Arm slots

Hey ya’ll I need a little bit of help here. My coach has changed my arm slot 2 times now since my freshman year. I threw(pitched) maybe 3 quarters to a little above sidearm since i started baseball. Then my junior year he noticed i throw below sidearm when throwing to first from second and he said I should pitch submarine style and so I tried it out. It’s only been a year now and he tells me since I am not locating on the outside corner as well I should be, so he wants me to throw like I do in the field. My problem is with all this changing, I am not sure what I can do. It’s my senior year and I now have 2 weeks to basically master a new arm slot. I am hoping to post videos of both my sidearm and my submarine style by this weekend for some more insight. I would just like your opinion on this. Thanks.


I always prefer my pitchers to use the slot that feels the most natural to them. I would disagree with your coach’s messing with your slot in the first place. But now that he wants you to throw using the slot you use when playing other positions, it sounds like he’s wanting you to use your most natural slot. That sounds like a good thing. The concern I have is, with all the changing you’ve done, do you have a slot that feels natural?

Roger, thank you for your time. I always respected your other posts on the board. Anyways, since changing so many times a “natural” feeling arm slot really isn’t there for me. I actually forgot to mention he is the one that told me never to throw in my natural sidearm slot in the first place, always throw overhand. Now he is doing the exact opposite of what he said. Sidearm feels fine but so does anything below sidearm so I really don’t have a natural slot anymore. I will try and post some videos from my latest bullpen depending on when I throw the next one. My biggest fear for moving up to sidearm is 1) it’s feels like a lot more stress on my arm then submarine and 2) I have a lot more velocity on the ball but less movement and command which in my opinion is not a good trade off. What is your opinion?

sounds like you want to throw down under. very effective if you can find the plate. dan quissenberry threw there at 80 mph to close for the royals when they won the world series. you can usually find your natural arm slot when you play loose easy catch. that is where you have trained your arm for comfort. you can change it if it is not a good mechanical position but it takes work.

Here are some random thoughts:

(1) Regarding sidearm versus over-the-top, the trade-off is velocity versus control. My belief is that velocity is maximized when the arm slot is perpendicular to the axis of rotation (i.e. the spine) and hips and shoulders rotate in the same plane (i.e. no shoulder tilt). But this comes with a cost of less control as the timing of the release becomes more crucial. On the other hand, control is maximized with a higher arm slot since the strike zone is taller than it is wide and timing the release has a larger margin for error. But, of course, this comes at the cost of some velocity. 3/4 guys have basically found a compromise.

(2) One common technique coaches will use to determine a player’s natural arm slot is to place a bucket on home plate and have the player throw balls from centerfield trying to hit the bucket. Of course, the player is told why they’re doing it. But it affords the coach the opportunity to observer the player’s arm slot in this situation. You could possibly try this technique thought you’d know what you were doing and that could bias the whole experiment.

(3) Note that some folks (e.g. Nyman, I believe) who don’t believe there is such a thing as a natural arm slot. They believe there are only learned arm slots. The implication is that you can learn any slot you want (though some might be more difficult to learn than others).

(4) Regarding feeling more stress in the arm when you move up to sidearm, that could be a matter of timing or some other mechanical flaw (e.g. posture). Opening up early seems to be a frequent issue with sidearmers and a common teach is to tell such pitchers not to rush when in fact they really need to be quicker into foot plant.

Dusty Delso: I like throwing below sidearm because it’s easier on my arm and it has quite a bit of movement on it. I also rarely leave a ball above the knees. I was never a hard throwing pitcher. At 3/4 maybe 80 was my top pitch. Sidearm I am still throwing around 80 but with some movement. Submarine I am throwing 74mph and have a decent curveball and a very nice changeup. IMO it is better submarine but my coach disagrees even though any time he put me in, the most I gave up was 3 runs in 4 innings and that was against the State champions. In addition to that I had only started throwing submarine in March of 07 and that game was early may of 07 so I really didn’t have much time to work on it.

Roger: Again I appreciate what you have to say, it is always very helpful. Well I went out and threw some balls the today just to throw and most of my throws are sidearm or below. Even long distance, my arm just doesn’t want to go above sidearm. I believe that the stress may be a mechanical thing seeing as a) I just switched to sidearm a week ago b) My coach never really gives me help on my mechanics but he does for everyone else and c) Coach doesn’t know much about sidearm or submarine pitchers. That’s what worries me is he is not “into” submarine pitchers and their mechanics. I went to a submarine pitching coach that has helped many pitchers and he loves the way I throw it but he also said listen to my coach. He also changed a lot of stuff that my coach had told me to do. Roger, mind if I PM you?
Sorry for the long post everyone

b) above happened because of c) above. :wink:

Feel free to PM me.

if you can keep the ball around the plate submarine at high 70s and change speeds i would do it. you will give guys a look they don’t get to see, and if you force them to swing the bat, you are a great closer candidate. as you gain strength ou may gain velocity, but that is secondary to movement. subers who have great movement and throw strikes are valuable.

Thank you dusty and Roger. You both have been a great help. Any other help or anyone’s opinion on this is gladly accepted. Again, I will be posting clips of this friday’s bullpen on here late friday night or saturday so hopefully you guys can critique my mechanics and help me out even more.


I can’t wait to see…I have a sidearmer/submariner throwing for me and I am kind of lost with him and how to teach him. He’s never thrown hard, but one thing he has worked hard at is his different grips. We are finally starting to get some movement out of him…next step is to work on command of those pitches.


Any thoughts on what points of emphasis that I should be working on with him? Also, what other pitches can he throw besides a fastball/changeup? Any thoughts would be appreciated.


I have no experience working with submariners. But, regarding sidearmers and working on control, I would put a lot of focus on tempo to get into foot plant quickly. Sidearmers must time their release more precisely than pitchers with higher arm slots. Moving slow allows for larger time variations. Getting into foot plant quicker eliminates time from the delivery and, hopefully, reduces the variations the timing of release.

Hey, just an update for everyone waiting for the clips of my bullpen. I have to get a new setup for my computer from work on monday so I can transfer the video so it will be a few extra days but I will be posting soon.