Loss Of Control

I’ve started 3 games during this sumer season hoping to go out and throw good games. I’ve posted my pitches before in an earlier thread, but I throw a 4-seam, 2-seam, curve, slider, and a circle change. I’m also trying to develop a Split-Finger fastball. I haven’t been gunned yet, but I’ve had people say I throw in the high 80’s, and some say I throw in the low 80’s. The best part is that I’m 15 and people think I “juice.” As I said in a thread before, I CAN’T get back in to pitching! I love it and I have always been a good, hard thrower. I had an injury that held me back for a while, but now that I’m 100% again, I can’t seem to throw a damn strike! I have pitched 9 innings all together in the past 6 games. I haven’t been keeping my stats, but I have probably walked and hit more batters than I have stuckout(Not an exaggeration either).

For the most part, everything is high and to the right, but generally above the zone. My coach said it may be because I’m not tucking my glove in, and I’m swinging it all over the place. Which is probably true, I may have just developed an early habit. I am trying to get someone with a video camera to record me, but I haven’t been able to yet. I will get a video as soon as possible, but does anyone have any idea why I might be missing so much? Is what my coach said true?

I have one question—when you come down with your plant foot, do you point it toward the plate, or is it all over the place? As you deliver the pitch, you should be pointing directly toward the plate, and I suspect you may not be doing that. Maybe you just got into a bad habit there, but you need to liik at this and correct it. 8)

Yes, My foot is directly towards the plate.

What was the injury?
How long were you out?
How long ago was it before you started up again.
What “progessive” training did you undertake to get you up to speed?
Who supervised your recovery back into the game as a pitcher?

Coach B.

If your coach’s observation is correct: That is, if your glove side action is inconsistent, then…yes, that can definitely lead to inconsistency and control problems.

I don’t agree with the idea of “tucking the glove in” either. To me, that cue sounds like “pull the glove into the body” which IMO is not a good idea.

Video analysis shows that most elite pitchers swivel the glove briefly into place somewhere over the stride foot and bring their chest forward to meet the glove as they release the ball. After the ball is released, it doesn’t really matter what pitchers do with their glove side.

One other problem that may contribute to your troubles: Most pitchers don’t try to master 5 or 6 distinct pitches. Look, it’s hard enough to master three: (1) one fastball (2) one breaking ball and (3) and one of the off-speed pitches (i.e., change-up or splitter).

You are trying to do too much by attempting to master two examples of each of the above categories. The risk is serious that you won’t be able to dominate with any of them if you can’t control the strike zone.

By the way, don’t take “eyeball estimates” of your velocity too seriously…it is what it is, and you can find out what it currently is with an accurate radar gun. Most people who get hung up on their estimated velocity from coaches, or friends, or whomever, are often somewhat disappointed when they later get an accurate gun reading. Most eyeball estimates are optimistically high–it seems to be very common human nature to overestimate velocity, for whatever reasons.

It’s much more important to find out what the best hitters at your current level tell you about your pitching…that is, what do the results of their ABs say about your pitching?

[quote=“Coach Baker”]What was the injury?
How long were you out?
How long ago was it before you started up again.
What “progessive” training did you undertake to get you up to speed?
Who supervised your recovery back into the game as a pitcher?

Coach B.[/quote]
I wasn’t out for any of the season, the problem really got to it’s worst over the offseason. I went to the orthopedic specialists and all that for MRI’s and check-up’s. The final result was no tears, nothing, just a case of Ulnar Neuritis. I was sent to therapy for 3 times a week for the whole month of february. Therapy ended exactly two days before baseball practice started again for the highschool spring season. For the rest of that high school season, I played Centerfield. I pitched twice to see where I was. I ended up hitting 4 batters in two innings between two different games. My arm was weak the next day after each game, but that was normal I thought since I hadn’t done much strength training in the past year with my injury. Towards the end of the season, I asked one of the local doctors for some resistance bands. I heard they helped your strength and flexibility. I used it fo maybe a week straight and I felt much stronger with my throws. I didn’t have any pain after that.

Now I’m on my regular summer traveling team. Not quite the same as my high school team, but I still play with about half of the players from school ball… Now I’m the main pitcher, and I hadn’t had much practice, but in practice I threw perfect. Curves didn’t hang much, 4-seam had great movement, 2-seam had great movement. I didn’t try the slider much because I was scared of my mechanics being off. I still don’t throw it in games, I stick to the fastballs and offspeed and curves. When I pitched my first game of the summer, I did fine through the first two innings, then I lost it. I haven’t recovered since then. I’m not hurting at all. I believe it’s safe to say that my injury isn’t a problem anymore! I think its a matter of coming back into a nice groove and staying there. Then I can work in my other pitches later, then try and perfect them.

Also, I don’t try to throw all of my pitches in the games unless I have complete control of them! I stick to the curves, fastballs, and try to change up speeds. I used to worry about speed a lot though… I tried to throw harder and harder, and thats how I hurt myself because I didn’t have the proper mechanics. I was just saying that I have had multiple very experienced umpires say I threw in the low 80’s and some say I threw in the high 80’s. I’ve come to the conclusion myself that I probably have topped out at 82 or maybe 83mph, but usually throw in the high 70’s. I hope to go to a pitching camp or a showcase to really see good my stuff is.

Pitching camp is a good idea, and if you contact NPA you can get a schedule of a number of them that will take place during the summer. These camps, which are very intensive, run on weekends, and they are run by NPA staff members, not to mention Tom House himself. You have nothing to lose but your wildness. :slight_smile:

Ulnar Neuritis is like hitting your funny bone or feeling like your hand/arm has “gone to sleep on you” - sort of. Its very common with older players in this game at the pitcher’s position. In fact, stress loads that focus on the elbow can strain certain nerve and muscle groups along the arm/elbow and slightly give this feeling (funny bone jitters/arm going to sleep) for a very short period. HOWEVER, if not spotted - the undo stress actions on the arm by a watchful pitching coach, this condition can get worse -Ulnar Neuritis.

As you have already noticed, your arm, elbow and pitching hand are very open to the slightest stress load(s) not properly portioned during your delivery motion, or anything else for that matter. In fact, picking up a bag of groceries, turning a door nob, or even waving good-bey can send a tingle up and down the arm. I’m not saying that you do have this kind of condition - but, if not properly looked after and given time to recoup yourself, your only delaying the rehab process and possibly an adjustment that your body needs to take into account. Your family doctor and/or the specialist in this area can advise you further.

Now to address your situation more directly:

During your therapy, regaining funcitonal, normal use of your arm and hand is usually the course of action here. However, since you didn’t mention any surgery, I assume that your injury - do to stress loads and such, was more to adjust to condition, which is not unusual. Giving yourself time - the body that is, to rest and relax, give the healing process a chance to work, is a good thing.

After February, your preseason starts in high school, and a noticable lack of strength and control should be expected. However, you should have been given “do at home” instructions, along with a set of “reality checks” of the limitations that you’re going to experience. Why? Because of your age, the lack of professional rehab speicalists at your school or on your team to support your come back on the field. In fact, a letter stating everything that I just got through mentioning should have been asked for if not already written out, for your school’s AD and his/her coaching staff. Why? To advise those involved with you at school, to limit your activity and be mindful of your recovery process. I’ve had pitchers that have missed a lot of a season due to related problems that your now facing. However, since I’m not there - you are, your situation could be entirely different than I’m reading into here.

In any event, Give this season a rest. Take stock of the marginal performance that your now showing. You’re not going to improve by fixing your stride, your glove arm, your arm slot, or anything close to those just mentioned. Your body has to adjust to a new impact it wasn’t ready for. And by the way, did anyone mention to you HOW you got this injury so you don’t repeat said same - probably not. On the other hand, if someone has addressed how you got this injury, some one should be watching you very closely so you don’t have a repeat performance - then your right back to square one.

I know what I’m posting here is not what you want to hear. But, I’ve had some experience with things related to what you’re going through. And I’m making my suggestion(s) based on seeing people just like yourself, try to play through an injury like this - without any real pain, just a lack of performance, and the quality of life as they get older doesn’t sit very well.
Because the body can’t absorb adjustments as well as it did when it was younger.

In any event, if you still find a lack of performance as you progress this season, please consider my advice.

Coach B.

I plan on playing atleast one or two more games to really see if there are any improvements or anything of the sort. After these two games, if I don’t see notice a lot of improvement with my changes in pitching, or if I’m hurting more and more, I will contact the orthopedic specialist and schedule therapy until school starts. That should give me time to know what to do atleast.

I was actually given many exercises to do at home. Stretches for that elbow, shoulder, etc. I don’t use them much anymore because I felt my problem was solved. I will dig them back out again if I can, they seemed to help a lot. Also, I was given a note from my specialist to be excused from P.E. and all sports activities for as long as needed. I think I was out from the middle of January through the start of March. Oh and yes, the specialist did tell me what caused my injury. It was caused from irritation to the nerve obviously, but the irritation was caused from all of the pressure being put on my elbow. We did exercises to see how I was using my lower body when I was pitching, and I wasn’t using it much. So naturally, most of the pressure was being put on my upper body, especially my elbow when I threw my slider. He also asked me if I had ever slept on my arm, or kept it bent for the whole night. He said the bending and extension of the arm could stretch that Ulnar nerve and irritate it more. The result of sleeping on my arm was waking up in the morning with this extremem throbbing pain. To correct the problem, I was given a special brace to keep me from bending my arm while I slept. Also, when I write, I write left handed. So when I’m in class, my right arm(my pitching arm) is just sitting on the desk. I’ve had instances where I’ve let it sit too long and I move it and I get tingling sensations through my arms.

I live in the extreme part of Southern Illinois, and my girlfriend’s aunt offered me to stay a few nights at her house in Charleston, Il if I wanted to go the the pitching camp at EIU this year! I am still considering this offer, and I hope to make it, but these camps cost quite a bit. I’m also going to be looking in to camps and showcases at Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi. That’s actually where I want to go to college, so I think it would work out great if I attended a camp there.