2020 hs rhp (velo and mechanical issues)


#1

Hello everyone,

I’m currently a 5’10 175lb high school sophomore. One of my goals heading into the summer was to hit 80 mph. So far, the hardest I’ve been gunned at is 78mph (whilst consistently sitting low 70s). As a high school pitcher, this obviously isn’t enough to survive. Hence, one of my reasons to work at increasing velocity. I’m able to long toss across the foul lines (which is roughly 300 feet at my field). According to some tables, that should correlate to mid 80s velocity, but that isn’t quite the case.

Furthermore, I’ve had major command and control issues. My coach has noted that it’s an issue with release points and consistency. However, with the number of kids that he has to look out for, it’s really hard to find time adjust things with the coach.

I’ve attempted to fix my own mechanics the past few weeks for several reasons. I’ve heard that I had “flat arm syndrome” (arm parallel to ground at foot strike), I want to load earlier and lastly increase velocity. So, I started trying out 90-degree separation in order to address these issues. Attached below are videos pre and post “mechanical adjustment”. I slowed it to 10% the second time around and froze the frame during footstrike.

Apologies for no side view.

However, it seems like having this type of 90 degree separation has created really long arm action. I’ve heard having a long arm action is actually really bad for both health and consistency. I’d go from 78 on one pitch to 69 the next at times.

What should I do to improve my mechanics and throw harder? It obviously looks like a mechanical issue, so any comments that relate to that (opening too early, not using legs enough, etc)? Were my mechanics better before or after the adjustment?

Thanks very much.


#2

I’m not really understanding what you mean by 90 degree separation but sounds like you’re trying to improve your timing. I kept a recent email from Steven Ellis pitching insider tips that I believe may be helpful (copy & paste is below). You can sign up free on this site for these daily tips. This particular tip is on hand break.

Dear Pitching Insider,

Let’s talk about a pitcher’s hand break (hand separation) during the pitching motion.

As a general rule, I teach pitchers the hands should break apart (separate) between the chest and the belt near the midline and close to the body.

The hands should break down, back and up like a pendulum swing.

Pitchers should aim to break the hands as late as possible after the lead leg starts downward.

This can be accomplished by making sure the pitcher shifts his weight toward the target before he takes the ball out of the glove.

A late hand break forces pitchers to have a fast hand break.

In fact, most of the hardest throwers in the big leagues break their hands 35%-40% into their stride—which is very late compared to amateur pitchers—but also forces them to have to be very fast with the separation of their hands. Nolan Ryan broke his hands almost 50% into his stride.

This is an important timing element because it allows the pitcher’s throwing arm to reach the cocked position as late as possible, just before arm acceleration begins.

Most pitchers I’ve worked with take the ball out of the glove too soon, so the arm gets up into the cocked position too soon.

You don’t want any hesitation of the arm and have it sitting waiting for the pitcher to land. This reduces the amount of elastic energy available to help accelerate the arm because he will end up losing velocity.

Keep reading: For more instruction about a pitcher’s hand separation, check out my latest article Pitching Mechanics: Hand Break.

Train smarter: Check out my all-new TUFFCUFF baseball pitching workouts for pitchers who work hard and don’t make excuses. Learn how to get stronger, throw harder, recover faster and prevent injuries following MLB programming as we head into the start of April.

For a limited time, get free two-day USPS Priority Shipping on any of my pitching programs.

Keep working hard. No off days. No excuses.

​​Steven


#3

Sorry if I was being unclear. I meant separating my throwing arm and putting it at a perpendicular position relative to the body as opposed to straight back and parallel to the body.


#4

Think Steven’s advice on hand break could be helpful with your issue.


#5

I haven’t seen this kind of crisp, clean, aggressive mound discipline in long, long time.

If you live in the Northeast, there’s some very good coaches that can bring you right in step to every scout that grazes this region.

You can post here, or, PM me - your preference, with your summer schedule, and any college intentions.

You have a very good opportunity to take this ability of yours and literally, cash in on it.,

About your mechanics - I’m not a mechanic’s coach, but I do know talent when I see it. All you need some minor delivery advice, a good solid baseball nutrition plan suitable to the season’s of this game, a off-season schedule, and you’re on your way.

When you get a few more pounds, a delivery motion that fells comfortable for you, take some video of you actually pitching at some length. I’d really be interested in see how a bit more physical maturity sits with you. .


#6

Your delivery looks very good. The one problem I think I see is overly long arm action—meaning that you appear to extend your throwing hand all the way out toward centerfield. This seems especially evident on the second pitch in your video. The problem is that it can make the timing of your arm cocking inconsistent. When the timing is good you throw hard, but you don’t always appear to get to a good cocked position on time.

The easy fix for this is to simply maintain flexion in your elbow and keep your fingers directed toward third base as you bring your throwing arm back. This makes the arm path more efficient and helps you to consistently get to a powerful and healthy cocked arm position ( the forearm quickly comes up from the side instead of struggling to get up from the rear). Most big league pitchers do this very well. Check out slow motion side view videos to see how it’s done.

I’m no expert, but I share this because my son (who is also a hs sophomore) has recently achieved significant improvements in both velocity and command since working with his high school coach to correct this same problem. It takes a little while to ingrain the new movement, but it is not difficult to perform. Try it and see how it feels.