insisted he do it from the stretch to minimize movements. Later on when he became more skilled and used the windup, he stepped back just like gcem4’s boy. However, there were times when the little hole in front of the rubber turned into a mini-Grand Canyon, and I told him that when it got so bad he had to actually think about getting his foot into the hole, to just change and go from the stretch. I’m not saying that’s the way for everyone to go, but it worked for him, all the way through college.

Now if this coach thinks there’s some other reason to step to the side, he should be more than willing and able to explain it. If he can’t or won’t, I wouldn’t allow him to change anything, even if it meant changing teams.

Agreed. Why would a coach mess with a pitcher’s motion or any part of it, especially if that pitcher has an independent PC and is a successful pitcher. Even if the PC is the kid’s dad.

I can think of a few reasons coaches would do this, BUT, none of them are good.

Never, never, NEVER mess with a pitcher’s natural motion, arm slot, windup or anything else that works for him or her! Turn 22, I would advise you to change teams and get another PC as quickly as possible. I don’t like this current PC’s motives at all, I don’t care who he is. Many pitchers—major leaguers included—work from the stretch with excellent results, and this kid is one of them. Leave him be! 8)

I definitely agree. Not my son but I would definitely change coaches if he were.

First of all, your brother’s Coach is trying to help. That’s what coaches do. But it doesn’t mean he’s right.

It sounds like your LB is a natural Momentum Pitcher. MP is about driving your body toward the target and exploding naturally and viciously.

Your LB’s Coach probably believes in measured movements -and he wouldn’t be alone. But the key word is ‘believes’. I wonder how many coaches told Lincecum to slow down?

In the MP view, time wasted balancing adds to the opportunity for error. MP says, instead of a small step back, your LB should take a full step back, ‘unweight’ his drive leg, then run over the rubber into leg drive. More on Momentum Pitching at www.PitchersWorkshop.com

How to respond? Boy, I’d love to hear the advice of the coaches on this site as to ‘how to discuss differences of opinion on technique with your PC’. You could always tell Coach you’re learning Momentum Pitching and point him to my site, or Dick Mills’ site or Sports Science Associates, where he can purchase the MP e-Book for $25.

In the end, it’s the pitcher’s right to throw how he likes. But it’s the Coach’s call as to who throws and when.

And thank you for questioning pitching advice and seeking a broad base of knowledge. You are a great big brother!

[quote]How to respond? Boy, I’d love to hear the advice of the coaches on this site as to ‘how to discuss differences of opinion on technique with your PC’. You could always tell Coach you’re learning Momentum Pitching and point him to my site, or Dick Mills’ site or Sports Science Associates, where he can purchase the MP e-Book for $25.

In the end, it’s the pitcher’s right to throw how he likes. But it’s the Coach’s call as to who throws and when. [/quote]

IMO we as parents of pitchers we have a responsibility to our kids well being and advancement in the game to question a head coach or team pitching coach when their opinions differ from the kids private PC. Chances are the PC has spent far more time with the pitcher, worked through countless mechanical issues, and developed the kid at least to a point that he was good enough to make the team.

That being said there is a right way and a wrong way to approach coaches. Confrontation leads no where. Discussion tends to be more effective, especially if the discussion is approached from a pitching mechanics stand point. I see it from both sides as a father of a HSV pitcher and a PC.

The discussion should be about the differences in mechanical issues and not pitching philosophy. IMO coaches should have the ability to recognize a mechanically trained pitcher and further should have the baseball sense not to change the kids mechanics, just for the sake of carbon copy mechanics.

Each pitcher is an individual and his mechanics are unique to him. Smart coaches should be willing to discuss any flaws he finds with a kids PC. IMO the key to successful pitching is consistency in instruction, especially at younger ages.

Turn 22,

I agree with you. You definitely don’t want conflict. I’ve had players and parents ask questions of me and it’s amazing from my perspective how leery they sometimes are to ask! But I enjoy answering questions. I feel like, if I’m supposed to be helping you with pitching, I need to be able to answer questions and if I can’t, I need to find the answer or try.

BUT, and it’s a big but, I’ve seen coaches go nuts when questioned! So that’s why I liked gcem4’s question. It can be tough to approach a coach.

With my sons and daughter, I encourage them to talk to their coaches as much as they can. If this situation came up, I’d suggest they take a coaches advice in, think about it, say thanks, really think about it some more and then do what they think is best. First of all, maybe the coach has a good point, right?

But if they’re convinced that their way is better, they can grab the coach AT A GOOD TIME and explain why it doesn’t work for them… ‘When I try this, I don’t feel stable…’, or whatever. A coach might have a good response, but then at least you’re discussing things and the coach knows you valued his opinion.

I think that can be one good key point… respect the coaches opinions and give them good consideration. Ideally, that’s good enough for a coach. And again, I agree with Turn 22: coaches should be able to discuss things and work together. I like to say, it’s not who’s right, it’s what’s right.

Luckily, coaches all know is how hard it is to change a pitcher’s delivery, so in the end, they’ll probably understand if a pitcher doesn’t change.

On that note, what would you say if I said that pitching movements are automated movements and can’t be easily changed if they can be changed at all? Any thoughts on that?

Chris
www.PitchersWorkshop.com

Many coaches in our youth system are still teaching balance point. I got permission to host a pre-season coaches clinic to discuss the flaws inherent to balance point theory. Some were receptive, some were just playing with their cell phones and others were confrontational because their expensive PCs were teaching balance point, so it must be correct.

That season, most who taught balance point, were still teaching it or said they had kids whose personal PCs did not want to deviate from balance point teaching and were sort of stuck not being able to work mechanics at all with those kids due to parental interference. “I spend $$$ a week for that delivery, and I’m not gonna have a volunteer town coach mess up his mechanics.”

When I call the PCs on the phone to work out some sort of agreement about those kids with real potential, it devolves into who has the bigger credentials. The only loser ends up being the kids.

In the meanwhile, I’ve not had an arm injury in 7 years of coaching kids in this town. All of my pitchers are ready by opening day to throw the end of season league pitch limits. ( In our town, pitch limits increase as the season progresses (40 per game / 55 per week at beginning–65 / 80 at mid-season–85-100 by play-offs). In pre-season my team works up to a maximum of 85 pitches in a bullpen depending on the kids ability to be effective. When the season starts and I’m taking them out after 40 pitches they are just rolling their eyes and saying, “Coach, I’m just getting warmed-up!”

Then I’m looking at other teams and their kids are getting sore after one hard inning of work and having to leave the game. It’s very frustrating for me to see that. I’m sure it’s even more frustrating for the kids. Meanwhile, coaches are just stuck in a rut of their perpetual coaching theory.