Nicolas Johnson August 4th review

here is my son Nicolas doing some work inside the house because it’s raining outside. first he worked on 4 different drills, then he threw a dryer ball into the crack of the couch to work on pitching.

i’m worried about his arm not being in the cocked position at foot plant. is it that important to have his arm down by his leg during the stride? this arm drop has caused him to be late getting into the cocked position.

as always, thanks for the help and advice.

What was the reason for these particular drills? What were you working on trying to correct?

I don’t particularly care for the first 2 drills but that’s just me. The third I could see some use.

What I see that should be addressed is again - his arm action. Overall he is much improved, but his hand break needs work and he is dragging his arm through the high zone (which is what you are noticing and concerned about - rightly so).

So the drills you are doing should be put aside for now and direct work on hand break and arm action through release should be the focus IMO.

Here is what I see:

I pause the above video at the point where he is putting is arm behind his body and it’s getting trapped there. This is throwing off his timing throughout the rest of his delivery.


In the above clip you can see his arm is late (paused at footplant) and he is dragging it through the high zone and through release. He tried to compensate for this with a little “hip slide” as he plants to “buy some time” for his arm to catch up.

So I would have him focus and breaking his hands first. Try breaking the hands with a flatter W (hands going out more than down). This may fix everything else. If at scap load his arm is stll late, then you will need to focus on that part of the delivery too.

He looks like an athletic kid with a lot of potential.

just the guy i was hoping to hear from. thanks so much for your time and expertise.

on the drills we were just trying some things we saw on youtube that looked interesting. the issue we were looking to deal with was Nic’s release point. he had been having problems releasing too high or early while standing on one foot and out of balance. we looked for drills to help him “feel” a better release, and maybe more whipping action from his body and arm.

the arm going behind him is the result of Nic going to another extreme. earlier this season he broke the hand from glove to cocked position too early and his timing and speed was off…but he was very accurate. in an attempt to gain speed, we made changes and eventually his arm got later and further behind him. we will work on hand break this weekend and stop all drills until the hand timing is better.

we are preparing for fall ball and Nic really wants to deliver more heat and accuracy (don’t we all). we will work on the hand break until it’s right and post again for more tips.

again, thank you so much.

I’m with 101 on the arm. And If you can get that good W at foot plant you are well on your way. I like alot of his mechanics but that late arm thing is an easy fix. Another things that may help that I use is make a little circle coming out of the glove to help keep that arm from getting stuck an being late

I usually don’t comment on videos taken from flat ground and in this case, no rubber, BUT…

  1. The late arm action is a GOOD thing - but in this case, the timing is just a bit off and the arm action is actually a little too late. You want the throwing hand and elbow to be at shoulder height just BEFORE landing. Then, at landing and just when the front leg is braced, you want to be into the high cocked position.

  2. I don’t mind the arm dangle because it does help to delay his arm action, but it is a little extreme. I think something that is frequently overlooked is the idea of hiding the ball for as long as possible. When the ball is dangled so far behind the body, it allows for the batter to pick it up at that point. Rather, if the arm were to be held directly next to the side of the pitcher, it would be hidden for much longer.

  3. I don’t like the extreme rotation of the front leg in the initial leg lift. Too much rotation - too much time spent over the rubber (if there was one!) and creates a big leg swing into landing.

  4. As far as hand break, I like kids to keep the ball close to their chest and move the hands down the body as the leg comes down (in synch) and break the hands by the belt buckle. The idea is to “bring the glove and ball with you as you begin to travel down the mound”, then break the hands.

  5. One other thing to watch out for is the front leg bracing: notice how his front knee continues to slide forward after landing - his foot should hit and completely stop his lower half from continuing to move forward at this point. Obviously, this may be a product of being on the carpet in stocking feet, but just thought I should point it out.

Guys I don’t think I’m on the same page. Are you talking about the cocked position being the elbow level or above the shoulder and the ball being shown to 2nd? This kid has good arm action other then getting stuck, the internal to external rotation is good like befor it is just that long dangle I like it just have to sharpen the edges a little. Good work Dad

Nic spent some today working on just hand break and the stuff that was recommended here. he looks much better in my opinion. i will post an updated video asap.

as far as the landing leg post…we have been working on staying “low” through delivery ala Roy Oswalt and many other good pitchers. we find that he is more accurate and doesn’t miss too high any more. like everything else we work on…it could be a little extreme right now. laziness will stop some of that as he pitches for real. he can’t throw 60-80 like that without his legs getting really tired.

our main point is to get his mechanics as solid as possible, as soon as possible. Nic is starting puberty and works out quite a bit, so it would be nice to have his mechanics as close as possible before the muscles and real power comes.

thanks again guys.

we spent a little time working on hand break today and it looks like he is still late. we tried practicing just arm break, throwing from the high cocked position and a couple of other drills. i could use a little more help with a drill that he can practice that will help him get in the right position at the right time. early season he was getting there too early and waiting…which was slower but more accurate. he has much better power now, but accuracy isn’t quite there. he starts fall ball in 2 weeks. help!

one reply i got was to have Nic move his hips towards the target quicker. does that sound right?

I think it looks really good…I like your work ethic just don’t do what we did ,we got so set in having the perfict mechanics that he couldn’t pitch. His timing looks better…

Well it depends on what the goal is.

In the case of his late arm…no, this will not help. In fact it will make it worse. His arm is already a few frames late.

I would still continue with the suggestion I gave you in my first post. His arm is a few frames late at footplant. With breaking the hands in a “flatter W” you could also try a drill where he already standing sideways to the target, has his arm him in the “high c o c k e d” position, then just simply do a short stride and throw the ball.

This is part of backwards chaining drills. You basically work your way backwards from the end of the delivery (ball release), to the beginning (leg lift/loading). You can break it up into as many pieces as you need to work on a segment of the delivery.

For Nic, maybe just having at the above position and doing it many times will be enough to get his timing right. But you will have to try and see. It may take more/different drills.

It’s a trial and error process and it takes time. You will be constantly tweaking and adjusting things, especially as he grows. So don’t think you will be done at any point.

Ever. :lol:

we tried what you said for just a few minutes and i think we are seeing some improvement. we will continue those drills until the timing is right. i also compared Nic’s latest video with Roy Oswalt and Tim Lincecum and i think it’s getting there. i ain’t no expert but i like what i’m seeing so far. thanks a million.

here is the video of Roy Oswalt we are using for reference: