Dilemma


#1

As you know, I don’t like pitchers to take their elbows above and behind their shoulders like Joel Zumaya is doing below…

At a minimum, it’s not what great pitchers like Greg Maddux, Nolan Ryan, and Roger Clemens do. Worst case, I think it increases the risk a pitcher will injure themselves.

My dilemma is that a new guy that I picked up for my 12U select team does exactly what Zumaya is doing in the photo above. He takes his PAS elbow above and behind his shoulders.

I believe he must have been taught this (to break his hands with his elbows). None of my other pitchers do this.

Also, it’s not as if he’s a tremendous pitcher. He has good velocity but has struggled with control problems.

I am thinking about using the control problems as an excuse to try to improve his arm action.

What would you do if you were in my position?


#2

maybe try to show him and talk to him about what you think is bad about it and ask him if he wants you to help him on that or not. i think it’s always a pitcher’s choice if either he change or not his mechanics even slightly. if he tells you he’s fine just say something like alright but remember what i just told you and he might drop it by himself.

maybe try to talk to him in private before or after the practice i would have LOVED if my coach would have shown me some stuffs especially if it was after the practice.


#3

[quote=“4pie”]maybe try to show him and talk to him about what you think is bad about it and ask him if he wants you to help him on that or not. i think it’s always a pitcher’s choice if either he change or not his mechanics even slightly. if he tells you he’s fine just say something like alright but remember what i just told you and he might drop it by himself.

maybe try to talk to him in private before or after the practice i would have LOVED if my coach would have shown me some stuffs especially if it was after the practice.[/quote]

I’ve talked to his parents about my concern. I have also asked my pitcher if he was taught to do that with his back elbow. I think he was, but I didn’t get a straight answer.

I think part of the issue is that a former pro once complimented him on his arm action, which may be making him reluctant to change it.

I may wait and see if he has shoulder tightness or control problems and bring it up then.


#4

I tell you what I wouldn’t do…I wouldn’t turn him into a philisophical discussion…or a proving ground for or against my theories. I would find out why he’s missing and attempt to fix it. Have you filmed him? Is he showing anything else in his delivery that would lead you to why he has accuacy issues? You know how you feel about Zumaya, ok but I’m sure the kid is only similar in ways you have prejudice about (Elbow peeve). Decent velocity, ok but is he over-thowing with poor mechs? So much more to a delivery than that one particular thing. Break him down and treat him like he’s an original…because he is and correct what ails him. [/b]


#5

[quote]I am thinking about using the control problems as an excuse to try to improve his arm action.[/quote]Would you change Billy Wagner’s arm action?

[quote]What would you do if you were in my position?[/quote] :?


#6

I believe that Billy Wagner’s shoulder problems are related to his arm action.

Also, the success of guys like Nolan Ryan makes it clear that you don’t have to make the Inverted W to throw hard.


#7

I doubt if his arm action (inverted w) is a product of how he was taught to throw. I have seen many kids, including my son who throw this way and I believe that it is what feels natural to them. Is it potentially harmful? I think it may be.

Unfortunately, no matter how hard I tried, I was never able to change my son’s mechanics in this regard.

If you do try to change him I would be interested in what you try and how it worked.

By the way. It has been my experience that guys that have the “inverted W” motion are hard throwers but they vary greatly interms of control so I would look to other aspects of his motion to find the control problem.


#8

I think he was taught this, because I have never seen a kid come up with this on his own. I think it’s a product of being taught to break the hands with the elbow.

I am hoping that control problems will make him listen to me.

If he decides to listen to me, then I’m going to try a couple of things…

  1. Having him break his hands at the waist.
  2. Having him show the ball to 3B soon after breaking the hands.
  3. Have him break his hands with his hands, rather than his elbows.

I might try the Greg Maddux style of hand break where, after breaking the hands, you drop your PAS hand to your PAS hip and then lead with your PAS hand (rather than with your PAS elbow) as you come up into the High Cocked position.


#9

Leave him alone. You aren’t qualified to be a pitching instructor.


#10

I’m with CADad. Leave him alone.


#11

[quote]I believe that Billy Wagner’s shoulder problems are related to his arm action.[/quote]…and nothing to do with throwing 100+mph?

[quote]I might try the Greg Maddux style of hand break where, after breaking the hands, you drop your PAS hand to your PAS hip and then lead with your PAS hand (rather than with your PAS elbow) as you come up into the High Cocked position.[/quote]BTW, Maddux does not illustrate the above analysis by you. He definitely pulls the elbows back, behind and up prior to landing and having the hand/ball pass through the high zone.

…circle up…circle up…circle up… :roll:


#12

Nolan Ryan threw just as hard and didn’t have the problems that Wagner did.

The difference is that, while Nolan Ryan’s elbows went behind his back, they never went above the level of his shoulders.

While Maddux’s elbows do go behind his body…

…once he has broken his hands his elbows never go above the level of his shoulders. You can see this in my breakdown of Maddux’ mechanics…


#13

You said…

[quote]I might try the Greg Maddux style of hand break where, after breaking the hands, you drop your PAS hand to your PAS hip and then lead with your PAS hand (rather than with your PAS elbow) as you come up into the High Cocked position.[/quote]You’re implying that Maddux circles up…he does not. You imply that Maddux does not use his elbows to initiate arm action…he does. This is not an accurate analysis of Maddux’s arm action.


#14

[quote=“Stever”]Chris O’Leary wrote:
I believe that Billy Wagner’s shoulder problems are related to his arm action.

…and nothing to do with throwing 100+mph?[/quote]Right on Stever!! Now you’re talkin’.


#15

Surely, you can’t be serious.

Did you even look at my breakdown of Maddux’s arm action?

If you do, you will see the following…

  1. He breaks his hands at his belt buckle around frame 28 or 29.
  2. He then drops his PAS hand down to behind his PAS pocket in frame 35.
  3. He then starts to bend his elbow to start elevating his hand in frame 38.

The height of his elbow does not change through frame 41 and even drops in frame 42.

Maddux certainly does not break his hands with his elbows, and always keeps his elbows well below the level of his shoulders.

And he’s throwing 93ish in this clip.


#16

My mistake. :?

I assumed you were talking about the pro pitcher Greg Maddux, and as such, were giving your take on the mechanics used in the past several years by the pro pitcher Greg Maddux…the same mechanics that have given him success and longevity on the mound. The mechanics of the pro pitcher Greg Maddux are exceedingly different from the high school pitcher Greg Maddux.

[quote]And he’s throwing 93ish in this clip.[/quote]…means absolutely nothing to me unless I see radar readings.


#17

What does it mean to break one’s hands with one’s elbows? I’ve always made an assumption about what this means but I figure I better find out for sure.


#18

As with most pitchers, Maddux’s mechanics haven’t changed significantly over time.

Here’s a photo of him from last season with the Dodgers that shows how low he keeps his PAS elbow…

Here’s a photo of him from his time in Atlanta that shows how low he keeps his PAS elbow…


#19

This isn’t a clip of the boy I’m talking about, but here’s a clip of someone who does exactly what I am describing…

I came across this because the boy in the photo above is having problems with shoulder laxity.

That is one of the things that I’m concerned about.


#20

Roger,
First put your left hand on a hard unyielding surface then smash down on it as hard as you possibly can with your right elbow, then quickly before the pain really registers place your right hand on…