College evaluation


#1

My son recently attended a DII college showcase type pitching event. At fifteen yoa coming out of his freshman year he received the following feedback:

RHP

  • Body
    Great follow prospect in the future !
    Turn hand over earlier in arm circle to pitch
    Ball should be back towards SS at balance point (not palm up to sky)

    FB 75-77
    CB 50
    CB too slow in relation to FB velocity

What is your interpretation of the notes on mechanical deficiencies?

Video : A little too small but the best I’ve got

Explore Mark Mason

#2

[quote=“Dino”]My son recently attended a DII college showcase type pitching event. At fifteen yoa coming out of his freshman year he received the following feedback:

RHP

  • Body
    Great follow prospect in the future !
    Turn hand over earlier in arm circle to pitch
    Ball should be back towards SS at balance point (not palm up to sky)

    FB 75-77
    CB 50
    CB too slow in relation to FB velocity

What is your interpretation of the notes on mechanical deficiencies?

Video : A little too small but the best I’ve got

http://s146.photobucket.com/albums/r257/Dino5092/?action=view&current=MOV00443.flv&refPage=&imgAnch=imgAnch1[/quote]sorry man, but i cant tell how his mechanics are from that video, but from what it looks like hes got some skills, keep him working hard


#3

I wouldn’t worry about his curve being too slow in relation to his fastball. He can work on throwing a harder curve, and incorporate it with his slower one, both can compliment each other. I wouldn’t scrap the 50 mph curve. That can be a weapon.


#4

Based on the scouting report and the video, it sounds/looks like your son might be “pie-ing” the ball.

Basically, it means he looks like he’s throwing a pie — his palm (and ball) is facing the sky as his arm goes back. This will affect velocity and could cause major elbow strain.

A more correct action is to have the ball facing somewhere between shortstop and second base when his arm goes back; most importantly, the fingers should be on top of the ball when the arm goes back and throughout the arm action.

However, please note this is just a GUESS based on the report and the video, which is not as clear as I’d like. You may want to get your son to see a good pitching coach or a clinic to make sure his mechanics are OK.


#5

Thanks for the post.

Can you suggest a pitching drill that he can use this winter? I have a ton of pitching instruction books at home so you can refer to one if you’d like. We have access to an indoor facility for winter.

I am familiar with a drill that requires the pitcher to reach back with his thumb and fingers in the proper position to a coach standing directly behind him holding a ball… Then delivering the ball. Could this address the problem?

At the time of this video we were working pretty hard on closed hips and late torso rotation. He’s been to Kent State and University of Pittsburgh for instruction.

He wants to spend alot of time in strength and conditioning this winter.


#6

[quote=“Dino”]I am familiar with a drill that requires the pitcher to reach back with his thumb and fingers in the proper position to a coach standing directly behind him holding a ball… Then delivering the ball.[/quote]Dino. What were you told was the benefit of “reaching back”? Very few pros do this, although it’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s just not required. It really adds nothing to the process.


#7

I guess the benefit is in the coach monitoring the correct position of the hand with fingers on top and thumb underneath at that point of the windup.
I defer to pitching coaches and former pitchers that have had success for more imput. I played but as a middle infielder. I didn’t pay much attention to pitching mechanics until my son showed interest in pitching seven years ago. Over the years I’ve had him to coaches that teach “tall and fall”, others “drop and drive”, “front side tuck” and others “dynamic balance”, etc. I’ve told my son to adopt the theories that make sense and politely listen to others.

I’m always looking for an edge so he can do the best he can.


#8

You seem to be indicating that you think these things are outdated and you’d be right, IMHO.

That’s a good strategy - politically safe. Though I’d look for theories that have some sort of scientific support behind them.

You might be interested in check out what the NPA has to offer:

http://www.nationalpitching.net


#9

[quote]You might be interested in check out what the NPA has to offer:

http://www.nationalpitching.net [/quote]

Thanks for the suggestion. I have tried to fit an NPA event in the schedule. Location is not usually near PA. Unfortunately he has pitched for three teams the last two years plus an All Star tournament and it leaves very little time. I’ve tried to encourage him to cut out one team without success. I’d like to find something in February 2007 so that he has time to condition his arm prior to the clinic.


#10

As far as correcting mechanics, I’ve always believed a pitcher’s best friend is a full-length mirror.

In front of a mirror, he can go through his motion slowly and at full speed, break it down into stages / checkpoints, and watch what’s happening. If he sees a problem, he can correct it immediately and do it again, watching himself do it correctly. The mirror is a great and cheap tool for correcting mechanics.

But I’ll reiterate — my analysis was a GUESS. It would be best if your son had a good pitching coach take a look at him in person to see what kind of adjustments need to be made.


#11

I’ll agree with Joe, there may not be anyway for any of us on here to really see what the problem is. I agree that taking him to see a pitching coach might be your best bet. Also, you can’t replace a full length mirror or video taping every time he is on a mound.

One thing that I would like to add to the discussion, which I am sure that you know about but maybe haven’t thought of. Make sure that your son realizes changing his hand positioning isn’t going to happen overnight. It will take many weeks of practicing that hand positioning in his mechanics.

The drill that you had mentioned before about placing the ball in his hand is a good drill to create muscle memory for hand positioning. It more than likely will not help him fix the problem in the arm path as a whole though, but it is a good start. Another drill to start with would be to have him start with his hands in the “High T” position, with the correct hand placement. This drill goes along with the first, it may not help his delievery as a whole but it will create muscle memory as to which way his hand should be facing. One last drill that you can have him do, and he can do this every day from dawn to dusk without hurting his arm, is to have him do dry deliveries. Make sure that he isnt holding a ball throughout but holding a towel or something of the like. Dry deliveries are the most underrated drill that a pitcher can do. No matter the amount of space, the weather, or daylight, a pitcher can always do dry deliveries.

Well that was my two cents, take it for what it is worth, and it may not be much. As I said before, I am not saying that any of this will fix his arm path, but it may be worth a shot. Also, if he has this small flaw in his arm path and he is 75-77, fiing this may add 1-2 MPH if not more!


#12

Thanks for the added input.

I went to some other video I had and tried to find a clearer shot of the delivery. I’ll add it here:

Explore Mark Mason

I appreciate the free advice.


#13

He looks pretty good for a kid his age.

Does he get any soreness or tenderness in his elbow, or on the inside of his elbow?

I only spot two issues that may or may not be problems. One is he looks to have more side-to-side motion than back-and-forward. This isn’t a big deal if his throwing style is 3/4 to sidearm, and he’s not having any pain.

The other thing I see is his landing foot … he lands on his heel and it looks like he might be landing in such a way that is keeping his hips from opening. However I can’t tell from the camera angle if he’s landing too closed or not. Usually I like to see pitchers land on the ball of their foot, to keep things smooth and promote more “pull” and forward momentum. Landing on the heel might jar the natural flow of the body and hold back some power.

Though, that doesn’t look like a major issue with him … though he lands on his heel he seems to stay smooth and good good pull. What I’m more concerned with is where he’s landing, and again, I can’t tell from the angle. It looks like he might be throwing across his body, which often results from landing a few inches too closed. If you were to draw a chalk line from the middle of his back foot extending about 6-7 feet straight toward home plate, his front foot should be landing right around that line.


#14

I talked with him about this and he told me that he did get soreness on both sides of the elbow last year but that he conditioned better over the winter and really didn’t get much soreness even though he threw curveballs for the first time in games this summer.

He does have a 3/4 motion but I think he is most effective when he stays on top of the ball and changes planes due to his height. He’d like to work on taking the ball back to a position where the batter cannot see the ball until it gets into the box beside his head. You might be able to tell in the video he pinches his shoulders together and the ball is visible to the batter behind him. He thinks taking the ball straight back might give him an edge.

One of the problems we noticed with his delivery was what we thought were the hips opening too soon. We actually went to a chairopractor who pitched in college. He practices the gonstead method. He found the hips to be out of balance and closed the hips so that the hips are not as open at foot strike.

I would be interested in having a slow motion video analysis done similar to what ASMI in Alabama provides. Anyone have a closer source to PA for this?


#15

[quote=“Dino”][quote]Does he get any soreness or tenderness in his elbow, or on the inside of his elbow?

I talked with him about this and he told me that he did get soreness on both sides of the elbow last year but that he conditioned better over the winter and really didn’t get much soreness even though he threw curveballs for the first time in games this summer.[/quote]

OK that’s a red flag. There shouldn’t be soreness in the elbow … conditioning doesn’t help this, correcting mechanics does. He needs to work on proper arm action. That “pie-ing” thing I referred to is harmful to the elbow, and you might also want him to work on a more over-the-top, less side-to-side motion.

[quote]I only spot two issues that may or may not be problems. One is he looks to have more side-to-side motion than back-and-forward. This isn’t a big deal if his throwing style is 3/4 to sidearm, and he’s not having any pain.

He does have a 3/4 motion but I think he is most effective when he stays on top of the ball and changes planes due to his height. He’d like to work on taking the ball back to a position where the batter cannot see the ball until it gets into the box beside his head. You might be able to tell in the video he pinches his shoulders together and the ball is visible to the batter behind him. He thinks taking the ball straight back might give him an edge. [/quote]

Changing arm action to gain a visual edge is NOT a good idea. It’s better to throw with good, painless mechanics and use the glove to hide the ball. Making a conscious effort to hide the ball is something that either a) comes naturally; or b) a professional tries to hang on an extra year or two. For a teenager, my advice is to concentrate on good arm action and sound mechanics.

[quote]The other thing I see is his landing foot … he lands on his heel and it looks like he might be landing in such a way that is keeping his hips from opening.

One of the problems we noticed with his delivery was what we thought were the hips opening too soon. We actually went to a chairopractor who pitched in college. He practices the gonstead method. He found the hips to be out of balance and closed the hips so that the hips are not as open at foot strike. [/quote]

I’m not a chiropractor nor a doctor, and have no idea what the gonstead method is, so I’ll reserve comment. From the video I couldn’t really see the landing well, and didn’t think it was a huge problem. But there is something that is causing him to throw across his body — maybe it’s a balance issue.

Don’t know about anything in your area, but it may be helpful to get such an analysis done. Otherwise, see if you can find a good pitching coach to evaluate your son. Another set of eyes might see something that the scouts at the DII showcase did not.


#16

Revisiting comments on fifteen year old son’s mechanics…This is an earlier video than the other two. The hips were flying open early and the landing foot open. This has since been addressed. Any other observations?

End of the video shows the importance of the glove finishing by the pecs…

Explore Mark Mason

#17

how fast does your son throw since you fixed his deilivery?


#18

80 mph with a fresh arm… consistently high 70’s otherwise


#19

dino in the last film how fast did your son throw i think i throw that fast.


#20

He’s only been on a gun twice in his life. 8th grade : 68 - 70 mph
9th grade: 75-77 mph. With his growth and workouts I think he’ll be in the low 80’s this year.
Looks like that pitch was a curveball which he throws @ 15 mph slower.

He still has mechanical flaws. I’m looking for a pitching coach in my area with a solid background. Someone with biomechanical training and some time in college or semi pro ball. Hard to find!!!