Ok first of all thank you for the great responses, I will need some time to soak all of this in. I had a pitching lesson today with my coach and a pitching instructor who pitched professionally for a couple years. The instructor and I only had 30 minutes together, so things felt kind of rushed, but here is what he said. Interestingly, he didn’t even notice my “flying open.” Rather, he focused almost entirely on my elbow position and arm slot, as well as my leg action.
First, we played catch, then he had me throw about 5 pitches from the stretch, just to watch me. Then he talked to me about how I was “throwing sidearm,” and proceeded to make submarine motions with his arm to show me what I was “doing.” He told me that my elbow was dipping too low for his taste, and that I need to get it up, and try to get “on top of the ball.” He had me doing the stride drill to work on staying on top of the ball. Then he told me to throw like I would if somebody said to throw over the top, from the outfield. I did a crow hop and threw the ball as overhand as I could, and they both nodded in agreement that this was an improvement. My elbow and shoulder felt like crap, but I can’t tell if this was because of the drills or not, because I was already slightly sore from the day before. He went on about how a high elbow will increase velocity, etc. I still think what he really means is arm slot, he doesn’t want me throwing low low 3/4. My coach is in complete agreement with him, so I will be going back there and doing this stuff all over again, and my coach will make sure I practice it with him as well.
After the low elbow thing, the instructor talked about my counter-rotation, essentially saying the same thing that my coach talked about earlier. He went on about how my leg was swinging out rather than moving linearly. He told me to move straight down and out, rather than swing into foot plant. He says I need to move straight towards the plate, and not swing around into plant like I am doing. I found it hard to disagree with him on this point.
The instructor didn’t see this, but my coach talked to me about my glove arm flying open, and about how it shouldn’t be pulled to the side, but stabilized in front. I agreed with this, and he showed me a chair drill to practice this on.
Finally the instructor had me doing my arm action in slow motion, making me point the ball to the center field (yes Chris, bad :)), and then rotate my shoulder like I would if I was pitching full speed. I thought this was ridiculous, because there’s no way I can accurately go through my motion in slo-mo. He saw that in slow motion my wrist was slightly cocked at release point, and jumped on it, talking about how I need to stay behind the ball. I don’t think I actually do this cocking of the wrist, but I’m not quite sure b/c my camera can’t capture it.
Anyway to summarize his suggestions:
Leg action must change to down and out
Elbow (arm slot) must come up
Glove arm must stabilize
Wrist must not cock or bend
I’m going to find out what ended the instructor’s career, I wonder if it was an arm injury??? If not, I heard he was quite a good pitcher in his day (he was drafted in 2002, so he had a short career). I’m going to do what the coach tells me to do for now, but whether it sticks or not depends on whether a) it seems to work for me, and b) what you guys think about it. Maybe some other factors too.
Ahhhh, so many conflicting ideas!! WHAT DO I DO???