Take a look, he is a worker. He started working last year and is always working for perfection. Last year he made all his starts and had no pain the whole season.
I liked what I saw.
One thing that might help him is to watch where his drag-line finishes–with his current setup the pitcher’s drag-line is finishing somewhere to the third base side of the rubber.
I’d suggest moving him over on the rubber toward first base until you can see that his drag-line finishes dead on the line from middle of rubber to middle of home plate.
One other thing I noticed is that he goes into his stride with the post foot half on and half off the front edge of the rubber. It looked slightly awkward to me, but it’s probably not a big deal for your pitcher on a perfect mound, i.e., the indoor practice mound he is using in the video.
The only problem is when he is pitching in games, especially at his age, the mounds will often (usually?) be far from perfect at the front edge of the rubber. How many kids have you seen actually dig a little hole in front of the rubber–why they think they can pitch better by posting their foot in a hole, I have no idea!
Anyway, that habit of posting his foot they way he does it is not going to be easy for him to change just because he finds himself on a poor mound.
I agree with Lee’s comments and I’d add that if this pitcher plants his pivot against the front edge of the rubber (instead of on top of it) he will move his release point 2"-3" closer to home plate and that will equate to throwing 1mph faster in terms of batter reaction time.
If you pause the side view just after peak leg lift and move just a frame or two, you see that he leans back a little, moving his chin back over his back foot. Instead, he might try keeping his chin over his centerline and move his hip forward faster. Said another way, instead of bending back to create momentum, just move forward faster.
Difficult for an 11 yo to do, I know, but at this age it might be an important adjustment to make.
Nice stuff, tho.
i wrote a complete dissertation on this where did it go when i tried to post it.
is there a limit on post lengths?
i can’t believe this. i wrote over an hour on this and lost it. have to try again tomorrow.
Dusty I wish you could have got the reason why we use the front edge of the rubber, we have been ask about this after he has pitched. thanks for all the help.
that was 1/2 the post. i’ll do it again and send it in sections
ok boys, this is one of my best students. he works extremely hard and everything you have pointed out, he has been taught. it is not typlical but it is founded on sandy koufax and how he teaches pitching. justin is an exellent example of what i stress when pitching. he threw 80+ innings this summer, only had maybe 2 losses against the best teams in the okla/texas region and hit 70mph as an 11 year old. he does not walk people (had a 2 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio, never missed a start, and never had a sore arm the entire year. these are his vitals that i always ask and use before we begin. i write this in a respectful discussion and do not mean to offend anyone. there’s more than one correct way to throw a baseball, and the program justin uses works for him. his dad tim is excellent and supervises virtually every pitch justin throws. they are very modest but if he keeps growing and working like he is now, this kid will be special for a long time. throws fastball, change and a nasty curveball all for strikes. hitters will duck and hit the ground on a called strike sometimes on the breaking ball. he is clearly one of the 10 best 11u pitchers in oklahoma in my opinion and i’ve seen a few 11u guys.
here we go, see you in the next post.
from the suggestions from the post, these are the suggestions:
move to the middle of the rubber to establish a straight drag line toward the plate.
pitch with the foot planted against the rubber instead of 1/2 on and 1/2 off the front edge.
keep chin over the centerline of the body instead of tilting back and move faster as he moves forward to gain additional momentum. i’ll post this so i don’t lose it and here we go.
- pitch from in front of the rubber instead of hanging over the front edge of the rubber.
if you look at the side view and hit play/pause you can get a slow motion type view of his delivery. i have watched it 5 times and when he gets to just before stride foot plant, his ankle is directly in line with the ball of his foot and the bones in his shin. they form a straight line from the side into his hips with the back knee flexed, not straight. this is a very athlectic position and provides great leverage to push the momentum he has created into his hips. it takes all the bad angles in the small ankle bones out of the equation. he does this by placing the ball of his foot just in front of the front edge of the rubber with the heel slightly behind the ball of the foot (i’ll get to this again when we talk about pitching from the 3rd base side of the rubber) instead of using a flat foot in front of the rubber with the side or edge of his foot pushing against the rubber. this is a better position to gain leverage and force.
if you were going to push a 50lb rock out of the way using your back foot, you would push with the ball of your foot and not the side. if you push with the side, you lose force in the connective tissues of all the bones in the ankle. just push against an object (like a table leg or front of a stair, or wall with the ball of your foot, and then push with the side of your foot like you would pitching from the in front of the rubber. which way transfers more force and is more powerful. i think it is clearly with the ball of the foot.
most youth league mounds have the grand canyon it front of them and you fill them up with soft sand to get the foot back to level. are you going to get a more stable foundation on the sand, or the rubber that is usually connected to a large piece of wood. be thankful if you have a step down type mound. i think it is much more stable to pitch from the front edge of the rubber than the sandy loose soil.
this is explained beautifully in koufax’s book “sandy koufax:a lefty’s legacy”.
let’s talk about the 1" closer suggestion next.
pitching from the front of the rubber does start you one inch closer to the plate, this is true. the assumption is you can get the same stride length and release point to the plate from in front of the rubber as you can from the front edge. if you can, you should pitch from there. i don’t think you can unless the mound is very well kept like the big leagues, and koufax still pitched from the front edge.
when you look at justin from the side, stop him when he reaches release point. you should see 2 things immediately. 1. he drags away from the rubber 1 to 2 feet before he releases the ball(just like kouax and maddux except they get farther away from the rubber before release); and 2., he releases the ball way out in front of his head (it’s to the side from the plate view, but way in front of his head) which is outstanding in my opinion. he does this by controlling when his momentum comes forward, and pushing from an absolutely stable back foot against the rubber. when i saw him last month, he seemed to have a dead back foot, he didn’t get and aggressive pressing push from the back foot even though he was pitching from the front edge. he brought his shoulders forward a little quicker when he didn’t push (early rotation). he changed this and looked much more athletic. his arm speed seemed to increase immediately. i think it works for him.
i think you pick up just under 2 mph in preceived velocity for every foot closer you release toward the plate. this is calculated using the ratio and proportion formula. let’s say you release an 80 mph pitch 50 ft from the plate at release. the same 80 mph pitch released 48 ft from the plate appears to be 83.33 mph (80x50/48=83.33mph) one inch would not make much of a difference, 6" would make 1 mph difference. it’s been said that maddux releases about 4 ft closer to the plate than the average major leaguer (vern ruhle, former major league coach) if that is true, it would add 8 mph to the 85 fastball which means he has a perceived velocity of 85+8 = 93 with nasty movement. i don’t know for sure it’s true but it’s something to think about.
let’s talk about keeping the chin over the middle of the body next as you begin movement toward the plate.
when you stop justin at balance point (i hate the term but it’s universal and works), and then watch what he does doing the start stop trick with the video clip, his hips get way out in front of the rubber and his head/shoulders stay directly over the back foot. i do not see the head and shoulders behind the rubber. he is holding them there and creating tension in the core of his body on purpose while the hips begin to go. this is the > position you see from the side that koufax talks about. koufax does the very same thing in his video clip.
from this position, the momentum begins moving toward the plate, and the balance point moves forwad from over the back foot toward the hips and trunk toward the plate. keeping the head/shoulders behind the hips as far as possible slows this change in the center of gravity in the body way down. if you think staying stacked and track toward the plate with your head spine and hips, i think you lose some leverage. the hips are also are behind the head and knees (sticking your hips out to the first base side as you move forward (staying in the tunnel). look at nolan ryan from a centerfield view. i don’t think his head, hips and knees form a verticle line when looking from behind. he forms a < from this view, but not as severe as the > from the side like koufax (this may be getting confusing [or boring]).
it is easier to control and catch the wave of forward momentum if it is slowed down initially. tilting in the > position (from the side view) is one way to slow down the change in momentum and balance. it also allows you to coil if you have the flexibility and strength. as you begin to move forward, i recommend keeping the knees in a “knock kneed” position as much as possible. paul nyman talks about this in “rotational throwing for numbies” and i think it is an excellent teach. it keeps the tension and momentum stored in the legs until ready to release.
as your stride foot almost reaches foot plant, you give as big a final nudge as possible against the rubber with the ball of your back foot (there’s not much left but there is some there). your foot may even tilt forward into the direct line position as you move forward. many pitchers will raise the front shoulder as this happens and tilt way back getting the front shoulder much higher than the rear shoulder. i think this is more than ok if you can keep your balance because it creates maximal room to accelerate the pitch.
simple physics will tell you the longer you apply force to an object the greater the velocity. this throws all remaining momentum into the hips and core of the body and you go into rotation as this happens just before your stride foot hits the ground (like pushing a little more on a moving merry-go-round pole as it comes around to make it go faster). the hips open before the shoulders to get what everyone calls separation. this puts the big muscles in stretch which is very powerful if you have not brought the arm forward yet. if the arm lays back and comes forward after catching this wave of energy (what many refer to as the kinetic chain) you can throw very hard.
the trunk comes forward and is usually somewhere close to verticle at foot plant and continuing forward while the throwing arm lays back from what many call the high cocked position with the elbow in approximately a 90’ angle (not necessarily above the shoulder). this forms the “C” in the lower back while the arm lays back and then comes forward like a flexible fishing pole. getting the “C” required enormous strength and flexibility in the core and spine. i think most hard throwers have this type of strength and timing after foot plant.
i think all these positions are reliant on the position of the shoulders, hips and back foot traveling to the plate. i also believe this takes as much pressure and strain off of the arm as possible when throwing hard.
now let’s talk about the middle of the rubber and drag lines
why would you want to pitch from the middle of the rubber and form a straight drag line from the rubber with your back foot toward the middle of the plate? the only time i would ever think about doing this is if the kid can’t throw strikes.
why do left handed hitters hate facing lefty pitchers? because the ball seems to be coming behind them and over the plate. especially the breaking pitches. this keeps many hitters (including me) out of pro ball. this angle is tough. it is why managers avoid same side match ups with their hiters, and try to set them up for their pitchers. stengel invented the platoon system to combat the problem. if there wasn’t something to this angle it wouldn’t be a big deal.
to maximize this angle, you pitch from the far edge of the rubber. this angle is why the rule book states the pitcher’s whole foot must contact the rubber. if the umpire doesn’t enforce it, keep moving off the edge if possible and you can get a solid back foot.
also, if you hold a string or straight line from the ball or the foot to the far side of the rubber to the back tip of home plate, you will find that the stride foot should land to the slightly closed side of center toward the plate. if you are pitching at this angle, your back foot heel should also be a little behing the ball of the back foot to keep you square with the line running from the ball of the back foot to the middle of the plate.
the dodgers even teach setting the hips to the inside or outside of the plate when you want to throw inside or outside but that is another post.
justin does drag his back foot slightly to the 3rd base side instead of a straight line toward the plate. moving on the rubber will not change this. i think you need to stride further to get the back foot dragging straighter to the plate. it is something to check. if he is striding as far or father than he is tall, i would leave it alone.
let’s do a conclusion and end this. my sooners are struggling and i need to help them at texas tech.
the reason i am protective of justin is i think he has a chance to be very special, and he and his dad will work endless hours to get something changed and right if they believe it will help them. my son is the same way. i would encourage everyone to take the position of if you can’t show me a great pitcher (ideally a hall of famer) who pitched a long time doing what you are talking about without major injury, i’m probably not going to buy it unless you are an orthopedic surgeon or big time physical therapist that knows what they are talking about. many of the things we teach and emphasize are based on personal taste, style or because someone told me this. be careful.
justin throws 150 pitch bullpens at 75% maximum velocity, 3 times per week. 50 fastballs, 50 alternating fastball/change up, and 50 alternating fastball, change up, breaking pitch. this allows him to create a repeatable delivery he doesn’t have to think about and touch/feel for his pitches in his throwing hand. the only way i know to develop touch is to throw a ton safely.
i think if justin keeps working and stays on the core strength program (it’s the same one my son is on and it’s brutally tough), i think he could hit 75+ next year. that velocity from 50 ft is incredibly tough (especially if you have the breaking ball and he does.) without injury.
he is a champion.
Dusty thanks for all the kind words!!! Justin wouldn’t be as successful as he is without your help and dedication… We have to throw tomorrow!!!
Tim & Justin
The white tape line on the mound is 5’ 3" his height.
if he’s striding that far or a little farther don’t change a thing. concentrate on throwing the change up with a faster arm speed than your normal fastball (your extra-fastball arm speed). work on those two things.
dylan threw with no pain today. he just had a light case of tendonitis. needed the rest anyway.
Just a quick comment. Dusty, it’s happened to me before too, it’s not so much a word limit on the posts but I think a time limit. If you take too long to post something you have to sign in again and you lose the post.
OK Dusty asked for me to post my views on the subject. I have a couple one is the back foot ball trick.
I would like to say that when studing pitchers with great hip/shoulder seperation that do a couple things.
One thing they do is get on the toe or side of the ball of the photo.
Next they rotate the inner thigh in while they roll the ankle or ball over which creates alot of tension in the core and also gets hip/shoulder seperation like never before.
Look at the photo’s below I will post of dan haren and also scott kazmir and if I can find more.
1st picture Dan Haren
Things to look at are the back photo on the ball of the foot.
Next Photo Dan Haren look at the back foot shoe laces down at landing.
This should be the focus of every pitcher in there mechanics because it opens the hips up past 60+ degrees which creates a big stretch in muscle
Dusty you told me in a Private message to put all the weight on the ball of my foot and when I did the roll over technique I got the most hip/shoulder seperation I have ever got even in dry throwing which when you take it to the mound you get a longger stride and It will become even better.
Now dusty I have never tryed to put my foot half on the rubber and half off I can kind see how that could work for some or just rolling over could work with the weight on ball of foot. Something that pitchers should try because you CAN increase your hip/shoulder seperation with practice of correct mechanics.
Last comment keep the glove more closed at plant so that you can get even more stretch in the core muscles.
Photo of Dan Haren and how he is closed.
Ok more photos of pitchers turning there inner leg down and in on purpose which creates more hip/shoulder seperation before landing.
Scott Kazmir Watch how the leg turns down and in before plant
Next pitcher of scott kazmir look how he is on ball of foot right before landing.
All the things I said look at every picture it should keep you busy.