10U, LHP, 5’2”, 3 /4 lot, normal / slow motion video, please

I am tall with long arms, my coach told me I should be a good pitcher. I started to learn to pitch 2 month ago. My coach told me that my ball is heavy ball, and it is fastest he ever seen in my age. The problem is that my accuracy is bad.

  1. My ball rotates at 8-2 clock most time. My coach asked me to change from 3 /4 to overhead.
  2. My ball always go to about 1 feet beyond catcher’s left hand.

I am trying overhead now, and my elbow, wrist and shoulder got more pain and sore. Please help me on my pitch mechanism!

Thanks, Daniel

There are a number of things you can work on…

First, eliminate all head movement in directions other than towards home plate. Your head should only move towards home plate. You can achieve this by slightly bending your knees and waist and also by starting with your feet closer together. Eliminating unnecessary head movement will help you improve your control.

Second, get your glove arm extended out front the same amount that your throwing arm extends back. It looks like you’ve been taught to lead with your elbow but you need to take the time to extend the glove out front because that helps prevent early shoulder rotation.

Very good advice from Roger…I also noticed your stiff glove-side arm.

In addition to Roger’s comments about it, I suggest that you also watch some slo-mo video of various elite pitchers, and just focus for awhile on what their glove-side arm is doing during the delivery.

Finally, I’m sure your coach means well when he is trying to change your arm-slot, but I wouldn’t do that. If you’re most comfortable with your current 3/4 arm-slot the best thing you could do, in my opinion, is to keep that and work on the issues Roger outlined for you.

There are lots of great pitchers with every conceivable arm-slot, and it takes a lot of time and unnecessary effort to change and become proficient with a new one. You could possibly even hurt yourself if you and your coach aren’t very sure of what you’re doing.

I agree 100% with laflippin. If you’re comfortable with your 3/4 arm angle you should never let anyone try to change it, because that way lies disaster—arm injuries and the like. Flippin and Roger have some excellent ideas about what you could work on, and you should pursue those and disregard that coach—he obviously doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
I had an absolutely incredible pitching coach, many moons ago. He was an active major-league pitcher, a key member of the Yankees’ Big Three rotation of the late 40s to mid-50s, and one of his basic tenets was that every pitcher has a natural motion, so what he would do was work with said pitcher and show him/her how to make the most of it—to take full advantage. I was a natural sidearmer, and he worked with me and helped me refine my pitches (I had a lot of snake-jazz because I didn’t have a fast ball to speak of), taught me many things about strategic pitching, and helped me become a better pitcher than I had been before. And not a sore arm or a sore shoulder or a sore anything else in the bunch, because he respected my arm slot and showed me how to take full advantage of it.
Some people might have a natural overhand arm angle, but you’re obviously not one of them. You should stick to the 3/4 which is evidently most comfortable for you. :slight_smile: 8)

Roger and aflippin, Thank you very much for your advice. I will work for my head movement and the glove arm.

The reason my coach ask me to change from 3/4 overhead are as blow, Both throw and pitch has these problems

  1. My ball rotates at 8-2 clock most time, some time 9-3 clock.
  2. Accuracy is my problem.

Daniel

Might I suggest you fix your throwing arm action.

You have a very long period of time where your throwing arm is not doing anything but waiting (at least the 9 frames that I show) for the rest of the body to catch up.

This is a huge amount of “slop” or “slack” that will effect your accuracy and velocity.

Hi Daniel:

Here is the reason that I suggest you should be in charge of your arm-slot:

Every conceivable arm-slot has been successful for somebody at the highest levels of baseball…which of the MLB players in that video clip have a “poor” arm-slot?

I personally believe that many more young pitchers get into trouble by changing their arm-slot than actually help themselves by trying to do that.

Bottom line, it is not as easy to change your arm-slot on a coach’s whim as you or your coach might think…and it’s not necessary. It is very possible that your coach sees the same mechanical issues that Roger and 101mph have discussed, but he may believe that changing your arm-slot will “cure” those things.

More than likely, while you are struggling to change your arm-slot to something new that you are not comfortable with, you will not be as effective at making the mechanical changes that really are important for you.

[quote=“laflippin”]http://www.youtube.com/user/laflippin?feature=mhum#p/u/111/BZy0GQLB1Mw

Every conceivable arm-slot has been successful for somebody at the highest levels of baseball…which of the MLB players in that video clip have a “poor” arm-slot? [/quote]Nice video, la. What this also shows is the correlation between arm slot and shoulder tilt. Another thing it shows is that Tom House’s recommendation to stop the head from making any side to side movements is suspect. With each of the successful arm “slots” shown, there’s a corresponding movement of the head to the glove side.

So, I suggest that the term “arm slot” is somewhat of a misnomer. I find that the arm slot idea often gets muddled up with someone commenting on arm “action”. Arm “slot” and arm “action” are two different concepts.

Problems I see are:

  1. …an arm “action” problem that 101mph has pointed to very well. It was the main thing I saw also. It’s a timing problem as a result of this poor arm “action”. His action out of the glove is to immediately get it up to the top at the back. Then it hangs there waiting for the body to catch up.

  2. …the malady of early opening of the shoulders. When his front foot lands, he’s already rotated his shoulders significantly.

  3. …his front foot opens up very early, even during his knee lift. He then reaches it toward the plate while pointing the toe at the plate.

  4. …the back leg and hip don’t rotate enough into landing. Watch how the back leg ends up moving out toward the 1st base side.

I suggest keeping that foot from opening up so soon, leading with the heel instead of the toe and moving the centre of gravity sideways by focusing on the front hip instead of the toe. Also, take advice from Roger and laflippin about the glove side and its timing with respect to the throwing side and foot plant. There’s a real timing issue here with several things that need attention. The throwing arm’s up too early, the shoulders are rotating too early causing no hip/shoulder separation to happen and the front foot opens up too early contributing to the shoulder rotation issue.

If you’re experiencing accuracy issues, it may be because of all of these other issues and has nothing to do with your “arm slot”. So, work on the real problems and get on the mound for some serious practice pitching full speed to targets, with your pitching environment being as close as possible to what you’ll experience in a game.

101mph, good catch.
flippin, excellent video collection. I subscribe it already.

Thank for all you advice. My coach also told me that I have a problem in holding the ball. See below picture. He told me the line CD should be straight. It makes balls to rotate at 9-3 or 8-2 clock, and poor accuracy. Any comments?

Thx, Daniel

Picture link is here

sorry the picture link is not correct, here it is

zaozhuang,

Everyone here has provided good suggestions. My suggestion at this point is to pick one or two of them to work on first. It’s difficult to work on too many things at the same time so work on one or two and once you’ve made those adjusments then move on to the next thing.

Interesting point, DM. Cosidering that the suggestion to leave the throwing arm alone also comes from House, these would seem to be conflicting suggestions. Well, the suggestion to eliminate head movement really applies to the early part of the delivery. I’ve actually wondered about this very issue while at the coaches certifications while working with pitchers. But House never really addresses head movement late in the delivery.

If you think about it, head movement early in the delivery can affect the direction the center of mass moves - especially in young pitchers who lack core strength. They lean one way or the other while starting to move down the hill towards the target and they end up going somewhere in between.

I think Roger addresses the detail about head movements very well. Naturally, such detail can get lost in simple nmemonic cues. It’s the ages-old question, how much detail to add in versus the unwanted problem of not seeing the forest because of all the trees.

Anyway, the bigger point for Daniel (in my opinion) is that he has mechanical issues to work on, but “arm-slot” is not one of them. So many coaches just want guys to change their arm-angle at the release point, because of whatever reasons…

Back a few years ago, I suggested to the NPA folks that they consider defining “arm-slot” in two different ways:

  1. Intrinsic arm-slot: I.e., arm-angle at release point relative to the pitcher’s own spine-head axis. That definition is more relevant to the human anatomy of the shoulder, and makes most healthy pitchers appear to be sidearmers, intrinsically.

  2. Functional arm-slot: Wherein the arm-angle at release is measured relative to an imaginary line that is perpindicular to the plane of the ground. That definition more clearly dissects out the contribution of torso-tilt to a pitcher’s “arm-slot” and it is also more relevant to thinking about what the hitter sees when the ball is released. (That is, hitters don’t generally care about a pitcher’s shoulder-health :lol: but they do care about seeing the pitcher’s release point relative to some fixed frame of reference).

[quote=“Roger”]If you think about it, head movement early in the delivery can affect the direction the center of mass moves - especially in young pitchers who lack core strength. They lean one way or the other while starting to move down the hill towards the target and they end up going somewhere in between.[/quote]Well put, my desert friend, as usual. What you do here is provide context. That’s important in this discussion because there seems to be a tendency for the NPA/House model to appear dogmatic. You know, keep the head going only at the target. Equal and opposite at foot plant.

I guess my point was that the video la showed about how many arm slots there are in successful pitchers also concurrently showed that torso angles of all sorts have been successful too. Look at Tim Lincecum. He makes it work with that lean that he has. Prior or Johnson are more upright. Pedro had a lean that was something in between. It takes all kinds to make up a world.

It’s dogma that we need to be wary of.

I have a simple question on the head movement.

  1. All PRO tile their shoulders, and their heads move to their leading arm shoulders while moving to home plates. Is my observation correct?
  2. Is it possible to get the ball rotate at 12 -6 clock with 3 / 4 arm slot in throw and pitch w/o tile heavily your shoulder?
    Thanks,
    Simon

Simon, or Daniel, or zaozhuang…

Good questions…

  1. No, not all pros tilt their torso/shoulders away from vertical. Many do…they must do that to some extent if they need to achieve a 3/4 or over-the-top functional arm-slot. However, not all pro pitchers have the same functional arm-slot at ball release. There are lots of pitchers with a low 3/4 release, who don’t lean away from the throwing side more than a few degrees, and there are a significant number of sidearm pitchers who don’t appear to tilt their torsos at all at the release point. Re-read Roger’s comments about head-movement…for most successful pitchers, your eyes and head should track smoothly toward the target on a trajectory that is related to your functional arm-slot.

  2. Great question…I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect 12-6 rotation on a curveball thrown from a low arm-angle. The orientation of the spin axis of the ball is very much a specific function of the angle that it is released from. Some gadflys might try to tell you that you could compensate for a low arm-angle by changing your wrist angle at release…I personally wouldn’t listen to anyone who peddles that type of advice: Under the high stress of a pitch delivery, your wrist should not be distorted to achieve rotation that your functional arm-slot does not normally permit.

An over-the-top pitcher like Sandy Koufax could throw a 12-to-6 curve that broke straight down. A near-sidearmer like Randy Johnson could not throw a 12-6 curve, but he didn’t need to: Johnson’s breaking pitch was a slider, which can be thrown very effectively from 3/4 to sidearm.