Dad needs help with 13yr old


#1

I just found this site. I’m a life long ball player (shortstop) who has a 13 yr old son who loves to pitch and play center field…and can you believe he told me HE DOESN’T WANT TO PLAY SHORT.

Anyway, he’s a big strong kid, 5’ 11" about 145. He is extremely fast, and his swing is really coming around. Now, I know how to work with him on that but I know nothing about pitching. He throws hard and had success in little league last year…of course due to the short distance from mound -plate (He hit 70 on the gun a few times). This year he is in jrs and they are on a regulation field. I thought it best since he will be trying out for high school ball next year.

It’s early in the year so I’ve limited his thowing but he seems to be able to bring it nicely. However, my main concern is his mechanics and possibilty of injury. He has a tendency to drop the arm down and over throw…usually resulting in the high pitch. The season is starting up in few weeks and I’d really like to correct his delivery and overall mechanics.

So, the point of all this is I need some advice, links, video clips, etc. to the correct mechanics and drills. Thanks so much.


#2

[quote=“dmatt”]Now, I know how to work with him on that but I know nothing about pitching. He throws hard and had success in little league last year…of course due to the short distance from mound -plate (He hit 70 on the gun a few times). This year he is in jrs and they are on a regulation field. I thought it best since he will be trying out for high school ball next year.

It’s early in the year so I’ve limited his thowing but he seems to be able to bring it nicely. However, my main concern is his mechanics and possibilty of injury. He has a tendency to drop the arm down and over throw…usually resulting in the high pitch. The season is starting up in few weeks and I’d really like to correct his delivery and overall mechanics.

So, the point of all this is I need some advice, links, video clips, etc. to the correct mechanics and drills. Thanks so much.[/quote]

Below is a link to a piece that I wrote that explains how I teach guys to pitch…

I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with dropping down, if you are referring to the arm slot. However, to maximize a pitcher’s deception, he should throw every pitch from the same arm slot.

In terms of overthrowing, and missing high, that is generally due to rushing, which results from trying to get too much out of the stride for a particular pitch.


#3

You should know that you will get many different OPINIONS of how to pitch when you are asking the question on internet forums. Be advised that the description shown in the previous post is not one that is shared by everyone on this board, such as me. It is Chris’ opinion only.

My advice, read much on this and other sites. Take some video of your son pitching from a mound and at game intensity. Get a side, back and front view, if possible. Post it on Youtube and people will give all kinds of advice.

Just remember to take all advice with a grain of salt and do lots of research on your own.


#4

If he has a tendency to try to overthrow and the ball is up a lot, he’s probably rushing (rushing his body forward and dragging his arm a bit).
Just work with him on staying back over the rubber and getting the ball out of his glove early (just after the front leg starts its downward movement). Staying back over the rubber will put a lot of other things into place mechanically, and will keep the ball down.


#5

I would highly recommend the Act of Pitching by John Bagnozi. Really good. And also the art of pitching by Tom Seaver. It is quite dated…1970’s but does some really good photo breakdowns of legends like Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Steve Carlton, etc. For a detailed review of anything pitching, Tom House is the standard. He has a PhD in biomechanics, and can get really confusing if you don’t understand physics, etc. But he was Nolan Ryan’s pitching coach in Texas, and actually caught Hank Aaron’s home run record ball (useless trivia).

Anyway, this site has great video clips and advise as well.

Good luck! And remember, he probably won’t remember baseball in 40 years, but he will remember how you were there to support him no matter what.

God bless!


#6

Gary,

House’s PhD is in psychology with a focus on sports psychology. He has no substantive background in biomechanics. Before you tout him I suggest you look carefully at what he did to the A’s minor league staff in the early Moneyball years. You might also ask Nolan Ryan why his long career ended with an arm injury. There’s a very longstanding track record of injuries with House’s pupils. Mark Prior, et al. Based on private conversations with MLB insiders, they’re rightfully terrified of his track record.

Coach45

(By the way, I agree with DM’s earlier post about Chris’s ideas. Having spent huge portions of the last four years looking at pitching injuries, I think Chris’s understanding is extremely limited and in many cases the assumptions he makes are flatly wrong. I would put ZERO stock in the link he posted about how to teach pitching.)


#7

[quote=“garyalarson”]I would highly recommend the Act of Pitching by John Bagnozi. Really good.[/quote]My opinion on Bagonzi’s book is that it really isn’t very good at all about mechanics. It is very good with respect to grips and how to throw various pitches, in particular the curveball.


#8

Thanks everyone for the replies…WOW, I had no idea that there were so many diff. philosophies, etc. Hopefully this weekend I can get out with him and take a short video. I’ll post it see what the different opinions are.

Oh well, off to do some more research…


#9

DM59 and Coach45,

I’d love to know exactly what you disagree with in my article.

I know it’s not perfect (I am constantly updating it) but I also know that it’s not completely worthless, as you suggest.

What alternative exists that ordinary people can understand?

I think that teaching people to throw like Greg Maddux is a very good place to start.


#10

I agree.


#11

I agree that he’s probably rushing. However, staying back over the rubber isn’t the answer because rushing is a timing problem. When someone rushes, they stride toward the plate faster than they normally do because they are trying to get something extra on the ball.

The way to fix a problem with rushing is to stride toward the plate in a consistent manner.


#12

All I can say is that a very senior scout for a major league team, and multiple former major leaguers who have contacted me, disagree with you.


#13

There is a wealth of info on this site if you sift through it all.In my opinion—stepping to the plate,pointing the lead glove/elbow to the mitt,and 5 o’clock finish with follow through is key.If his shoulders open early,his arm will “drag” behind and add stress to the shoulder.My son has a tendency to come open when he “tries” to throw hard.A pitcher is only as good as his legs----the closer you get to a “correct” delivery,the more body and less arm you are using.Break down his throw from center field–which is natural–and see how much body is involved in a long toss throw.This is all just my opinion,of course.I have read,here or elsewhere,that “correct” mechanics are designed to utilize all major muscles and relieve strain from the arm/shoulder.I would concentrate more on footwork and staying closed until the plant foot is down more or less.“open” very very bad --very very–too closed can only really happen if he steps too far to the right(for a righty) and has to throw across which is rather uncommon.On the high pitch–is he releasing the ball in FRONT of him or closer to his ear?His fingers should snap down…hope helpful…good luck


#14

[quote=“bennysdad”]…pointing the lead glove/elbow to the mitt…is key"[/quote]Can you show me some video of a major league pitcher who actually does this? The closest I’ve seen is Randy Johnson (see clip at bottom of page) and he doesn’t even do it. He sweeps the glove past that point. I have to ask when should someone do this and for how long? The next question is, if this is so beneficial, and “key”, then why don’t major leaguers do it?

[quote=“bennysdad”]… 5 o’clock finish…[/quote]I haven’t heard this term before. What is it referring to?


#15

While this is not what many major leaguers do, I have found that it can help younger kids keep their shoulders from flying open too early.

Also, there are major leaguers who point their gloves (or their PAS upper arms) within 10 or 15 degrees of the target during their motions.

Roy Oswalt

Kenny Rogers

Johan Santana

Daisuke Matsuzaka


#16

As I and many, many others have repeatedly said, stills don’t prove a thing. These points you show are MOMENTS in dynamic motions. What value is there in taking a still image of a moment in the pitching delivery and then conclude that everyone should “point the glove at the target”??? When? For how long? No value in this activity. None. How is this kind of advice going to benefit anybody? It’s a moment in time as the glove MOVES past this.

This cue is meaningless!! Let’s not waste any more time on cues that have absolutely no value. None.


#17

Who cares if it just occurs for a moment? That’s all it takes. Nobody is suggesting that they should point the glove at the target during the entire throw.

Have you ever coached younger kids? I have, and have found that this cue can help guys who are having velocity problems to keep their shoulders squared.

Why would you just throw out something that…

  1. Many major leaguers actually do.

  2. Actually helps kids.

Pointing the glove at the target is also a very helpful cue for fielders because it helps to…

  1. Maximize the velocity of the ball by enabling the player to throw with their body (by increasing the likelihood that the hips rotate ahead of the shoulders.

  2. Reduce errors.

A friend who is a HS coach has done a study of errors and has found that more often than not they are caused by not pointing the shoulders at the target. What can help to ensure that that happens? Pointing the glove at the target.

I would argue that if the Detroit Tigers had taught their pitchers to do this when fielding the ball, the WS might have been a little more competitive. As it was, they made a number of throwing errors, many of which were due to not pointing the shoulders at the target.

Maybe this isn’t what some people do, but it sure can help people.


#18

Here’s Ichiro pointing the glove at the target…

Here’s Josh Beckett…

Here’s Jason Schmidt…

Here’s Juan Marichal…

Here’s Jim Palmer…

Here’s Mark Kotsay…


#19

Chris
Take a look at those clips again. They sweep the glove. Do you really call that “pointing”? Actually, most of those shown don’t point their gloves at all.

When do you tell these kids to point the glove (and yes, I do teach younger kids)?


#20

Semantics, DM. Nearly every good thrower of the baseball you look at, regardless of position, point their shoulders in a line between home and second base. This is more easily done by using an intermediary device like the glove or elbow. Also, this keeps the thrower balanced between his glove side and pitching side helping to keep the weight from falling backward.

Many of the big leaguers move the glove from this position as they square their shoulders, but they can still be seen to be using it like sighting down a rifle barrel from back sight to front pip. Look at the hard throwers like Clemens, Johnson, and Ryan. All throw the glove out toward home, and even though the glove may not point directly at the catcher’s glove, the elbow and more importantly the shoulder are in a line with it.