Another 11U Pitcher Up For Analysis!


#1

This is my 11 year old brother, Luis Duran. Please analyze, so we can get some hard work done during the off-season and after.

Thanks in advance,
Joe Martins


#2

good posts. your camera angles are very good.

i don’t see anything i am extremely concerned about. he is slow and deliberate to the plate. i would speed him up from the stretch. runners can walk to 2nd and 3rd, but that is easy to fix.

you might get his hips in front of him to create more torque and leverage in his big muscles. see how he likes it. he looks like a big strong kid that can just fastball people to death.

he falls off to the 1st base side after he throws but that doesn’t bother me. bob gibson did the same thing. get some push with that back foot and come after the plate with those legs. he may have some more gas in the tank.

throw every other day beginning with 50 pitches and add 25 pitches each week till you reach 150. throw cage or practice games whenever possible. looks like you are a warm climate guy so that is a plus. post some wind-up pictures when you get a chance. you are wise to start from the stretch. the most important pitches in a game are thrown from the stretch.


#3

Thanks Dusty. I appreciate the analysis.

We will get to work right away in the hips-leading the way. As for the slow delivery to the plate causing problems with base runners you are absolutely right. We do need to work on getting something done. I don’t want him to rush either because he starts losing his mechanics. Any ideas?

As for falling to the first base side, that was done by design. He was having problems finishing his pitches, so we tried to create a force of momentum where he got everything out of his delivery. That was the easiest way for us to correct the initial problem, but since he has come to grasp that better we may work on finishing in a better defensive stance.

What do you think of his stride-lenght? It is funny but my brother thought there would be two things surely talked about… one being his stride-lenght not being long enough and second is him needing a haircut (he actually just got one today).

And lastly… as for being a “fastball to death” type of kid he is not.
At the level of competetion we are playing if you only throw your fastball, even if at serious heat, you will get eaten alive by the better hitters (and there are many great hitters down here in Florida).
Saying that, I think that his coach previously did not establish his 4-seam well enough. He has an above average change-up and cutter, and a decent 2-seam. The coach mixes the 4-seam, cutter and change-up at about the same percentage, and throws the 2-seam maybe 10% of the time. I understand why he does it, since he has had very good success mixing things up.
Should I be concerned with this or is it okay to be mixing it up as often as he does now? Is there a percentage of 4-seam’s you want to be looking at throwing at this age?

Thanks Again,
Joe


#4

He appears to short-arm his throws (this is particularly evident in the lower two videos). When he breaks, he does not extend his throwing arm back, but rather turns it into an upside down “L”, with the ball pointing down, and from there he takes the ball straight up before throwing it. As such, he may be leaving a lot of velocity on the mound.


#5

I’ll second the thought that the multiple angle videos are very nice.

IMO he’s slow to the plate because he sets up with his feet too far apart and to compensate his body’s first move upon lifting his leg is back toward 2nd base. Have him start with his feet slightly less than shoulder width apart. From this position he should be able to maintain dynamic balance without the initial move to 2nd base. This will likely change his timing a little but is worth working on. To get the feel you can practice starting with the feet together or from a crossover poition with the left foot/leg crossed over the right.

Adjusting his feet at setup and eliminating the initial move away from home will also likely put him in a better position to get his hips moving faster. His timing will be a little quicker because he will be moving forward earlier in the sequence. This IMO is a good thing.

Falling to first base bothers me because he starts falling, tilting, etc. before he has released the ball. In the front view video if you use the tree in the background as a reference it appears his head has moved as much as a foot toward first before release. Ideally his upper body would rotate around an upright spine and his head would not move off the straight line to home until after release. If he falls toward first after release it’s not that big of a problem. The way he’s throwing now his body is going one way and his arm another with the ball still in his hand. The leads to an inconsistent release point and potential injury.

As for pitch ratios I feel he should throw 60-70% fastballs, 15-20% off-speed, and 15-20% breaking balls. I don’t like to see 11yo throwing cutters because some feel it and the slider are the two hardest pitches on the arm. I’m much more comfortable with youth pitchers learning a proper curveball and then using it only while adhering to strict pitch counts and ratios.


#6

Thanks for the input JP and littlelefty.

As for littlelefty’s input that is the first time I recognized that. He used to short-arm his throws constantly when he was younger but for all I saw I thought he had grown out of it, so good catch. I will start working with him right away on improving that.

And JP…
About the feet being too far apart, that was recently changed. He used to have his feet a lot closer together and the front foot was slightly closed, but he had a tedency to want to be less fluid with his rhtymn doing that and was often out of balance. If it is hurting more than it is helping than that is something we have to revisit I guess.
About the finishing to the first base side, as I said earlier, now that he has grasped the art of finishing his pitches better I think it may be time to work on a more direct line.
Thank you for the pitching ratio breakdown, that is kind of in line with what I would like to see. We have a different head coach this season so we shall see if that is more the way things will happen this year.
As for the cutter, he does not supernate his cutter. He throws it like a fastball, just the grip is different. I guess I am just curious as to why it would be bad for his arm? I will make another video with some changes later on and with his different pitches so that can be looked at, as prevention of injury and arm endurance is a important issue.

Great input guys, thanks. Keep them coming.
Joao


#7

My son is 8 and, having coached him and his teammates for three years now (the last year as a pitcher), I’m very sensitive to the short-arm! It’s prevalent at the young ages, very hard to “break”, and so it’s become one of the first things I look at when evaluating a pitcher.

That’s what’s great about this forum. It seems everyone has their own area of focus: five guys will look at the same video and see five different issues - feet, leg kick, pitching arm, glove side arm, stride, etc.


#8

Joao

I feel the feet position/leg lift is something that needs to be addressed for several reasons. Because his feet are so far apart he moves away from the target at leg lift and in order to move back toward the target he must first stop the rearward motion of his body and re-direct momentum toward the plate- all while balancing on one leg. This greatly affects overall timing, accuracy and consistency plus it can inhibit the ability to generate momentum from the lower half. This is very inefficient since he must start forward from essentially a dead stop, on one leg, at the top of leg lift. Ideally forward movement would start before he reaches maximum leg lift.

Pitchers who are slow into footstrike tend to begin hip/shoulder rotation in the air (opening early) instead of at footstrike where hip and shoulder separation can be maximized. To me eliminating this early rearward move and subsequently quickening the tempo a bit is the first step in solving the later issue of falling toward first base. In other words his slow tempo is giving his body extra time to rotate toward first and also reducing his velocity potential due to reduced hip and shoulder separation.

Additionally the initial rearward move toward 2nd is an invitation to steal. At competitive U11 and U12 levels even the best catchers will be unable to control runners with such a slow move to home plate.

If you are worried about his throwing arm mechanics (which don’t really bother me) concentrate first on his glove side arm mechanics. Be sure that he gets to what is called “opposite and equal”- equal angles in the elbows of both the throwing arm and glove side arm- beginning with the break of the hands and into footstrike. As he learns to extend and stabilize his glove side arm the throwing arm should follow. The reason you and littlelefty notice the short arm in young players is because most are never taught proper glove side mechanics and stabilization. The glove side arm just sort of flops around leaving the throwing arm to fend for itself.

Getting to a proper “opposite and equal” position will also help him learn to swivel and stabilize the glove out in front of his torso- another important part of eliminating the fall to first. I notice it falling to the side in these videos. Also, try to find the smallest, lightest glove you can- it does make a difference with the young kids.

That’s a lot to think about and work on. Don’t try to correct everything all at once. Start with the leg lift issues-solidify that, continually work on “opposite and equal”- solidify that, and then worry about the falling off to first. You may be surprised that by fixing his feet, quickening his tempo slightly, and concentrating on opposite and equal that the falling to first issue begins to fix itself.


#9

I’ve taught my players how a wide foot position translates into a weight shift towards 2B as a pitcher goes into knee lift. When my players are on 1B and have a steal sign, they can use this to anticipate the weight shift and get a good jump by taking off on the weight shift.

Of course, I teach my pitchers to not be “that” pitcher by starting with their feet no more than “armpit width” apart.


#10

Thanks for all the help JP.
What you say makes a lot of sense and we will get working on that.

His season starts in about a month and I want to make sure I get as much help as possible for things to look at and slowly correct during the season. Any other things I should be concentrating on?

Also, I am thinking of posting a video if him throwing his other pitches (cutter, 2-seam, and change-up), with clips of his grip and different angles of him throwing the pitch (I may even try to slow-motion it). As I said earlier, he does throw all of those pitches often. Do you guys think that is needed and/or a good idea?


#11

I think the leg lift and subsequent timing adjustments are plenty to work on in a month. Don’t overload him with too many new things to think about- one thing at a time starting with setup.

Other than that don’t forget the FUN part- keep it light and fun, even in a competitive environment, and focus on the long term goal of steady development and improvement- not short term wins and losses. If it’s not fun nothing else will matter.

Good luck