Elbow below shoulder

After reading about Trevor Bauer I reviewed my son’s videos and observed his elbow was higher than his shoulder.

How does one teach keeping the elbow lower than the shoulder? Any particular drills to use?


The ideal position of the elbow is at a level with, or slightly below, the shoulder. What you’re describing—elbow higher than the shoulder—is most likely to occur when a pitcher throws over the top, straight overhand, and that is something I would not recommend because it places the shoulder and arm in all kinds of uncomfortable positions, leading to strain and worse. If the kid is throwing over the top, perhaps he should think about changing his arm slot—coming down to a 3/4 angle, for example, or perhsps closer to sidearm (the most natural of all positions). This is something that can be worked on. Try it.

As ZC stated at or slightly below is the general belief as best position for health and performance.

I’d look at the cause for the elbow getting too high. Fixing the cause is the key.

Post a video of him pitching and I’m certain you’ll get your answer on adjustments that will put him in the right elbow position.


Bauer’s elbow almost takes off his ear with most of his pitch types, he has one of the highest arm vectors that can be attained and for good reason. He fashioned his mechanics after watching Tim Lincecum and comes pretty close accept he does not stride as far and he steps to the left of the field driveline.

These movements are all voluntary, he can be taught to go higher or lower by just practicing where he takes it just after he arrives at glove side foot plant.

The question you might want to ask yourself is why you would want to take it lower!
Danger!Danger!! Will Robinson!!! Asking him to take it lower will ensure he drives his arm outwards more and more causing a forearm supination gateway flyout that will slam the elbow together ballistically causing inflammation in and at the back of the elbow, growth plate degradation, elbow cartilage fraying that has bone spurs grow out between the spaces left open that later breaks off and turns into bone chips, eccentric contractive Brachialis/bicep pulls from your subconscious brain not wanting this crash, loss of extension/flexion range of motion and these are just the drive problems that manifest. The shoulder now has the head of the Humerus slide from back to front then front to the back like a mortar and pestle causing Labrum degradation and other shoulder problems. Now when he enters the recovery phase (after release finish) the arm fly’s across the chest causing decelerator (rotator cuff) over stress and proximal Humeral growth (LL shoulder) plate overstress from being fulcrumed against his pec.

You might want to think about eliminating all these possible problems by having him go the other way higher like Kershaw, Lincecum, Bauer and many more and more every year!!
Teach him all pronated pitches, even the Slider, Cutter and curve! This will eliminate many of the problems I just outlined.

Yes have him throw wrong foot forwards (1/2 reverse) long toss where he engages his latissimus Dorsi muscle as the primary mover instead of the pectoralis major (low arm vector) and ask him to throw his elbow as close to the ear as possible, ask him to pronate the throws (thumb down forearm turned in) with his elbow remaining in the upwards position at recovery.


Your welcome. Do no harm!!

Do you remember that old poem about the six blind men and the elephant? Those six visually severely challenged fellows came across an elephant one day. One guy took hold of the elephant’s leg and announced that the elephant was like a tree. The next one took hold of the creature’s trunk and said that it was like a rope. And so on. But those guys were all woefully off base. As the last two lines of the poem
go, "Though each was partly in the right, They all were in the wrong."
And so it is with the questions surrounding the relationship of the elbow to the shoulder.
Some pitchers have the elbow way above the shoulder—they are usually straight overhand pitchers. Maybe they threw that way all along—but they need to exercise extreme caution. Some others have the elbow way below the shoulder, and the consequence is usually that they throw high—not to mention uphill (ugh!)—and present delicious targets for batters. Okay, they’re entitled to their opinions, but they all run a great risk. In my view—and I ought to know, because I pitched for more than twenty years—the ideal is for the elbow to be on a level with, or perhaps slightly below, the shoulder. Easy for me to say, because I was a natural sidearmer (and a thoroughly exasperating one to boot)—but this actually is the most natural, least stressful, way to throw a pitch, and the least likely to result in any arm and shoulder injuries. And if a pitcher can throw his stuff at several different arm angles (think Orlando Hernandez, the fabled “El Duque”) or C.C. Sabathia who can and does mix them up like that—he has an edge.
So I think it would be a good idea for the kid to lower his arm angle, get it closer to the level I spoke of—and he’ll be sparing himself a lot of arm and shoulder trouble. 8) :baseballpitcher:


It would be much more convincing if you would have used a pitcher who was not continually on the DL year in and year out or had lost a complete year from shoulder surgery from one of the ailments that I described above

The Elephant analogy was coined to show that all religions are the same.
My contention was brought on by the physiological sciences that are incompatible with the analogy and it’s goal but compatible with the continuing belief that all mechanics are the same in that pitch counts cause injuries not mechanics. When it comes to youth pitcher health I will always side with science.

The question surrounding the relationship of the elbow to the shoulder when talking about lowered arm vector is mechanical effect on the limitations of range of motion and the elbow and shoulder runs out of this range ballistically causing so many different types of injuries that it must be said to parents concerned with their children’s health that allowing these joints to pass by without running into bone walls is a better way to proceed.

Why, it is a much safer mechanic especially coupled with pronation of the pitches, this is a fact born out by scientific investigation.

This type of anecdotal observance is how we got into this mess in the first place although I am OK with you believing in what ever you like for yourself as an adult but we were talking to a parent about his child. Did you produce high velocity? Did you perform maximal effort? Or , were you a finesse pitcher?

All arm vectors are voluntary, this means it is where you put it on propose. If you decided to change it at any time this would also would have been voluntary.
Elbow more down does not dictate a sidearmer, forearm position does.
It sounds like you were way down low and way more than you are asking the gentleman to get his son, this may be OK in that you perform much slower from down there and there is less stressby attaining lesser velocities and with more acceleration phase rotation. No wonder you never hurt yourself. Pure sidearmers and below that seldon create injuries.The 1 to 3 o’clock performers do.

There is no such thing, the human shoulder is capable of a wide range of motion and they are all natural. The Elephant analogy works better here.

I have worked with thousands of youth pitchers for over 40 years and I can safely say this is not the case by a far margin. Science above my anecdotal experience says the same thing.

This is how I pitched to extremes of highs and lows but I would now never teach this knowing that repeatability is they key to athletic performance like Ben Hogan taught most of us.

I sure love the way you write either way!!! and respect your opinions.

[quote=“West2East”]After reading about Trevor Bauer I reviewed my son’s videos and observed his elbow was higher than his shoulder.

How does one teach keeping the elbow lower than the shoulder? Any particular drills to use?


the natural way to throw would be with your elbow below your shoulder. For Trevor, to get his arm at a higher slot he has to do something called establishing his posture. he does this by putting arc into his back al la cliff lee/tim lincecum so when he rotates with his arm around his glove side his arm appears to be at a higher slot. when looking at the alignment of the elbow and shoulder, one must see where he would be if his shoulders were squared and pependicular to the ground. draw a straight line through his shoulders and you will see that his elbow is in fact below his shoulder even though his posture creates the illusion that it is not since he is releasing the ball from a higher slot.