My son pitches side arm and is a lefty, he has a natural slider, fork ball and can throw a change up but needs some more time with it. My problem is that his travel coach wants to change him to throw over top but when he does he doesn’t do well. But does great pitching sub marine style pitching. He did great in allstars this year going 5 and 6 inns. in the 3 games he pitched in, everytime he throws he keeps the ball low and away. I don’t know what to do he is going to be 11years old soon was drafted in the majors as a 9 year old. please help thanks
If I had a nickel for every time I heard about some misguided coach trying to change a pitcher’s natural motion and make him throw “over the top”, I would be a millionaire 50 times over.
Your son has a natural sidearm motion, throws submarine sometimes, has good command of a couple of breaking pitches and can refine still another one, and gets the batter out—someone ought to grab that coach by the scruff of his neck and shake him vigorously and tell him in no uncertain terms that you do NOT mess with a pitcher’s natural motion. You work with it and show that pitcher how to make the most of it, but you do not try to change it!!!
I’ve told this story many times, but it bears repeating because so many didn’t listen the first time—or the second—or the third. There was once a pitcher named Fred Sanford, who pitched for the old St. Louis Browns in the 1940s. He wasn’t a bad pitcher; in fact, the Yankees saw something in him and acquired him in a trade in 1949. But then the trouble began. Sanford had a motion best described as herky-jerky, and never mind that he was getting the batters out. Pitching coach Jim Turner didn’t like it—because it offended his esthetic sensibilities. Frank Crosetti, the third-base coach (and how did he, a former infielder, get involved in this mess?), didn’t like it either, for whatever reason. Those two guys wanted Sanford to have a Spalding Guide, picture-perfect motion, and so they started messing with it. And they ended up destroying him; after they got through with him he wasn’t a good pitcher any more. So he got traded.
And in 1959 Turner went to Cincinnati to be their pitching coach, and he had on his staff a reliever named Howie Nunn with an even more extreme delivery. Nunn wiggled and wabbled and jerked around like a rooster with the St. Vitus dance and threw his arms and his legs and his neck and just about every other part of his anatomy into his delivery. It looked very funny—except to the batters who had to face him, because he got good stuff on his pitches and was getting the batters out! And Mr. Turner never said “boo” to him.
Okay. So the kid throws sidearm and occasionally submarine and is getting the batters out with the stuff he throws. That coach should leave him alone as far as that goes. This whole overemphasis on “over the top” is just too much. Maybe it looks spectacular, but spectacular isn’t where it’s at. 8)
Nothing wrong with sidearm. It could be that the coach simply doesn’t know what to do with him - how to coach/teach him. But that’s not a good enough reason to change his arm slot. Without sounding like a smart*ss, ask the coach why he wants to change your son’s arm slot. If he can’t give you a good reason, then there isn’t one.
That was just one of the things I liked so much about Ed Lopat. He firmly believed that every pitcher has a natural motion, and what he would do was work with that pitcher and show him/her how to make the most of it. He saw that I was a natural sidearmer—he had noticed this when he was watching me as I familiarized myself with the slider—and he took that and a few other things he had noticed about my delivery and formed a jumping-off point from which he could work with me.
Roger, you’ve got it. That coach apparently has no good reason for wanting to change that kid’s pitching motion, only “just because”—and that is no reason at all. He probably never saw or worked with a sidearm pitcher before, so of course he wouldn’t know what to do with that delivery. You’re not being a smart-alec at all—you’re just telling it like it is. Good for you!
The coach says it will hurt his arm and elbow. But I just don’t understand why other great players threw side arm and was ok. Thanks
I think that coach has an agenda. Don’t listen to him, and don’t let him try to change a pitching motion that is evidently working for the kid. :roll:
You have a lot of options at that age as to where you want to let your kid play, should be more than one league and if not find a tournament team. Sometimes coaches have heard, “well don’t let them throw sidearm” and it becomes religion. The thing is if you have a kid that usually throws over the top, when they get tired then they drop the arm angle, not really side arm but an angle that really isn’t good. If that is the way he throws (sidearm) then that’s it. Guys that throw over the top work on different arm angles to get pitches to move different ways…
Stay away from the coaches that give advice based on cookie cutter ideas about how things should be done, coaching requires effort, understanding and skill and many don’t have it at even a basic level. Getting involved in your kids baseball requires time and learning about him and the teams and coaches he might play for. Good Luck…
Sounds like “conventional wisdom” to me.
Agreed. Try telling Pedro Martinez or Randy Johnson they really should have raised their arm slots. :roll:
Not to mention Spud Chandler, the great Yankee pitcher of the 1930s and 1940s—he was a sidearmer, and he threw a murderous slider, and he never had any arm or shoulder problems! And there are a lot of pitchers nowadays who throw sidearm, and they don’t have any problems. Conventional wisdom, my Aunt Fanny!!!