Dissecting pitching mechanics

Of all the aspects of the pitching delivery, what one (if there is one) part of the motion has been most challenging to master. In other words, as a pitcher, a former pitcher, or a coach, where in the delivery do you see the most break-downs occuring? What aspect has been difficult to master? What habits have been difficult to break?

I’d like to start an intelligent discussion about some of the different areas of the pitching delivery, and figured we’d start here. Thoughts?

is stalling over the rubber and/or stalling in the high-cocked position. I think this is a result of some of the “old-school” drills that are still prevalent. Drills like balancing at leg lift for 5 seconds and stopping at the high-cock postion and checking everything and throwing from there.

Challenges I’ve faced:

  1. Getting a kid to whip the ball rather than “push” it. Many get the ball ahead of the elbow as the shoulders square to the plate, resulting in them not getting the humerus into full external rotation. Pushing/no whip.

  2. Low elbow coming through.

  3. Stride much too short

  4. Turning the front foot toward the target too early, thus opening the front shoulder early.

  5. Not adding any forward trunk flexion as the ball is whipped through to release. Many are very upright and “spin” or do nothing at all with the upper body.

  6. Poor arm action. Stalling at high cocked, stalling at “balance point”, circle down back and up.

  7. Timing of all of the parts into a smooth, sequential, effective transfer of energy from one part to the next in an efficient kinetic chain.

Now, I’m a firm believer in using a “reverse progression” approach to teaching a complex motor skill like pitching. The kids I deal with seem to respond.

I think the biggest obstacle for me to overcome as a youngster was getting my arm and front side up in the proper “T” position. My dad taught me the old school way, in the sense that when you break your hands you “break over the knee” and my elbow didn’t have the chance to get up high enough and I was throwing with my elbow too low.

Another thing that I see in a lot of young pitchers is the breakdown of their backside when they stride, they really shorten themselves. I think more pitchers need to use their size better is it looks more intimidating and you are able to get more “downforce” on the baseball.

These are just a few things that I have noticed.

Can you elaborate please on this “T” position? Thanks.

t position is the position of the lead arm and throwing arm when stride foot hits.
we have problems with our kids leaking to the plate.

[quote=“raiderbb”]t position is the position of the lead arm and throwing arm when stride foot hits.
we have problems with our kids leaking to the plate.[/quote]

What do you propose the lead arm position to be at this point?
What do you mean by “leaking to the plate”?

I see a lot of youth pitchers locking their front knee after hitting the ground and this definitely throws everything off after that. They are standing tall and have very little control from there on. Also, I don’t see a lot of teachng on hip rotation but I have read it in Steve’s material. I have taught many youngsters to rotate right about release time and they are more fluid, balanced, after lots of practice, and gain velocity as well.

Coachric

Does this mean that the front foot initially lands pointing in (to the right for a righty)? does it turn toward the plate when the hips rotate?

I had a hard time getting a balance point my freshman year and I thought it never worked until I relized that the balance point has a lot to do with pitching with power. So now I can balance way better and I think I will be a way better pitcher this year.

Hey Jon’s Dad. The right foot should be pointing at the plate or rh hitter for a righty. When the foot lands, the knee should not lock but have some bend in it. The pitcher will stay more flexible, will stay lower. As the arm comes around, some pitchers have a tendency to drag the rear or right leg for a righty, thus leaving it behind and having very little rotational force behind the pitch. The hips should open and the right leg should begin to elevate and come around to a nice finishing point even with or slightly ahead of the front leg. This works best with over the top or 3/4 throwers. Its a lot easier to teach than it is to explain. Get help and train often.

Coachric

Does this mean that the front foot initially lands pointing in (to the right for a righty)? does it turn toward the plate when the hips rotate?[/quote]This means that kids often turn the front foot much too early, at the beginning of the stride, which has a tendency to cause the front shoulder to open along with it. It wasn’t meant to imply anything about where it should point when it does, just that it shouldn’t begin to turn early in the stride.

[quote=“raiderbb”]t position is the position of the lead arm and throwing arm when stride foot hits.
we have problems with our kids leaking to the plate.[/quote]raiderbb, can you explain these 2 items. I’m unclear as to what you’re proposing the “T” is at footplant and what “leaking to the plate” means. Thanks.

t position is same as power position.
leaking is weight,head, etc. going toward the plate too soon which causes decrease in velocity, etc.

What constitutes the “power position” with particular reference to what makes the “T”? I’m having trouble with terminology here. Various terms crop up in different circles and I want to make sure I’m on the same page as you are with this term. Are you referring to the infamous “high cocked position”? If so, what forms the “T”?

weight centered between feet. back hip/knee beginning to fire. elbows at shoulder height. ball facing centerfield. theres no actual t - throwing arm is going to be l or v position - glove side elbow in line with target with glove not past stride foot.

Thanks Steve

I think three biggest problems I’ve noticed in my coaching experience are:

  1. Slow tempo to the plate after hand break

  2. Failure to transfer weight from back to front during rear leg push

  3. Poor elbow extension into release either on fastball or breaking ball

All of these issues have caused our players to develop very poor throwing habits and hindered them from improving their force behind the throw. On the other hand, I think a lot of players are benefitting from the new ideas that are getting out to them by the internet. Especially, with the older players, the ability to look at these clips are unbelievable. I would have ate this stuff up if it was out there when I was playing.

Happy New Year!

The biggest problem I face is getting young pitchers to have good direction into their release. By this I am referring to the upper body (mostly shoulders). Most of the other problems we can fix pretty quick, but this concept stumps most young guys.
I have found that, in general, high school pitchers have one of two problems with this. They either lean, or pull with their torso’s, to the left (righty’s) as soon as they start their rotation. Or, they have good late torso rotation, but lean or pull to the left into their throw. Etiher way, we have reduced velocity with the reduced direction. Recording pitchers throw and taking pictures at release helps explain the problem, but getting most to fix it proves frustrating. The muscle memory is often so engrained that it is very difficult to fix.

Another problem I have is with an individual pitcher who reaches back and the arm comes to a brief stop before trying to catch up and proceed forward. His arm does not stay in constant motion and greatly reduces his velocity as it tries to catch up. I have tried everything—any ideas?

I am wondering why you wouldn’t want to break the hands over the knee and how that would cause the arm to trail and not get up into the power position. I thought that was exactly the idea…separate at the knee and thus allowing for the arm to get up into the power position slot.