14U Pitchers: Need Advice

I’ve recently put my hands on a camera that is able to record decent slow motion capture, and I wanted to get some advice on a few pitchers for our 14U travel team. These boys are preparing for High School and are throwing in the low to mid 70’s. I know they can increase their velocity, we just need to work on Fine Tuning.

With the first young man, I would like to find a way to keep him from bringing his throwing hand directly to his ear, and it seems as though he is flying open too soon. From there I believe we will begin working on a longer stride and “stack & track”.

The second player seems to have pretty good mechanics; however, it seems as though he could use some help breaking his hands a little lower and later??? from there working on the same as above, a longer stride and “stack & track”

Any assistance is greatly appreciated.

Regards,

Chris

Here what I see they both doing wrong. Both of them are taking the ball out of the glove behind themselves. Instead have them take the ball out of the glove in a downward direction with their fingers on top of the ball. Then continue the throwing motion making sure to show the ball in the direction of third base. This one thing should help a number things like external rotation, control, and getting the arm in a position to throw quicker.

McCollum

*1) He has counter-rotation to start his delivery. Many people teach this as building momentum but, in my opinion, it robs momentum. Any movement away from home plate must be necessarily be STOPPED then REDIRECTED toward home plate somewhere down the line. As such, any momentum gained through counter-rotation is nullified during the change of direction. There is no way to escape that unless you are creating some type of violent separation like high velocity pitchers have through hip and shoulder separation or external shoulder rotation and forearm layback.

These motions are sort of similar to the fishing pole and fish hook analogy. The pole goes back and starts to go forward while the line and hook still travel back. Once the hook and line have reached full extension backward, they are violently yanked forward. Your pivot knee is not capable of that kind of violence of action. Counter rotation gives you nothing and can only hinder the delivery. Anything that does no good but could do harm should be eliminated.

  1. When he reaches his equal and opposite position, he’s still striding and his body is aligned significantly right of the target line. A by-product of the counter rotation and early hand break.

  2. When he gets his hand up, he still has not planted. Eliminate the counter-rotation and that should help him with this. If his hand is up and ready too early, he has to slow his arm speed to allow his lower half to catch up. Slowing the arm is counter productive to increasing velocity.

  3. His elbow is even with his torso and should be slightly out in front. Fixing the counter rotation and setting the delivery up to lead with the front hip… and a little bit of glove side focus should fix that timing issue.

  4. His torso is low at release as well. Notice how bent that plant knee is? Energy is being diverted down the target line and into the ground when it should be traveling up the body to enhance pitch velocity. Again this is a by-product of the first move (counter rotation). I say this because the counter-rotation prevents him leading with his hip initially and getting his hips ahead of his legs. If he can get his hip out there, he’ll end up with his torso higher and be better able to brace the front knee.

Fixing number 1 will put 2,3,4,and 5 well on the road to recovery. Wall Drill and Hershiser Drill. Combine that with a touch of glove-side focus and you should have noticeable improvement in consistency of location and in velocity.

It’s amazing the high percentage of kids who wreck their delivery with their very first move!

Moore

His counter rotation is minimal, but still present. He could fix that in a few minutes of focused effort.

He goes vertical with his leg lift and with that bit of counter rotation, he’s showing a bit of his back toward home. What you are looking for is to get up and forward simultaneously during the lift and get that pivot leg leaning toward home plate with the hip about a foot closer to home than in the video.

He also gets his arm up early–well before foot strike. He also has a cocked wrist. He should display a more neutral and free wrist position. His wrist position (other than looking very uncomfortable) will limit energy transfer to the ball. I made the fishing pole analogy earlier. He needs to not get that pitching hand up so early so he can effectively fish with a longer pole and get more whip action.

He is also sweeping his leg instead of striding with it. See how his foot is getting closer to the camera as he swings it from right to left in relation to the target line? That action is culminating in a plant that is too open. The hip has to open when the foot does. If that stride can be directly home instead of in a sweeping arc, he should be able to land with his foot pointing toward home and delay his hip rotation for a fraction of a second longer allowing more energy to build before the shoulders start to rotate. This should enhance his hip/separation. He should probably work on a drill that focuses on equal and opposite positioning and a neutral wrist position (hand inline with the forearm and palm facing the same direction his chest is facing.

He does get his elbow ahead of his torso, which is great. His external rotation is not quite 180, but it’s not bad.

Just like McCollum, his trunk is low and is lead knee is too bent. As I mentioned near the top, he needs to get up and forward during his lift. Get that front hip a foot closer to home at the top of the lift. That should position is torso higher and allow that front knee to be straighter. Adding MPH to his fastball from the visual velocity of being a foot closer to home at release due to leading with the hip and another 2-5 mph from improved energy transfer up the body from the braced knee. I’d say his wrist is also restricting his velocity by at least another 2-3 mph.

He could pick up approximately 6 mph of actual velocity on the mechanics and another 3 mph visually.