Does body type influence how you teach a child to pitch?

I ask because my kid is a “big kid” 5 feet tall and 115 lbs at 9 yrs old. Thick thighs and butt, wide shoulders, big hands just like daddy (I’m 6’3" and well lets just say before 3 back surgeries i was 275 with a flat tummy)

Would you teach him to pitch any differently that someone who was skinny, or short? Or are pitching mechanics pretty much universal?

Two of today’s best pitchers, C.C. Sabathia and Tim Linicum, have complete opposite body types.
As for pitching mechanics, I would watch CC and see how he does it.
We’ve been watching the Little League playoffs on ESPN. Pitchers have ranged from 5’-0" 105 lbs to 6’-2" 205 lbs. I’ve seen tall and lean, short and stocky, and perfectly proportioned bodies as pitchers. Two of the best performances was from one of the smallest guys and from the stocky kid. They each seemed to have a different style. The one kid who the announcers said had perfect form was hit fairly well.
That said, my son (also 5’+ tall at 9 yo) body type leans more towards Linicum - extremely flexible like a gymnastics. We’ve watched and studied Tim’s delivery as much as we can - since we’re from the Bay Area. His body type along with perfect mechanics is part of the reason why he has a “cannon” for an arm.

I can sort of contribute to your topic. my brother is 9 and he is 5+ 125lbs…huge just the way you described your son. well i was at one of his games and most of the kids are little runts :lol: and they had small leg strides…and then i saw my brother this big godzilla thing on the mound and he has a BIG stride.

And after that game…a couple days later we went to go pitch(my dad isnt here all the time so i have to teach him :cry: )well when he was pitching i told him to take a smaller stride and he had absolutely no control with it and a big decrease in velocity

Hope this helps :smiley:

[quote=“CabrilloPitcher”]I can sort of contribute to your topic. my brother is 9 and he is 5+ 125lbs…huge just the way you described your son. well i was at one of his games and most of the kids are little runts :lol: and they had small leg strides…and then i saw my brother this big godzilla thing on the mound and he has a BIG stride.
[/quote]

My son was practicing the other day, playing around with a change up and his fastball, trying to be as menacing as he can be on the mound. He was also playing with a Juan Marichual type windup, with a big, high kick and everything. He’s maintained the velocity, and his delivery looks the same between the change up and the fastball. He doesn’t have control of his locations with this wind-up like he does with a more normal throw. Yet, he loves the feel and the intimidation factor of a high kick, and it’s fun for him.

His coach would go berserk if he saw it.

[quote=“shoshonte”][quote=“CabrilloPitcher”]I can sort of contribute to your topic. my brother is 9 and he is 5+ 125lbs…huge just the way you described your son. well i was at one of his games and most of the kids are little runts :lol: and they had small leg strides…and then i saw my brother this big godzilla thing on the mound and he has a BIG stride.
[/quote]

My son was practicing the other day, playing around with a change up and his fastball, trying to be as menacing as he can be on the mound. He was also playing with a Juan Marichual type windup, with a big, high kick and everything. He’s maintained the velocity, and his delivery looks the same between the change up and the fastball. He doesn’t have control of his locations with this wind-up like he does with a more normal throw. Yet, he loves the feel and the intimidation factor of a high kick, and it’s fun for him.

His coach would go berserk if he saw it.[/quote]

LOL we were playing catch in the yard the other day and my older son was playing catcher for my 9 yr old when i saw my younger son do this: He started with his back to the catcher a couple of feet behind where he had marked off the pitching rubber in the grass. Then spinning to his left like an olympic shotputter, he did a full one and a half turns, landed squarely on the “rubber” and threw a perfect strike to my older son.

He looked at me and asked why pitchers dont pitch like that. I told him because it would be nearly impossible to pitch like that and throw strikes consistantly. So, he tried it again, and threw another perfect strike. At which point i told him it was illegal, and that he had to pitch normally :slight_smile:

“Size” and “body type” are too general to say how they influence how one teaches a pitcher. More specific attributes like strength (or lack thereof)and flexibility (or lack thereof) would change my expectations and that would change how and what I teach. Certainly, a lack of strength and/or flexibility would cause me to have the pitcher work on those things. They would also cause me to adjust my expectations accordingly.

So, for example, a kid with a lack of core strength would probably not be able to accomodate a high knee lift without causing postural issues so I would not expect a high knee lift and might ask the pitcher to either adopt a more athletic starting posture or to tone down the knee lift.

You really do need to adapt your instruction to each pitcher because they’re all differrent.

[quote=“southcarolina”][quote=“shoshonte”][quote=“CabrilloPitcher”]I can sort of contribute to your topic. my brother is 9 and he is 5+ 125lbs…huge just the way you described your son. well i was at one of his games and most of the kids are little runts :lol: and they had small leg strides…and then i saw my brother this big godzilla thing on the mound and he has a BIG stride.
[/quote]

My son was practicing the other day, playing around with a change up and his fastball, trying to be as menacing as he can be on the mound. He was also playing with a Juan Marichual type windup, with a big, high kick and everything. He’s maintained the velocity, and his delivery looks the same between the change up and the fastball. He doesn’t have control of his locations with this wind-up like he does with a more normal throw. Yet, he loves the feel and the intimidation factor of a high kick, and it’s fun for him.

His coach would go berserk if he saw it.[/quote]

LOL we were playing catch in the yard the other day and my older son was playing catcher for my 9 yr old when i saw my younger son do this: He started with his back to the catcher a couple of feet behind where he had marked off the pitching rubber in the grass. Then spinning to his left like an olympic shotputter, he did a full one and a half turns, landed squarely on the “rubber” and threw a perfect strike to my older son.

He looked at me and asked why pitchers dont pitch like that. I told him because it would be nearly impossible to pitch like that and throw strikes consistantly. So, he tried it again, and threw another perfect strike. At which point i told him it was illegal, and that he had to pitch normally :)[/quote]

haha thats funny…i bet he wishes it was leal to pitch like that :wink:

Roger has pinpointed the answer that you’re looking for.

Take these five (5) pitchers for example:

Each of these pitchers has unique qualities of endurance, power, finesse, attention spans, and so on all based on their physiques and their body’s maturity.

I’ve found tall slim pitchers have a very high center of gravity and tend to use the upper portions of their body as their primary index of confidence. Heavy set pitchers that are stocky and compact, tend to focus their confidence index more in the lower portions of their body.

All in all, what usually follows suit is a dependency on those portions of the body as confidence indexes - or center of confidence, that the attention span gravitates to, for accomplishing a delivery motion.

Now given, athletic ability, poise, self confidence and a ton of other stuff does enter into the picture. But to repeat what Roger just mentioned, is worth reading again.

Coach B.

[quote=“Coach Baker”]Roger has pinpointed the answer that you’re looking for.

Take these five (5) pitchers for example:

Each of these pitchers has unique qualities of endurance, power, finesse, attention spans, and so on all based on their physiques and their body’s maturity.

I’ve found tall slim pitchers have a very high center of gravity and tend to use the upper portions of their body as their primary index of confidence. Heavy set pitchers that are stocky and compact, tend to focus their confidence index more in the lower portions of their body.

All in all, what usually follows suit is a dependency on those portions of the body as confidence indexes - or center of confidence, that the attention span gravitates to, for accomplishing a delivery motion.

Now given, athletic ability, poise, self confidence and a ton of other stuff does enter into the picture. But to repeat what Roger just mentioned, is worth reading again.

Coach B.[/quote]

Yes i meant to thank Roger for his input, and you too Coach for spending the time to create the Five Smoltz’s for me :D. I dont remember which thread i mentioned this in (10 whole posts here and im already forgetting things :slight_smile: ) but my reason for joining here was twofold:

  1. Because i never played a single inning of organized baseball, i dont have any history to anwer my son when he asks me questions, so i am trying to learn as much as possible, and

  2. Since i never played, and dont have that history, i want to be able to know enough to be able to determine whether what some coach or “expert” tells me is worth listenling to, or is bunk.

My son is big and athletic, and took to baseball like a fish to water. Pitching is the first aspect of the game that he has had to work at, and i think it challenges him. He almost never asked to go play catch when he was playing Tball, or Coaches Pitch. But now that he is pitching, and for the first time, not being able to just get by on natural athletic ability, he asks almost daily. And nothing is better than playing catch with your 9 yr old son on a warm summer day, especially when its his idea.

To this very day (My son is 19) it is still the bright spot of my day when we chunk the hide.

I pretty much joined for the same reason. I played baseball until entering HS, but a 100 lb catcher wouldn’t last long at that level. I know little about teaching pitching, except what I glean from sites like this and short video clips that I can watch over and over and over again. I have a problem in that my son does have the talents to pitch and I cannot afford an individual pitching coach. So I needed to research the basic mechanics so that he throws correctly and protects the arm. (I’ve also studied hitting for the same reason. Back in LL, Pete Rose was in vogue.

:roll:

Thank you for the five distinctive pitching styles. I’m wondering how does it look or how do you teach the tall and lean pitcher (at 10) to use a high center of gravity for accomplishing the delivery? Would it look like Johann Santana’s video clip of throwing a fastball?

My reference to pitchers that seem to gravitate their area of confidence rather high - like chest high and at the shoulders, do so mainly because of their height and slim physique. Not always of course, but enough to draw some inferences.

These pitchers have almost a brittle composition to their delivery motion. Their muscular adpatation to what their trying to accomplish, pitching or not, can stay with a youngster for life or be just a phase of growing up or just a developmental issue. In any event, a pattern of accomplishments in easy stages is best for an athlete of this kind. Over extending the body’s ability to concentrate and accomplish any desired result(s) has two conflicting activities all competing for attention at the same time - that is brute force verses deliberate, systematic and rythumic movement.

With tall, slim pithcers not yet in their teens, and even many in their teenage years, they tend to keep their glove high with very little control as their body stays upright while their pitching arm bears the prunt of the pitch. In doing so, deliberate concentration of controlling the glove side is usually forgone and the glove arm and hand flops down at the side or hangs in the air. Strides are usually very short, again, sustaining their balance as the upper body seems brittle and the pitching arm is relied upon heavly.
Leg lifts can be another problem for these youngsters, being too high or too low without much reason. Too high and the youngster planks the stride foot down with a stomp, too low and the younger usually short steps the stride off a center line from his instep of his pivot foot that should extend directly to home plate, hence his stride is off to one side or the other and ends up pitching accross himself.

If you could post some video it would be very helpful. In any event, I hope I addressed some of your concerns. If not, would you please focus my response to a specific observation of a subject(s) pertaining to your son. We’ll just take it step by step.

Coach B.

[quote=“Coach Baker”]
If you could post some video it would be very helpful. In any event, I hope I addressed some of your concerns. If not, would you please focus my response to a specific observation of a subject(s) pertaining to your son. We’ll just take it step by step.

Coach B.[/quote]

Im not sure if this was directed at me, or shoshonte, but i posted some video of my son in the Mechanics and Analysis Subforum, pertaining to a specific flaw i thought i saw (which apparently turned out to be not a flaw at all)

Im not really sure that i understand the proper mechanics of pitching well enough to ask any really in depth questions. I just see things that look awkward to my untrained eye. Things like his release point, which seems to high to me, and seems to be the root cause of most of his struggles finding the strikezone. But then im no expert. I guess my only question would be, what would you work on next? We spent the summer working on his follow through (using the gif of Roger Clemens in the upper right corner as a guide) and i think he has improved a fair amount. But it was a pretty obvious problem, and one that numerous people pointed out. Now, im not so sure what to work on.

[quote=“Coach Baker”]My reference to pitchers that seem to gravitate their area of confidence rather high - like chest high and at the shoulders, do so mainly because of their height and slim physique. Not always of course, but enough to draw some inferences.

These pitchers have almost a brittle composition to their delivery motion. Their muscular adpatation to what their trying to accomplish, pitching or not, can stay with a youngster for life or be just a phase of growing up or just a developmental issue. In any event, a pattern of accomplishments in easy stages is best for an athlete of this kind. Over extending the body’s ability to concentrate and accomplish any desired result(s) has two conflicting activities all competing for attention at the same time - that is brute force verses deliberate, systematic and rythumic movement.

With tall, slim pithcers not yet in their teens, and even many in their teenage years, they tend to keep their glove high with very little control as their body stays upright while their pitching arm bears the prunt of the pitch. In doing so, deliberate concentration of controlling the glove side is usually forgone and the glove arm and hand flops down at the side or hangs in the air. Strides are usually very short, again, sustaining their balance as the upper body seems brittle and the pitching arm is relied upon heavly.
Leg lifts can be another problem for these youngsters, being too high or too low without much reason. Too high and the youngster planks the stride foot down with a stomp, too low and the younger usually short steps the stride off a center line from his instep of his pivot foot that should extend directly to home plate, hence his stride is off to one side or the other and ends up pitching accross himself.

If you could post some video it would be very helpful. In any event, I hope I addressed some of your concerns. If not, would you please focus my response to a specific observation of a subject(s) pertaining to your son. We’ll just take it step by step.

Coach B.[/quote]

I’ll see if I can find a copy of his delivery, I’ll post it for comments. His last LL start was taped, and he’s pitching a game this weekend which I can video. He hasn’t pitched in six or so weeks, so we’ll see how he does. For his age, he’s tall and medium built (10-years 1-month, 5’-2" 100lbs). He has a high leg kick, long stride and finishes low to medium, but doesn’t always use a high leg kick. He doesn’t use blunt force, but is more fluid in his delivery, letting his body pull his arms towards the plate. Of course, he seems to make adjustments each time depending on the type of mound, humidity, heat , etc. His glove seems to be counter-balanced with his pitching arm.

southcarolina …

Below are four (4) pictures that show the glove arm and glove hand’s influence on the body’s posture.

b[/b] A lot of good things happening here. He’s collapsing on the instep of his pivot foot while progressing forward, his shoulders are in line - moving forward with his glove shoulder leading the way, good stride and stable head position. His pitching hand has his thumb down, not up, and he’s in a ready position to work his upper body.
However, his glove arm is too low. His glove elbow should be about the same height as his glove shoulder, and his glove hand should be more in control by being slightly up more - almost at elbow height.

b[/b] Because his glove stays down, he’s pulling down on the glove side - thus raising the pitching side, thus his release is much higher and preempting what it should be. Following through from (1) should find itself correcting (2).

b[/b] Notice the youngster’s forearm on his glove side is parallel to the ground - but directly under his chest and in front of his body. Thus he’s keeping his glove hand tucked at his belt buckle, again, forcing his opposite side (pitching side) up. Correcting (1), in turn correcting (2) should eliminate (3).

b [/b] This youngster’s finishing posture is very good and worth keeping in the routine. Very stable and pronounced for good velocity and strike proficiency latter on as he gets older.

[quote=“Coach Baker”]southcarolina …

Below are four (4) pictures that show the glove arm and glove hand’s influence on the body’s posture.

b[/b] A lot of good things happening here. He’s collapsing on the instep of his pivot foot while progressing forward, his shoulders are in line - moving forward with his glove shoulder leading the way, good stride and stable head position. His pitching hand has his thumb down, not up, and he’s in a ready position to work his upper body.
However, his glove arm is too low. His glove elbow should be about the same height as his glove shoulder, and his glove hand should be more in control by being slightly up more - almost at elbow height.

b[/b] Because his glove stays down, he’s pulling down on the glove side - thus raising the pitching side, thus his release is much higher and preempting what it should be. Following through from (1) should find itself correcting (2).

b[/b] Notice the youngster’s forearm on his glove side is parallel to the ground - but directly under his chest and in front of his body. Thus he’s keeping his glove hand tucked at his belt buckle, again, forcing his opposite side (pitching side) up. Correcting (1), in turn correcting (2) should eliminate (3).

b [/b] This youngster’s finishing posture is very good and worth keeping in the routine. Very stable and pronounced for good velocity and strike proficiency latter on as he gets older.

[/quote]

Wow.

Thank you for all the work you put into that presentation. If weather permits, i will try to work in some glove side positioning work tomorrow (provided he wants too :slight_smile: )

Thanks again

sc

PS. How bout them Sox?

Just a quick update:

We went out and played catch for about 15 min just now and in a most basic form started working on his glove side. After about 5 throws he was doing it well enough that it was making an obvious difference. Everything just looked smoother. He said he could tell a difference, I think he said it felt “easier” to throw. he came inside and showed momma what “daddy taught him”

LOL.

Thanks Coach Baker. My kid thinks im smart again.

SC,

What you’re witnessing is that certain elements of the delivery (e.g. release point, stride length, etc.) are largely results of other elements of the delivery. As such, they shouldn’t be the focus of instruction. When coaches notice a problem with the release point, it is common to hear instruction about the release point - like “release out front”. But, what they’re noticing is a symptom. If the underlying cause isn’t corrected, “releasing out front” isn’t likely to happen. What Coach B has pointed out is that the glove side can - and does - have a big impact on other elements of the delivery.

[quote=“Roger”]SC,

What you’re witnessing is that certain elements of the delivery (e.g. release point, stride length, etc.) are largely results of other elements of the delivery. As such, they shouldn’t be the focus of instruction. When coaches notice a problem with the release point, it is common to hear instruction about the release point - like “release out front”. But, what they’re noticing is a symptom. If the underlying cause isn’t corrected, “releasing out front” isn’t likely to happen. What Coach B has pointed out is that the glove side can - and does - have a big impact on other elements of the delivery.[/quote]

Yeah his rec coach last spring (an ex major league pitcher) was contstantly telling him to “release more out front” when he struggled. No one has ever said anything about his glove side arm, and even though i had read in various places the importance of thet glove side, it just never occurred to me that it was contributing to his release point issues. In retrospect, for me its hard to see even on video at regular speed, so i cant blame any of his coaches. I just wish i had found this site sooner :slight_smile:

Its amazing to me how quickly addressing the glove side arm led to improvments in his overall delivery. Not to say he has mastered the glove side by any stretch of the imagination, but it was, IMO, a vast and very obvious improvement literally within 5 throws. I can only imagine how much he will improve once he does master it.

The best thing was i could see it in his eyes that he was excited about learning this, and the improvement it made. He was talking about how he was going to “dominate fall ball” this year. LOL. The kid doesnt lack for confidence.

Again, thanks. Hopefully in a couple of weeks, when he has worked on his glove side some more, i’ll post some more video for you to critique.

,

I’m glad I could help with those observations.

In addition to what’s been suggested, I’d like to comment on your son’s progression in this sport, in particular the pitcher’s position.

Pitchers that are gifted with physical attributes that allow them to exercise power, strength and to max their given endowments often have ups and downs during their early years. Some of the downs are attributed to using all that power and strength in proportion to their size and dexterity. Added to the mix are mood swings, changes in one’s social environment and other incidentals - all part of the growing experience, that can go under the radar of parents and coaches.

I’ve had experience of dealing with men who’ve had such ups and downs in their early years, and because of their size and strength those around them assumed size and strength equalled the ability to take what comes without the sensitivity or compassion from anyone.

Youngsters that seem bigger and stronger than their counterparts can have a rough time of it growing up. Sometimes, pitching can add to that dilemma. Being watchful and sensitive to the learning curve and expectations verses results can help your son beyond words.

Coach B.