11u Pitching Mechanics - Head Control


#1

I coach an 11u travel team and I have two pitchers with very good arms and decent mechanics up until they release the ball. In most cases, they drop their eyes down to the ground at their release point then quickly bring their eyes back up. Any thoughts on how to correct?

When they drop their head at release they have no control. When they keep their eyes level on the target they can hit spots.

Thanks for your help!


#2

DP2Outs

Some general information regarding the eyes and focus:

  1. As we already know, the eyes are one of the most significant factors in controlling the baseball pitch. The body will always follow the eyes.
  2. The eyes should never leave the glove
  3. The eyes create balance throughout the mechanics

Some things that may be of help to your young players:

  1. Line Drill: draw a line down the middle of the rubber while pitcher is throwing bullpens to see if he is landing properly and staying within his driveline and not pulling off to either side. The plant foot can be a little closed and within a few inches of the line. If he is pulling off his driveline this may be the cause of his head pulling down

  2. Rocker Drill - Pitcher starts in his full stride position on flat ground in proper alignment. Front side is closed. Head, eyes, front arm, and glove are in the proper position. Ball is in throwing hand. Weight is between the feet. Pitcher shifts his weight back with a little lean (eyes still level) onto his back leg and returns. Pitcher goes back and forth three times and then fires over the top after the third weight shift back. Pitcher finishes in a good balanced position with shoulders and hips rotated properly and eyes on the target.

Steve


#3

From what I’ve seen, this is the result of two (2) things:
(1) the ground surface quality that a pitcher(s) is about to land on with their stride foot, is so distressed or questionable, that this glancing downward is a natural act, uncontrollable by the pitcher, by the body’s self defense mechanism while avoiding falling.
Try this - while warming up doing their bullpen duty on flat ground, do they do the same thing? Probably not.

(2) trying to over pitch and using brut force to howitzer the ball, is another common trait of snapping the head downward. Some pitchers get into this habit. Unfortunately, breaking them of this last minute “jerking” is nearly impossible. Also, any breaking ball is guessing game as to intended results.
Try this - while warming up doing their bullpen duty on flat ground, do they do the same thing? Probably not.


#4

Thanks. The ground is stable.

I think in one case - the young man is 65lbs (wet) and throws in the low 60’s - 90+% of his body weight. He has a very smooth athletic delivery that looks effortless. I guess he generates so much force that his head goes down. He is balanced during his delivery doesn’t leak power with his stride and finishes with a flat back and his back leg comes through high over his waist. His stride is almost 95% of his height. I hesitate for arm health to have him finish more upright so his eyes stay on the target. When he lays off the throttle his head still goes down - probably as a trained reflex.

We have shared videos with him so he can see what he is doing and we have him doing Wall Drills in front of a mirror so he can focus on his head movement.

My other guy who also drops his head - its due to early rotation and his front foot opening too much so he is off balance. The tape suggestion should help.