Help with Arm Slot


#1

Hi all,
Last year I was on JV baseball and I pitched pretty well and K’d a lot of people but this year I pitched on Varsity and for a Mickey Mantle league and I seem to have lost my arm slot. I go to a pitching coach in the winter time and he helps a lot with my velocity but I can’t see him in the summer. I can’t seem to figure out where to release the ball. Today I started out pitching well but it seemed that I lost my arm angle/slot in the second inning and I couldn’t throw strikes with my 4 seem fastball anymore.

I don’t really know what I am doing after I bring my knee up I break my hands my back hand drops below my belt and then I try to come over the top but if I do that it is way high and if I drop my arm angle it is slow and low and I can’t seem to find a good slot…

Any advice on arm angle or anything of that sort would be much appreciated thanks.

-Josh


#2

Do you have some video of your delivery?


#3

Try doing some long toss and see from what angle you throw it.


#4

[quote=“jskelly4”]I don’t really know what I am doing after I bring my knee up I break my hands my back hand drops below my belt and then I try to come over the top but if I do that it is way high and if I drop my arm angle it is slow and low and I can’t seem to find a good slot…

Any advice on arm angle or anything of that sort would be much appreciated thanks.

-Josh[/quote]
It sounds like you need to NOT drop your throwing hand below your belt because this is preventing you from getting your arm over the top and back down to keep your pitches down. Try taking your hand straight back instead of dropping it. This will shorten the path your hand takes and make it quicker to get into the throwing position.


#5

[quote=“Roger”][quote=“jskelly4”]I don’t really know what I am doing after I bring my knee up I break my hands my back hand drops below my belt and then I try to come over the top but if I do that it is way high and if I drop my arm angle it is slow and low and I can’t seem to find a good slot…

Any advice on arm angle or anything of that sort would be much appreciated thanks.

-Josh[/quote]
It sounds like you need to NOT drop your throwing hand below your belt because this is preventing you from getting your arm over the top and back down to keep your pitches down. Try taking your hand straight back instead of dropping it. This will shorten the path your hand takes and make it quicker to get into the throwing position.[/quote]
Hey, but don’t they say that you should have a long back arm action/path?
By going straight back is more like an Infielder throw isn’t it? Because they normally don’t have a lot of time to throw the ball.


#6

[quote=“KreGg”]Hey, but don’t they say that you should have a long back arm action/path?[/quote]Who says so and why? Check out Billy Wagner and you’ll wonder why people recommend long back arm action. In the pros, at the highest level, you’ll see very few with a long arm action going back. Now, don’t take that as a recommendation to have very short arm action. There’s a lot more to it than short or long.


#7

thanks everyone, if you need pictures there are some on
http://www.sportsaction-photos.com/cmm3/index.htm
adn that is the game I pitched badly in, I don’t know if there are enough to help but that is what the guy at the game took. I am on the green Catskill team and picture 18 is the first one of me pitching.

-Josh


#8

Studies indicate that a long arm action will significantly reduce the risk that you will injure yourself.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Wagner has a short arm action and has had a series of arm problems.

Of course, to make this work you have to do something to alter your timing. Otherwise, as you have found out, you will end up rushing and miss high.

One way to do this is to break your hands sooner.


#9

[quote=“jskelly4”]thanks everyone, if you need pictures there are some on
http://www.sportsaction-photos.com/cmm3/index.htm
adn that is the game I pitched badly in, I don’t know if there are enough to help but that is what the guy at the game took. I am on the green Catskill team and picture 18 is the first one of me pitching.[/quote]

Are these the pictures you are talking about…


#10

This is terrible advice because it will significantly increase the stress on your arm.

There are simpler ways of fixing the problem that don’t put so much stress on the arm.


#11

Chris, you can’t make a statement like that without providing an explanation. :roll: How does shortening the backstroke significantly increase the stress on your arm?

Are you saying that “breaking the hands sooner” is simpler than “not dropping the throwing hand as much”? Please explain.


#12

Chris, you can’t make a statement like that without providing an explanation. :roll: How does shortening the backstroke significantly increase the stress on your arm?[/quote]

Not dropping the hand in a down, out, and up motion, and instead going directly from the hand break to the ready position, is pretty much the definition of short-arming the ball. The problem with doing this is that it increases the risk that the arm will rapidly reverse direction, which puts large amounts of strain on the shoulder.

This is how I permanently damaged my shoulder; by breaking my hands high and turning my shoulders while my pitching arm side forearm was still going back toward 2B.

Here’s a quote from “Effect of Pitch Type, Pitch Count, and Pitching Mechanics on Risk of Elbow and Shoulder Pain in Youth Baseball Pitchers” by Stephen Lyman PhD, Glenn S. Fleisig PhD, James R. Andrews MD, and E. David Osinski MA. On page 465 of this article, the authors make the following statement…

“In fact, two mechanical flaws, backward lean in the balance position and early hand separation, correlated with a decreased risk of elbow pain. Two other flaws, a long arm swing and arm ahead of the body at the time of ball release, correlated with a decreased risk of shoulder pain.”

Of course, it’s highly misleading that the authors of the paper refer to things that decrease the risk of injury as “flaws.”

Freddy Garcia of the White Sox breaks his hands EXTREMELY early and last time I checked he was a decent pitcher.

Are you saying that “breaking the hands sooner” is simpler than “not dropping the throwing hand as much”? Please explain.[/quote]

Kind of.

Altering when (or where) you break your hands is fairly simple change to make that will enable you to utilize a long arm swing.

When my son starts aiming the ball, like he did on Friday, he usually starts breaking his hands at the numbers. I have him instead break his hands at his belt buckle (I yell out “hands low” from the bench) which lengthens his arm swing and immediately improves his pitches.


#13

I didn’t recommend taking the throwing hand from the hand break position directly to the ready position as an infielder might do (I’m assuming “ready position” means the forearm is vertical and the arm is ready to start forward). Instead, I recommended taking the throwing hand straight out (“straight back” was my wording) instead of down and out. All I was after was reducing or eliminating the drop below the belt. I admit my wording was not as clear as it could have been.

Honestly, that sounds like an issue with the shoulders opening up too early - not with the path of the throwing hand. I don’t think that breaking the hands high automatically causes the shoulders to open up early.

[quote=“Chris O’Leary”]Here’s a quote from “Effect of Pitch Type, Pitch Count, and Pitching Mechanics on Risk of Elbow and Shoulder Pain in Youth Baseball Pitchers” by Stephen Lyman PhD, Glenn S. Fleisig PhD, James R. Andrews MD, and E. David Osinski MA. On page 465 of this article, the authors make the following statement…

“In fact, two mechanical flaws, backward lean in the balance position and early hand separation, correlated with a decreased risk of elbow pain. Two other flaws, a long arm swing and arm ahead of the body at the time of ball release, correlated with a decreased risk of shoulder pain.”[/quote]
It’s not clear to me what is meant by “a long arm swing”. Does the article define what this means? Is it the total backward and forward motion of the arm? Is it just the backward part? Is it just the forward part?

Are you saying that “breaking the hands sooner” is simpler than “not dropping the throwing hand as much”? Please explain.[/quote]

Kind of.

Altering when (or where) you break your hands is fairly simple change to make that will enable you to utilize a long arm swing.[/quote]
Well, it’s not like altering the hand’s path is real complicated so I’m not sure about your claim regarding simplicity. And does a high hand break automatically preclude a long arm swing? I’m not so sure. A late hand break, on the other hand, would require you to play catch-up which could lead to altered mechanics and increased risk of injury. However, more often than not, when the throwing arm is late, it is actually the hip and shoulder rotation that was too early. In general, I believe the position of the hand break and the path of the throwing hand belong to the pitcher. It’s a comfort thing.

Again, what is meant by “arm swing”? It sounds like the adjustment you have your son make actually fixes his timing. If so, then the question then becomes “is there a better adjustment to make to fix the timing?”

I’ll offer up a couple points from Tom House to consider:

(1) Timing adjustments are made to the lower body.
(2) There is no such thing as a late arm - only an early torso.


#14

[quote=“Chris O’Leary”]I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Wagner has a short arm action and has had a series of arm problems.[/quote]Wagner’s is a severe example used to illustrate a point. That being that power comes from other sources, not long arm action. I would NOT recommend Wagner’s particular takeaway for safety reasons.

That being said, there are very few long arm pitchers in the pros. Most, probably in the 90% range, are shortER but not SHORT. Nolan Ryan was shortER. Clemens is shortER. Smoltz, Rivera, Brown, Becket, Pedro, etc., etc., etc. I could go on.

In all of these examples, the only times the arm straightens out is maybe at the bottom and then again at release. The elbow bends early and the ball and forearm are LIFTED up through the high cocked position. This is a gross oversimplification but you get the point, I hope.

The long arm pitchers, like Freddy Garcia, are in the very small minority. I would agree that very short arm action is high risk but what I’m seeing out there is something different, between the two extremes.

I’m with Roger in that I’m not sure what Fleisig et. al are referring to when they say “long arm” vs. “short arm”. Is what Nolan Ryan did “short arming”? How about Clemens, Smoltz, etc.?


#15

Oops, my bad. I thought I had seen on the Louisville book of pitching they teaching you to have a long arm swing.
But instead they say that you should have a short circle.

I don’t know if I flat out misread it or I heard it somewhere else, and since this is the book I’m reading now about pitching I thought I saw this on it.

I also didn’t understand what Roger said about going straight back, but now I got it. He didn’t mean to go right to the high-cock position, right? But by going back he means to go back toward 2B. And that’s exactly how they teach it on the book. Go straight back to 2B.


#16

Correct - that’s what I meant.

I occasionally describe three different hand paths to my pitchers: (1) hand drops below the waist in a big, looping circle, (2) hand goes straight from glove to high-cocked position, and (3) hand drops to only about the waist. Then I tell my pitchers that (1) belongs to outfielders, (2) belongs to infielders, and (3) belongs to pitchers.

But, as I said previously, I really feel that this stuff really belongs to the pitcher. The position and timing of the hand break is really dictated by the knee lift. It’s part of a pitcher’s personal style and I normally don’t mess with it.


#17

Thanks for the advice, next time out I will try to go straight back not down and see how that works. And those pictures you posted are the pictures of me pitching.

-Josh