Was wondering what others think about this. My son is 11 and very small at about 4’8" and about 70 lbs but throws pretty hard for his age. I have noticed the following about his motion. He seems to throw about 5 MPH harder with much better accuracy when he gets his arm up in high cocked position earlier. He throws his best when his throwing forearm is almost vertical when his front foot is still 4-6 inches off the ground and front leg still stretched out (not bent at knee). Lately his arm circle has gotten bigger and slower and his arm is not getting up until his front foot is striking the ground. I know this is what is actually taught and how the majority of hard throwers do it, but for my son he not only looses velocity his control gets really bad. So I have been encouraging him to get his arm up quicker with a smaller arm circle like he was when he was throwing alot better. On the ones he does it, his accuracy and velocity are alot better (but it seems the longer slower arm swing is a tough habit to break for him). Could this be a strength issue and am I doing the right thing? He is not a long or powerful athlete, but a very quick athlete if that makes sense.
It’s better to peak at 16 than 11. It’s a process and his mechanics will change over time. Pushing him to use what you acknowledge are incorrect mechanics in order to achieve results at 11 years old seems backwards to me. Have him work on doing it correctly now, regardless of short term results, and he is more likely to achieve his full potential later when it matters. Just my opinion so take it as such, one dad’s opinion.
I get what you are saying, however when he does it the right way (forearm up at footstrike) he has a hard time lasting more than an inning because of his control is so bad he walks and even hits kids. Not only that the rest of his mechanics suffer. He starts getting quicker and his stride shortens etc. When he gets his arm up earlier he has great control and rest of forms likes great and can throw multiple innings without walks and rarely giving up runs.
More importantly when he pitches bad he does not want to pitch. when he gets arm up quicker and pitches well he likes pitching. So a little of a catch 22.
I guess what I was hoping for was some insights on why maybe a smaller arm circle and getting his arm up to quick provides better results. Along with this it seems when his arm is less than 90 degree at high cocked position he is better also, which coincides with the smaller faster circle. Keep in mind we only throw from flat ground and he probably throws in the high 50s when he is throwing well (guessing, never gunned), which is very good for barely being 70 pounds.
It makes sense that he has better results with the mechanics he is accustomed to using. Take any repetitve activity and change the way you do it and proficientcy will suffer. Any time you have a change accuracy will suffer in the short term. The question is, why are his mechanics changing? Is it an intentional attempt to correct a flaw by a coach? Is it growth or strength related?
As I mentioned before, it’s a long process with continual change and adjustments. The bottom line is he will go through many changes, as his body matures, before his final mechanics are fully baked. I would work to fix major flaws early. The bigger he gets and the harder he throws the higher the stresses his body must endure. Good mechanics are no guarantee that he won’t get hurt but they sure may help.
I’m going to differ from TXJIM. I say, since your son is young, he is acting out what works best for him, HIs natural movement, according to you, is producing very good results.
I assume he is happy playing and with the success he has had. As he grows, and changes, so too will his natural mechanics. Trying to lock him into mechanics that are counter to his natural abilities is a mistake.
Basically, it will all come out of the wash as he grows and develops. His mechanics will naturally, and correctly, change over time as he matures physically.
If he does not have an issue with health/injury, you can work on more mature mechanics when he is older and wants to do conditioning and strength training.
If you try to make him look like someone else, or an ideal, that’s what you will get. But getting the best out of him is a whole other matter.
Remember what your parents taught you: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.