Feedback wanted on my 11 year old son pitching


#1

Can’t really afford pitching lessons so I thought I’d ask you guys what you thought. He’s been pitching for two years now but the only thing I know to teach him is from watching others and reading books. Thanks!


#2

#3

The younger guys often lack the strength necessary to perform proper pitching mechanics well. So I don’t get too hung up on a lot of things. I pretty much just focus on posture, balance and glove.

In your son’s videos, the two things that jump out at me are the excessive head movement to the glove side and the dropping of the glove. Try getting him to take his head straight to the target without tilting it or tugging it to the side. The analogy I tell young pitchers is to think of their head as a bowling ball going down the gutter - it only goes one direction. He might need to start with his knees bent more to put himself in a more athletic position. That is, he might need to find a posture in which he has better strength to stabilize his head. You might also have him minimize his rocker step to the side.

Also, I’d suggest having him practice keeping the glove up in front. As his shoulders rotate, the elbow should tuck in right in front of his torso and the glove should turn over so the palm faces his face or chest. He should finish with the glove in front of his chest. Not only will this set him up for better posture and balance, it will also better enable him to protect himself should a line drive get hit back at him.


#4

Thanks Roger! We’ll work on both of those next time out. The last few tournaments last year was really when he got confidence and his control really improved. He’s just starting out but he loves to pitch and to compete. Thanks again. Lee


#5

Hey Lee 11
Roger gave you some darn good advice about your son and the glove arm action etc.

You can make this easy on your son by having him practice his windup and followthrough slowly in front of a mirror. Break it down in steps with the right basic’s of glove action, leg lift etc. until the new motions becomes natural for him and become ‘muscle memory’. So start slow and build up speed , it should only take a short while. But every time he’s going to practice pitching or just warming up to throw, remind him to use the right pitching motion and followthrough and start throwing slowly, hitting spots , and gradually build up speed.
Good lick to you and your son. Bill :smiley:


#6

Thanks Bill, great advice sounds like. Lee


#7

These comments are based on the third clip.

  1. He strides much open. Much too much to the 1B side of the plate. He should stride directly at the plate and land with the toe of his Glove Side foot pointing at the plate.

  2. I don’t think his glove action is bad.

  3. I agree that his head moves around too much. This may be related to Number 1.


#8

I’ve already went over with him about his head and showed it to him and about his stride also. We’ll work on that this weekend for sure. Thanks Chris! Lee


#9

I hadn’t originally noticed this myself but in looking at the videos again, I agree with Chris’s comment. It’s particulary noticeable in the first and third video clips.


#10

Thanks everyone on all the great replies. Ya’ll are too cool. Lee


#11

At the end of the third clip…after the pitch…what is he doing with his pitching arm? It comes up toward the hat almost as a response to the result of the pitch or is he touching the brim of his cap?


#12

It’s just a habit he’s gotten into. I believe he does it automatically to make his shirt go back to normal though. He does it after every pitch.


#13

I understand.

Tell me a little about the league he plays in. I see runners taking leads. How far away is the pitchers mound? What are the distances between the bases?

Most 11 year olds around here play Little League. No leads and 46’ pitching.

He looks pretty good. Do you keep pitch counts? Does he throw a cureve/slider or change?


#14

He plays USSSA with a travel team. One or two of those videos were from 46 ft. when he was 10U in the spring and one was when the team went up to 11U and it was from 50 ft. The fall wasn’t quite as good of competition as the spring with a lot of park teams getting together to play in some of the tourneys I don’t think. It’s pretty good baseball in the spring though. They do lead off and it’s just regular baseball. He mainly throws his fastballs but has a decent changeup.


#15

I reviewed the advice you’ve gotten so far.

I remember my son had a little trouble around that age keeping his head from tilting back and his back from arching back. We had him doing crunches for the abs and I asked him to concentrate on tightening his stomach muscle during the windup. Then I had him visualize keeping his nose over the belly button or toes during the delivery.

With the open stride…I stood at the base of the pitchers mound a little off to the first base side and forced my son to pitch "by me"without hitting my body. This reinforced a closed hip and kept him more balanced. If I had an illustration it might be clearer.

I think you have alot of enjoyment ahead of you.

Good Luck.


#16

There is an illustration of the “Get By Me” drill in Tom House’s book, The Pitching Edge.


#17

Can’t really afford pitching lessons…

In my opinion (from what I have seen and based upon my own personal experiences) the best thing that could’ve happened to your son’s pitching career.

…so I thought I’d ask you guys what you thought.

As a wise man once said “caveat emptor”.

The younger guys often lack the strength necessary to perform proper pitching mechanics well.

This is much more fiction and reality. It’s not a lack of physical strength. It simply a matter of not using the body most effectively and efficiently to throw the ball. Much of which comes from well-meaning but most often horrible advice regarding pitching mechanics. As I will try to explain.

Try getting him to take his head straight to the target without tilting it or tugging …

My first question is “why” does he need to do this??

Here’s some reasons why he shouldn’t do this i.e. keep his head on a straight line.

First of all this player is not pulling his head off to the side. What this player IS DOING is clearing his head out of the way so that he shoulders can rotate properly around the spine to throw the ball.

Second, this player has a very high “arm slot” (I like to call it elbow slot). And in order for his shoulders to work properly he must move his spine so that it creates the proper angle so that his shoulders can rotate around spine.

Third it is only for a player who has almost a “side arm” delivery (low elbow slot) that keeps his head on what might look like a straight line makes does make sense because their axis of shoulder rotation is almost vertical and therefore their head can stay more on a straight line. This whole fiction of keeping a straight line comes from those players who do pull their head to the side in an attempt to throw harder. But I do not believe this is the case for this player.

Fourth, locating one’s pitches (control) does not require the head to follow a straight line nor does it require the eyes to be focused on the target at all times. (Juan Marichal, Louis Tiant, to name a few).

That is, he might need to find a posture in which he has better strength to stabilize his head.

Pure fiction. Strength has little or nothing to do with what this players head is doing. As I said this players head is just doing what he needs to do in order clear a path for the shoulder rotation and ultimate throwing of the baseball.

Also, I’d suggest having him practice keeping the glove up in front. As his shoulders rotate, the elbow should tuck in right in front of his torso and the glove should turn over so the palm faces his face or chest. He should finish with the glove in front of his chest.

If you look closely this player is doing just fine and in fact is doing everything that this person says he should do. The glove is tucking to the chest right in front of his torso.

He strides much open. Much too much to the 1B side of the plate. He should stride directly at the plate and land with the toe of his Glove Side foot pointing at the plate.

There are many major-league pitchers who land very open. Zumaya (Detroit Tigers), Oswalt (Astros), Colon (Angels) to name a few. Zumaya strides very open (front foot pointing almost 45° open when he lands). The new Red Sox pitcher Matsuzaka lands very open. The direction that your front foot (toe) is pointing has little or no bearing on how open or closed a players (highest level throwers) hips are. What I do see is that this player is not getting as much out of this hips as he could. What I would suggest you do is simply show the “back pocket” more (counter rotate his hips a little bit more as part of his leg lift). What I DO NOT want to see happen with this player is to lose what I call a “step over” into foot plant. In general, players who exhibit this “step over move”, have the potential to throw more effectively than players who don’t have this step over move.

Advice given over the Internet is fraught with potential problems. Not the least of which is all you are getting is someone else’s interpretation of someone else’s opinion as to how someone should throw the ball.

This player is doing a lot of good things and the advice that I see given will do more damage than good, my opinion.


#18

Could you describe the “step over” move?


#19

Alright let’s really get this thing stirred up.

After you’ve answered palo20’s question…

Scroll down to the “College Evaluation” thread and read through it then tell me what you think.


#20

… throw the ball.

"Scroll down to the “College Evaluation” thread and read through it then tell me what you think. "

A classic case of someone who looks good because he looks in “control”, when in reality he has very little hope of ever achieving his physical potential.

Big player, " nonexistent" arm action, “pie thrower” is a reasonable description of someone who “pushes” the ball. Biggest “tipoff” is the difference between his fastball and curveball velocities. This type of arm action (slinging pusher) cannot throw a good breaking ball, nor (in most instances) will it impart much action on the fastball. Big kid, physical potential, but until he learns how to throw the ball he will never even come close to reaching it ( his physical potential).

As I said a classic example of someone who looks “very good” to those who worship the “pitching mechanics” shrine, yet know virtually nothing about how to throw the baseball.

As an “aside” , posting video that he shot with a digital camera (less than 30 frames per second) does not lend itself to serious analysis.