19 year old needs help

Looking for some help. This is a 19 year old pitcher that went to JC with elbow problems. Just needed some rest as he never had any surgery. After feeling better, his mechanics got really messed up and he went from throwing 85 and touching 89 in high school with great accuracy to throwing 80 and lost all control. There seems to be a hitch that he can feel but has no idea how to get rid of it. He says he feels like his back side is dragging and that his arm has to catch up. Let me know your thoughts.

Ok, after looking at more video, I believe his back hip is getting in front of his arm. So he is opening too soon and his arm is dragging behind. I have to figure out how to sync up his back hip with his arm and the hitch will go away and his velo will pick up. make sense?

What I noticed is that he is dragging his back foot, just like he was throwing a change up. If you get him to push of the rubber more, and not drag his foot, the feeling of leaving his back side behind should disappear.This should also get his arm to catch up with is body.

1- his leg lift looks good and he leads well with his hips
2- drives good with back leg into front foot
3- gets in a good power position at front foot

4- his external rotation is a big problem. He is at about 110 degrees instead of 180. Most likely this is a result of the elbow injury.
5- same issue with internal rotation. He is not extending his arm over his head at release. he seems to be pushing the ball.
6- I agree with the back leg issue. It also looks like his back leg is acting like a brake to slow him down at release. His legs, thighs, and glutes appear to be slowing down his momentum at release. The lack of re-coil in his drive leg when he braces up is a giveaway. This maybe a reaction to the elbow injury and his body’s way of protecting the arm by slowing down. It does indeed seem that he starts off well and then slows down. I dont believe its a hitch, but a reaction to the elbow injury.

I would suggest that he needs a professional to suggest some external/internal rotation excercises to improve strength, flexibility and mobility in the arm and elbow.

good luck and keep at it!

Thank you. He says the elbow doesn’t hurt anymore but I know it is in his head. His mechanics used to be great. Once he hurt his arm and went off to college everything changed. He tried to throw through the pain and changed everything he learned since he was 10. I can’t believe 9 years of muscle memory are thrown out the window after one year. As a parent and a coach, I feel horrible for him because he just can’t figure it out.

I agree, he pushes the ball instead of throwing it. His college coach has told him that. Just has a big mental block that he can’t get over. Never thought it would happen to my kid…

I agree. Once injured the muscle memory gets impacted and a new set of mechanics emerges. But in your sons case, he has solid mechanics to work off. I would really look at his external rotation to determine if he has some limitations there. A professional could measure his range of motion (for a pitcher) and put together a program for him. Excercises would improve the strength and flexibility and he should be back in business quickly. If they determine his range of motion is fine, then the excercises would give him the confidence that he doesnt need to hold back any longer. Even though he doesnt have pain, he still may have some doubt. A program of excercise may remove that doubt.

Just something to consider, Danny…

I think his lead foot and knee are opening up too early. He has about the same tempo as Trevor Bauer, for example. Bauer opens his lead foot 80% into his stride (opens at frame 16 from max leg lift - lands at frame 20). Your pitcher opens up 63% into his stride (opens at frame 12 - lands at frame 19) - in fact he actually starts opening sooner than that. That’s a huge difference.
Opening his lead leg and knee that soon uses up at least half of his hip rotation. So, he doesn’t have much hip rotation speed when he lands - which translates into less upper body rotation speed - which results in almost no external shoulder rotation.
I think if he focuses on leading with his hip longer and keeping his lead foot and knee closed longer, he’ll rotate much faster and get much better external rotation and a healthy jump in velocity. Just an observation from someone you don’t know who has only seen him throw a couple of pitches on flat ground. Take it for what it’s worth.

This is the only high school video I have to compare him to. It was two years ago. This is the 6th inning of a regional game, his velocity was in the low to mid 80’s the entire game. I don’t see the hitch as I believe his hip and arm are synched up.

When i slowed down both clips. It looks like his release point is more extended in the HS clip. Also look at the re-coil in his drive leg. It flies up in the HS clip. I dont see these in the most recent clips. Release point is slightly above the head and kind of a dead drive leg.

What year of JC is he in, how has he pitched, is he on scholarship?

The elbow started hurting the summer before he left for JUCO. He ended up pitching 19 innings as a freshman, and was effective at times. When he got behind, he started pushing the ball and that is when he got himself in trouble. Wasn’t able to pitch in the fall of his freshman year because of the elbow. He is on scholarship and was recruited by 5-6 D-1’s out of HS. Decided on JUCO to improve on strength and velo. He needs to prove himself this year and get back to who he used to be and will be fine. This past fall he started out throwing 78 mph but ended the fall on a stronger note hitting 86 a few times. After the winter lay off, it seems that bad habbits have come back.