Mechanics Feedback


#1

Looking for input on my son’s mechanics. We are taking this fall off from competition to work on mechanics, flexibility and joint stability. What do you see, what changes are needed. Primarily looking to make adjustments to maintain arm health. He has no history of injury, just trying to keep it that way.

We are going in later this week for a 3D analysis and to throw a bullpen on the Rapsodo. Looking for as many data points as possible before making any changes.

14 years 7 months
6’1 165lbs
Rising Freshman
Cruising 79-80 fastball

All of my video is game video from summer ball playing 15u.

4 seam fastball

Close up slomo same pitch:

Curveball strike 3 same batter:

Full batter video:

Bases loaded 2 outs.

Curveball called strike 1

2 seem away Ball 1

4 seem foul ball strike 2

Curveball swinging strike 3

Any and all feedback appreciated on anything you see and recommended tweaks to optimize mechanics.


#2

I’m not a mechanic’s coach, but from I sit - holly smokes guys, this youngsters like a howitzer! I like his exchanging of his shoulders, his drive to the plate after the pitch, and his deliberate mindset from start to finish. He doesn’t give up on the pitch, at the end. He forces himself to bend with the pitch, rotate the shoulders, and drive “angry” at his backstop (catcher).

Again, this youngster is a gamer. If continues like this, he’ll put people in your living room with that smile, and then “let’s talk.” Only one thing that’s screw things up - over use. Don’t let him carry the club, any club. Watch his pitch counts. Works best for him. Break down the pitch count margins, customized to the preseason, prime season, and post season. If he struggles at all, anywhere along the seasons, be proactive dad and demand “pulling him off the mound.” Also, your son seems to be of “starter” quality with the family of fastballs as his mainstay. Four days rest in between games is mandatory. Don’t let anyone tell you … "well because he only pitched two innings… " Don’t waste your son with coaches who don’t give a hoot about your boy - just winning.
Your son looks like he has a lot of promise.


#3

He has been used primarily as a closer the last couple of years. He doesn’t rack up a lot of innings or pitches as a result. Over a 26 game summer season at the 15u level he appeared in 8 games for a total of 11 1/3 innings of work. He had no starts. He loves the closer role and I like the resulting light workload.


#4

Closer… wow… and he likes that. A Closer has to be a gutsy guy… one who lives in the demand-lane. Closers are constantly in a high pressure environment. Blow it, and you’re on everyone’s excuse list.

On the other hand, he could be a closer because of other classmates that are juniors and seniors. In any event, he looks strong, has a bit of tempo/style and polish to settle in to, - but he will.


#5

Looks like he pulls his glove back after getting to his “equal & opposite” position. That usually results in early shoulder rotation which makes it both a performance and a health issue. It is a performance issue in that it pulls the release point back which increases batter reaction time and (possibly) reduces movement on breaking pitches. It is a health issue in that the early shoulder rotation leaves the arm behind causing it to play “catch-up” pitch after pitch, inning after inning, game after game. The result? Probably soreness on the inside of the throwing elbow and possibly the front side of the throwing shoulder.


#6

He loves to close, feeds off the adrenaline. In fact, he isnt near as sharp when the game is not in the balance but I assume that will evolve as he matures and gains the ability to focus without the pressure.

He hasn’t thrown a pitch in high school yet as he is an incoming freshman. Just hoping to make the HS team and see where it goes from there.


#7

Yes, the glove pulling is a left over from a que he had engrained from his 1st pitching coach, “glove to chest, chin to target”. He has probably heard that 1000 times and was a staple of his early mechanics training.
Opening early has been a constant battle as a result. I am not sure how to break it or what que to provide as to what to do with his glove. He has been taught to use that glove action as a “trigger”.

The biggest issue I have seen as a result is inconsistent command. He throws a heavy fastball, has good armside run and some sink with his 2 seam and has very good depth on his curveball with late action for his age. I only allowed him to start throwing breaking balls this past spring.


#8

This has nothing to do with his mechanics, but I thought I’d pass this along anyway.

A long time ago, I was in Willimington, Delaware looking at a guy pitching for the Blue Hens, in his first year. A up and coming Freshman who had great potential. He was literally slotted in at the last minute as a closer, for this early season game. His father was sitting along the first baseline, in front of me, and asked if he could see the scorecard of his son’s appearance, after the game.
As he was looking at a copy, he seemed most upset, but said little. As he was walking up the stadium steps muttering to himself, I casually asked … how’d your son do? He told me that some smart @#!! marked next to his son’s name BS. He thought it was a crude remark … like Bull****! I had to refrain from smiling, then told him that baseball has some strange abbreviations to the game. BS being one of them … meaning… BLOWN SAVE
So, if your son really takes to the game in the long run, his stats will reflect some unusual abbreviations sometimes. :baseball:.


#9

The main thing that stands out to me is his front leg.Notice how after he finishes it is bent and he is basically finished over it.If you look at high velocity pitchers you can see that there front leg extends right before pitch release also known as front leg stabilization.Doing this will catapult the trunk and arm forward which can lead to an increase in velo.


#10

A great example of this is Justin Verlander


#11

This is definitely an area we want to look at. I have wondered if this is something that is style or substance and would like to hear some experts break this down.

While I think more shin angle is desirable (knee further behind the heel) I feel like his leg is stable in the bent position and he is pushing into the ground. What I see is that the knee and hip chassis stabalize after foot strike and before his trunk extends toward the plate. I don’t feel like he is collapsing or leaking all of his energy due to lack of stabilization but see that he looks very “deep” in his legs.

I guess a question would be, if the knee and hip are stable in this bent position and the trunk is vaulting over the hip chassis, is it important to get more skin angle and upright posture? What would the benefit be to making this adjustment. Would stamina increase due to decreased load on the front leg? How is this effecting the kinetic chain and would a change benefit his long term health, command, velocity?

These are the kinds of questions I was hoping to explore with this thread.


#12

I’m only 15 so I’m not necessarily an expert but I have an alright understanding on this, basically by extending his front leg he is creating more ground reaction force and also helps to transfer the energy up the body


#13

I am trying to understand stabilization better myself. Is it more setting the leg and hips as a fulcrum to vault the torso against or should there actually be a pushing of the hips and knee back as the torso comes over?

From a stabilization perspective I feel like he is pretty stable after footstrike, as you can see by this frame by frame the knee is stationary after footstrike through release:

The question is, should he be actively pushing back and up against that knee?


#14

I think it very important to consider once you’ve gotten him stronger, this mechanic will have changed along with his muscles and agility, my recommendation is to…particularly in light of not competing, have a dynamic (Adjustable) throwing plan, include concentration on continuing fundamentals work, accuracy with intent. Without stressing him some he will be a sore arm candidate once he does return and the ramp up could be detrimental.
Fundamentals to keep him sync’ed and keep his timing sharp, intent to both load and condition the arm and kinetic chain along with the obvious…you’ll get a shot at 90+ even if you hit the backstop but 90+ and hitting spots means nothing but good…oh and from now on it’s a continuing plan, weight, conditioning, training…emphasis on grades and school performance.


#15

TXJim

Regarding the front leg. When the front leg hits the ground at foot plant, it has a job to do. At weight-bearing foot plant the front ankle, knee and hip must stabilize and prevent the knee from leaking forward. Your son’s knee doesn’t leak forward, but because he is pitching off of a bent knee, he is losing velocity. Why is he losing velocity? A pitchers lead leg not only absorbs the ground force, but it also pushes that force up through the body. Pitching off of a bent front knee, your son can not use the force created effectively. Pitchers tend to hyper-extend (straighten out) their front leg at ball release shortly after weight-bearing foot plant on the lead leg. It is important that they straighten out the leg at ball release to be able to use the energy the ground force created. The result is usually increased velocity. The hyper-extension displayed by pitchers at ball release is actually the product of early momentum which brings me to this.

Although it is hard to see from the video, it looks like your son’s first movement is lacking from early weight shift while getting gathered and loaded. From what I can see from the video and I may be wrong but it looks as though your son is sinking straight down BEFORE weight shift towards home plate. If so, this would be a factor why your son pitchers off of a bent front knee.

Hope this helps
Steve

10


#16

Steve,

Great feedback, that makes a lot of sense. Here is clip from early June taken from a different perspective that maybe shows his load phase a little better.

Do you feel like he should start down the mound earlier in this phase? I feel like he is starting forward right as he starts to sit into his back leg. Should he be moving forward as he gathers or as he loads in your opinion?


#17

Not everyone is the same, but straightening the front leg through pitch release generally provides a couple of advantages. First, it makes it easier to stabilize the front leg and not leak the energy that your trying to transfer up the chain. It takes a lot of strength to stabilize with a bent front leg—more strength than most 15 year olds have. Second, the straightened front leg helps to promote full hip rotation. As in hitting, it is hard to fully and explosively rotate the hips with a bent front leg. The greater range of motion often creates more velocity (and less strain on the front knee).

Then again, Tom Seaver and other pitchers have done great things with a bent front leg. My advice is to experiment while your son is taking time off from playing games. See what works for him. Good luck.


#18

Make sure his glove arm gets to an “equal & opposite” position in relation to the throwing arm and strive to make this happen as close to front foot strike as possible (this is the timing aspect). If he feels like he is having to hold the glove out front an arbitrarily long period of time, have him start moving forward sooner and/or faster to get into front foot strike quicker.


#19

Regarding the front leg, I guess I differ in opinion from many of the others here. I don’t see a difference between a bent or straight front knee at ball release. If a pitcher has the strength to plant on a bent front knee and brace to prevent the front knee from “leaking” forward, then that will transfer energy up the chain just as well. After all, it worked for Tom Seaver. And also for Nolan Ryan. :wink: A braced and stopped front hip is a braced and stopped front hip regardless if the front leg is bent or straight.

Personally, I’d be concerned about wear and tear on the hip joint by making a pitcher change to planting on a more straight front leg as there would certainly be more “jarring” due to a potentially increased reliance on the skeletal system for carrying the weight instead of on the muscular system.


#20

The stride foot is what I see too. He gets it out there, and then brings it back. He could get a longer stride and stay back longer. This should increase his velocity.