2 months later, 9 year old

Hello, it has been two months since I have had great advice from this forum. I have a 9 year old that wants to be a pitcher so I submitted a few videos of him two months ago and recieved very helpfull advice.

Below are two new videos of my son and one from the Dec post.

Please take a look and give me some more helpfull advice please (I would like to have the same gentlemen and more comment on him).

We are still working on the glove; it keeps flying open. However, I did as Roger stated by working on the firsts, meaning what the pitcher does first and work from there. thanks for your input (please look up the old post to get updated)

Greyhairdad,

Here is my son two months ago

Here he is recently;

side view

back view

well first of all, congradulations. i don’t think anyone on this site can have more fun and enjoy their time together more than you and your son. 50 at 9 yrs old is definitely worth celebrating. clear improvement from the first video. he is throwing the ball later and looks pretty good. let’s try some things.

i would like to get him very athletic. he appears to me that he is very concerned and careful to do things exactly right. that is a good first step and he is ready to move to the next stage, being a fire breathing athlete when he goes to the mound. the kind that makes kids tremble when they see and hear the warm up pitches hit the mitt. this is one of the first things i do.

if you have a large screen (the atec catch net and jugs sock net are ideal), have him get about 60 feet from it (a little shorter than a batting cage), get a full running start at it, and throw the ball as hard as he can (once he is very loose and warmed up of course) into the net with wreckless abandon. even if he misses the net for a while that is ok, or have him release the ball a little closer to the net so he doesn’t have to worry about missing. we are working on pure velocity and throwing the ball using every fiber he can recruit into the pitch. then he can take this feeling to the mound when he throws.

he has some promise and the blessing of a dad that will work with him and encourage him. i’m very impressed with his progress. i think he can throw safely, now let;s get him to throw hard enough to cause fear. i think he has it in him.

Dusty, thanks for those great encouraging words. Your response validates me as a dad/coach heading in the right direction but with a long way to go.

I will try what you said about my son throwing in the net to get momentum and velocity. Durring our practices I have him go through the motions as if he was pitching the “walk-up-pitch” (but on flat ground). Trying to get the motion and velocity into the ball, while letting go of it to my glove while I standing up (I hope that made sense).

It has been raining here and I have not had the chance to try your drill.

Yes, I would love to see the fire breathing athlete and I do think it is in him also. When his mechanics and momentum are right I can feel the diffence in my glove when I catch for him.

I am going to let him pitch this season at little league AAA. I was not going to unless he had some improvement that stayed with him; I think he should be ok somewhere in the pitching rotation based on were he is at today.

I read this forum alot and there are only a handfull of editors I listen to; and Dusty you are one of them.

I should have his glove in control by the end of this season.

Thanks dusty for your time.

be sure when you do the drill that he is in a full run up moving quickly toward the target (just like from the outfield). we want him to get moving and put everything he has into the pitch. effort and coordination are more important that being careful in this drill.

let him throw in games and have fun. limit him to 3 or 4 innings and no more than 50 pitches to start. he’ll be just fine.

Regarding my sons pitching mechanics;

Does he get shoulder / hip separation??? and if he does is it enough??? please help by giving me a drill that he and I could work on together to achieve this.

I would appreciate all editors comments please.

thanks

I also notice improvement from the first video. Good job to you and your son.

Before I offer my observations and recommendations, let me say this. You son is still very young and you need to make sure you don’t push too much. In other words, don’ turn pitching into a job. You and your son appear to have a great relationship and you need to make sure pitching remains fun lest you risk your son getting burn-out down the road. I’m not trying to imply you’re doing any of this now - just offering my insights based on my experiences. Those of us who offer advice can get carried away sometimes and you shouldn’t feel the need to heed every last bit of advice you get.

Ok, so the first thing I noticed that changed since the first video is the initial stance. In the first video, your son had a very scrunched down but athletic stance. In the new video, he stands very upright which results in a significant drop early in his stride. Compare the top if his hat to the top rail of the fence behind him and you’ll see the amount of drop is pretty significant. The ramification of this are it represents energy being wasted - force is being directed other than at the target (to bring the drop to a halt he must exert force down into the ground). Think about this wasted energy over the course of an entire game. I didn’t see anything wrong with he original stance that warranted a change. If anything, I’d prefer him to “scrunch” a little bit to minimize the drop.

The next thing I noticed is, as you mentioned, the glove. Specifically, he lets it drop early and move out to the side. This will lead to posture issues and/or timing (i.e. premature shoulder rotation) issues. I believe it is a big reason for your son finishing with a big lean to the glove side. Stabilizing the glove, I feel, will help him develop a repeatable delivery. It will also help improve timing as I’ll explain next. You might check how heavy his glove is as heavy gloves contribute to young kids dropping their glove. Light gloves are a good thing for the young ones.

I think your son does get some hip and shoulder separation. But he is not able to delay shoulder rotation until the hips have fully rotated due to the timing issue caused by the glove arm. And that is probably what you’re noticing. If he is able to keep the glove up in front until foot plant, that will give him the timing to properly delay shoulder rotation. A couple verbal cues you could try are “throw past the glove” or “stick your face in the glove”. It might be useful to have him over-exagerate this to help him make the proper adjustment.

Momentum is also an issue but I would work on the above things first. Pitching with more momentum requires proper strength and flexibility - especially in the core.

Thanks Roger for taking a look at my video and for the words of encouragement.

Regarding this comment;

I must be giving you the impression that I am making this a job for my son. It is reversed, my son is making it a job for ME. My background is in football and for some reason my son wants to be a baseball pitcher. With that said, as a dad/coach to my son I am going to make him the best that he wants to be at anything in his life. I responded this way to you Roger becuase you stated the same thing in the December post. I hope this clears it up for future posts. I respect your words and your advice and hope to have many more posts with you regarding my sons pitching. Thanks

Regarding the second comment about his stance;

I liked it also, however when he is “scrunched” over he pulls his throwing arm straight back, can not ball break at waist level and he can not point his toe at the catcher. This is becuase he is bent over at initial stance. I had to change my sons stance so that he could fix all what was said above. I tried to keep him some what bent over but he kept ball breaking over in front of his knee and and had no place drop his throwing arm down and behind him as he does now (as he hides the ball from the batter). Also, he could not recover enough to point his toe at the catcher due to being “scrunched” over. The whole idea was to change his stance so that he could accomplish his achievments that he has to date. Respective to your advice this I disagree on some what (at least for my son).

What I do agree with you on, is he does have an initial drop after knee lift. I know that at the “scrunched over” stance he does not have far to drop becuase of being bent over already. However, I have noticed the Roger Clemens side view video on this web site, that illustrates Rogers head dropping down like my son (you can measure it by the fence in the background). However I agree with you that this is wasted movement that could be placed in the ball for more MPH. Now for the big question, how do I get my son (with the stance that he has now) to illiminate the drop??

Widen his stance so that he is still upright but his stride foot is further down the mound??? Maybe he would have a shorter knee lift that might illiminate the drop??? Keep what he has and simply get his body towards the catcher at knee lift on down the mound (tilt)??? I could use some advice please.

Regarding the glove comment;

Yes that is what I see. As you stated in the previous post “work on the mechanics in the order the pitcher does them” I am working on the glove tuck and the momentary pause at foot plant as this season continues.

As far as the momentum issue; I think that is what Dusty has seen also. I wonder if by fixing the early drop will give my son more mommentum rather than wasting it on dropping??

I could use advice please.

I like the direction my son is going but I think with yours and the forums advice, he can be better. At 9 1/2 years old is a good time to instill great mechanics which would give ME a break in the comming years.

Thanks again Roger for the comments please keep them comming.

Greyhairdad

Greyhairdad, rest assured you have not given me the impression you’re making pitching a job for your son. I see you and your son having nothing but wonderful times together in your video clips. I just tend to get concerned when I see young ones involved due to my own personal experiences. My younger son started playing Little League at age 9 and travel ball at 11. By age 13 he was dealing with burn-out. In my son’s case, his burn-out was caused by multiple reasons. Unfortunately, I hadn’t become familiar with these kinds of issues until after they started happening. Otherwise I would certainly have nipped it in the bud. So, it’s just my own experiences talking here. Like I said in my previous reply, I was not trying to imply anything. I just feel like I can help others avoid the burn-out thing my son went through.

By the way, if your son is making it a job for you, that’s a good thing! It will keep you young. :wink:

[quote]Regarding the second comment about his stance;

I liked it also, however when he is “scrunched” over he pulls his throwing arm straight back, can not ball break at waist level and he can not point his toe at the catcher. This is becuase he is bent over at initial stance.[/quote]
I’m not sure about the cause and effect here. Why would being scrunched over preclude breaking the ball at the waist or pointing the toe at the catcher?

Again, I’m not sure on the actual cause and effect here. But if it works, it works. There’s definitely more than one way to skin a cat.

Not only wasted energy, but more movement that will make it more difficult (i.e. require more core strength) for a youngster to stabilize the upper half through the delivery.

I’m not so hard and fast in regards to this issue as to say that the drop needs to be entirely eliminated. I think minimizing it is sufficient. The solution would be a slight bend in the knees and the waist but not necessarily to the extent he did previously. To be honest, though, I wouldn’t get too hung up on this issue right now. Down the road when he’s working on building momentum this issue might improve on its own because when you’re trying to build momentum you’ll naturally move more towards the target and less in other directions.

Too wide of a stance is something that he appears to have corrected since the first video. If I recall correctly, he previously had a wide stance that was causing him to shift his weight towards 2B when he lifted his knee. So I wouldn’t give him a wider stance. I also wouldn’t shorten his knee lift. Like I said previously, this may improve itself when working on momentum.

[quote]Regarding the glove comment;

Yes that is what I see. As you stated in the previous post “work on the mechanics in the order the pitcher does them” I am working on the glove tuck and the momentary pause at foot plant as this season continues.

As far as the momentum issue; I think that is what Dusty has seen also. I wonder if by fixing the early drop will give my son more mommentum rather than wasting it on dropping??[/quote]
I don’t think fixing the drop will automatically give him more momentum. Rather it might be more of an “enabler” in that time not spent moving vertically will become time spent moving forward.

I agree - overall your son has made significant improvement.

[quote]Thanks again Roger for the comments please keep them comming.
Greyhairdad[/quote]

good improvement, but at this age i dont know if its a really big deal if he’s getting real deep into his mechanics as for adjusting them, i remember until i turned about 14 i never worried about my mechanics, just let him go throw until hes 12 or 13…thats just my opinion though…

Hello, I would like to respond to Roger and Tannerlorenz;

Thanks for the great reply!

Roger thanks for sharing your life experince with me and the forum. I do not want to burn out my son or let himself get burned out on baseball. I may ask you for some warning signs later as the years go on with him in baseball. thanks.

As far as the cause and effect that you were refering to; With my son, he had a hard time with scrunched over stance becuase he would start off this way and keep it through his pitch until release. That made it hard for him to ball break low and keep the throwing arm low and behind him, due to him being accustom to his bad habits in that scrunched stance. When I made him stay upright it seemed easier for him, and your are right “there is more than one way to skin a cat”.

regarding this comment;

[quote]I’m not so hard and fast in regards to this issue as to say that the drop needs to be entirely eliminated. I think minimizing it is sufficient. The solution would be a slight bend in the knees and the waist but not necessarily to the extent he did previously. To be honest, though, I wouldn’t get too hung up on this issue right now. Down the road when he’s working on building momentum this issue might improve on its own because when you’re trying to build momentum you’ll naturally move more towards the target and less in other directions.
[/quote]

That is a Very Good Response. Yes he is only 9 years old. I will continue to refine him as the season continues. As you stated; I am going to start with the glove flying open to fast and to the side, which makes him open his hips to early (as his stride foot lands he has allready started turning his hips toward the catcher) which takes away mph from the delivery of the ball.
Thanks for a great response Roger (and Dusty) my son and I will be in touch, in about 3 to 4 months with another video.

Regarding Tannerlorenz;

I believe that teaching good mechanics early (as long as the boy can understand your words and wants to learn, have fun and practce) will give him the confidence and respect with his peers at an early age that will continue on into young adulthood (age 14). A young man that is 14 that allready knows some good mechanics may have the advantage over the 14 year old that is just now learning some good mechanics. With respect of burn-out as Roger mentioned. You can tell at team practice who’s dad or family member has took the time to invest in thier sons, they are usuaully sucessfull and have the most fun out on the field. Thats just my opinion which may not mean alot to a youngman but it does to a father.

I have a 11 year old that started developing his mechanics around 9 or soon after he turned 10. I think that is a great time to start getting true mechanics set into place. The only thing I see that sometimes the front toe at the top of the “Post” position is very high meaning that he is fighting his balance just a little. Toe up=body weight back and then it translates into upper body down when he steps. The instructor we use tries to keep the front toe down to keep the body up and tall always. The only other thing is to place the ball in the glove with the ball in the pocket…over the next year you might want to add a changeup and he will fumble in the glove this way. Good Luck to him.

Hoping you guys can help me with the mechanics for my 9 year old. He is a good athlete and all around baseball player, but has struggled with pitching consistency. Clearly, that is not surprising at his age. He throws accurately when he plays in the field or has a catch, but struggles on the mound. I am just concerned with his accuracy at this point vs. velocity.

Attached is a video from the side I took. It is only 2 pitches, but I was hoping someone could help with some thoughts. I generally think he has solid mechanics. The things I see is that I believe his elbow is too low (below the shoulder) and I don’t think is stride is long enough and he is probably too upright on his landing leg (right knee not bent enough). I am sensitive to not giving a 9 year old too much information, so hoping someone has thoughts about how to simplify his motion and correct any flaws you see. He also seems to be dipping (leaning forward) once he gets to his separation, but not sure if that is bad or not. Seems like it is an additional moving part he does not need.

Thanks.

http://www.youtube.com/v/1lxgYOJGw1M
[/wmp]

Just make sure its fun for him

[quote=“DBA1”]Hoping you guys can help me with the mechanics for my 9 year old. He is a good athlete and all around baseball player, but has struggled with pitching consistency. Clearly, that is not surprising at his age. He throws accurately when he plays in the field or has a catch, but struggles on the mound. I am just concerned with his accuracy at this point vs. velocity.

Attached is a video from the side I took. It is only 2 pitches, but I was hoping someone could help with some thoughts. I generally think he has solid mechanics. The things I see is that I believe his elbow is too low (below the shoulder) and I don’t think is stride is long enough and he is probably too upright on his landing leg (right knee not bent enough). I am sensitive to not giving a 9 year old too much information, so hoping someone has thoughts about how to simplify his motion and correct any flaws you see. He also seems to be dipping (leaning forward) once he gets to his separation, but not sure if that is bad or not. Seems like it is an additional moving part he does not need.

Thanks.

http://www.youtube.com/v/1lxgYOJGw1M
[/wmp][/quote]

look, I dont know much about teaching kids how to pitch, but I would like to offermy opinion from a pitcher’s point of view, he doesn’t follow through properly, he should finish by following through with his throwing arm finishing by slapping the knee of his striding leg with his torso finising over his striding leg, this will help with velocity and could help with his control if he is missing high, the length of his stride could be ignored but if hi control is still lacking you could experiment with a couple of changes in that

Thanks for your input. Where do you see his follow through going. I agree it should finish by slapping his knee. Do you think he is finishing too high - that is, it is coming across his torso instead of this knee? Does that mean he is too upright on his follow through?

Thanks again.

basically, yes, his right leg finishes well in front of his striding leg, buthis torso is too upright
look at the pitchers follow through in this picture, this is something like what it should look like (if this link works)
http://images.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://i.pbase.com/g6/14/8614/2/73670478.GHOtlwAP.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.pbase.com/zogger/image/73670478&h=600&w=800&sz=97&hl=en&start=16&um=1&tbnid=cI1Y_WrElW7WyM:&tbnh=107&tbnw=143&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dpitchers%2Bfollow%2Bthrough%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26sa%3DN

You have progressed a lot in two months. What I saw from the first posted video was that your son didn’t have good direction with his stride foot. As a result, his pelvis was not rotated at release and made it seem like his hips and shoulders were fused together like one rigid unit. This is also why his release point was so far off.

I see that the lead foot direction is better, but I think he is still carrying on a bad habbit caused by that original problem. Since before he couldn’t rotate his hips enough before release I think he got used to letting the ball go with minimal or no hip/shoulder separation. When I freeze the most recent videos at foot plant, I notice that both the pelvis and shoulders are still facing towards third base too much. The pelvis should be futher along in its rotational sequence while the upper body should still be facing 3rd base. At this point most higher level pitchers have a separation of 40-50 degrees, and more is even better. I would guess your son has only 10 degrees separation at foot plant.

You had asked for a drill to correct this problem, and I don’t know if it was touched on. When he begins to warm up his arm after stretching, have him throw short distances while down on one knee (his back or right knee). His stride foot should be planted out in front and pointing at the target. Telling him to focus on keeping his hips facing the target, he can twist his trunk and throw from that position. He should eventually begin to feel the tension created by separation and apply it to throwing an actual pitch. If timing is correct, a separation increase will help keep stress off his shoulder and elbow later when he is able to throw harder.

The other issue I wanted to address is release point. I also think this is a habit learned from his old motion. It’s hard to tell for sure without a high speed video or slow motion footage but it seems like he’s still letting the ball go to early, and doesn’t have any upper body bend until just an instant after release. Try to get him to release the ball just a tad later when he has a little upper body bend. BE CAREFUL, WEAR SHIN GUARDS FOR A WHILE. THIS MAY TAKE SOME TIME TO DEVELOPE. Good luck.

I threw abotu that speed at 9. just to be safe, don’t let him hurt his upper arm/shoulder growth plate (proximal humerus) or be diagnosed with little leaguers shoulder! I bet that would suck!!! (I wonder who has that…)