I have a few kids on my team who can’t seem to keep the ball down. We have tried to make sure their strides are consistent and long enough. We have tried to make sure they separate their hands early. Any other keys to look at?
Are there any pitches in particular that they are missing with?
Stride and timing of the glove break are the primary indicators of missing high or low. If those issues are completely fixed, I would see where the catcher is setting up. The pitcher could be receiving a high strike target from the catcher. Have them set up at the low shin height.
As they warm up, have the catcher begin in front of the plate or a step or two in front of the plate, this will drive their trajectory down in warm-ups and should help carry it forward into the game…this is a technique I learned from a D-1 program and I’ve seen it be of use…literally every time it’s used…now if you live in a state with no mounds (Illinois is notorious for no mounds until HS for example) you’ll need to specifically target low at the beginning on warm-up…it’s like a pick-off move…if you don’t practice it you’ll not be very good at it.
That’s a great technique. Do you put the catcher in the squat position in front of the plate or just standing in front of the plate with a low target?
Regular catching position, it does help a bunch
The elbow could be dropping, and therefore they are not staying on top of the ball.
Assuming were are talking about a RHP - are they just up or are they consistently up and in to righties? Up-and-in indicates a dragging arm - probably flying open with a low elbow. Up and down the middle - could be too short a stride or just not getting a good “out front” release. A lot of people will say that stride should be about 100% of height, but for me it should be what’s comfortable (meaning what is the player physically capable of at the moment) and what gets the job done. For both stride length and out front release do a search for the NPA (or Tom House) towell drill.
Oh - and JD’s suggestion is really good as well.
These are all wonderful insights. I think the close in catcher to warm up helps a ton, and I think the core issue is a low throwing elbow which causes arm drag, and takes spin off the ball causing it to come in slower straighter and higher. All three are bad.
One drill we always did from flat ground was to have the catchers set up behind a string across the front of the plate 18 inches from the ground. It tends to give the pitcher a reference point to throw under reinforcing release point and finish.
A little late to this topic but do have a question. A couple of others mentioned the stride as a possible culprit. Has anyone recently encouraged these youngsters to increase their stride length to a pre determined length? My son’s had issue of missing high and balls generally up in the zone & each occurance has been after a coach or parent instructed him to stride to a length equal to his height. Problem he’s had is “jumping out” towards the plate rather than staying back through release resulting in high throws and reduced velocity. If this is the case it’s fixable. I believe a long stride is helpful but how they stride is more important than length. For my kid making the length a sole focus resulted in high throws and reduced velocity.
I would recommend you find video of Zack Greinke, and look at the videos for Jacob Bukauskas and Yordano Ventura in Hired Guns Threads in Pitching Mechanics. These guys have reasonably long strides but short enough that they can rotate into foot plant (I think Nyman verbage). They are able at this length to stay “behind” or “on top off” the ball a bit more. They are going more directly to the target so they tend to be a little less closed off which also allows them better control in my brief experience with this idea.
Ted, Understand what you’re saying but still think focus on stride length alone can cause the high throws. I believe a long stride is beneficial but if its a result of monementum. I’ve seen several different ranges of what’s considered normal with the low ends at 75-80% of pitchers height. Too many youth coaches and parents are emphazing stride length for no reason other than they’ve read it makes the kid throw harder. Unfortunately many of these people (like myself) lack the knowledge and expertise to properly instruct. What I’ve seen with my son & others is “stepping out” to a spot predetermined by the coach. I believe this approach is counter productive.
I must not have expressed myself too well. I agree with you. The pitchers I listed do not have very long stride lengths. When stride length becomes too long(whatever length that may be for the individual) it becomes harder to achieve rapid shoulder rotation.
Best of luck,
[quote=“Ted22”]I must not have expressed myself too well. I agree with you. The pitchers I listed do not have very long stride lengths. When stride length becomes too long(whatever length that may be for the individual) it becomes harder to achieve rapid shoulder rotation.
Best of luck,
Sorry about that, I should have read more closely.
No problem, I’m just glad we could agree to agree.
Without video it would be really hard to offer mechanical advice.
I would try JD’s advice, this may be a simple concentration fix.
Above quote (with emphasis on “long enough”) is what leads me and I believe Ted to think overstriding could be the problem.
When a pitcher can’t keep the ball down if he stood on his head, the problem could well be his release point. A good pitching coach can determine if such be the case, and if it is, a simple adjustment could solve the problem. 8)
Sorry for the late post. Don’t put the cart before the horse. The main reason the pitches are high is because 1. the pitcher is not staying back 2. He is breaking his hands too late and 3. both of the above. You can not fix your stride or your release point if you don’t stay back and get your arm up. If you stay back, stay on line, get your arm up the rest will pretty much take care of itself.