I have been working with my soon to be 10 yo on a low back finish. When he plants his front leg his momentum continues to carry forward. Sometimes almost continuing into a forward stumble. Is there a correct amount of forward movement after the front foot plants down?
I’m not an expert but have seen lots of ultra slow motion video and when the front foot plants you want that leg to firm up, ideally with the lead leg flexed. (sort of a lunge position) A soft front leg that collapses will rob quite a bit of velocity even with a 10 year old. Firming up will help the natural whip action of the arm instead of dragging the arm through to release point.
Not sure about teaching “flat back”. How flat someone finishes can largely depend on their arm angle. Low throw quarters guy won’t likely have a flat back. I would suggest firming front leg first and that will likely improve his finish. HIs body/head will continue to travel to the target. One word of caution. Sometimes younger kids , in an effort to firm up the front leg, will cheat and shorten their stride. You want to make sure they are maintaining their stride length while working on this.
The only other thought when coaching kids in general, a coach’s job is to learn as much info as possible but only pass along to the kid what he needs at that time. Don’t bury them with mechanics and turn them into robots. Not saying that’s what you are doing because I have no way of knowing that, just saying as a general rule for anyone working with kids.
I agree on the excessive mechanics in kids. The reason I am working on his finish is that he was swinging his back hip around too quickly and too far and ends up squaring up to first base. He then pitches across his body. I was thinking he needs to maintain his back foot pushing off the rubber as long as possible. This would also control his forward momentum better?
Without gettng too complicated, I wouldn’t worry too much about his backfoot. If he’s generating some good momentum with his hips that should take care of itself in most cases in my opinion. Without seeing video my guess would be a glove side issue, no firming up of the glove over the front foot and not bringing the body to the glove. It has been discussed at length if you want to search it. Some real good discussions, video, photots you name it.
If you want a quick take on it check out Coach Corral’s video in the General discussion section on “hip/shoulder separation”. There’s no audio so read the text. There are two drills ( the first one is pretty advanced for a younger kid but may be appropriate for some) that I think work wonders for kids. The second drill, the “Smith” drill deals with the glove side. See how the pithcer on the left “squares up” to first? Sounds like what you are talking about. And also check out the speed up drill. I discuss that as well following the Coach’s post. Hope this helps.
Good advice from RJ. Keep in mind that firming up the front leg does not mean the same thing as straightening the front let. The muscles need to firm up and brace to cause energy to transfer to the next link up the chain. If you try to straighten the front leg, you will likely mess up something else.
In general, use the finish as an indicator of things earlier in the delivery but not as something to work on directly. You named some other concerns - your focus should probably lie there.