Looking for advice - what we should work on

This is Lucas pitching a couple weeks after his 11th birthday in October 2010 - I have been teaching him using the information collected from Tom House - and Dan from the pitching academy… He works hard utilizing the information we have purchased from these folks for the last 3 years up till about the time of this video last October - that’s when the snow dumps here in our part of Utah. Now that things are thawing out he has been hitting a bit and getting ready to start working on his pitching again… The point of the video is to show where he is and to ask as we start for the spring what should we address first, and really to just gather any creditable suggestions or tips we can, on anything that will make him better and/or safer -

just to be clear the info we received from the folks mention above has worked out GREAT - we have learned a ton about mechanics and how to improve them from these guys and the kid is a strike machine - great control - throws plenty fast - excellent change up (thanks to Dan and Tom) - pretty good sinker) - nice cutter (thanks Dad ) - really nice SAFTEY CURVE (thanks to Tom House) – and I should add - amazing composure thanks to a fella named Dr. Tom Hanson I strongly recommend these folks and their various programs to anyone. Thanks guys and thanks in advance to anyone who can offer us some good advice.

A couple of things, in the first frame the throwing hand moving in and out of his glove after he starts his windup. The hand should remain on the ball in the glove. Second, his hands are separating too soon, when his front knee starts to come down is when separation should start.
Third, work on leading with the hips for more drive.
I like his glove position, what is his velocity?
5 pitches for an 11 yr old though?

He has very good arm action, but his lower half needs work:

  1. Serious weight shift problem - he needs to get his weight shifted onto his back leg during the leg lift; have him focus on keeping his head over his back foot until his leg starts to come down. When it does come down, the first movement should be his front hip jutting toward the plate and not his shoulders. You could even stand behind him and literally push on his back hip to get him going so he knows what it feels like to initiate that movement.

  2. Out of synch - have him raise his arms in synch with his leg and then lower the hands as he lowers the leg. This will create a better rythym and help with proper sequencing.

  3. He needs to stay sideways longer - keep the front foot sideways to the target as long as possible. The key is the back leg; don’t put the front foot down until the back leg gets to near full extension. Drive by propelling off the rubber - almost like a side lunge, to get lower and longer.

  4. The over-rotation of the leg during the leg lift needs to go - that hooking action doesn’t allow him to take the leg straight at the target; instead he has to swing it around into landing. It also hurts him with his weight shift and doesn’t allow him to lead with the hips.

He does a good job with his landing leg and braces well. Releases the ball well - gets to a good finish. Good job! Keep working!

Thanks a lot for the advice - do you happen to know any good drills for the early hand separation?

“Third, work on leading with the hips for more drive.”

  • I think my understanding of this concept must be a little grey we had been working on this and thought we were getting there… If you look at 34 sec’s in the video about how much further out toward home would you suggest his booty should be? or is that even what you mean?

““no one ever believes how fast he throws even when they are looking at the gun — so I’ll just say he is faster than all his local same age peers that we have gunned in little league and travel ball…and most of the 12 and 13 year olds too””

5 pitches for an 11 yr old though? I don’t know – is that bad?

We started with the fastball he mastered that with great control then we went to the two seamer cause he had a bunch of friends that throw it and he wanted to learn that pitch – after a bit we learned that with a slight bit of pronation he could get that serious movement and sink on the ball…… Then I went to the change up as I thought the sooner he learned the change the better as most of the boys in our little league throw the change like a shot put I thought this would be a powerful pitch for Lucas…. - then we stumbled upon the safety curve while going through the NPA’s pitching program… in reality though he works on each pitch to be able to throw it well but only really uses the 4 seam fastball – the sinker – and the change up in games – and well I guess he has pulled out the cutter like 8 times in game situations —

structuredoc

thanks for the reply -

I think i have confused this issue on the leg lift when teaching him - I was getting the impression that as he is lifting he should be trying to drive his hip forward - so he should come to the balance position and drive the hip forward from there?

We have been working on the sync thing over the winter just practicing his motions - so I think we may have the sync thing licked and I also had him eliminated the backward kick or the hook as you called it is gone…

what do you suggest on the lung to home is there a drill we should use for this?..

Thanks again for taking the time to give us advice -

What I see:

He could definitely sync his upper/lower half better. Also having all those pitches really just takes away from learning how to throw effectively and develop efficient mechanics. Up until HS all you need is a Fastball, Change up, and Curve (at this age he could get by with just a good fastball).

Try having him break his hands at his belly button.

When he lifts his leg, the hands go up, when the leg starts to come down, the hands start moving down and then break at belly button height. This should give him the timing that he needs to create a later hand break and hopefully solve that problem.

Don’t worry so much about how the lead leg comes out (sweeping around into footplant allows for a more “rotational” lower half anyways which is what you want). He’s only 11 and as he matures this may work itself out.

Above all keep him athletic in his delivery and try not to “look” like a pitcher.

Learn to throw efficiently.

might try having him pick his stride leg straight up with his knee instead of sweeping the foot. have him think about where the stride leg knee is during leg lift instead of the foot and see what happens. otherwise i like what he does getting into release. i don’t think he is doing anything that would cause major injury. throw and throw often @ 65 to 70%.

good start, get to work

If you tell me that he’s throwing 80 mph than I’ll tell you don’t change a thing no matter what he looks like. If he’s throwing 45 mph then mabee that will help in the assesment.

lol well he is not throwing 80 (i wish man that would be something) but he is averaging 60 to 65 - most of the other good pitchers his age are at 50 - 55 ish with some of the 12 and 13 year olds hitting 57 to 60 — but then thats only in the kids from our area and the teams that travel here for travel ball tourneys… I’m sure there are some kids across the nation that are throwing much faster than that at these ages…

Thanks everyone for the help I think I got some good insight to get started with…I love this site…

DWH4L3 - I sent you a PM; let me know if you received it…

structuredoc

I did get your PM and thanks alot for not only the great insight but also good advice on how to make the correction - thank you

How big is he?

actually I need to measure him and see - he has actually grown about 4 1/2 inches since this video - so he is getting pretty tall… When he gets home I will see and get back to you on that…

KCDawg

Just measured him and he is 5’ 2 - fast as he is growing I won’t be surprised if he is 6’ by his 12th birthday…

I am curious why do you ask that?

Primarily out of curiosity. That velocity at that age is exceptional and usually means the kid is vey physically mature for his age. And while 5’2 isn’t massive for an 11 year old, it is on the top side of the chart as I imagined.

Even with that size, those numbers are excellent. I copied the below from a post that laflippin did back in June:

"Some time ago an orthopaedic doctor, Dr. Michael J. Axe, compiled an actuarial table of expected throwing velocities for 8 - 14 yos. Here are the average velocities:

8 yo: 40 mph
9 yo: 43 mph
10 yo: 46 mph
11 yo: 48 mph
12 yo: 50 mph
13 yo: 54 mph
14 yo: 60 mph

Dr. Axe also provides numbers for 1, 2, 3, 4, and even 5 standard deviations above the averages for each age group. (If you’re not sure what std. dev. refers to, think of it this way: A thrower who is 4 std. devs above the average velocity for his age group is a 1 in 100,000 level thrower. 5 std devs is a 1 in a million level thrower…

Here are the “1 in 100,000-level” velocities:

8 yo: 54 mph
9 yo: 59 mph
10 yo: 62 mph
11 yo: 64 mph
12 yo: 70 mph
13 yo: 74 mph
14 yo: 84 mph. "

So your son would be in the 1 in 100,000-level group,which suggests that in addition to his size, he has exceptional arm strength, because he doesn’t yet seem to have it all together in using his lower half to gain even more velocity. So, be careful with that arm and keep working to synchronize his upper and lower halves to throw even faster.

I’d be careful with the number of pitches he tries to throw. 5 is a huge number for an 11 year old, especially one who is blowing the ball past the hitters. I would have him really work location on the 2 and 4 seam fastball and the change up. He can learn the others when he gets closer to high school.

well looking at that my first response is that I need a new gun I am using one of them cheap 100 guns from Sports Authority and I am seeing alot of kids be over that so it must be adding a bit to it… I will see if I can get my hands on a better gun to test - cuz I know for sure that several of the 13 year olds we know are throwing faster than Lucas -

thanks for the info - I think I better find some help on seeing what his real speed is - on the flip side if my guns right I know a bunch of kids who are freaks of nature lol j/k

It’s hard to tell velocity from these videos, so you can never really be sure. I have seen a lot of youth pitchers, and low to mid sixties for an 11 year old is extremely fast, but is certainly possible. My kid just turned 14, is 5’4 tall, weighs 105 pounds, and hit 66 the other night. And while he is certainly not the fastest thrower around, I just haven’t seen that many of his peers that are that much faster. That said, there is one “man-size” 14 year old near us who is hitting 80 on a regular basis.

I can say that your kid has a very athletic pitching style and looks very good, especially for his age. If he keeps working, he will undoubtably continue to build strength and up his velocity.

Plus, you don’t want him to get too fast too soon. I missed a low fastball throwing in the yard earlier today and got hit in the toe. Now, I’m on the couch with my foot on ice and will soon lose my toenail. My days of catching my boy might soon come to an end. Good luck and have fun.

[quote=“KCDawg”]It’s hard to tell velocity from these videos, so you can never really be sure. I have seen a lot of youth pitchers, and low to mid sixties for an 11 year old is extremely fast, but is certainly possible. My kid just turned 14, is 5’4 tall, weighs 105 pounds, and hit 66 the other night. And while he is certainly not the fastest thrower around, I just haven’t seen that many of his peers that are that much faster. That said, there is one “man-size” 14 year old near us who is hitting 80 on a regular basis.

I can say that your kid has a very athletic pitching style and looks very good, especially for his age. If he keeps working, he will undoubtably continue to build strength and up his velocity.

Plus, you don’t want him to get too fast too soon. I missed a low fastball throwing in the yard earlier today and got hit in the toe. Now, I’m on the couch with my foot on ice and will soon lose my toenail. My days of catching my boy might soon come to an end. Good luck and have fun.[/quote]
If you have a full high quality video of the pitcher with a view of the whole mound all the way to the plate, you can actually calculate the velocity of a fastball within >1 mph variation of actual speed. You just need to know the true time it takes from the moment it leaves the pitchers hand until it crosses the plate, and the distance it travels in that time (simple trigonometry and physics).

However if you want accuracy, the closest radar guns to the real thing end up being $500 and up.

No doubt you could do that with high quality video, but like you said, you have to have a view of the pitcher and the catcher in order to make it happen. In the majority of these videos you barely see the ball out of the pitcher’s hand, much less a catcher receiving it.

Right, it would have to be something along the lines of 160 fps 720p+ HD video we are talking about. In optimal conditions it can be done, and even can be done in poorer conditions but with less accuracy.