Landing Heel first?

My son sometimes lands heel first. Is this a problem? If so what is the cause and fix?

Landing on the heel isn’t a problem in and of itself. But it could be an indicator of some other defficiency that is keeping him from getting out over the front foot (e.g. reaching with the front foot, a lack of momentum, etc.).

I agree with Roger on this one but there is one thing that concerns me about your post and that’s “My son sometimes lands heel first”, “sometimes”, if he doesn’t always do the same thing then I am worried, he should have repeatable mechanics that don’t change and go to sometimes. He should always land heal first or toe first…

I agree with Roger and bu,

It’s not a bad thing per se, BUT his delivery needs to be repeatable, there shouldn’t be the word sometimes involved, to me that makes be automatically think that there is am issue with repeating the same delivery.

Happen to have any video clips of him?

I went over recent video clips today and compared. He lands heel first only and consistently with the towel drill. When pitching he lands on the ball of the foot. I assume with the towel drill he is trying to lunge too far?

You bring up and interesting observation, and with that observation let’s take it and make some advanced observations on your son.
It seems that two different influences impress your son to do two different things – with and without the towel. With the towel his body acts in a certain way, and without the towel he does something different.
Let’s work with this simple yet important influence on your son.

Your son is young and has parts of his body, with strengths, all working for him. At the same time, other parts of his body are less so – thus depend on maturity and getting a little older and bigger to fall into line.
Therefore, the towel drill works on a limited portion of the body’s ability – training it to function as your son feels the routine influence his balance/momentum/final release. And because your son is immature physically because of his age, his concentration is more on the shoulders and his pitching arm than anything else. This drill does nothing to compliment the lower legs, pelvic, abdominal/oblique’s (core) muscles function as a complete unit through the pitching cycle.
Some pitching coaches may disagree, however, that discussion can be for another postings.

So, when your son lands on his heel, he’s more upright with the towel drill than he would be when simply pitching. Take a close look at your video.

Now that you have a general idea of how the body works under certain conditions, take this knowledge and let it work for you.
-Every time your son works on a mound, or pitching surface that does nothing to assist his balance and movement, notice that he is more “up” in his delivery posture and does not delivery the ball smoothly. Thus he lands more on his heel, in addition to other distractions. At that point, have your son stop, address the surface by smoothing it out, filling holes, etc-When your son is fatigued and tired, notice that he’ll land more on his heel.
-When your son is trying to pitch harder, not smarter, he’ll be landing more and more on his heel.
-When your son has a pitch that’s just not working on any given game day, but he is determined to keep throwing it, he’ll land more and more on his heel.
-I’ve seen many youngsters who are trying to pitching the curveball, without proper instruction, fuddle their way through a trial-n-error method during game time, thus landing a lot on their heel.

I want to end this posting by stating that landing on the heel is not all that bad, nor is it a sign of things to come injury wise. Most of the time, the surface condition that the youngster is working off of, coupled with the youngster’s physical immaturity, for him/her to do things that warrant notice and attention. A hands-on pitching coach can point these things out to you – thus things that are controllable now at your son’s age, and those things that are not.
Your son is a very lucky young man to have a dad that takes notice of things like this and goes the distance to ask questions. This is a great time in your life – watching your son grow and experience life. I envy you beyond words.

Coach B.

If he lands differently with the towel drill then he isn’t benefiting at all from the drill, repeatable mechanics should be reinforced and not something the is cool or a drill someone has picked up from the internet. Pitching starts at the legs and feet and move up through the body, get the bottom half right and repeatable then move up the body.

My own opinion is that he might be striding properly for his body in the towel drill and not when he pitches, might be time to get some video up.

Mys son is 10 (close to 11). His height is 55". His lunge distance is consistently 57" when pitching. His lunge distance is consistently 62" with the towel drill. I just measured these from recent video to confirm. I always assumed we were working on increasing his lunge distance with the towel drill. If you think it may be throwing off his timing or creating a bad habit I would quit it. We only towel drill in the garage when it’s too cold outside or too late in the day to pitch. Thanks to all of you for your help.

Totally understand, gotta get what you can done when you can, I just don’t know what he looks like but since drills emphasize timing this seems to be off. How about upload the video of him pitching and with the drill.

I’ll try to figure out how to upload. I’ve noticed on video that when doing the towel drill and greater lunge he is not able to come over his front side and finish but collapses backward some. I guess this would be a consequence of too great a lunge distance for him?

Sounds reasonable, it’s hard to keep your momentum moving forward if you take entirely too long a stride.