My son is 6’1’’ 190pounds he is a 14 year old that is usually clocked between 78 to as high as 84 mph. he has good control of his fast ball. But we would like to develope more consitant velocity and a better breaking pitch. I was wondering if you had advice on how to improve both.
I made this posting a while ago for a youngster that’s much younger than your son, however some of the particulars hold true.
Most youngsters at your son’s age, with that height and weight, have an issue with the strength of their core (mid-section). Hence their delivery, initially when the hands break, finds them more often than not, bending over and staying much in that posture as they stride forward. It’s only after they start to plant their stride foot do they actually right themselves, turn their shoulders around and deliver.
I would suggest taking the posture highlights that are shown in this picture below and video your son … before and after. Start with what he’s now doing, then try the posture suggestions in the picture below. See if his accuracy in the zone (strike zone) is more dependable and consistent, also see if his breaking stuff has more “break” when and where he (or his coach) wants it. By the way, with breaking balls, the more the back of a pitcher’s head is in line with the heel of his pivot foot, the better, and sharper, his/her breaking stuff is gonna be. However, this only holds true for those arm slots that are 3/4 deliveries and higher. Sling shot or side-arm deliveries require a much different body/head posture during the delivery cycle.
Also, although I’ve had limited experience with this age group in total, I have found that these young men do have a tendency to have highs and lows in their baseball experience - especially at the pitcher’s position. Family has to be very, very supportive and understanding. Sometimes, a moment alone dealing with the ups & downs is just as important as “if ya wanta talk, I’m here for ya son.” In short, the world may seem like it’s crashing down around a young man sometimes, while other times it may seem like no world at all. It’s a learnig curve to be sure playing this sport, being all alone out there in the middle of things. I sincerely wish you and your son the very best, dad.
You are toching on an area of confusion. I have taken him to a few pitching caoches with good reputaions. Each have diferent takes on the posture position. Some say stay tall, do not push of the rubber and fall to the next location, keeping your upper torsue tall. Others say drive off the rubber and flatten out the chest over your plant leg extending tward the plate. which ould you suggest?
I do agree fully about the second paragraph. thank you
I’m going to answer your questions form the prospective of dealing with pitchers that are mature physically as well as perceptive (mentally). In other words, pitchers that were at and under my tutelage had a real-world purpose - money. So please excuse my references from time to time about things that are vague or confusing. I will re-address any question that you have - any question. So, with respect to the age group and the assumptions that I’m making concerning your boy, here we go:
Your first remark … .
Absolutely without question, you’ll find this across the board with every single pitching coach, and those that refer to themselves as such. We (pitching coaches) tend to be apostles of the those we learned form. Some of us will take a snapshot in time, which centers around those we learned from at a point in time, but go no further in the learning process. On the other hand, we have those that start out and continue the learning process and improve with age and experience. And as would be expected, we will find a host of those pitching coaches that sandwich themselves somewhere in between. In any event, the pitching coach profession does not operate in a vacuum. We are “conditioned” by our environment more than our environment is conditioned by us. For example, if you have a pitching coach who is conducting a session for a youngster in high school he/she is going to need the tools to accommodate that level and no more- usually. Now I know that sounds rather limited, in many ways, but it’s the truth. Hence, what you’re going to get is probably a spectrum of knowledge and experience that will cover the most recent knowledge base of this person - and no more. Continued education and professional development cost money$. Shelling out serious cash just because it’s educational is nice, but there’s got to be a payback on the horizon, and soon.
Now, does this mean that what your son is learning is of little or no use, NO. Does this mean that the coaching experience that your son has had, or is having, is conducted by incompetence - NO! The coaching process is not that cut-n-dry.
I made a post about finding a pitching coach, and others who I respect greatly, chimed in on the subject. I’ll PM you that portion after I address this posting. To make a long story short here, your son has a lot riding on this entire process, just as much as the pitching coach.
Your second remark…
I take this approach –
1.) Observe first - EVERYTHING, then make mental notes as well as written notes and comments, of my observations. I do not make any assumptions or commit to anything based on what I think should be, but rather study why things are the way they are. In other words there are darn good reasons why a man 290 pounds, 6 feet 3 inches moves the way he does, as appose to a man 6 feet 3 inches 210 pounds. And still, there is a big difference even among pitchers of the exact same weight and height who have pitch inventories that are signatures to each man.
2.) I then take what I know is the human body’s “issue” as standard equipment and what the purpose is for movement, flexibility, tolerance/load/stress, and why. We as humans are very special creatures with amazing gifts of mental and physical aptitudes. Simply amazing. And when left to our own devices, we do things that compliment those mental and physical aptitudes - without any coaching at all. Adaptability comes to mind here. Hence, my statement heretofore relative to the differences among pitchers with different and even similar physiques.
3.) So, I’ll take the ideal in both form and function, for the physical and mental “as is” pitcher, then work from there. I do not “cookie-cutter” pitchers, one size fits all. And I do not believe in the ole-school pitching standby…” pitching absolutes”. That’s just too restrictive. There are similarities among successful pitchers to be sure, but “similar” is for the casual observer.
4.) There are pitchers that will drive, I mean drive like the wind, off the rubber by pushing off, and their pitch down range is nothing to joke about. Their stuff is serious business. On the other hand, I’ve had pitchers that simply “dead wood” as I like to call it, release, and away it goes. Both styles have been equally effective and career enduring.
Would I ever cross train one to the other - NEVER. In actuallity, I’ve witnessed a custom fit well suited to the suit that eath pitcher is wearing.
Now directly to what you want to know:
Have a game of catch with your son and video it. Start off with a distance of about 30 feet and as time goes by, stretch out the distance at about 10 feet intervals. Continue till your about 100 feet apart. As your son continues to increase his distance, move the video camera so it stays on your son, with the same picture frame composite. Notice when you watch him later on, how his body reacts to the demands of greater and greater distance and greater and greater body movement. Here is where you should start your reference point(s) of what he does and doesn’t do, with respect to the coaching that you’ve received thus far. Does he bend at all, does he push at all, does his accuracy of getting the ball to you seem reasonable, does he seem strong in his effort or is he struggling??? In fact, bring that video here and I’ll help you pick apart the specific moves that you should focus on, and why. I’ve used this same approach with pitchers coming back from injury(s).
I should point out that some coaches will actually compliment the weakness of the body’s style and effort by shifting certain demands to other parts of the body. Like when you mentioned the coaching style that directed your son to bend over the chest level with the knee. If your son can only manage to get the ball over the plate, using this kind of posture, regardless how correct it may or may not be, it’s what that coach saw - hence suggested.
Coaching is an art in the eye of the beholder. I would suggest taking the “what works” for now, and customizing your son’s progression with what he feels comfortable with.
If you can post some video, that could help him also.
I want to thank you for the advice. I have coached the thowing event in track and field for many years. I undertand body mechanics and can usually spot flaws very quickly. Pitching is a similar movment with many fine diferences. It is nice to see the piching stratagies expland in a way that I can understand. I will take some video as soon as possible and post it. thanks again.
This is what I see in my son.
He drives off the mound very well. (not to much not to little)
He is very flexable
when he stays to tall in the dilivery position he has a tendancy to drop the elbow below his shoulder.
When he flattens out over his plant leg. he elbow comes up and hs hand stays ontop of he ball.
I will send the video asap