12 year old pitching mechanics

Any comments on my son’s pitching mechanics would be greatly appreciated. He is 12 years old, 5’6" tall and weights 150lbs. His fastball is 65 mph. Thanks for the help.

First thing I notice is that he doesn’t pick up his target uptil he is at the top of his post, I would like that from the very begginning.

I like his balance in the post looks very solid but as he moves toward home I don’t really subscribe to how much tilt this pitcher gets, this could be because he is pitching off flat ground (which at 12 what the heck), I would prefer to see him move level with his shoulders and continue to use the hips like he is to drive toward home.

Position at the foot strike is good, ball could be a bit higher in order to throw down through the zone more, not really possible without a mound though.

Glove side looks good, at about :45 seconds you might notice that the elbow is getting trapped under the body, he could pull the elbow all the way back in order to get more pull on the ball.

At :50 seconds you will notice a pretty flat back, this could be flatter if he would reach his wrist down and end just over the left knee.

Last comment: where ever he is playing he needs to stop, no mound at 12 is crap, his pitching looks good too but that 1st baseman isnt ready for anything, he needs a better team…

Thanks for the great advice.

We will work on picking up the target earlier.

Now I see the tilt you mentioned. The coach of the new team he is playing on is a real advocate of this. Hmmm. I also believe it is somewhat enhanced by the flat ground format but a little less tilt regardless is something we will work on.

I see what you mean by his ball could be a little higher at foot strike. He has been throwing high lately and I wonder if this has something to do with it. Do you think this could be part of the reason for that?

That is great advice on pulling the elbow back and ending over the left knee with his wrist. He has been working on a flatter back but I think he needs more core strength so your idea will really help him.

This is the first year he is playing travel ball and I just learned that about 85% of our games will be pitched on flat ground. We are in the Chicago area and I am told that this is the case with virtually all the travel teams. I am told that since the pitching distance is somewhere between little league and full size. (50 or 54’.) That real mounds are unavailable. Furthermore the teams do not want the hassle of portable mounds which I think would work great.

Thank you very much for your ideas. We are ready for more if you have them!

Balls going high can be a number of things:

  1. simplest is that he is just is throwing it there, so an adjustment to realease would be the fix

  2. dropping the arm and ball which will usually have the result of throwing high, fix is working on how to get the ball to the proper load position

  3. Last thing is not pulling down fully, fix is pulling the wrist over the right leg.

I can’t belive that the tournaments don’t have mounds…really sucks, bad for technique and the like.

Thanks again for the input. We are working on getting the arm a tiny bit higher at foot strike and trying to pull down more upon finish. Also he is trying to extend his foot drag. Hopefully these ideas will do the trick.

Another question I have is this. Do you think he is “staying back” enough. A couple of coaches have said he is not staying back at all and that he is throwing only with his arm. I think this is a “popular” comment for a coach to make because it makes him seem very knowledgable. But in the video it appears he is staying back nicely and his head position, at least to me, indicates he is not getting ahead of himself in his movement. He is definitely leading with his front hip. And although he could have more (and probably will with the development of core strength) it appears he is getting a fairly decent hip and shoulder separation as he moves forward. Your comments again will be appreciated.

I fully believe coaches are trying to be helpful, but it is not uncommon to get advice that is conflicting. Last year in Little League the most often quoted coach advice was to throw “over the top” and now that we are in travel ball the most quoted advice is “stay back.” Neither concept in either scenario is demonstrated or explained.

Absolutely, if you look at :02 seconds of the video you will see if anything he might be just a little too far back and that might be developing some of the extreme front side tilt that I see. Staying back isn’t what makes you throw only with the arm also, if you throw only with the arm then the pitcher isn’t using the hips and trunk to throw the ball but this has nothing to do with staying back.

Coaches are like proofreaders and editors, the text might be perfect but in order for them to earn their money they feel they need to make changes…some don’t have to talent or understanding to make any suggestions other than what they have heard before. Instructors look at the mechanics and make suggestions based on those actions.

Thanks again. It is good to hear he is back enough (if not even too far back as you pointed out.) He was worried about it because he heard the comment so many times, although this video is very indicative of the way he always throws.

I particularly like your comment about the proofreader. If he encounters a text with too few errors he might not be needed next time;-)

He wants to gain about four miles per hour. What would you suggest to accomplish that? From the video, do you think he has any left in the tank?

To gain speed, of course that comes from more hip/trunk turn but just getting him to pull the glove side back more could help too, but of course an extra 4-5 mph will come naturally and shouldn’t really be a concern until he is maybe 13 or 14, then the mentality can switch from developing excellent mechanics and location to more speed.

Thanks again buwhite. And you certainly are correct. Location and mechanics should be the pursuit. But I understand his sentiment. He wants to see a radar gun with 70 on it. We will post some more game video in a few weeks after he has had a chance to work on the issues we went over.

Well I am pretty confident that most 70-75 mph kids will make a high school team as freshman if they can locate the ball, however they might put an 80 mph freshman on JV just for speed, I also feel that a 75 mph freshman that can locate 2-3 pitches whenever and wherever he wants to will always make JV and have 2 years to get to 80 then locate and play Varsity.

Location seems to be the last things most players want to work on these days and it’s just as important as speed. Ask Mariano Rivera, he has become dominant over the last 3-4 years with using pretty much one pitch but he can throw it exactly where he wants it maxing out at about 92…pretty slow for the MLB.