14 yr old pitching mechanics

Looking for some thoughts on my sons mechanics. I am a former college pitcher myself but find myself struggling to get through to him sometimes…anyone see anything off hand to work on? He is just now hitting a growth spurt, he is wearing a size 12 shoe and has gone from 5’5" in the fall to close to 5"9"…gained about 15 pounds to around 130.
MPH wise he is mid to upper 60’s …thoughts appreciated

I think we have some confusion here. You said about your son that “he is just not hitting a growth spurt”, which would mean that he isn’t hitting one at all. What you probably mean is “He’s not just hitting a growth spurt”, which is something else again; he has hit one, picked up almost four inches, and this may not be the end of it—he may have a couple more yet before he’s through growing. So as far as this is concerned, don’t worry about it.
What you want to do is get some video of him and see what he’s doing, and then the two of you can figure out what needs to be worked on. Keep us posted. 8)

What I meant to say is he is just now hitting a growth spurt. I am 6’2" 225 btw so I expect for him to be around my size. He has not gone thru puberty, he is just now appears to be hitting the first stages ( he turned 14 in Jan)

Did the video I posted not come thru?

[quote=“Zita Carno”]I think we have some confusion here. You said about your son that “he is just not hitting a growth spurt”, which would mean that he isn’t hitting one at all. What you probably mean is “He’s not just hitting a growth spurt”, which is something else again; he has hit one, picked up almost four inches, and this may not be the end of it—he may have a couple more yet before he’s through growing. So as far as this is concerned, don’t worry about it.
What you want to do is get some video of him and see what he’s doing, and then the two of you can figure out what needs to be worked on. Keep us posted. 8)[/quote]

Also let me say I have been studying video for 20 + years. I played thru college and as a 1b/P…and my dad video’d all of my games from LL thru college so i have been a student of studying film forever. I am known for bringing my video camera to the practie field and filming all my kids I coach.
I have tons of my son but just uploaded that one clip from my phone. My camera is still the old tape mini DV’s so its a pain to upload from.

I think he looks great!

I’d like to see a bit more bottom half involvement, mechanicaly he looks sound. At this age I like to start really incorporating getting the hips and leg drive into the whole taco. Your son is right there. I’d also suggest you start researching a Nyman concept called “intent”. At his size he needs to get stronger, waiting for puberty is a good starting point but if he’s a late bloomer you should start investigating some quality conditioning programs for him.

Here’s a couple of things I noticed:

  1. He does a good job leading with his hips and he lands and braces well but he appears to have a bit too much torso flexion when he first moves to the plate; it would be easier to see from a rear view, but I would have him work on staying more upright with his upper body (the “crunching down” of the torso reminds me of David Cone).

  2. He is not getting his body to what I consider a “full stretch” - notice his back leg position when he starts to turn his front foot toward the plate; it still has quite a bit of flexion in it. This means he can still drive further sideways before rotating. Because of this, he is getting his arm up into throwing position too early - notice how is arm is up into the high cocked position and his front foot hasn’t even landed yet. He wants to be in the high cocked position when the front leg starts to brace up.

Basically, he needs to move out faster, stay sideways longer (think of lunging from one side of a creek to the other), and get his arm involved later.

Looks good though - good luck!

thanks for the feedback.

Most of the things you have mentioned I have been trying to tweak.
The flexing over is something I have harped on him about …and he will stay straight for that session but the next time out he reverts to it. I have been trying to get him to stay upright and bring his hands down his torso instead of bringing them down by bending over.

This leads into staying closed and back longer…the quicker he is breaking his hands the faster that arm gets into the high cocked position. I am trying to get him to feel hiding the ball once he breaks his hands down low and behind his leg similar to lincecum.

Good point on the flexion in the back leg, I had not noticed that.

I will look into the nyman concept, first I have heard of that.
My son has been working out with a trainer at 24hr fitness since November with a young guy that played baseball at a D1 finishing in 09. They enjoy working out together and it has helped him a ton but he still has a long ways to go. He is probably just now average in terms of strength for his age but my intent is for him to stick with it until summer football workouts in august. He is doing weights, plyometrics and other speed/strength agility work.

I will post some more videos from a different angle and different throwing session this eve. I also have a couple from hitting I would like to post as I believe a lot of the same things appy in terms of the hips /core .
Appreciate the help fella’s, I enjoy the ideas and feedback!

here is the hitting one that I had btw

A few swing flaws that are very common (my son often does the same things):

  1. The power zone is up by the rear armpit - he doesn’t want to drop his hands much below this area; he drops them a tad too much - instead he wants to angle the bat a bit more and sit back (he does do a good job of this).

  2. He needs to get his rear elbow out in front of his body as he approaches contact - he stays well connected (as he should) when he begins to rotate but then his elbow stays “stuck” to his torso and he doesn’t get out to full extension on his power V.

  3. He needs to keep his left elbow up a bit longer; notice at contact how the angle of his bat drastically changes - if he keeps that elbow up longer he won’t roll his wrists as early and he will stay on plane longer. He will also finish up by his left shoulder instead of down by his torso.

Everything else looks good!

Thanks again doc.

  1. explain this more to me, what do you mean he wants to angle the bat a bit more? And correct you are saying his hands dropped too much as he starts high but as his swing starts that fall below the arm pit?

2)This what I see with my naked eye…Ie the piece of his swing that doesnt look right. It also appears you can see contact sometimes as that elbow stops driving forward and thru the ball. Not sure how to get the light bulb on for him on that aspect. I have been harping on him to be fully extended out before the bat starts to make its way back around to the back shoulder. He has been bad in the past with his front elbow not fully extending and creating the “alligator” arms effect. We have been taking a lot of lead hand one handed swings working on full extension and also finishing high which leads to #3.

3)Good point and this is something we have tried to work on, I havent mentioned that about the front elbow but I have trying to have him finish high with the bat pointing at the top of the rear corner of the cage. He struggles to do this and as you can see sometimes swings level to the ground instead of the plane of the ball causing a lot of choppers instead of back spinning rising line drives.

If you have any ideas or tips for drills to work on these things I am all ears…thanks again!

[quote=“structuredoc”]A few swing flaws that are very common (my son often does the same things):

  1. The power zone is up by the rear armpit - he doesn’t want to drop his hands much below this area; he drops them a tad too much - instead he wants to angle the bat a bit more and sit back (he does do a good job of this).

  2. He needs to get his rear elbow out in front of his body as he approaches contact - he stays well connected (as he should) when he begins to rotate but then his elbow stays “stuck” to his torso and he doesn’t get out to full extension on his power V.

  3. He needs to keep his left elbow up a bit longer; notice at contact how the angle of his bat drastically changes - if he keeps that elbow up longer he won’t roll his wrists as early and he will stay on plane longer. He will also finish up by his left shoulder instead of down by his torso.

Everything else looks good![/quote]

Yes, he starts with his hands high (by the back armpit) and as they move forward, they move a bit downward. Instead, he wants the hands to remain at or near the level of his armpit as the hands come through the hitting zone. The only way to do this and still be able to hit a pitch (with maximum power) in the lower part of the strike zone is to create more tilt with the body (sitting on the back leg) AND tilting the bat head further downward. The arc of the swing will have an appearance of an “uppercut” but it really isn’t - the swing is perpendicular to the body, but the body is tilted rearward. Now, all that being said, he is close to doing all of this already. His bigger issues are the other ones mentioned.

As far as correcting some of these things, just show him the video and point out how is elbow is stuck to his body. Rather than having him focus on “finishing high”, have him work on getting his power V out toward the pitcher’s head. Then show him on the video how the bat changes angles right at contact and it is because he turned his left elbow down too soon. Not a lot of drills are needed, just a bunch of swings - videotape dry swings and show him. Get him to change one thing at a time and watch the change on video - it won’t take long to fix!

Thanks a lot. We will work on it this eve.

Here is one more clip of him pitching I had on my phone from the rear but the lighting isnt the greatest.

On the last video:

  1. His rhythm could be better - the diffulty lies in the raising up of the arms overhead; he’s just not in synch with his leg lift and therefore there is a slowing action to get the upper and lower half moving together. My suggestion would be to perhaps just work from the stretch for now - or at least scrap the hands over the head. If he persists, at least get the hands moving up when the leg moves up and the hands moving down when the leg goes down.

  2. Big leg swing - get him to get his front foot in line with his back foot and keep it that way all the way to the target. He over-rotates with his body and swings the leg out into landing - but he does do a good job of landing and bracing the front leg.

  3. His upper body actually looks pretty good as far as his posture in this shot. But he is “sitting” too much on the back leg - it shouldn’t collapse quite as much as it does here.

  4. Watch his arm swing - notice how his arm goes straight down, then straight back, and then his hand “over takes” the height of his shoulder. This is where he gets his arm up too early. The preference would be to create more of a pendulum action - get the hand down and immediately get the elbow away from the torso so that the hand still remains below the elbow. At this point, the hand swings up so that the shoulder, elbow, and hand are all at the same height (all parallel to the ground) just before the front foot lands. Since you brought up Lincecum, watch how he dangles the arm straight down, but then he gets his elbow up and out (upside down “L”) with his hand below the elbow. He does the dangle because he breaks his hands early - I wouldn’t necessarily copy this movement, but it works.

Here is a clip from last night. We really didnt a chance to work on anything different other than my verbal comments to him. When filming I couldnt really tell if he was doing anything different or not. This video was out of the stretch.

Since you have some really great comments to work on from before I will keep mine very short and only with the 1st part of the action.

His post is very nice and balanced :02 seconds into the video, as he starts to move forward at :03 seconds, he starts to drop and drive but as he drops his upper body starts to collape too, the body itseld should remain as tall as possible.

Good luck!

So are you not suppose to drop and drive anymore? I hear conflicting stories…

Here is a probably worthless video from his first game last night. Good line.
4 inn pitched, 1 hit, 1 walk and probably 7K’s…but he did not have good stuff…I thought he was high cocking but this video doesnt seem to indicate that from what I can tell. He did not have any velocity last night and cant really explain why…but he still used his brain and pitched well mixing speeds and setting up hitters. I am just wanting that velocity to pick up as this is from 54 ft so worried at 60 ft he is going to get hit hard. The vid is from too far away so may be worthless.

[quote=“buwhite”]Since you have some really great comments to work on
from before I will keep mine very short and only with the 1st part of the action.

His post is very nice and balanced :02 seconds into the video, as he starts to move forward at :03 seconds, he starts to drop and drive but as he drops his upper body starts to collape too, the body itseld should remain as tall as possible.

Good luck![/quote]

yea, the video is really hard to see but there is one thing I do see at this range, when I watch the bullpen video and then the game video, the game video does not have him getting as flat a back as in practice, this is so important and might be why you thought his velocity was off.

On the drop and drive, the two theoris are “drop and drive” and “tall and fall”, each instructor has his definate views on what is right. I belive just like arm slot, the style has more to do with what works best for you. Keeping that in mind my comments had more to do with balance and upper body and not his legs and where he is getting his drive from. Even in drop and drive I don’t feel that bunching the upper body up is good for commiting all the energy toward home.

Here is two little better videos from the same game, not good pitches but just two i captured on my phone. I agree on the crouching, its just a bad habit that he reverts to I guess in game situations so we are going to just have to rep it out of him.

So in drop and drive its more driving towards the pitcher vs sitting on the leg and then driving?

I think the boy is not realizing his torso is flexing over when he is dropping and driving. I want him to drive off the rubber driving that front hip to the plate but not with all the sitting and stalling.

How about his glove side arm action?

[quote=“buwhite”]yea, the video is really hard to see but there is one thing I do see at this range, when I watch the bullpen video and then the game video, the game video does not have him getting as flat a back as in practice, this is so important and might be why you thought his velocity was off.

On the drop and drive, the two theoris are “drop and drive” and “tall and fall”, each instructor has his definate views on what is right. I belive just like arm slot, the style has more to do with what works best for you. Keeping that in mind my comments had more to do with balance and upper body and not his legs and where he is getting his drive from. Even in drop and drive I don’t feel that bunching the upper body up is good for commiting all the energy toward home.[/quote]