17 yr old mechanics

Any feedback on these mechanics? 17 yr old Jr. Fastball up to 88. This clip shows fastball and changeup. Each in real time, then slomo.

No takers? Don’t know if that is good or bad. Just wondering if he can do anything to get a few mph’s out of his delivery. Thanks.

It looks like he/you pull to the 1st base side a lot, which is strongly evidenced by where the pitcher is finishing. I would assume you miss either low and away from a righty as well as up and in.

This starts from the beginning of the delivery. Watch the fastball in slo-mo again. The first step is fine, the pivot is fine. When he brings the step foot (left foot) back in to get ready to raise it, the upper body tilts back (towards first base), throwing the balance off. Fix this and there’s a good chance your control will improve immediately.

As far as power goes, watch the hips. watch how they come up rather than through. Watch right at about 28 seconds. The back leg pops up rather than exploding through. This is something that I was always taught to do when I was younger, but once I got to pro ball I was taught to drive my back leg through. I’m not saying this was the total reason from myself (a fully developed pitcher at the time) gaining 2-3 mph in a season, but I would greatly attribute it to that.

You should have a strong drag line in the back. Your back leg does not drag, it pops up. All the momentum you create is lost by changing the direction. Your body wants to drive towards home plate, but your hips want to pop up. There should be constant motion in the direction of home plate. Try getting a nice drag in back.

You have a few minor things, but overall if you’re throwing or touched 88 there’s no reason you can’t be a 90+ pitcher. Remember, velocity is nothing without command. Your changeup has great arm speed compared to your fastball, great job on that. Your arm action gets a little wild but you create a lot of torque which is fine for now, the balance and hips are more important at this stage. They are easier to work on.

One major thing that pops out starts with your hand break. Your arm wraps around your head and you show the ball a lot in your delivery not creating any deception. We had a pitcher on my team with the same arm path and good college hitters will feed off of that. Arm path is tough to work on and it takes a lot of time and dedication to change it.

Chris, thanks for the feedback. I see what you are talking about. I wonder if the leg pop up is more due to his tilting and leaning towards 1st base. I know he usually wears a hole in his spikes every season on his right shoe. Looks like he starts leaning towards 1st base as his shoulders rotate and I’m thinking that may be the cause of the back leg popping up. Let me know what you think. That could also contribute to his falling off. His control is actually one of his strong suits. I’ll post another clip of a full inning. About 4 minutes at the same event this clip was taken. His pitching coach and I have both been working with him to keep his momentum going towards the target rather than leaning towards 1st. Anyway, we’ll work on the things you were talking about. It would be nice to get up to 90+

Huskie, I’ll see what we can do about showing the ball. Not sure exactly what to do about that without changing quite a bit of the mechanics.

Any other feedback is certainly appreciated. Here is another clip. He’s doing a PG showcase in Ft. Myers the week between Christmas and New Year. I’ll try to get some video from that and see what you think. Thanks again.

What you are doing is going almost directly to hi cock and it causes you to over-rotate. You want a more circular and fluid arm action, less like a catcher. You lose conrol on the front side, watch your glove basically swing you through the target as Chris pointed out…when you are tired I bet accuracy is murder. Try working on stabalizing the front and flow in the back.

Are you gunning his speed with a Stalker or Jugs?

Looks to me that you have a sequencing problem - hips and shoulders rotating almost at the same time. I believe if you take care of the posture issue pointed out by Chris as well as the glove issue pointed out by JD, then you will be able to delay shoulder rotation and achieve better hip and shoulder separation. That could be where you pick up another mph or two.

I don’t think the leg pop has to do with leaning, because it makes no attempt to drive towards home plate. The hole worn out could be from twisting his foot rather than drag. Check the line he creates with his drag, sometimes the dirt can be a good coach.

Also since there is no is no drive towards home plate he is most likely shortening his delivery significantly, which in turn loses power, extension (perception of velocity) and movement. I could talk about these things for days, we’ll save those for another time.

Remember 2 things-where the head goes, the body follows. His head falls, his chest falls, and so on. Secondly, remember to only work on one thing at a time until he gets it down. The worst thing you want is a pitcher working on 5 things at once, it can add up. But keep in mind, he’s a great pitcher. He just has a few tweaks to add that will maximize his potential. Keep working hard.

OK. Seems like there are 3 major things to work on.

  1. Balance/posture. He seems to be leaning back towards 1st starting at leg lift.

  2. Glove side at delivery. Keep the glove up, rather than pulling in and down with it.

  3. Hips coming through delivery rather than popping up. Keep everything going towards the target, rather than changing directions. Sounds like the direction changes involve the hips going up and the body going towards 1st.

This all sounds like it comes down to keeping his front shoulder closed longer and getting all his momentum going towards the plate. He has always had an issue with the front shoulder staying closed longer and this causing arm drag. The above sound like some pretty specific things to work on that could be causing this.

I think your advice about working on one thing at a time is good Chris. Too many things going on at once will tend to confuse everything.

One question Chris. You talked about the hips popping up. Could this be due to his front leg straightening out too early? Should he keep that front leg bent longer?

Anyway, all feedback is appreciated. We will start working on some of this and see what we can get out of him.

Undiscovered, hitting 88, cruising around 84-87 (depending on 2 or 4 seam fastball) is on a stalker this fall. He was at those numbers at University of Tennessee, Georgia State University and a couple of other smaller, local showcases.

I’ll throw out my two cents. The first problem I see is that your arm is up too early. It’s called arm slop, your arm is essentially waiting for your body to throw. This affects your whole delivery. You have little sequencing as you shoulders and hips rotate together.

I am honestly very impressed that you can throw 88 with this delivery, I had a similar one 2 years ago and was in the mid 70s.

The first thing you need to do is to work on a more whippy and flowing arm action. By that I mean a continuous arm action with no pauses in it. Watch clips of major league players and notice how there arm action never stops. Also notice how they throw through the “high cocked” position and don’t go to it.

This does not mean that you have to change your arm action completely. You can still have a slinging arm action, but just work on making it more efficient.

Most of what you guys are saying makes sense and are good, specific ways to fix what we have always tried to work on - keeping the front shoulder closed longer and getting all his momentum going towards the target.

One thing I would like to address and clarify is a point jdfromfla and priceless have brought up. That is, his arm action coming out of the glove. You guys have said that he goes straight back into the cocked position and this is not a good thing. The feedback we have gotten from clinics, showcases and from pro scouts that have seen him pitch leads me to believe that this is a good thing. The comments from these groups is that his has a clean, short arm action - I like that. jd, I know that he does not drop his arm down from hand break like many do, however he does get full extention back after hand break. I would consider fully cocked as elbow shoulder height, forearm at a 90 degree angle to the upper arm. Seems to this layman’s eyes that for him, rather than go down with the ball - ala Lincecum - he goes down a little and straight back, whereas a catcher goes right to his ear and forward. Not quite the same thing.

Anyway, I’m a little curious about some seeming to think this is a problem and others thinking it is a short, clean good arm action.

Well perhaps they weren’t looking via video…no way I would call that arm action “good”…here is a slo-mo of my college age son…just for comparison sake…also remember he’s not “just going to hi-cock”, he’s over-rotating

In essence what was mentioned about him showing the ball way long is just a minor point, he’s impeding velo in my opinion…it really looks like it messes up his timing (Sequencing Roger mentions).

OK, so he’s got a bunch to work on. Can’t wait to see how hard he throws and how effective he can be if he gets these flaws worked out. He’s done pretty good so far, pitching against some very fierce competition. Maybe he’s getting it done on pure athleticism. jd, I’ll add your suggestion to my list. Thanks guys.

Yep. When the front leg straightens too early the hips will pop up. He doesnt drop his front knee like a lot of guys do, which is good. He just straightens it out too early.

Arm action is fine. Short and back works fine.

The over-rotation is a big issue - don’t show your number to the hitter, stay sideways. Also, the arm action discussion is interesting… I don’t think his arm action in this case is ideal, but I don’t think it’s a major problem, either. The problem is with the TIMING of his arm movement. He is definitely getting to the high cock position too early. Lincecum hangs his arm down to delay early arm action, others just hold the ball in their glove for a longer period before hand break. It doesn’t matter which way it’s done, the bottom line is that for proper sequencing, the arm shouldn’t be at the high cock position until the front leg braces up. So, what you should see if the sequence is correct is the hand and elbow at shoulder height (upper and lower arm parallel to the ground) just before touch down.

As far as the front leg and landing/bracing, the landing should take place on a firm, flexed leg and then straighten up as the body flexes over it. I see no problem with that here.

Looks to me like the general concensus is that he is over rotating/pulling his front shoulder out early. There are definitely different opinions as to why that is happening. There are definetely different opinions on what to do to fix it and a number of symptoms pointed out that ultimeately lead to the rotating and shoulder flying open too early.

Chris sees the back leg popping up as a symptom, jd sees the arm coming up too high too quickly as an indicator, structure and others see the counter rotating leading to the issue and there are some disagreements as to whether some of this is a problem or not.

Like I said, looks like it all comes down to opening the shoulder too quickly. This takes away from momentum towards the plate and decreases hip/shoulder separation. Both of which take away from velocity. The couple of things I think he can work on in the short run are maybe taking the ball out of the glove a little earlier to help with timing and not counter rotating as much. I think Chris’s point about the balance early on in the windup is a good point as well. That might take away some of the lean towards 1st base which can’t help with keeping the shoulder closed longer.

Thanks for all the input. I’ll keep you updated as to his progress.

Definitely do not have him break his hands earlier! This will only cause him to get his arm up even earlier than he already does. He needs to “carry the ball” with him down the mound - like a running back almost. Just hold on to it as he leads with the hip and the leg comes down. You might want to consider having him generate a bit more momentum with his arms - as the leg comes up, the arms move up; as the leg goes down, the arms move down - then have him break his hands around the belly button or belt buckle.

I wouldn’t worry so much about the front shoulder. It appears as though he is just pinching the scapulae when his foot lands and his hips open yet his torso (sternum to belly button) is still sideways - that is good separation (watch at :28 of the first video to see this in slow-mo). But fix the start - more problems occur at the beginning of a delivery than anywhere else. Just don’t rotate over the back leg - stay sideways; it’s an easy fix.

A side view video would be helpful for further insight.

Sorry structuredoc, I meant later. I understand what you are saying. The hands moving with the leg might be a good suggestion. Same with the shoulder turn during windup. Along with the balance suggestion Chris made. All 3 of these things are right at the start and may help with the overall picture.

Like I said earlier, we will be in Ft. Myers for the PG Underclass showcase next week. I’ll see if I can get some video from the side there and post it. I probably won’t introduce much of this before then. His velocity is pretty decent and his control is good. I would hate to mess with things too much just before a high profile event. Might make things worse before it gets better. We’ll start working on this after the 1st of the year.

Never…ever! alter mechs this close before an event, make sure he’s ready and go with what you got.
I want to expound on Chris’ thought a bit…one thing at a time, realize that if you fix one aspect, you may fix the rest…or come up with another issue…if he’s got a pitching coach on the ground who is with him…well I’d advise keeping this stuff in your hat, look for instances where the p coach looks to correct or alter in a way that makes him smoother and more direct to the target…(Smoother does absolutely NOT mean slow down it means a more efficient delivery)…The idea of head stillness and explosive directed flow should be the over-riding thought…as has been said many times and I will repeat yet again…there is more than one way to raise up a pitcher…from here until graduation I’d advise you to be his cheif facillitator and advocate…but make sure he knows it’s on him, his desire and efforts…

We had a tremendous experience during this time, I recorded it in the following log and can’t recommend enough that you make a special effort to record the journey as best you can…it will be worth it…as Laflippin told me years back…“get a tri-pod” best investment you can make :wink:
We did a continuance once he got to college which is still semi-active in the logs forum…