Consistancy in delivery: Is it important for kids?

Hello everyone, I apologize for my long absense. My family spent the month of August trading some sort of alien chest infection back and forth among us, then school started, then fallball/soccer started, and all of a sudden it had been two months since i posted here.

But now, im back! :smiley:

Anyway, my son (who turned 10 a couple of weeks ago) has started Fall Ball. Due to my work schedule, i was not able to make either of the practices his team held before the season started, so when i attended the first game, my son had a surprise for me: A completely new delivery. :shock:

At first i assumed it was his coaches who changed it, but later one he told me he had changed it himself. Im not sure where he got it from. His new delivery is more pitching from the stretch with his right foot on the rubber and the toes of his left foot lined up with the back of his right foot, which starts him in kind of an open stance toward home plate. (For those interested in what i guess is his old delivery, there is video in the Pitching Mechanics subforum in a thread titled Son of southcarolina) I dont think there is anything “wrong” with this new delivery, but i do think that pitching from the stretch all the time is a step backwards, when he was well on his way to mastering his “old” windup.

So…

One one hand, it is still only eight months since my son pitched his very first game. And he has always tinkered with his delivery on an almost pitch by pitch basis from his first game last spring, right up until last nights game. One pitch he starts upright, and pitches from there. The next he bends and puts a hand on his knee, then goes back upright. One pitch he is on the left side of the rubber. The next he is on the right. Heck, im pretty sure he sometimes makes changes mid-pitch :smiley: So here i am inclined to say he is 10, and he is figuring out what works for him. And it isnt like he hasnt gotten results with this new delivery. So far in two games he has pitched 4 innings, struck out 8 or 9 batters walked 2 or 3 , and given up 3 hits i think, one ball sliced down the right field line by an over matched batter that hit chalk, and two popups that should have been caught, but werent. Not dominating, but not like he has struggled mightily either, especially considering that he is playing in a Majors/Minors combined league. He has started both games he pitched in, so he is facing the other teams best hitters at least once in each game.

On the other hand, coaches that i know well and trust showed him the basic windup he used in the video, and all season last spring, and all summer, he used it, with a few modest tweaks, relatively effectively. Once his glove side hand issues had been identified, he really seemed to be throwing the ball well. So here i am inclined to say that he would be better off choosing one delivery, and perfecting it, rather than changing things every other pitch. And i guess he has chosen, for now, this new delivery.

So, finally, my question. How important is consistancy in learning to pitch at this age?

And i guess the followup question, at what point (if ever) do i put my foot down as say “Choose one, do it that way every time.”

Consistency is important at any age. I wish I had a nickel for every new delivery my son wanted to try.

My personal opinion is that young kids should learn to pitch from the stretch- less moving parts to master by someone who likely has marginal functional strength. The fewer the moving parts the easier it is to achieve consistency. As he gets stronger he can then move to the windup. Also as they get older they will pitch from the stretch most of the time anyway.

If he wants to pitch from the stretch- and from what you’ve said about his setup- I would move his left foot “forward” so that the toe of the right foot is lined up with the arch of the left foot. From this position it is much easier to engage his hips as he lifts his leg.

There are several things I could say about consistent posture and place on the rubber but how hard do you want to push at 10. Yes he should start with the same posture each time. Yes he should start from the same spot on the rubber each time. However you also need to keep fun in the picture and being too rigid can definately reduce the fun factor. Keep emphasizing the glove side and perhaps watch that his head is moving directly to home plate as he delivers. This will be a good indication of his posture. If he’s got those two things going for him he’s miles ahead of the other kids.

Welcome back!

A lot of major leaguers pitch from the stretch—or don’t use a windup of any kind—so the kid isn’t the only one, and you can tell him that. If what he’s doing works for him, he should stick with it—and that’s consistency!
When I pitched, I would go from the full windup, or I would go to the stretch, depending on the circumstances (runner on base, whatever)—but I always used a slide-step. I found that it gave me more speed in my delivery, That too is consistency. :slight_smile:

[quote=“JP”]Consistency is important at any age. I wish I had a nickel for every new delivery my son wanted to try.

My personal opinion is that young kids should learn to pitch from the stretch- less moving parts to master by someone who likely has marginal functional strength. The fewer the moving parts the easier it is to achieve consistency. As he gets stronger he can then move to the windup. Also as they get older they will pitch from the stretch most of the time anyway.[/quote]

It makes sense what youre saying about learning the stretch first, then adding a windup later. But I just feel like he is going backwards now. he spent all of last spring and summer working with his rec coach (an ex major leaguer) and his AS coach (an ex College Div II All American) kind of hammering out the rough spots with his windup. Then one of the experts here saw a flaw with his glove side arm and once that was addressed he was really starting to make progress.

Then 8 months of work just went poof.

Im not really upset. I just feel like he took a step backwards. But as long as he continues to pitch effectively, I probably wont make him change back.

Here is the video i posted here a couple of months ago (we worked on his glove side arm as a result of this video being posted)

[quote=“JP”]
If he wants to pitch from the stretch- and from what you’ve said about his setup- I would move his left foot “forward” so that the toe of the right foot is lined up with the arch of the left foot. From this position it is much easier to engage his hips as he lifts his leg.

There are several things I could say about consistent posture and place on the rubber but how hard do you want to push at 10. Yes he should start with the same posture each time. Yes he should start from the same spot on the rubber each time. However you also need to keep fun in the picture and being too rigid can definately reduce the fun factor. Keep emphasizing the glove side and perhaps watch that his head is moving directly to home plate as he delivers. This will be a good indication of his posture. If he’s got those two things going for him he’s miles ahead of the other kids.[/quote]

Like i said, i dont think i will make him do anything, but i may “suggest” he try to be at least a little more consistant. Maybe at least try to stay the same for a whole batter or something :smiley:

Im going to try to get some video of this new delivery, but i have been drafted as dugout dad for his team so i cant record him during a game. Maybe when i have some free time, we can take a trip to the ballfield.

SoCo

Sounds like you’re concerned about the right things and handling them logically. If you’re worried about losing his windup mechanics perhaps “suggest” he pitch one inning from the stretch and one from the windup. Work on both in practice- perhaps make some kind of game of it like how many strikes out of 10 can you throw from each delivery.

As I said my suggestion is to pick one or two fundamentals, they don’t even have to be the ones I mentioned, and watch and reinforce those as possible and let him have fun. It’s hard to overlook the other stuff but at times you just have to bite your tongue and remember the big picture- which at 10 is to have fun and develop a love for the game. There will be plenty of time for the other stuff later.

One other thing to keep in mind about mechanics- they will come and go with youngsters and frustrate you. They grow so fast that each day they wake up with a new body and end up having to re-learn things you thought were “in the bank”. Even a 1/4 inch of growth can throw the whole system out of whack.

Good luck and enjoy the process- it goes by quick.

sc,

In almost every game, the pitches thrown in the highest pressure spots are thrown from the stretch. Most of the important fundamentals are easier to teach from the stretch. Very soon your son will enter into the world of unconstrained base runners. The stretch will be really important then.

Congratulations to him on making an important advancement in his delivery on his own. I wonder if you can find some ways to refine it. Maybe get him to stay on one side of the rubber. Consistency is important, but the stretch is much more important than the windup. He has found a step to put himself way ahead of the game very shortly. Embrace it.

You say you feel that he has taken a step backwards. Has the quality of his pitches declined in some way?

Good luck,

Ted

So far i havent noticed that his pitch effectiveness has suffered. I am actually more concerned with the pitch to pitch tinkering he does, than with the shift from a windup to the stretch. This switch was just the latest and most visible change he has made. If he wants to pitch from the stretch, fine. But I feel like i need to tell him to pick a starting point and pitch from it every time. I guess ultimately this thread is asking “Should i do that?”

southcarolina wrote:

This switch was just the latest and most visible change he has made. If he wants to pitch from the stretch, fine. But I feel like i need to tell him to pick a starting point and pitch from it every time. I guess ultimately this thread is asking “Should i do that?”

I see now. If you feel he is mature enough to focus, my response would be to start to try and lock down his delivery a little. I would do this from the stretch for reasons I stated earlier and I would try and teach him as much about why as I could while we went along.

You’ve shown a lot of patience and tolerance in your ability to wait and think about it. I bet you guys do fine.

Good luck,

Ted

I can understand your pain. I actually worked with my son for a long time with pitching and last year was the first year he was able to pitch (Double A) and he did well. He was the only one on the team that could go out and use 40 pitches for 3 innings. These kids walk so many that is an achievement for him at 8. He did so well during the season and then one day decided he would do something completely new. He decided he needed to do a windup like Satchel Paige, the full circle and then over his head, high kick then deliver. Wow. Where did he get that from? I dunno. I don’t really care if he makes the 9 year old All Stars so I figure that I will let him see what works then offer him suggestions. At my sons age he needs to see what works and what doesn’t. It is so easy for me to tell him what works and what doesn’t but the bottom line is that it doesn’t mean anything. There are three rules I tell him he must have in pitching and I do not care what he does otherwise, he can create whatever he wants. He must point his toe at home, he must point his glove at the catchers glove before throwing, and he must get arm separation before throwing. His arm must extend fully back before he throws, and that helps prevent the arm pain that so many kids have in majors or higher. As long as you have the rules in place, and let him be creative, he can feel as though the motion is his, and you can feel happy he doesn’t drop his glove side out. Anyway, thats just how I handled it.

[quote=“Ted”]
I see now. If you feel he is mature enough to focus, my response would be to start to try and lock down his delivery a little. I would do this from the stretch for reasons I stated earlier and I would try and teach him as much about why as I could while we went along.

You’ve shown a lot of patience and tolerance in your ability to wait and think about it. I bet you guys do fine.

Good luck,

Ted[/quote]

Focus…hmmmm…now there is a word i havent heard in relation to my youngest born son before… :smiley:

He pitched again Monday night, although i wasnt there to see it (my other son had a soccer game and i am the Asst coach :slight_smile: ) My wife said he pitched “OK.” When pressed for details she said, and i quote, “Oh he did fine, not great but good. Not as good as he has done in the past, but not terrible either.” I swear i love that woman, and marrying her was the best thing ive ever done with my sorry life, but her retention of details is going to drive me to drink. Apparently he pitched 2 more innings, gave up between 0 and 4 hits (and i still have to argue with her after every game that it isnt a hit, just because they put the ball in play), and either struck out 2 or 3 or 5 or no batters, and walked a few. Or none.

GAH!!!

As for my son, he considers his performance “horrible” if he doesnt strike out every batter, so i dont even bother asking him anymore. There is another game on Monday, but im not sure if he went past 40 pitches last Monday (which would preclude him from pitching this upcoming Monday if he did) and if this one doesnt get rained out ( we have already had 4 games out of 7 rained out this season) i am bringing the camera even if i have to juggle the scorebook, get the next innings catcher into his gear, and record him pitching all at the same time.

I finally got some video of my son’s new delivery. I have gotten him to pick a spot and pitch from it. I think he did fairly well remembering to do this last night.

Again he struggled with highness, especially in the first inning he pitched. Luckily, some good defense and the opposing team swinging at some pitches well out of the strike zone helped him get out only throwing 21 pitches.The second inning was better, and the last 7 pitches he threw were all strikes (one was fouled off). A batter got a hit off him around pitch #30, and i think it pissed him off a little, and he ratcheted up the velocity and struck the last two batters out on 7 pitches. Of course i didnt video those. LOL. They were by far the best 7 pitches he has thrown all season.

Anyway, i think he has made progress with his gloveside arm, but is still experiencing problems with “highness” which i posted about in Big Shug’s shoulder tilt thread. Possibly shoulder tilt is the culprit here.

SC,

Keep working on posture and glove. Also consider moving your son to the glove side of the rubber. In the video, he starts in the middle and strides to the throwing arm side. That can set him up for a posture tilt as he attempts to square up to his target.

And try to let him settle a bit. Don’t try too much. At this age fundemental delivery is the emphasis and finer point stuff is picked up as you get more confidence. He looks like he wants to deliver in a fundementally sound fashion. As Roger said, work on getting solid trunk rotation and smooth stride to power position (This unconciuosly building momentum). He’s way ahead of the curve so just keep him happy and improving incrementally.

[quote=“Roger”]SC,

Keep working on posture and glove. Also consider moving your son to the glove side of the rubber. In the video, he starts in the middle and strides to the throwing arm side. That can set him up for a posture tilt as he attempts to square up to his target.[/quote]

When you say “keep working on his glove arm” what aspect should i be looking at? I was thinking that maybe he has gone from just letting his GA dangle during a pitch to maybe tucking it a but early, but as ive said numerous times, im no expert.

Two things…

First, he needs more consistency with his glove side specifically with respect to where he stabilizes the glove at release. But, to keep things in proper perspective, most kids this age need more consistency in the glove side.

Second, when working with kids, you simply never stop working on the glove side. Well, I don’t. I work on the glove side with every pitcher I work with every time I work with them. We may reduce how much time we spend on it over time but we always put some focus on it. To me, it’s a fundamental.

[quote=“Roger”]Two things…

First, he needs more consistency with his glove side specifically with respect to where he stabilizes the glove at release.

[/quote]

Is it important where he stablizes the glove, or just that he stabilize it in the same place every time?

Certainly stabilizing in the same place helps create a repeatable delivery. The “where” is important because it can cause issues. For example, stabilizing too low could mean that the glove dropped and caused a late posture change. Stabilizing out to the side could cause early shoulder rotation.

Note that stabilizing the glove isn’t about the finish - it’s about how you get there. Once you stick the glove out front, you’ve got to keep it there because dropping, pulling or flying open with it is asking for trouble.

My son pitched again Monday night. Before the game we played catch and after warming up I told him to just think about keeping his shoulders more level when he throws. I told him not to consciously change anything, just think about “level shoulders” before each throw.

I figured this was a nice easy low impact way of beginning to change his posture.

What ensued was, well discouraging.

Even just playing catch with him before the game, he was throwing the ball into the ground. His first throw after my instructions literally hit the ground 15 feet in fron of him. Even after throwing for awhile, he was skipping everything to me from i’d guess 30 or 35 feet away.

Now in retrospect, it makes sense i guess. If he was used to releasing the ball “up and back” because of his shoulder tilt, and correcting the tilt brought his release point more “forward and down” I suppose it would be natural that he would go from leaving everything high, to skipping stuff.

But, it obviously affected him. He pitched the 2nd and and part of the 3rd inning Monday and was having TONS of trouble skipping the ball to the catcher. Again he was able to get by on velocity and reputation (he gets a lot of swinging strikes by kids who are just plain afraid of him) but his location was awful. I’d say he got less than 10 called strikes out of 35 or so pitches.

I spent the entire two innings repeating in my mind “He’s only 10…he’s only 10” and just smiled and told him great game when he came out. :slight_smile:

I still believe that his shoulder tilt needs to be addressed, but i gusss now im wondering if i went ablout it in the right way. Maybe i should wait until the offseason to do it. He was obviously discouraged during the game.

I dunno. I dont really have a question. Just figured i’d give an update.