Getting into power position to early


my son is getting into power position way to soon. Soon as he ball breaks, he raises his arm up berfore he strides out. I know that getting into power position is ok as long as you get shoulder /hip seperation while landing closed. But he actualy starts to rotate to soon becuase he is in power position to soon (i think).

Does anybody know how to remedy this or special drill to stop the comming out to soon with the shoulders?

Thanks for your help
desperate and greyhaired

I liked the cattle prod when my little one wasn’t paying attention. Today they have these really nifty “shock collars”…supposed to use it on dogs…boy have they missed the boat…slap one of those puppies on Jr. and rig it to a remote button and BINGO, no more bad mechanics, no more surly disrespect (Sure it may cause an unsightly “self-wetting” issue…but a few more presses on the old button and it’s fixed too :smiley: )…watch Jr. literally jump when you tell him to do something right.
Our new model is “spouse designed” for peace and quiet on those days when you just don’t want to hear what needs fixin… :shock:
Wow am I just kidding! But that sure felt good… :oops:

How old is your son? From the sound of your post it seems like he’s young. Working out those mechanical fundementals. I always hear play more catch…and I agree, let him see and feel the basic movements in a non-pressurized fun situation, get everyone involved and have a blast…kids are naturally competitive and before long he’ll be hurting your hand and hitting his spots. It’s baseball…never panic, always keep it fun and you won’t miss the boat…ever!
If he’s older, then just the normal start on a knee, fundemental throwing routine, done regularly as well as plenty of catch…the more he sees proper mechs he will start to develop his own…as I re-read your post it more looks like a coordination thing, just get him to relax and have fun, it’ll come…Of course if he’s 17…Lacrosse is a nice sport I hear :wink:

I realy enjoyed your post. Especially this;

[quote]Our new model is “spouse designed” for peace and quiet on those days when you just don’t want to hear what needs fixin…

Anyhow, my son is 9 and regarding the comming out to soon, he did not do it that much a few months ago, but for some reason I notice he creates movement other than I have taught him which bewilders me somewhat. I notice it more at the games. When we practice at home he still does it but not as much.

I am not sure what you mean by;

Is this a drill? if so please describe it so I may use it next practice.


Sometimes you just have to set the stage with a little levity :wink:

Start by taking a knee (Throwing arm side), the other leg should be oriented towards the throwing partner, come to the power position (Throwing hand up at approx 45 degree angle, keeping the elbow even or lower than the shoulder, front arm out in front like he’s looking at the back of his hand (Thumb down), have him rotate his trunck and bring his chest towards the glove (which he’s rotating to a thumbs up position) as he throws. This is how to fundementally throw a baseball, Steven has it in his site somewhere, a display of how its done. Once you get loose from this profile, the partner and the kid get up and with the same power position they from a short distance continue to throw from the power position, continue after several tosses to back the partner up and ultimately it will get to long toss distance. If he does the correct things at the house, he’s likely getting a little excited on the field…which will always gunk up the works…particularly timing. So the more he becomes accustomed and relaxed on the field the more he will revert to what you’ve properly taught him. Just make sure when you put him through it that you portray it as a formal thing and ensure he properly does it (You play how you practise). Fundementally doing things in this sport is never out of vogue and will always be the happiest and healthyest way to approach it.
I sent my son to baseball summer camps that were reputable and that taught fundementals and fun as the way to approach our sport and art (Usually a month in the summer…I would always make at least a day out of the week and have lunch with him and his buddies there…several years I talked to the coaches and was allowed to “shadow” for several days and learn their techniques and approach…man was that a help to me!!). It is usually comparably priced with daycare and the experience (At least for my son) was priceless. If he’s a little timid about new situations…talk a buddy into getting his kid to go too…that way you get the benefit of car pooling also and the kids will have a blast!

It sounds to me like your son is trying to get part of the arm movement out of the way early so that he can stabilize the arm before it starts forward. In other words, it sounds like he’s trying to be perfect. And it would make sense that he does this more in games. Has his velocity dropped off a bit?

If you agree this might be the case, then maybe you should encourage him to trust his mechanics and just let 'er rip.

Hello Roger,

Yes his velocity has dropped off but he still throws strikes at a slower speed which they hit off him more.

My question is; is it ok to go to power position the moment he ball breaks at belt level? If so, it may not what we want to do, becuase, I think it makes him turn his shoulders to soon and push the ball during stride, instead of arm down during stride then up to power position just before foot plant. What do you think is best? or how should I go about fixing this? JD stated to that the knee drill may help this problem?

My hair is getting grey-er by the day.

Roger, thanks for your input in this matter.

In general, when one part of the body “fires” too early, there is a natural tendency for the next “link in the chain” to fire early as well. Probably the most common example of this is the glove arm dropping and turning over early - that almost always leads to early shoulder rotation. Basically, when one part does its thing early, the next part doesn’t want to wait around to do its thing so it fires early too. I think you are right to be concerned about getting to the power position early. Better to be on time.

The other concern about getting to the power position early is that it sort of breaks the kinetic chain. To optimize energy transfer up the kinetic chain, pitchers need to be smooth and fluid with no unnecessary delays. If one part fires early and the next part somehow doesn’t, then there is a delay injected into the sequence. That delay interrupts the flow/transfer of energy.

But, let me say that I don’t normally mess with arm action. Rather, I get everything else in order and let the arm adjust on its own. Many times, I think coaches make the mistake of slowing down one aspect of a pitcher’s delivery when, in fact, they could/should be speeding up some other aspect. In your case, you can try to slow down your son’s arm (or make it take a longer path) or you can speed up his tempo and get him into foot plant quicker. You get to decide which is best.

Roger you are right about the kinetic chain being disrubted by an early sequence of motion.

I have already tried to make him slow down his ball break with PA down and glove arm out perpendicular (sweeping motion as roger clemens) to his body then around to the front during stride. However, it only works with him only about 6 or 7 times then its right back to the arm up early and shoulders comming out to soon. eeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrr

I think I will try to speed up his lower half somehow? Now we are going to talk about leg stride. What is the best or should i say quickest leg stride for my son? up, down then out? or up, out then down? I know there has been discussion about this but realy I am not sure what is best out of the stretch position. The video’s on this site work best for me and my son to visualy look at. If you could recomend some of those pitchers to copy I would be very appreciative. If there was anybody that I have been molding my son after it would be Roger Clemens arm delivery with Josh Becketts ball break and leg stride. I like to dream big.

Anyhow, thanks again

You have to be careful trying to model other pitchers. A given pitcher really needs to do what works best for him. That’s why Roger Clemens looks like Roger Clemens and not someone else. Guys like Clemens have achieved their success by doing what works best for them.

Now, that’s not to say there aren’t certain characteristics of pitchers like Clemens have that can’t or shouldn’t be copied. But I’d be careful with arm action.

As for speeding up the lower half, instead of focusing on “leg action”, I’d focus on getting the center of mass (ie. the hips) moving sooner and faster and letting the stride leg adjust accordingly. Recognize that a longer down and out movement takes more time than a shorter, more direct movement. Get the body moving faster and let the leg figure out the path it needs to take. That would be my approach.

When looking at video of the best, pay attention to their hips and when - relative to knee lift - they start forward. Also pay attention to how they lead with their hip early in their stride and how long they keep their front leg closed before swinging it out front.

I am going to pitch him today at which I will try to get the hip going down hill (a little) as he raises his knee lift and then see what he does to counter act that extra momentum. Hopfully it will sequence his getting into power position to soon with his bottom half. I am sure though, it will change his stride.

I will tell you the outcome tomorrow.

Additional considerations with the pitching experience

Your son, being nine (9), will undergo a cycle of changes –physical, mental, temperament, attention spans, and so on while growing up. Add or inject athletic skill training and your going to witness a rollercoaster of peaks and valleys of performance – some good … some not so good.

Just remember that youth has tolerances and limits. Unlike your son’s counterpart in the collegiate or professional game, he’s going to be on a learning curve. And that learning curve is unique for each and every kid. So, depending on your son’s physique – tall and slim, husky and compact, average build and weight proportions all enter the mix to generate movement and progression … testing the advice that you receive here. So, slow and easy does it for a nine (9) year old .

Also, don’t expect game level performance after a week of … “now try this.” I know most dads say with a resounding voice. “.OF COURSE I WON’T! “ But it happens, as a knee jerk reaction along with the words muttered to one’s self… “darn it,… we just went over this stuff yesterday !” Also, when your son gets into a jam out there pitching, it’s not unusual for a kid to revert right back into an “ole style” …. and that’s only natural. A kid will fall back on what he knows his body fells comfortable with … regardless if it’s right or wrong.

When your son is on a team… however, he’s receiving coaching advice here or elsewhere, that advice may support or even conflict with the advice he’s receiving on the field. Be very careful of the impressions that will be left with your son in this regard. His coach(s) will expect him to “do as he’s told”, and if he’s doing a complete 180 these coaches can form opinions of your son that may cause problems with his playing experience. With respect to the impressions that I mentioned earlier, this can be a confusing time for a kid of nine (9).

Also, of all the things that can support or destroy good performance reinforcement, are the surface conditions that your son will be performing on. If your son is performing (standing) and a surface with little or no stability – integrality, he’s going to have problems from the get-go. Be sensitive to this issue … it’s not as apparent as one might think.

At the top of this web site there is a topic bar. Select PITCHING ARTICLES and then scroll down to the subject of pitch counts. It’s worth reading believe me. And you’ll start … right off the bat … being proactive for your son’s health and well being, and teaching him early to be said same.

Best wishes for son’s playing experience.

Coach B.

[quote=“greyhairdad”]I am going to pitch him today at which I will try to get the hip going down hill (a little) as he raises his knee lift and then see what he does to counter act that extra momentum. Hopfully it will sequence his getting into power position to soon with his bottom half. I am sure though, it will change his stride.

I will tell you the outcome tomorrow.
I can tell you that getting the hips moving sooner will feel awkward. And it will take a lot of reps to start to feel comfortable. Furthermore, it takes more leg and core strength - something a 9 year old might not yet possess. So, look at this as a longer term process. While I’m curious to hear how it goes, I’m not expecting too much in such a short timeframe.

Coach Baker;
I can tell you have been through this before if not, many times by your words of wisdom. Yes my son does pitch great most of the time and then one day he will pitche as if “Jerry Lewis” was his pitching coach. Yes I fall in to the catagory,

But I do realize that he is 9 and he is growing which may alter his pitching motions. My son is the kid that when i say “ok thats it for pitching today” he does not want to quit.

Furthermore you are definitly right regarding;

I pitched my son as i said above, and tried to impliment “a little forward” movement to gain momentem as Roger stated; But what happened was he had a rough time with momentum during knee lift. He also lost his accuracy, in other words I think he was trying to hard which created all his timing to be off. With that said, we stoped trying the forward momentum at least until the end of his season.

After that day we tried to gain momentum, my son stated he was a little sore between his arm pit and hip (on his throwing arm side). I was wondering if it could be from using muscles that he hadn’t used while gaining the forward momentum or maybe it could have been a result from pushing the ball or did he spend to much time in the batting cage?

Nevertheless, I watched some video of him at his last game which I can see he is not landing closed (hips). Sometimes he will land closed but most not. And I believe that if he were to land with his hips closed, that it would not matter if he was in power position to early? becuase at foot plant, don’t you want to be in power position with hips closed?

With that said, maybe if I work with him landing closed it may stop the early shoulder rotation. Instead of focusing on the pitching arm raising up to early, start focusing him to land with hips closed which may keep his pitching arm back. landing with his hips open may be the cause not the effect. Did that make sense?

Thank you gentlemen for all your wisdom.

After that day we tried to gain momentum, my son stated he was a little sore between his arm pit and hip (on his throwing arm side). I was wondering if it could be from using muscles that he hadn’t used while gaining the forward momentum or maybe it could have been a result from pushing the ball or did he spend to much time in the batting cage?[/quote]
Could be using muscles he didn’t previously use as much or it could have been the batting cage. Or both. I’m not sure how “pushing the ball” would cause the soreness.

At foot plant, you want the hips to be as closed as flexibility allows. For most pitchers, their flexibility (or lack thereof) dictates that their hips start to open up in order to allow the front foot and leg to open up right before foot plant.

Yes, that made sense. And you are correct to search for true cause and effect. Many times, coaches spot a problem and assume it’s a cause when, in fact, it really is an effect. Keeping the hips closed is something that needs to be done anyway so there’s no harm in working on that first and then seeing what the effect(s) are.