My 11 year old. Please analyze. NEW VIDEO ADDED 12-31-09


#1

OK, so I have posted two deliveries of my 11 yr old in real time and then the same two deliveries in slow motion. Please take a look and let me know what you think.

You may notice some similarity in his delivery to that of Tim Lincecum and this is completely by design. Not that we are trying to copy Lincecum but most of you probably know Tim’s struggles throughout his career due to his size ( 4’8" 85lbs in high school) and that his father Chris had developed his now infamous unorthodox mechanics to overcome his lack of size and improve his efficiency.

Well that pretty much sums up my son. Always the smallest kid on the team and often overlooked and usually one of the better pitchers. Very athletic, very quick & wirey, good baseball sense, just not very big.

Anyway, we’ve been really focusing on his pitching mechanics for the last year or so, reading most everything I could by Tom House and Steven Ellis and of course this great site.

About 2 mos ago I really started to delve into everything Tim Lincecum (and his father) as I was amazed that this “small” 5’10" 170 lb guy could achieve such greatness against all conventional wisdom. Everything that I read about his mechanics seemed to make a great deal of sense to me and so I began to implement this into my sons delivery.

He has taken to it quite well, quite naturally actually. His control has not been affected much but his velocity has gone through the roof. At 51" he is striding consistently at 110%(about 57") and his shoulder delay/separation has improved quite a bit.

The biggest problem that I see is that he is breaking his ball hand a little too early (before foot strike) at times.

Anyway please take a look and let me know what deficincies you may find. Please keep in mind this is flat ground work at about 80%.

Thanx,

Evanator’s dad


#2

I think your son looks real good–he may not be overlooked for very much longer.

In fact, as he develops into a dominant pitcher you may need to resist the temptation to let coaches overuse him. Remember he is still very young and doesn’t need to “prove” himself to anyone.

Eventually get him into pitcher-specific conditioning that involves lots of isometric work to strengthen the decelerator muscles under the shoulder blades and around the shoulder girdle (but not weight training until he has reached puberty). House’s stuff is very informative about pitcher-specific conditioning routines. Make it fun by doing the work right along with him.


#3

I think he has pretty good mechanics he really does a good job of repeating his delivery and its easy to tell who he is emulating. Your son is way above average if he can have that active of a motion and still throw strikes most kids that age cannot do that. I think what laflippin said is great advice, these are his fun years where it’s just a game don’t let him get so serious that he burns himself out. As far as conditioning goes it’s always a good idea to look at Tom House, if you look at the guy’s he’s worked with and still works with he is by far the most trusted pitching instructor.


#4

Laflippin,

Thanks for the feedback. I hope you are right about not being overlooked much longer.

We have recently started an excercise routine 4x weekly splitting between conditioning/agility/sprinting… and bodyweight resistance like squats, lunges, pushups, situps… All based around Tom House’s priciples.

In just 6 short weeks his strength and therefore his play has improved considerably. As a matter of fact this workout routine may turn out to be the single most important part of his improvement.

Anyway please take a look at 25 seconds. Notice he is not quite opposite and equal at foot strike. Should I be concerned about this or is it not really that big of a deal. He seems to break his elbow slightly before foot strike putting his ball arm in an “L” position at foot strike. Is this o.k?

Thanks again,

Jim (Evanators dad)


#5

I went back and paused the video at several points, including around the footstrike at 25 sec…I didn’t see anything in the opposite & equal balance of his throwing and glove-side arms that looked problematic to me.

You can take more video, including using other camera perspectives, to try to drill down into this some more but there is kind of a basic limitation to all 2D-video: That is, “equal & opposite” really refers to the throwing arm and the glove-side arm having the same angles at the elbows and wrists as the pitcher proceeds from beginning of launch of the ball into footstrike. So…there are quite a few different personal “signatures” that can allow that condition to be true. But, using 2D video from one single perspective, it is really difficult (maybe impossible) to cleanly compare the angles in both arms at any given moment in time as a pitcher’s torso rotates open to the target. The arms are moving through different positions in 3 dimensions, and that is all flattened out to 2 dimensions in the video.

Using 2D video you can certainly perceive gross imbalances most of the time, and you can see some pretty subtle imbalances (if they exist) at certain key spots in a delivery with the right camera perspective. Beyond that, I think it’s pretty difficult to drill down any deeper unless you make the jump to high speed 3D-motion analysis.

Because kids’ bodies grow and change so much around puberty, it is hardly even worthwhile to pursue expensive 3D motion analysis before 14-15 yo, unless you’re just curious about it and/or the money is not a big deal to you.

I think you’re doing exactly the right things with your son right now, and he will develop into a really fine pitcher if he remains interested in all of the work and focus and dedication that goes into becoming a skilled pitcher. You are obviously working/studying in parallel to shorten trails for him, and that is to be seriously applauded…there is a lot of good information, but also plenty of misinformation, and no 11 yo kid can navigate through it on his own.

If you have the means and interest-level, and if you are able to combine a vacation trip to Los Angeles with a pitching clinic with Tom House you should consider it. Google RDRBI for more information, or just PM me and I’ll try to answer questions as best as I can.


#6

Seems very athletic for his age.

His throwing elbow is a little low when he gets to footplant, but it’s not terrible. I would recommend focusing more on his arm action for a while.

You guys are doing well, and it’s good to see you helping him the way you are.

If I may be so bold as to make one more suggestion…keep it fun for him He’s only 11.

Such a ridged training routine for a kid that young could turn him off down the road if it stops being fun.

Good luck.


#7

His smile says a bunch.
101 is right about the fun. It is very important right now just to have a blast. I would consider some lessons. I’d consider them to formalize the need for control and discipline in the art (Not to cause changes necessarily to the mechanics you’ve both obviously put some thought and effort into). Also to help him understand the responsibilities associated with doing this over time. As to the conditioning I’d consider involvement in another sport…lots available and helpful, from swimming to martial arts (What we involved our youngest in) with the idea of fully developing a well rounded athleticism. In my experience the variety is helpful, I like your choice of excercises though. I like weights after puberty, well rounded athleticism until then. Keep the art as the most special thing and a real privledge…keep grades as his gatekeeper and have large quantities of film and a tri-pod…you’ll need it.
I also happen to see much value in La’s comments and advice. :wink:


#8

Everyone,

Thank you for your comments, encouragement and feedback.

Let me say that I agree entirely about the fun issue. As a matter of fact I just recently pulled him off a travel squad because the h. coach and several of the parents were completely out of control. The suff that I saw has made me very concsious of how important it is for him to enjoy himself. After all, if he does not have fun it will only be a matter of time until he say enough.

101MPH, you ae right about the potential for his routine to cause burnout.
We do everything we can to avoid this. For example the workout routines themselves are only about 10 minutes long ie, 10 minutes of sprints/agilities on days 1 & 3 and 10 min of resistance on days 2 & 4.
Also this schedule is only during the offseason and will go down to probably 1-2x week once the season starts. Perhaps most importantly though is that we have made this a family affair.
The entire family is involved with his practices and we all do the workouts with him. Mom does a great job keeping things light hearted and enjoyable. We often bring the football or some tennis balls or basketball and just goof around a bit after practice.

Oh and as far as his elbow being low you are exactly right and is something we are working on and has gotten a little better.

laflippin, I’m glad to her that you don’t see any major issues in the video. as far as the 3d cameras I think you are right in that he is only 11 and it is not neccasary at this point.

And finally I always keep in mind that I have NO grand illusion that my kid will ever be a big league player, however he loves to play and he loves to pitch. My dad always taught me when growing up that if you are going to do something that is important to you , DO IT RIGHT.

Thanks everyone


#9

Man, it sounds like you and your son have a very fun ride ahead of you–


#10

Wow, your son is crazy! It is unbelievable that he has the athleticism to pull Lincecum’s motion off! I can have a long stride like Lincecum, but all that twisting and other stuff, nope, no way I can pull that off.

Great job! Bravo!


#11

[quote=“kevinbert28”]Wow, your son is crazy! It is unbelievable that he has the athleticism to pull Lincecum’s motion off! I can have a long stride like Lincecum, but all that twisting and other stuff, nope, no way I can pull that off.

Great job! Bravo![/quote]

Thanks kbert my son was smiling ear to ear as he read your post.

But, just so you know, for us its not about copying someone or trying to be someone just for the sake of trying to emulate someone as much as it is about finding a successful model and then implementing what we could use.

What attracted me to Lincecum as a pitching model is that he was always the little kid being overlooked by coaches entirely because of his size, just like my son. Lincecum recounts as a youngster making his all-star teams but never getting the chance to play because the bigger kids just looked like they could pitch better. Heck this issue of being too small followed him all the way to the big leagues.

I noticed quickly that my son had a very similar body type. Very athletic and wirey with long, skinny muscle bellies and a long bone structure despite being “small”. He was a good pitcher with conventional mechanics
but he was always being overlooked by most coaches because of his size.
Anyways Lincecum is noted for having crazy velocity(among other things) for such a small guy and I just figured that with the similarities in body types we would try a few things out. The more I researched about Lincecums father and his pitching philosophy the more I realized that this very same philosophy of exploding off the mound, creating crazy hip/shoulder seperation and using the “dangle” just might work with my son.

Well he took to everything pretty naturally and the increased velocity in his fastballs was apparent almost immediately. He has always had really good control but not much velocity(he’s only 52 pounds :shock: ).

So again it is not like we said one day “hey lets pitch like Tim today” but rather trying to use the similarities in body types to see if it would help him out. I don’t think it would have helped my son if he had a different body type.

Anyways thanks again for your kind words sir, they brought a big boost of confidence to Evan.


#12

I admire Tim, I still believe there are some myths and misconceptions about his mechanics. For example, his mechanics are not dangerous, yet extremely efficient. Also, he isn’t a max effort guy, he has said it himself that he isn’t. And why would he lie about that? He isn’t an arm injury waiting to happen either, Tim has never felt a single twinge in his arm.

I’m glad your son liked my post!


#13

[quote=“kevinbert28”]I admire Tim, I still believe there are some myths and misconceptions about his mechanics. For example, his mechanics are not dangerous, yet extremely efficient. Also, he isn’t a max effort guy, he has said it himself that he isn’t. And why would he lie about that? He isn’t an arm injury waiting to happen either, Tim has never felt a single twinge in his arm.

I’m glad your son liked my post![/quote]

Yes you are exactly right KB. In my opinion the most amazing thing about Lincecum is that he has NEVER iced his arm. Even to this very day he does not use ice. How can this be explained if his mechanics were dangerous as most pro scouts believed. I believe it’s certainly attributable to all aspects of his delivery but I would have to think that his dangle is perhaps the number one reason for his arm health. Check out some of Tims models like Sandy Koufax and Satchel Paige. I watch in awe as their throwing arm looks so incredibly loose thru the entire range of delivery. No tension whatsoever. As Lincecum says he lets his body do the work and the arm is just along for the ride


#14

Well Lincecum has modified the dangle that his dad taught him. Tim thought it was too hard to control. I like te original dangle that your son is using, no breaking the hands with the elbows whatsoever.


#15

[quote="jdfromfla"]have large quantities of film and a tri-pod…you’ll need it.

tri-pod—check
film—what’s that(HA)!!!
gotta love SD cards :smiley:


#16

I like mini-d’s


#17

Yeah those too!

Gotta love technology. I bring the camera and laptop to the field, swap out the SD card and get virtually instantaneous analysis.

It’s great for the kids because they can see what they are doing right on the spot, not two hrs later when they have forgotten everything.


#18

You said you just took your son off a travel team. Who were you guys playing for?

My brother plays for the 11u Brandon Bullets and we are certainly in need of a pitcher with some great mechanics like that.


#19

He was playing for an AAU team in north pinellas. Palm Harbor to be exact. I won’t say the name of the team in the open forum as my mama always said to me “son if you can’t say somethin nice keep your trap shut” :lol:

I’ll just say the coaches were Bobby Knight-ing all over their group of 11 yr olds and while I MIGHT be able to accept that for a 19 or 20 year old young man I see it as totally unacceptable for such young children.

Are you the same as bulletsbaseball.com in Dover? If so it looks like you have a fine organization that is probably doing things the right way.

I’m sure you are aware how competitive travel ball in our state has become and with the steady decline of our local little leagues it seems that travel teams are popping up everywhere. We just caught a bad one.

Anyways he is scheduled to start training with a new team in Jan. but if you want to pm me your contact info maybe we will take a ride out your way.

Thanks


#20

Sorry to hijack your thread, Evanator, but I want to ask you(and the members of this forum) something. Do AAU coaches require the truly elite players?