I was asked to help a friend of the family whose two sons were taking pitching instruction. As would be expected, the boys being 15 and 17 respectively were a good match for the physical demands of the position. Their training environment was top notch with all the bells-n-whistles – perfectly maintained pitcher’s mound, air conditioned, just the right personnel, the works.
Because of the differences in physical strengths, the 15 year had a more balanced drive toward his target without pushing off the rubber or the surface in front of the rubber. His stride-n-glide technique seemed to work well for him. His brother on the other hand, the 17 year old, had an athlete’s build, very mature and developed in the mid section, strong legs, and a howitzer for an arm. When he sent one down range he literally jumped off the rubber, bent at the waist slightly and let-err rip. The 17 year old was the genuine article.
Their father had concerns with their differences in style and approach to pitching a baseball, all the while they were both being coached side-by-side at the same time. Unfortunately the instruction had little in the way of communicating certain things to him, and he didn’t want to ask for the fear of alienating the coaches – hence that’s why I was asked to go along with them. Add to all this, the big bucks that he paid every month for these coaching sessions had him concerned.
It would be professionally unsound and against my better judgement to critique someone while they or their relative(s) would be under the totalage of another pitching coach – or any coach for that matter. It’s just not done.
However, I did suggest to instruct his sons to ask for the differences in style and approach – not him. As would be expected, when asked, they each received the correct response. Each was dramatically differeent size and strength, balance modes, sense of timing and each had different interupreations of their own pitching experience(s). So, their coaching when on from there, ready for the spring.
Now here’s the interesting part. During the preseason and the prime playing season, regardless of what pitching stylye each commanded, the surface conditions of the mounds on every amateur ballfield that they played on, totally destroyed any composition from their coaching/training that their dad paid big bucks for. Push off, or stride-n-glide, tall-n-fall, balance points, stride foot heel down/toes first, whatever you name it, meant nothing.
Ironic though, the 15 year old faired much better than his older brother. The 17 year old would do pretty good for two innings – blistering fastballs, and then his arm was so sore that he gave up the remaineder of his outing to one releaver after the other. The 17 year old needed at least four days rest, where his younger brother needed only two days rest.