Advice Help

The new coach at our high school is making all the pitchers in the program (even juniors like my 12 year old) “take a picture” with their gloved hand when they seperate-the glove is out front with the web facing the target, then they throw “through the glove”

My son has taken many lessons from a former major leaguer and could not get the hang of it, even though he gets good results and has a very smooth motion. It basically messed up his timing to the point where he was all messed up.

My question- is this a fundamental that must be followed to pitch?

LOBall, welcome aboard!

There are a few things I don’t understand. First, you have a 12 year old who is a junior in high school? Second, it’s not clear to me what you mean by “take a picture”. Third, does “web facing the target” mean point the glove at the target or does it mean the front or back side of the web is facing the target?

I’m wondering if the coach teaches the kids to point the glove at the target. If he does so across the board, then that is a cookie cutter approach and I don’t agree with it. If the coach simply wants the pitcher’s glove arms to mirror their throwing arms, then that would be a good thing though it would vary from pitcher to pitcher.

Also, throwing “through the glove” can be a good cue or it can be a poor cue. If it’s given to get the pitcher to release the ball out front, then it’s not really addressing the cause since the release point is dictated by the mechanics leading up to it. But if it’s given to get the pitcher to keep his glove up infront, then that could be a good cue.

The high school coach where I live is giving some lessons to the juniors,(9-12 year olds) and the coach is taking over a high school program that was once state champs but has gone in the tank. (all the kids have gone to Lacross)

He wants them to “take a picture” with the glove meaning the palm of their gloved hand (the inside web)must face straight out after they break. I know the concept of “equal and opposite” but this seems to be a matter of personal choice. He quoted some study that said all power pitchers do this.

The coach is young,and I’m sure he will learn with experience, but it was a real downer (my son kind of had a meltdown) that he was so adamant that all his pitchers must do this. (It was basically my way or the highway) Really negative.

Thank you for any advice you can provide.

I think he means juniors as in little kids.

I don’t understand why people try to force you to fit a mold. Baseball is about failure and so are the mechanics. You have to fail with them yourself to learn them to begin with. Everything said about them is just guidelines. What’s even worse is that young kids don’t have the control of their bodies to mimic whatever the coach wants to begin with so it is futile for the coach to even try unless he submits guidelines.

I’d say this guy is a power pitcher:

Is this what the coach wants the kids to do with their gloves?

Ok, got it. Well, I don’t think I’ve ever heard that teach of facing the palm of the glove at the target. It definitely sounds “cookie cutter” and I don’t agree with it.

I would imagine you could find plenty of video clips in the Video Clips forum on this site that show otherwise. The tricky part, of course, is how do you make the coach aware of this. I will say that high school coaches don’t generally like to deal with parents. They much prefer the players themselves to handle their own concerns. So you are out of the loop - your son needs to be the one to handle things. Your son could simply ask what is the purpose or benefit of “taking the picture”. That might make the coach think about things and reconsider.

I would not want your son to say to the coach, “On this one website, some guy told me that’s bogus”. This is definitely a sticky situation. But your son shouldn’t be afraid to talk to the coach.

take some video clips or picture progressions of a major league pitcher who does not do what he is talking about (i use that teach also but do not demand it as an absolute. when you break the glove usually the thumbs go down and the elbows begin to rise. when you do this the catcher (we do not acknowledge the hitter unless we are going to bean him) will see the palm of the glove with the thumb down. then the trunk shifts forward almost violently and the throwing arm lays back to external rotation as the shoulders square up. the shoulders roll forward and the throwing arm comes forward and you let er fly. do’t make it too complicated. i spent 20 minutes tonight with 10 10-12 yr olds doing nothing more than getting their feet moving and throwing the length of a batting cage throwing the ball in front of their head (as far forward as possible) with a nice finish. everyone wants lots of cool drills and stuff. demand that they do a few things right and they’ll find their own style and be just fine.

Gee, after reading Spencer’s post, maybe I don’t got it. Is this “taking a picture” thing with the palm facing the target and the fingers pointing up or down.

Pitchers who keep the thumb down as Dusty described usually sweep the glove out and around so the palm/pocket facing the target only briefly. Inthis case, maybe your son (and the other pitchers) are trying to hold the palm/pocket forward artifically too long.

On the other hand, Tom House teaches opposite and equal. This involves making the glove arm mirror the throwing arm. So, if the throwing arm extend back with the thumb down, then the glove arm would extend forward with the thumb down too. But if the throwing arm extends back in some other orientation, then the glove arm should do the same. This is what I teach my pitchers.

Well at equal and opposite there is no way Mr. Zumaya is taking a picture unless it is of the first baseman so I chose that picture.

EDIT: P.S. If you (LOBall) cannot tell me what the coach wants and the coach cannot instantly identify what he wants when looking at a picture, then he doesn’t know what he wants and thus cannot teach it effectively.

In the picture you had, if you could take it a few frames farther-what the coach wants is that gloved hand straight out, shoulder hight, with the palm facing the target. (thumb closest to the ground)

Like the 2nd, bigger one?

Exactly, only imagine a wall in front of Zumaya and the palm of his gloved hand is flat against it (fingers pointing to the right)

Your son is sharing an experience that’s echoed across every playing field in the country. And your concern is well warranted from first, a health standpoint, then second – a performance standpoint

From a health standpoint, your son’s coach should be stressing the basic “prep” issues that are associated with young pitchers and their susceptibility to stress loads on the youngster’s frame that’s still engaged in the cycle of growth and development. A conditioning list of diet, sleep, shower/bath routines, simple floor exercises at home/gym, an so on should be sent home with your son in notebook form –DAY ONE. Pitching style and mechanic issues follows long after these foundation(s) are poured to give your son – and others, something solid to work off of.

From a performance standpoint, performance is usually associated with a certain level of talent, either self endowed or groomed by summer camps, private coaching and/or any combination in between. Unfortunately, in your son’s case, there seems to be a disregard for your son’s training history and all those imprints that accompanied your son up to this point. Now wonder the young man is confused. This “one-size-fits-all” mentality accompanies most first year coaches, those filling in with little position specific experience, and those that just take a second job for the $$. The worse case coaching scenario is those that are just marking time –for one reason or another.

Now here’s the tough part dad – that’s life. I know this is not up to par with the other fine advice you’ve received thus far, but it’s advice that has to be addressed sooner or later by both you and your son. This coach, regardless of his station in life, is nevertheless in the driver’s seat and his decision process will either tag your son as a “team player” or as a “fifth wheel”. The bottom line here is to do your best to encourage your son to do the best he can during show-n tell with this coach … get along by going along. Heck, he’s only 12 and he’s got a lot of playing years ahead of him. Your son will pass this experience quickly and as he transitions into the higher levels of the game – he’ll find better resources to compliment his skills.

The folks on this site are some of the best people you could possibly field suggestions from. In that regard, your questions relating to form, posture disciplines, health and related performance issues will generate tons of success by having both you and your son sit side-by-side at the monitor and read the responses together – then, hash them over.

Best wishes,

Coach B.