Mechanics Feedback

I’d like to add to Roger…that is, he may be stepping too much to the first base side. That can be easily worked on

He attacks forward really well. So, the over stepping is actually a bit counter to his attacking forward, which could lead early hip rotation and consequently early front shoulder rotation.

That said, he looks damn good like Coach_Baker said.

Short Answer…No. The reason he is throwing so fluidly, with velocity, and good stuff with fastball/breaking pitch, is because of his very good ability to throw with his current mechanics.

Look at Tanaka/Yankees. Lots of wear and tear, and he has a good bent front leg like your son. But, he drags that back foot and leaves it behind with power sinking into ground and the arm shoulder absorbing all the force. Result…arm trouble (probably exposed because the USA ball is slightly heavier than regulation Japan Pro League).

Your son continues his momentum towards home plate, and he finishes around with the back foot in front of the plant foot. His momentum forwards continues after release of the ball and while arm is slowing down. It doesn’t get much better than that. I bet it’s really hard to tell, as a hitter, if he is throwing a breaking pitch or a fastball because his release point is probably the same all the time.

Now, I believe the stiff leg approach is why there are a lot of people throwing hard. I’m not a fan. I’m not saying it doesn’t lead to velocity. But right now, velocity isn’t an issue for your son. He’s got it!
If he throws hard with all that fluidity, you are set for some good results.

Lastly, if you want your son to get recognized, scouts will want to see him pitch more than one inning.

All the best

In my opinion, the stride length is a red herring and contributes to injury. Over striding can lead to jumping out, or leaving the back foot planted too heavily. I’ve seen coaches teach pitching with the back foot dragging on purpose. I’m not a fan because I think it produces a slingshot effect; which I think the goal is to attain cheap gains in velocity.

Not bashing here, but his stride is good, and he coordinates everything else with it really well. I believe he is able to continue his momentum because he is not over striding.

Regarding stiffening the front leg. I might be going against the grain here…but look at your sons upper body flow. At no time does he slow down the upper body, and it is constantly moving towards home plate.

If you start to stiffen the front leg just to look like someone else, you probably will arrest his upper body flow. He throws hard, effortlessly, because he uses his whole body. Only a few can do that.

He does load up a lot. If he shortens the load up, you may find he is actually more explosive to the plate because he develops more forward motion earlier in the delivery, complimenting what he already does so well. And base runners will have a harder time stealing.

One final thought/question: How is his command? Can he throw up/down/in/out for strikes and placement? All pitches? If he can, with velocity, control, and movement, I would advise staying the course. His natural maturation will take care of everything else.

Best Regards

We have been working on many of these things. The videos in this thread are from summer club ball last summer. He just completed his freshman year of high school baseball. He pitched for the JV team, no freshman play varsity at his school. He was primarily a starter with a couple of relief outings. He threw 29 innings giving up 4 earned runs on only 12 hits while striking out 40 hitters.

Here are some of the changes we have been making:

Load phase, time to plate improvements:

Video on the left was last week, video on the right was August 2018. Videos are synced up to front heal lift timing. He is 20lbs heavier now than August 2018. You can also see his plant leg is more firm and does not leak toward home.

Here is a front view slow motion, he is working on landing straight to slighly closed as oposed to before when he was landing about 15 degrees open.

Here is full speed from the front. He is throwing harder now than last summer with less effort and waisted motion. Feeling like we are on the right track. If you turn up the volume you can hear the seams whistling as the ball arrives to the catcher.

Hi, I can’t tell by the email trail if you are responding to my last post, but I’ll add my 2 cents.

I previously stated that the stride length was a red herring. Which means, if your son naturally has one, so be it. It is, in and of itself, neither good or bad. It must be taken in context with everything else. To strive for a stride length in and of itself, in my opinion, is searching for fools gold.

What I see is a maturation of his delivery. It appears to me that his stride length is less, but his motion is much more concise, quicker, and probably more explosive. he STILL gets great upper body rotation and finishes from top to down. And he continues to have great momentum through the pitching motion towards the plate.

Perhaps by cutting down on the lower half opening too much/too son, the stride length naturally shortened…as a result, more natural/delivery power continues toward the plate because the lower half and the upper half are working better together in proper sequence.

He seems to have natural sinker fading in to righties. That’s top stuff. No doubt he is spinning the ball better on release with that action.

perhaps it’s time to play with grips in order to get ball movement without having to resort to junk ball pitches. And try to throw balls off the plate that come back into the zone.

You should be very happy! Hope I have helped.

We have not been working to increase stride length. I think someone suggested it early but it has not been on our list of concerns at the present. Where the two pieces of tape intersect on the ground is 6’1" from the front of the rubber. He is getting almost his full height in stride length so not really a concern.

We worked on leg drive, front side stability and staying closed longer after the season ended. All of those things are improving. He naturally has about 6" of horizontal armside run on his 4 seam fastball per Rapsodo and visually. He likes to start rh batters with a 2 seam off the plate running back to the outside corner. He likes to finish them with 2 seam middle in running under their hands. He had one game where he struck out 9 in 6 innings all on fastballs. His curveball is a good out pitch for him as well. This is a pretty typical 3 pitch sequence for him.

2 seam outside running in
2 seam middle running in
Curveball down and away

That is what Maddox did to so many…we know how that worked out.

The longer he can pitch with just his fastball, the better off he’ll be. Meaning, most importantly, he should focus on being a starter. That doesn’t mean not developing a CB.

If he competes against older hitters, he’ll need that. But sticking with the FB because of his ability to locate in and out, that will keep hitters off balance. Since his balls move naturally, he should get a lot of short pitch count innings by kids putting weak batted balls into play if the hitters are aggressive early in the count. And if he needs to deliver a CB, the hitters will be locked up. If he’s that good, he should be able to put most hitters away with only 2 pitches after getting to a 2-strike count. That sad, don’t be afraid to throw a CB first pitch. That will keeps those hitters from jumping on him…even if he doesn’t get it for a strike. His CB looks nasty.

My last point is this, based on what I said above…do not get enamored with K’s…fall in love with low pitch count innings, the K’s will come as a result. At his age, most hitters will get themselves out.

Kudos

The mechanics journey continues. This was his last rep tonight working on leg drive and front leg stability.

Hello TXJIM,
I was very encouraged by your son’s development, but this last video I think is a bit of step back.

What I noticed is that in all other previous videos, what I thought was great was your son’s ability to drive towards the plate and throw over a bent front leg, allowing the upper body to continue rotating WHILE moving towards home plate and the arm releasing the ball out in front over the bent front knee.

In this last video above, I no longer see that. His release coincides with a stiffening front leg. There are lots of guys that throw hard/fast by having a stiffer front leg, but it is my opinion that his old “finish” is better/healthier.

As he gets older, he will throw harder. Don’t confuse that with changing mechanics as the result of throwing harder.

It’s tough when they are young. All the best.

This was during drills focusing on getting more extension on the front leg. I expect he will settle in somewhere between his current state, front knee very bent to collapsing, and the position gained in this drill. What you may notice in older video he never fully gets his back hip through. He is basically dragging his backside through with his arm. By getting more firm on the front side it will force hip rotation allowing him to use his lower half more to generate force thus taking some of the strain from his arm. At least, this is the theory I am ascribed to at the moment…

Hi,

I think you are mistaken. Let me explain. If his front leg stiffens up, more of the lower will contribute to the upper in the sense that the lower half stops, and the brunt of all the force is absorb by the upper half in a very short and more violent fashion. I believe he may feel stronger, and may even throw harder, but only because the motion changed and the power is delivered really fast to the upper body, of which the arm is definitely taking on more stress.

It is my opinion that the way he threw is better because his power develops over a longer stride and motion, and it is delivered in much better sequence.

With regard to hip rotation: there are plenty of guys that throw fast with the new video style. Same can be said for the older style. And, I have seen plenty of pitching coaches teach a dragging back foot for velocity. Well, I have one simple way of looking at all of that, and that is anything that slows momentum, or deters momentum resulting in a whiplash of the arm, is not a good thing. It is a cheap way of forcing upper rotation in the absence of good mechanics.

To me, your son had(s) great mechanics for his age. I believe that’s what some of the other commentators with credentials I don’t have were also praising.

Hope this helps.

Yeah, I don’t see him ever converting to a full stiff front leg due to his engrained patterns and hip mobility issues that will always be there to some degree. What we are trying to stop is the collapse on the front side where his back knee almost drags the ground. He will always have some flexion on the front knee but we are trying to harness more of the ground force. Here is a clip from this past weekend at OU, after that drills video was taken. As you can see, he is still on a bent front leg.

Hey Jim
It’s been a while since we last spoke. Hope all is well. It is difficult to tell from this angle but from what I can see, it looks as though he is still collapsing or turning his drive leg in at forward momentum. If this is the case as we spoke about in our emails, this may be preventing him from being able to stabilize and pitch off of a more straightened front leg.

From the June 18th video above, you can see how he manages to keep his shin more vertical through his the delivery resulting in a more balanced approach which helps him pitch off of a more straight front leg with better hip rotation.

Steve C