Drill Progressions: Hips open/Shoulders closed

What types of drills do you guys like to help with athletes who have postural/sequencing problems in their deliveries that cause the shoulders to rotate too quickly before footplant?

Just curious, as this is an issue with a lot of guys that is tough to get the right “feeling” for when you’re pitching.

NPA’s knee drill and rocker drill. These drills isolate the upper half by starting it in the closed position while the lower half is fixed in the open position. Forces the pitcher to throw with separation. Focus can be put on stabilizing posture (no head movement in any direction except towards target).

For really tough posture issues, put pitcher in the stretch, stand to the glove side of the pitcher, and hold your arm alongside the path the pitcher’s head should take. Make the pitcher pitch without his head touching your arm. Make sure he doesn’t cheat by starting his movement with a posture shift away from you.

Towel drill will also give feedback on posture. Missing the target left or right is usually a posture issue.

We are currently getting into the rocker drill & have used the knee drill for some time.

Another new drill is the chair drill with the back leg rested on a folding chair. I know it really helps with head over knee at release & staying closed as well.

Roger, my son has a high 3/4 over the top release point. As expected he gets his head far outside the knee at release vs stacked over the knee/foot.

Are the release point/arm angle tied into where the head is at upon release? My thinking is that if you have that high angle/release you must be outside the knee with your head.

if so, do you teach a different angle/release point or do you teach head over kne and let the arm follow suit?

Or do you do nothing? Many great pitchers have releases & head to the side of knee. I’d much prefer less head tilt, but I dont want to go messing with him if its gaining little & giving/risking a lot.

Yes, that’s true. I am on record as not liking the “head to the target” NPA instructional cue (as is Nyman).

We’ve used the rocker drill; it works relatively well. Still looking for other suggestions, of course!

With most kids they don’t feel there body’s or the ground like we do. The basic thought here is add Resistance drills . Bands are helpful in this process. Tom House is great just build off his drills with resistance.

Could not agree with this more. Well said. Teaching kids to use resistance in other training modalities (strength training, for example) has positive motor control benefits elsewhere.

Thanks for the suggestion!

[quote=“12JTWilson”]We are currently getting into the rocker drill & have used the knee drill for some time.

Another new drill is the chair drill with the back leg rested on a folding chair. I know it really helps with head over knee at release & staying closed as well.[/quote]
If that’s the drill I’m thinking of, it’s not appropriate for everyone. Wouldn’t want to try to tell Randy Johnson he needs to do that drill. :wink:

[quote]Roger, my son has a high 3/4 over the top release point. As expected he gets his head far outside the knee at release vs stacked over the knee/foot.

Are the release point/arm angle tied into where the head is at upon release? My thinking is that if you have that high angle/release you must be outside the knee with your head.

if so, do you teach a different angle/release point or do you teach head over kne and let the arm follow suit?[/quote]
I never teach arm slot. I teach posture and let the arm do its thing.

Here’s my take on this… One of the reasons Lincecum is “the freak” is that he can tilt yet still remain online with his target and stay closed and rotate late. But postural tilt usually causes young pitchers to rotate early thereby reducing hip and shoulder separation and putting more stress on the arm. So I find myself correcting the posture issues. Also, when you watch a pitcher correct his posture and his release point moves further out front and then the movement on his breaking pitch gets noticeably better, that’s pretty cool.

I stumbled across this video. Wanted to hear your guy’s thoughts on it before I try it.

if the weight isn’t too heavy, you could benefit from the strength training that it does to the legs. helps balance also.

na dont do that video stuff, just increase your RoF by developing fast twitch muscles, long toss to get the arm used to increased stresses and practice techique, and then perfect your own delivery to play with… pretty simple plan im following although i will admit weight lifting is a science

[quote=“kyleb”]What types of drills do you guys like to help with athletes who have postural/sequencing problems in their deliveries that cause the shoulders to rotate too quickly before footplant?

Just curious, as this is an issue with a lot of guys that is tough to get the right “feeling” for when you’re pitching.[/quote]

Kyle, what I have found out with my 9th grade pitcher, is it all starts when he hits the field in practice and even with me and starts to warm up, long toss pull down. If your guy warms up the way he throws from 60’6, there is the source of your problem. You can do drills till the cows come home, but I do not think it will solve the problem if he trains his body day in and day out to do the wrong things before he hits the mound or drills. My son is a pitcher only, so finally he now understands every time he throws a baseball wrong, he is teaching his body to throw wrong on the mound. Sounds a bit anal, but whoever made up the expression “practice makes perfect” was right on both ends, the good and bad.

Go out to the field one day and warm up to 250ft or so. I bet you will see the same mistakes withing the first 15 throws and his throws will look exactly like his mound work.