New pitcher


#1

hey guys, im 16 and ive played catcher for my whole life. i throw hard, always have but i have never thrown a curve ball or anything else. recently my team had me pitch a few innings. i threw 2 innings and allowed no runs and 1 man got on from an error. i feel like i was throwing alot of strikes and i had alot of batter in 0-2 and 1-2 counts but each time on 0-2 and 1-2 they put the ball in play, i did strike out 1 kid with the high heat tho.i havent had my speed checked but on a good day people have told me im throwing 70 atleast. i have decided to learn how to throw a curveball and ive checked the site but i still cant seem to do it. also i would really like to learn how to throw a good sinker, because its my feelings that a very effective sinker can be the best pitch period.(less pitches throw due to large amount of groundballs while pitching to contact) any tips?


#2

Find a pitching instructor to work with. They’ll either have a gun or enough experience to estimate how hard you are currently throwing so that along with their estimate of how much your mechanics could be improved they should be able to give you an idea of what type of potential you have. They should also be able to get you started on your secondary pitches. 70 mph isn’t very fast for a 16yo.


#3

I would develop a good change-up before you worried about a curveball.

If you’re dead-set on throwing a curveball, I would consider a knuckle curve.


#4

Don’t worry so much about a curveball just yet … it’s not something you are going to learn in a few weeks.

If possible find a good pitching coach — maybe from/through your high school coach — who can teach you the correct mechanics.

While learning mechanics, concentrate on spotting the 4-seam fastball to specific targets and start working on two-seam fastball grips. With the two-seamer, play around with pressure points (pushing down with your middle fingertip against each side of a seam upon release) to see if you can get any movement or “run” (ball moving gradually to the left, right, and/or down).

While you are working on the fastballs, you can also experiment with change-up grips. I like the pitchfork, as it’s easy to control, while others prefer the “OK” change.

If you can spot your fastball with movement and mix in a change here and there, you should do OK in relief at your level.

And BTW throwing in the low 70s as a 16-year-old is not awful, it’s average, and nothing to be concerned about. When you learn the correct mechanics and continue to throw fastballs, you’ll eventually build up your speed.


#5

I was wondering if you guys think this would be tough switching back and forth. Very few people can catch and pitch. For one, catchers usually will shorten up their arm action to be quicker. And as a pitcher you would not want to throw like a catcher. If this kid starts working on his mechanics do you think it could negatively effect his catching and make his pop time slower because he would unknowingly start winding up like a pitcher?


#6

Possibly.

However, it’s better for catchers to throw like pitchers than for pitchers to throw like catchers. I have read several studies that show that catchers sometimes have as many arm problems as pitchers.


#7

Speaking from experience, I pitched and caught from little league through college. I had an elbow issue at the end of HS because of my mechanics (they were incorrect at both positions). After fixing the mechanical issue, I never had an arm problem (going on 18 years since the injury).

There is at least one school of thought that believes an athlete’s arm action should remain the same no matter what position he is playing. The hand should take the same circular-like route from the glove to the release. Some catchers are taught to bring the ball back to their ear to “shorten” the throw but I’ve always taught catchers to still go through the circular motion, but to do it more quickly. I think a catcher put on the mound can use the same, quick, arm motion, but may have to use a shorter stride than other pitchers.


#8

I completely agree.

It isn’t necessary for catchers to short-arm the ball.


#9

The mechanics and the timing of the mechanics is different between catcher and pitcher. The arm action has to accomodate the appropriate timing for the mechanics. For example, many successful pitchers drop the ball down along side their back leg before getting into the cocked position. That works for a pitcher because he has the time to do that. But that would never work for a catcher.


#10

[quote=“Roger”]
The mechanics and the timing of the mechanics is different between catcher and pitcher. The arm action has to accomodate the appropriate timing for the mechanics. For example, many successful pitchers drop the ball down along side their back leg before getting into the cocked position. That works for a pitcher because he has the time to do that. But that would never work for a catcher.[/quote]

I agree, and disagree. The timing of the mechanics CAN be different. But doesn’t have to be. It’s all a matter of style.

I agree that a longer/slower arm motion can work for a pitcher but not for a catcher. However there’s no reason a pitcher can’t use the quicker motion that a catcher does. The challenge would be getting the leg lift and stride to work with the quicker arm motion (timing).

Does anyone have video footage of Troy Percival? He was a catcher-turned-pitcher and from my foggy memory thought he had a quicker release than most pitchers.


#11

It might be possible to adjust the leg lift and stride to match the quicker arm but you’d also probably end up not striding as far, not getting as much separation between hips and shoulders, and not delaying shoulder rotation as long. Now, I have to qualify what I just said by saying that is what I’d predict would happen. I don’t have any first-hand experience with this.

That raises an interesting point. Many pitchers could actually benefit by being a little quicker into foot strike and release. Percival may have had a quicker release than most pitchers but, compared to the quickness most pitchers ought to have, maybe he wasn’t that much quicker. Dunno.


#12

It might be possible to adjust the leg lift and stride to match the quicker arm but you’d also probably end up not striding as far, not getting as much separation between hips and shoulders, and not delaying shoulder rotation as long. Now, I have to qualify what I just said by saying that is what I’d predict would happen. I don’t have any first-hand experience with this.[/quote]

Well … there’s at least two schools of thought regarding stride …

Some believe that the total arm arc/rotation (measured from the hand breaking from the glove to the release) should be in direct relation to the size of the stride. Therefore a long arc would require a long stride, and a short arc a short stride. In fact I once worked with one kinesiologist who believed the arc and the stride should be equal, or close to it.

Then there’s another camp that believes that the stride should be as long as possible, and point to pitchers such as Billy Wagner for examples.

Personally, I don’t know that either side is 100% correct. Instead of taking sides, I work on a player-by-player / individual basis. If a catcher has been throwing a certain way his whole life, and been both successful and injury-free, one wouldn’t want to suddenly overhaul his arm action (regardless of the position he’s playing). Minor tweaks that preserve safety and can make optimum use of the core and lower body are a better plan.


#13

I found some pics and Percival definitely has a relatively short stride. However, his Hip/Shoulder differential is good.

Everything else about his motion is fairly conventional (e.g. long-ish arm swing).