This is my 11YO son from three weeks ago. He pitched three perfect innings and in 4 innings 7 of the 12 outs were K’s against the team that eventually won the tournament. He’s working hard to get better at baseball. He’s love’s hitting, and loves pitching just as much. He’s come a long way since he started pitching a couple of years ago. His early mechanics included a lot of sagging elbow and pushing. He has very good control of his 4 seamer and not so much of his CU. He and I know he needs to get his chest to his knee. He sits around 53-55 mph and can get to about 59 at max effort. We are here looking for advice to continue he progression.
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His glove side is very low after hand break and never gets up to a level equal and opposite with his throwing arm. His equal and opposite is glove side down and throwing elbow up. Get your glove extended forward as much as you extend your arm backward.
Also, he’s in cocked position too long. He should only get his throwing hand up as his stride foot is landing.
His throwing elbow gets way ahead of his chest prior to release. Is he throwing sidearm? He still needs to get his forearm to layback and it doesn’t because his arm is rotating on a horizontal axis and his body is moving forward on a vertical axis. These are currently working against each other.
I do like the forward momentum you get with your stride and you have good lower body follow through. As you deliver your arm, it seems to be cut short and not fully extending through release.
It looks more like he’s delivering a right hook rather than a pitch.
He’s definitely not a side-armer. I’m really trying to get him to keep his elbow up as he’s always had a tendency to drop it on the mound or in the field. He’s a big strong kid with a likelihood of being quite tall (wife and I are both several inches above average as well as the grands on both sides). I want him to learn to pitch down hill and take advantage of the height and strength.
I think the equal & opposite is ok. The glove down/throwing hand up positioning is not as common as other positioning but still valid. However, the glove should come up when it “swivels & stabilizes” in front of the torso. Instead, his glove stays low and stabilizes outside of his torso instead of in front of it. But what really concerns me is that I think I see (video is pretty coarse) his upper body getting out in front of the lower half too soon. He never really leads with the front hip. This results in early shoulder rotation and inefficient use of the body.
From the shoulder to the hand, his arm is moving as one piece around his torso. It’s not generating any external rotation.
I agree he appears to get little external rotation. If forearm straight back is 180 degrees, then I’d say he gets about 125-130 degrees:
However, the video appears to have a low frame rate so we may not be seeing everything.
After a second look, I no longer think the glove stabilizes too low. But it does still appear outside of his torso instead of in front of it. But I’d still like to see him work on leading with the front hip (Hershiser drill and cross-over drill) earlier in the delivery and then see what effect that has downstream in the delivery.
You can also see in this still that his back leg has not yet fully rotated to the front. It should be the first thing that rotates. His pivot leg thigh should be the square to the target before his hips are. To me, this indicates lack of lower body involvement. Combine that with the minimal shoulder external rotation and that results in a lack of energy production leading into the throwing motion. If the lower body is not fully squaring to create and amplify the torque, his upper half must turn at a faster rate to get his shoulders square. When upper and lower body are not in sync, he can’t be consistent with his delivery.
Try to have him keep is throwing hand back for as long as he can and initiate his lower body rotation with an inward turn of his pivot knee while keeping that throwing hand as still as possible through hip and shoulder rotation. The ball should not come forward until MER when his shoulders and throwing elbow are aligned and square to the target.
There is very little forward movement between the top of the leg lift and hand separation. He should be getting his hips forward by at least 18" before his hands even separate. You don’t want to allow him to accomplish this by dipping his back leg. His hips should move toward the target and not down.
Work on him keeping his hands together for as long as he can force it and let his body break his hands instead of him making a conscious decision to do it. As he’s coming down the mound, there will be a point where his body will take over and essentially say, “If I don’t get my hands apart, I’m going to lose my balance and fall.” That’s the point where he needs to get his hands as far apart as possible as quickly as possible. I call this aggressive hand break. This will get him to the point where he’s coming into foot plant and back knee inward rotation.
Here are a few short vids from today. We haven’t been playing since AS ended but will pick up in Sept. We have been working on keeping the hands together until later in the delivery and getting the hip out front. These were the first vids today. I thought I was shooting some frontal shots with another camera later, but I was only snapping pics!!! I think he was more relaxed during those throws, but alas, twas for naught. I’ll get some frontal videos this weekend if the weather cooperates.
Let us know how we are doing!
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His external rotation is a bit better, I can see where he’s at about 140 degrees in one of the frames I was able to stop on. Still a point of emphasis for him would be to get his shoulders on the target line at hand break. His shoulders are more toward the second baseman than second base.
His free foot is starting way to the first base side of the rubber and as he comes into his lift, he’s over rotated past 3rd base toward short stop. You really don’t want to show your numbers to the hitter. Try to be more linear through stride and rotational after stride. He’s rotational from first movement and that will be very difficult for him to be accurate as the pitching distance grows from 45 up to 60.5 feet. A small error in direction is magnified over distance. A mistake that he can manage at 45 feet will miss by a foot and a half at 60. Fix it now and life will be a lot easier later.
Thanks for your input. We have reviewed your suggestions and will work on those items. On the front foot bf lift, I’ve never seen him starting from that side and I think it was just reflection of the casual nature of what we were doing. I will get some frontal video this weekend.
It’s been a month of very little baseball. We’ve mostly just done long toss in the yard and taking batting practice. We’ve begun playing with a fall team two weeks ago and have had a couple of bull pen sessions. He pitched one inning last weekend against the tournament runner-up team. He gave up a couple of runs on seeing-eye hits and struck out there number three and four hitters.
Here he is from yesterday. He was exactly 11.75YO yesterday.
Does he still have a year at Little League distance? Does your area offer 50/70 baseball for kids your son’s age?
He is still in 12U. We aren’t LL affiliated. We’ve been on 50/70 for 1.5yrs. Hopefully he makes the middle school team this coming spring (he should bc of the make up of the upper age-class) which will move him to 60/90 at 12YO. It’s possible he will be on 50/70 for rec ball next spring, 50/70 for this fall and next spring/summer TB, and 54/80 for next fall’s (2016) TB, along with being on 60/90 for middle school.
It’s tough to analyze dry fire deliveries because they are not the same as the real thing. One thing that carries through both is his need to get his hips moving more toward the plate before hand break. His back hip is about 1/2 to 2/3 the distance he should be getting. He’s using an up, down, and out front leg action which is highly limiting if he’s not getting distance away from the rubber before the top of the lift. Try this. Kneel about one foot forward of the rubber on his throwing arm side. Put your hand out to where he needs to get that front knee before he breaks his hands. He needs to develop a lift and drive that carries him forward to your hand. This point needs to be as close to the max height of his lift as possible. He doesn’t need to hit your hand. Just use it as a guide. He doesn’t even need to throw the ball. He should also not be looking at your hand, he should be focused down the target line and maintain good alignment. You give him the feedback of how much more distance or elevation he needs. Does this make sense?
It’s challenging to bounce back and forth for diamond sizes. Catchers sit 3 or 4 feet back from the plate. For this year, I would suggest have him throw to a catcher who is crouched with the balls of his feet just forward of the plate on a 60.5 mound. This will help him keep the ball down against the 60/90 hitters and allow him to keep his range for the games at the shorter distances. Most 60’6 mounds are taller than their 54 or 50 ft counterparts. He should pitch from the taller mound he will be using.
Thanks for the advice. I will work with him on driving his hip (or does it need to necessarily be the knee?) forward further bf hand break. Hand break should be at the peak of knee lift? The front knee/leg needs to be perpendicular to a line to the plate? Should the knee be slightly behind the hip at hand break?