12YO Needs your help!

First, let me thank Mr. Ellis and the administrators of this forum for providing an awesome facility for learning the art of pitching. Well done gentlemen and keep up the great work!

The attached videos are of my 12 year old son, Andy. Andy has been playing organized baseball since age 5 and absolutely loves the game. After the season this year he expressed an interest in learning to pitch and I eagerly agreed to help. He’s been taking a weekly lesson since early November and practicing indoors and out as the weather permits at least twice a week.

Andy is 5’9" and weighs 145 lbs. He’s been cruising on the gun (Bushnell) at 58 mph and has touched 62. His biggest challenge has been throwing strikes with high right being the most frequent miss.

I’ve been reading this forum a great deal since starting down this path and I’m amazed at some of the coaching talent assembled here and the keen observations made for others. Thank you in advance for taking a look at Andy’s mechanics and providing your critiques…

that is one big kid. what do you feed him. he has a nice motion, i would offer some advice after he gets his stride foot down. i think he could throw the ball farther in front of his head and possibly throw even harder. it looks like after he gets his foot down he throws the ball primarily with his arm. see if it makes sense to him that right before he gets that foot down he needs to try to rotate his shoulders as fast and as hard as he can. that should help him throw with his big muscles instead of his arm.

if he keeps growing like that he might be 6’5". keep throwing him.

This is bad advice.

It would turn him into a top-down, all-arm thrower and ruin his timing. The shoulders shouldn’t rotate until AFTER the Glove Side foot plants and the hips open.

I don’t think he’s throwing as hard as he could.

He has very little hip/shoulder separation. Instead, he seems to be throwing top down (e.g. all arm).

What he needs to do is learn to throw with his entire body.

I don’t think he’s throwing as hard as he could.

He has very little hip/shoulder separation. Instead, he seems to be throwing top down (e.g. all arm).

What he needs to do is learn to throw with his entire body.[/quote]

Chris, what steps/drills could would you recommend to make this an easy teach?

[quote=“dusty delso”]that is one big kid. what do you feed him. he has a nice motion, i would offer some advice after he gets his stride foot down. i think he could throw the ball farther in front of his head and possibly throw even harder. it looks like after he gets his foot down he throws the ball primarily with his arm. see if it makes sense to him that right before he gets that foot down he needs to try to rotate his shoulders as fast and as hard as he can. that should help him throw with his big muscles instead of his arm.

if he keeps growing like that he might be 6’5". keep throwing him.[/quote]

Dusty, his pediatrician estimates he’ll top out at about 6’5". The wife, AKA “She Who Must Be Obeyed”, feeds us all very healthy. Lots of fresh and not much junk.

After looking at the comments so far and looking more closely at the videos, I agree with the need to get the big muscles more involved. Next question is, how to teach this.

OHDad why don’t you ask Dusty for some clarification on what he means for your son to do instead of disregarding him completely since Chris brushed him aside like old dust (no pun intended).

Spencer, as you’ll note in my reply to Dusty I do ask for his thoughts on teaching a big muscle move. Do you have any constructive suggestions re. Andy’s mechanics?

chris is right. i meant to say hips not shoulders. the hips begin to open just before foot plant and then the back arches as the chest gets in front of the shoulders through shoulder rotation. was tired when i wrote the post and did not review it before posting.

thanks for catching that chris. leading with the shoulders (top down) is not good. you cannot get the separation of hips and shoulders activating the big muscles unless you open the hips first.

after he gets the foot down and the hips open, i think he needs to then rotate the shoulders as fast and forcefully as possible. i watched my copy of pure heat again last night and the pitching coach for new york was talking about the greatest power pitchers in the game are off the charts quick and powerful from the moment the arm is maximally externally rotated, to internal rotation and follow through. this is what the big kid needs to focus on and i got ahead of myself.

if he is projected to be 6’5" and can get agressive after his foot is down he could be pretty special.

What you’re going for is the hips rotating ahead of the shoulders 30 to 60 degrees. This is what it looks like.

By doing this, the hips will powerfully pull the shoulders around.

You can see more photos like these on this page…

One way to achieve this is to focus on keeping the shoulders pointed just to the Pitching Arm Side of the target and letting the hips pull the shoulders around (rather than trying to actively rotate the shoulders).

OHdad has asked me to comment on his sons mechanics and I will.

1st thing is falling forward after release. I think this could be a couple of things including strength and also mechanics.

The way to I think you can fix the falling forward is to have your son lead with his hip into landing a little longer. Also tell him drift and lift then keep the weight back that should help fix the momentum problem IMO.

Also 2nd thing I see is Shoulders rotating to soon. The cause is lead arm path. HE takes a short compact arm path with the glove, it stay’s very close to the body which into landing opens the shoulders.

I think the fix for this is to tell him to keep the glove farther away from him more like a nolan ryan or roger clemens and then bring it back to center. This will help keep the shoulders from openning to soon if done right.

Look at the Glove arm and how it moves. move the glove away from his body when he strides.

Try these couple of things and I think you will see improvement.

RIstar,
Thanks for the quick response. When Andy and I looked at the videos together we picked up the problems with the GAS and we’ll work on that as well the other suggestions. Do you or anyone else see a problem with the position of his arm not being high enough? His coach is really working with him to get his elbow higher at high cocked.

yes his elbow goes high then it drops way to low. Maybe a little higher under the shoulder by 1 or 2 cm would be ok.

The above point make me wonder whether your son’s coach knows what he’s talking about.

Your son’s PAS elbow is a little too high before the high-cocked position but high enough at the high-cocked position.

You need to study this clip of Greg Maddux…

Notice the low PAS elbow at the high cocked position and how, unlike your son, his PAS foot is well off the rubber at the release point.

Similarly, notice how low Randy Johnson’s PAS elbow is at the high-cocked position (Frame 61)…

Few pitching coaches understand how high a pitcher’s PAS elbow should be at different points in the throw, and many are overly concerned about low PAS elbows.

If you go through the clips frame by frame, you will see that his elbow is NOT way too low.

It’s actually fairly normal.

if he’s missing high and in, he’s rushing. Tell him to break his hands earlier.

[quote=“OHdad”]RIstar,
Thanks for the quick response. When Andy and I looked at the videos together we picked up the problems with the GAS and we’ll work on that as well the other suggestions. Do you or anyone else see a problem with the position of his arm not being high enough? His coach is really working with him to get his elbow higher at high cocked.[/quote]

I’m hoping Chris comes back here to post, but I’ve been studying a lot of the work Chris does and he’s made some compelling arguments of why the elbow should NOT be at shoulder height at the high cocked position. Chris has analyzed this specifically and is concerned that raising the elbow too high creates stress on the shoulder and can lead to problems. I think if you would find a shot of some MLB pitchers like Maddox you’d see there elbow is no higher than their chest in this position which may be part of the reason they stay so healthy.

The pictures O’Leary have found and posted on his site confirm this so that’s why I’m suggesting raising his elbow isn’t essential to success. Why does his pitching coach believe this is so important? You can still pinch the scaps with your elbow maintained below shoulder height and that’s how many of the pro’s do it.

Sorry looks like Chris did already post this…good

i don’t know if breaking from the glove earlier is a good thing. the hand usually breaks from the glove in unison with the dropping of the knee from knee lift. at least that’s what i see from the majority of the video i watch.

We’re not going to get too caught up in the elbow thing right now. His coach and I have noticed that at times he seems to get a liitle lazy with the arm path but in the video it’s not bad.

We are anxious to get in a bullpen and work on the glove action. In the Roger Clemens clip that RIstar provided Andy said “it looks like he chases his foot with his glove”. Hopefully that’s an easy way to remember it.

Hes 12, as he gets older he’ll discover the best mechanics and arguing about minute details is just going to make him over think. I should ad that it is important to balance before going into your stride, instead of bring the front leg up and down really quick, bring it up and point the toe down in a controlled manner. Think ready, balance, explode. Its easier to balance if you bring you’re heel in a little closer to your back leg.