Love to hear some critiques and views on pitching motion


#1

I’ve read through many threads on here with links to videos and have noted some excellent tips and reads for things to improve on and work on.

My son is 14 and will be playing, hopefully,freshman ball in high school this year. I started working with him myself after going to some local college camps and breaking down pitching drills when he was young. I’m at the point where it all looks the same to me anymore with him so I’d love to hear some views on his windup.

He’s 5 foot 8 and about 140 pounds now, and I’m hoping he’ll go through a growth spurt sometime. I go 6 foot 4 and 220 so hopefully he’ll get bigger. He’s lifting for football and I’ve enjoyed posts on that subject also on this board.

Anything you guys see, positives or negatives we’d love to hear them as he enjoys stuff we talk about from this forum.

He used to lift his posting foot prior to the ball leaving his hand before, but I don’t see it in these vids as much. Of course this wasn’t from a mound which may make some differences.

The one thing that popped out to me is he seems to be bending his posting leg maybe a bit too much instead of keeping it taller.

thanx for your time


#2

Firstly, welcome.

Secondly, good job Dad. There are some good things there. I think his arm action is pretty good, neither short nor long arming. Good bend at the elbow as he lifts the ball up toward going through the high cocked “moment”. It’s really hard to tell at full speed though.

He has intent to rotate hard, I see that in him also.

Now a couple of thoughts and I’m sure you’ll get many others. This board’s great for this.

In the early part of his stride, he leans back toward second a bit too much. I’m not suggesting no lean at all, just that this seems a bit more than necessary. I’m guessing he’s been taught “stay back”.

Also, his back leg action could stand some minor modification. What he does now is lift the back foot very early. There’s no drag at all to the back toe. My suggestion is that he could make much better use out of the back leg if he gets the mental picture of it extending and rotating on it’s own axis, into landing. This has 2 benefits. #1, it assists in generating “toward the plate” momentum of the centre of gravity. #2, it aids in hip rotation. He may also have been taught to “pull the back knee forward and in”. Some here may disagree with me on this but I see virtually no MLB pitchers who do that. I also maintain that it’s actually counter-productive with respect to assisting or fueling hip rotation. The MLB guys typically extend and rotate the back leg.

Now, both of these issues (leaning back and the back leg) are tied together in what the nature of the stride can be. For reference, there are other threads on the board about getting the hips moving out sooner. That would be a good one to start with. This pitcher tends to be very deliberate in his knee lift action. He goes to the infamous “balance point”, stops, then continues from there. Several of us here recommend getting the hips going at or even very slightly before the knee reaches its apex.

All of these things can really be, and need to be, integrated into a smooth “whole” with a shift of mental imagery. It might help if early focus were to be on getting good sideways movement of the front hip and side (maybe think of the kidney or lower lat area), fueled by the back leg which extends and rotates into landing. It’s all tied together, or should be, into one fluid “whole”.


#3

Overall very good- Great Potential

One thing I noticed-

You sitdown a little- Almost a abbreviated drop and drive. I think you could stand a little taller and throw a little more down hill. Obviously you are throwing off flat ground, how much that has to do with it I don’t know.

Looks good to me-


#4

overall he’s pretty good and there is no major things to change in my opinion.

Just a couple things you might want to take in consideration which aren’t that much important but sometimes might be the thing your son misses to be dominant (you don’t have to take them in consideration)

his wind-up delivery is a little bit long which isn’t a bad thing in mechanics at all but might help the batter to time up his swing and guess what’s coming because he has more time to think about it. On the other hand, I like is stretch delivery which could be modified with a higher knee lift to replace the slow wind-up delivery. He wouldn’t loose his velocity and would be faster to the plate. (what i’m telling you here is to stop throwing from the wind-up, again, you don’t have to do what i’m telling you it’s just some tips.) B.J. Ryan is one of those guys who’s having a lot of success in the big league mostly because he works so fast.

the knee lift could be less robotic and more smooth but that robotic knee lift can give your his own style.

what are your son’s pitches and variation pitches?


#5

First off thanks guys for your time and analysis, it’s well appreciated.

@4pie, He throws a decent fastball, likely around 72 or so, and he’s working on a changeup that he will be comfortable with.

He also likes to throw a sinker and probably his best out pitch, which I insist he doesn’t use much, is just a nasty slower slider, which breaks about 8 inches away from a righty. I’m not an advocate of the slider at his age, but his nephew taught him it, and he used it in some games as an out pitch.

I’m with the majority that he needs to work on developing a great change up to go with a moving fastball.


#6

@dm59,

great thoughts…I"ve always struggled with getting him to keep the back foot down until after ball release…and I think I understand what you mean.

I’ve loved the discussions of the recent trend towards getting the front hip moving sooner and gaining momentum into landing.

I think he can get much better at this.

Do you know any easy way to get that back leg extending and rotating more into landing vs. lifting early?

Also, do you think the post leg is bending too much and he needs to keep this more straight?

His control has always been pretty good, but it’s been a struggle finding a grip that he’s comfortable with for the change up.

I’m suggesting the Trevor Hoffman three finger grip now, as he just doesn’t seem to like the circle change grip.

Lastly,

Should the back toe almost be dragging a little bit when the ball is leaving the hand? I know some on here dont’ think it’s a big deal, but some do.


#7

What do you guys think about his ability to stay closed? I stopped his one clip looking from the catcher standpoint to the left, near where his front foot lands, and it looked like his hips may be 30% ahead of the torso which appears to still be closed.

I’ve stressed the seperation aspect with him a lot,…what do you guys see?


#8

Welcome

I’m going to let others give you technical advice… I’d just like to congratulate you on providing your son with a great foundation to work with. The videos show he’s worked hard on the mechanics.

One thing I noticed with my son was how important it was at his age to address one thing at a time and have lots of patience while waiting for improvement. As he continues growing and maturing his pitching will do the same. That circle change can be difficult to master and positive feedback in a game can be hard to come by. IMO that slider should be limited as much as possible. There’s alot of pitching ahead. I’ve received alot of good suggestions about my son’s pitching here. I’m sure you’ll get the same.

Good luck.


#9

[quote=“Dino”]Welcome

I’m going to let others give you technical advice… I’d just like to congratulate you on providing your son with a great foundation to work with. The videos show he’s worked hard on the mechanics.

One thing I noticed with my son was how important it was at his age to address one thing at a time and have lots of patience while waiting for improvement. As he continues growing and maturing his pitching will do the same. That circle change can be difficult to master and positive feedback in a game can be hard to come by. IMO that slider should be limited as much as possible. There’s alot of pitching ahead. I’ve received alot of good suggestions about my son’s pitching here. I’m sure you’ll get the same.

Good luck.[/quote]

Thanks appreciate the kind words…it’s been a joy working with him over the years…lot of good memories…now I can sit back while he’s coached by guys who know much more than I do


#10

your son explose alot when he throws a pitch so that might be why he doesn’t seems to feel the circle change which is usually more effective thrown with a smoother delivery let’s say ala Brad Radke. He could try a change-up like Keith Foulke where the ball is really just in the palm of his hand without any fingers touching it. There is also the change-up where you pinch the seam, that gives alot of grip especially for people with explosive mechanics and can be very effective. I don’t think throwing a slider once or twice a game can be that domageable but the problem with this pitch is that you easily fall in love with it and that’s where it can get dangerous gamewise and armwise. Just make him remember you can blow hitters away with a 70 mph fastball if it’s thrown at the right place right time (which he might already know) so a 2-seam cross seam fastball mixed with a good change-up that he practiced alot with his friends/teammates and an occasional slider is pretty good. once again it’s to know how to use them with the 2-seam fastball down on lefthanded batters and up and in in the hand of right handed batters, cross seam fastball is good everywhere but in the middle of the plate, change-up is good low outside low inside even high inside can be damn effective. slider mostly away from right handed batters until he gets old enough to face real good left handed batters where he might want to throw it insde for a strike out.

I don’t know if that’s of any use since you didn’t asked it I just lost myself on the keyboard


#11

I noticed the following things:

(1) Leans sideways (toward 2B) at start of stride. This seems to coincide with the collapse of the back leg to initiate the stride. The head and shoulders need to stay slightly behing the front hip into foot strike but should not otherwise lean towards 2B. Starting with the knees bent more may help minimize the “collapse” and the resulting posture change. Keep in mind that when a pitcher dips, he’s simply adjusting to a posture that he has the strength to maintain - a more athletic position if you will. He might as well start in that position and eliminate the extra movement during his delivery.

(2) Appears to be rather upright throughout the entire delivery. This probably has the effect of shortening the stride. Again, I’d suggest starting with the knees bent a bit.

(3) Hips start forward very late - after the apex of knee lift when the knee has started to drop. This has the effect of minimizing momentum. I suggest pushing the hips toward home plate sooner (like right before the knee reaches its apex) and faster. This will feel awkward so he needs to stick with it and give it a chance.

(4) Back foot lifts off the ground instead of dragging and then lifting. This indicates that the head and shoulders are probably getting out front too soon which results is throwing with just the arm. He needs to keep his head and shoulders stacked upright longer. As the shoulders rotate, the lower back will arch to hold the head and shoulders upright. The back will release about the same time the throwing arm snaps forward.

I agree with DM’s coment about the pitcher looking like he’s been taught to “stay back” and “stop and the top” and get to the “balance point”. IMHO, those things are outdated and not justified.

I also agree with DM’s comment about the back leg not getting extended. I think getting the hips going sooner to build more momentum will resolve that issue and the focus of attention should be on getting the hips going - not on trying to extend the back leg. (Not to imply that’s what DM was suggesting.)


#12

The back toe should drag and it is a big deal.

Most of the top pitchers in the game keep their back foot on the ground until after they release the ball. This means they are keeping their head and shoulders stacked upright and their shoulders are rotating around an upright spine. And that means they are better able to use their body to throw with instead of just their arm. They can maximize their velocity without maximizing the stress on the arm.


#13

[quote=“Roger”]… the focus of attention should be on getting the hips going - not on trying to extend the back leg. (Not to imply that’s what DM was suggesting.)[/quote]My recommendation on this is, as usual, holistic in nature. The extension and rotation of the back leg/foot is an integral PART of the movement of the centre of gravity toward the target AND the rotation of the hips into landing. I wouldn’t recommend “chunking” things into descrete, separate activities. This would result in a lack of fluidity.


#14

[quote=“Roger”]I noticed the following things:

First off, thanks for everyone taking the time to reply.
(1) Leans sideways (toward 2B) at start of stride. This seems to coincide with the collapse of the back leg to initiate the stride. The head and shoulders need to stay slightly behing the front hip into foot strike but should not otherwise lean towards 2B. Starting with the knees bent more may help minimize the “collapse” and the resulting posture change. Keep in mind that when a pitcher dips, he’s simply adjusting to a posture that he has the strength to maintain - a more athletic position if you will. He might as well start in that position and eliminate the extra movement during his delivery.

(2) Appears to be rather upright throughout the entire delivery. This probably has the effect of shortening the stride. Again, I’d suggest starting with the knees bent a bit.

(3) Hips start forward very late - after the apex of knee lift when the knee has started to drop. This has the effect of minimizing momentum. I suggest pushing the hips toward home plate sooner (like right before the knee reaches its apex) and faster. This will feel awkward so he needs to stick with it and give it a chance.

in him having to get his stride foot out quicker, correct?

(4) Back foot lifts off the ground instead of dragging and then lifting. This indicates that the head and shoulders are probably getting out front too soon which results is throwing with just the arm. He needs to keep his head and shoulders stacked upright longer. As the shoulders rotate, the lower back will arch to hold the head and shoulders upright. The back will release about the same time the throwing arm snaps forward.

I agree with DM’s coment about the pitcher looking like he’s been taught to “stay back” and “stop and the top” and get to the “balance point”. IMHO, those things are outdated and not justified.

I also agree with DM’s comment about the back leg not getting extended. I think getting the hips going sooner to build more momentum will resolve that issue and the focus of attention should be on getting the hips going - not on trying to extend the back leg. (Not to imply that’s what DM was suggesting.)[/quote]


#15

One technical question.

How does keeping the back toe down upon ball release affect velocity or have an impact on the rotational forces if at all?

By raising this toe too soon, how is that impacting the velocity at ball release in technical terms again? Roger went over it a little, but I’m still trying to envision it in my mind.

Could his torso going off to the left a little upon release be somehow dragging his back toe up with it prior to release? I’m just wondering what the root cause of the back toe coming up before release really is.


#16

keeping the toe down will help control and give little power it helps balance the core.


#17

[quote=“joearnz”]How does keeping the back toe down upon ball release affect velocity or have an impact on the rotational forces if at all?

By raising this toe too soon, how is that impacting the velocity at ball release in technical terms again? Roger went over it a little, but I’m still trying to envision it in my mind.

Could his torso going off to the left a little upon release be somehow dragging his back toe up with it prior to release? I’m just wondering what the root cause of the back toe coming up before release really is.[/quote]The toe drag is not a goal or shouldn’t be. It’s a result. Good toward the plate, sideways, increasing tempo with good back leg action, hip rotation into landing, good posture through all of that and trunk flexion toward and beyond landing, will ALL TOGETHER result in toe drag. The focus needs to be on those things, NOT the toe drag.

I also noticed that Schilling is one of the few MLB pitchers who lift the back foot early. You’ll ALWAYS find exceptions to any suggested RULE. My observation of many, many MLB videos is that extension and rotation of the back leg/foot is much more ubiquitous.


#18

@dm59

Agreed, most of the pitchers I’ve seen also have the toe down and that’s what we will strive for through balance and proper movement into foot land.

thanx


#19

[quote=“joearnz”]I’ve read through many threads on here with links to videos and have noted some excellent tips and reads for things to improve on and work on.

My son is 14 and will be playing, hopefully,freshman ball in high school this year. I started working with him myself after going to some local college camps and breaking down pitching drills when he was young. I’m at the point where it all looks the same to me anymore with him so I’d love to hear some views on his windup.

He’s 5 foot 8 and about 140 pounds now, and I’m hoping he’ll go through a growth spurt sometime. I go 6 foot 4 and 220 so hopefully he’ll get bigger. He’s lifting for football and I’ve enjoyed posts on that subject also on this board.

Anything you guys see, positives or negatives we’d love to hear them as he enjoys stuff we talk about from this forum.

He used to lift his posting foot prior to the ball leaving his hand before, but I don’t see it in these vids as much. Of course this wasn’t from a mound which may make some differences.

The one thing that popped out to me is he seems to be bending his posting leg maybe a bit too much instead of keeping it taller.

thanx for your time


I don’t like when he drops his arms when he’s doing his leg kick, it could cause some balance problems. He breaks good though. Front foot is barely off the ground, good balance. Good separation. Pretty good arm action. Everything is looking good for a freshman!


#20

thanks Tanner…