More Help Please

Still reworking mechanics.

I noticed that many pitchers have a stiff front leg at release. As you can see from the video. My son’s leg stays bent untill well after release.

Is this something to be concerned about?

Any help is appreciated.

actually ive heard that the front leg snapping straight can lead to injury while it staying bent relives stress from the landing

Don’t concur at all w/ Pman on this one, momentum generation with the hips should drive the body, when he collapses as he, is it is acting as a velo brake.

looks good to me…

if it was my son/student I’d look @ getting a little stride extension… I think there’s another 6" there that could easily be reached with some nice results.

He looks good… what are his specs? age, yrs pitching, strengths/weaknesses, k/BB ratio, avg FB speed, pitch repotoire etc…

He’s 14 yrs old, 140lbs 5’9"

Pitching since 9 yrs old. Throws 2S & 4S FB, curve, slider. Needs chg.

He has been the workhorse for his team.

Last season: 67-1/3 IP, 343 BF, 1298 TP, 600 B, 698 Strk, 54%, 3.01 ERA
1.13 BB/inn, .97K/inn, .98 hits/inn.

Strengths: Strong. Durable. Good curve. Fastball around 70mph.
Sometimes higher when he’s angry.
No arm pain or injuries.

Weakness: Rushes throw motion. Can get torso rotation ahead of hips.
Used to swing leg around and open early. Short stride
with heavy landing. (been working on these things)

I think he has made good progress.

Thanks for all the input. I welcome any help or suggestions.

I also video every practice session on the mound.

My two cents

IMO the overall idea is for the front leg to firm up through foot strike and delivery. This creates the resistance/leverage necessary to maximize hip and shoulder separation which accounts for the majority of velocity. It is possible to maintain a slight bend in the front leg and still remain firm. See Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, Seaver, Clemens, etc. Verlander seems to do OK with a stiff front leg so there are exceptions.

What concerns me here is that this pitcher never really makes a solid foot strike. He lands on his toe/ball of foot- which is not a problem in and of itself- but remains there for the entire delivery. His heel never touches down and so never creates a solid foundation to develop proper hip/shoulder separation. Because of this his hips and shoulders are basically turning together, moving forward and spinning around the front part of his landing foot.

I suggest approaching this two ways. I’d start by working on trying to generate more early momentum with the lower body. Although he leads well with the hip to me it looks like he gets started too late. The video starts with the post leg vertical at top of leg lift meaning forward movement has not begun. If you watch closely the stride leg actually starts to come down as the hips make the initial move toward the target. From this position it’s almost impossible to maximize stride length.

Ideally I’d prefer to see the hips begin movement to the target as the stride leg is still coming up. This would be indicated by the post leg being slightly angled toward the target rather than vertical at top of leg lift. Getting the lower half going toward the target sooner should help lengthen the stride slightly which in turn should help facilitate a more solid foot strike- and better timing of the lower body/upper body relationship.

I’d also suggest working to firm up the glove side by trying to stabilize the glove out in front of the body slightly longer. This pitcher appears to “tuck” before foot strike causing an early rotation of the shoulders. Better, or slightly longer, glove stabilization will delay shoulder rotation slightly while the lower half is making contact with the ground and firming up.

Gonzo:

As a father of a young pitcher I’ll throw this out there for thought…

Couple of things caught my eye in ur feedback. “Workhorse” raises an eyebrow. 1268 pitches/67 innings doesn’t scare me too bad, but I dont know how that was spread out or how much rest he gets in between starts. Just make sure the team or big games aren’t put in front of your sons best interest.

I’m assuming you are on top of it, but you dont want him to fall into the catagory of burnout or injury because he is over used at a delicate time of his development.

My son was blessed/screwed last year… to explain, his BB/K ratio was 400% better than the other 2 pitchers, his WHIP & ERA were 50% lower, his record was 6-0 & he throws 5-8 mph faster. He got 20% of the innings.

On one hand as a father you are not happy (the other 2 pitchers are coaches sons), but in looking at the bigger picture it was a blessing. My son got plenty of experience & innings (his real development is from bullpens between starts) & the other 2 kids were abused. 250 pitches over 2-3 days was very common for the 2 “workhorses”.

These 2 kids are good & given there fathers are directing their careers for the next few years, I dont see any changes re: abuse & they wont ever see their true potential.

Getting in a lot of work is good, it develops retroversion, stamina & experience in game settings… just error on caution vs overload.

I read he’s avg > 1BB per inning? Throwing CB & slider?

I dont like CB/slider til they are developed & 15, but your son has pretty good size. It’s not just health, but its about developing & maximizing their other pitches. The 2S & 4S must be “mastered” before you can move to the next pitch. Once they can throw those pitches consistently for strikes & with relative spot location then I’m ready to graduate my star to the next pitch. Change up is rd 2. Command & confidence over a period of time and then intro the next pitch…

I’m looking at a pretty solid skill set (mechanics & apparent athleticism)… if he’s walking 1+ an inning (assuming I read that correctly) there’s mechanical tweaks needed or just spending more time gaining commaned of his basic pitches and putting the CB/slider on the shelf for a while.

Again, I wont let my kid throw any CB/slider til 15 but its more so due to developing mastery of the core pitches first. CB/slider can be incorporated earlier, but I would always suggest less than 10% of the time at this stage.

Too many kids are getting by with it & when the hitters adjust at 15/16 they dont have true pitching skills to fall back on & they are 'passed by" so fast ur head hurts. The unknown fresh arm is the replacement & he develops at a better pace & we get to read about him for the next 10 years.

Your boy looks like he has a ton of talent & potential… not sure if my thoughts are applicable or not, but thoughts to share in general.

12JTWilson,

I appreciate you taking the time to offer your advice. I’ve been around youth baseball since my son was in T-ball. I know exactly what you are saying. As with all sports these days, kids don’t always get the opportunity and appreciation they should.

When my son started playing travel baseball he was one of the smaller kids on the team. His birthday was close to the age cut-off and as a result he was also the youngest on the team. One thing he could do was throw strikes. In fact he was the only one on the team who could throw them consistantly. He started most games but then a typical thing happened.
The coaches became enamored with the bigger kids who threw harder. Not a big hitter, my son saw less and less playing time and lost his confidence.

We formed our own team a few years back made up of families which all got along and have enjoyed several seasons of good baseball. While not the best team out there, the boys have improved immensely.

I tried to focus on fundamentals first and told my son that we weren’t trying to be the best 11yr olds or 12 yr olds etc. but the best when really counted. He has caught up to those other kids in size and surpassed them in ability as well.

As for the pitching stuff, we try to have appropriate rest between starts.
Sometimes the stats can be skewed. There were games in which he was off and walked more than a few. We lived and died with our pitching because we really didn’t have alot of pitchers on the team. Maturity has alot to do with it also. I don’t let him throw curves often. Mainly because at this leve,l most umpires don’t know a curve strike and its a low percentage pitch. My son has always had a cut to his fastball. Maybe being a lefty has something to do with it.

To make a long story longer, I spend much time researching and learning everything I can about pitching and hitting. I can say that there are many philosophies. Some which contradict others. Somehow I have to sort through those instructions and then apply it to my sons specific learning style. I hope to have him master the fundamentals because the rest will then take care of itself.

Again, thanks for the input.

Latest Video.

Still need to work on footwork.

I feel my comments from above still pertain but based on this video I have an additional suggestion regarding his setup that may help. I think his upright posture and slight initial move away from the target slows down his lower half.

Have him set up in a more athletic position with some flex in the knees and a slight lean forward at the waist. Think free-throw position. The feet need to be less than shoulder width apart otherwise the head will continue to move away from the target at leg lift. His stance is pretty narrow now so to get the feel of moving toward the target he may want to practice starting with his feet together for awhile. Added flex in the knees may solve this without narrowing the stance any more though.

Again the first order of business is to get that stride foot all the way down on the ground so the front leg can brace up. I’m just trying to point out some things prior to foot plant that may make it easier to accomplish.

I don’t expect a youth pitcher to have the strength or flexibility to look like this guy at top of leg lift but Johnson’s gained 6 or 8 inches toward the target before his stride leg even begins to move down or forward. It’s tough to get to this or a similar position if the first movement is away from the target.

A while back I made this post for a youngster with similar issues that your son has.

See if what I pointed out for another, works for your son. In particular, your son bends at the waist - during his drive forward, instead of keeping his head in line with the heel of his pivot foot (pitching hand side).

If you son is trying to develop, ask him not to charge the practice sessions like he’s trying to “fire” the ball. He must first learn control, stability, and progress-in-motion with purpose not brute force.

Coach B.