Opinions appreciated


#1

I am a pitching coach at a high school and have a senior with a lot of potential (85-87 lefty) but his struggles with control. I think it might be a mechanic related. Especially his glove hand



#2

You look pretty solid to me - But, then I’m not a mechanic’s coach.

However, I can suggest a different approach that may be of some help. Whenever I noticed location problems, more often than not, it was because of concentration. Now I’m not saying that this pitcher above is prone to that - not being there to witness his performance game after game and his practice sessions is a huge void for me.

But, perhaps this will help some:
Below you’ll see a catcher in abstract form. In picture (1), many amateurs visualize their backstop in this manner with no real definition with respect to locations. In that way, an amateur who isn’t coached to TARTGET his backstop as locations to hit, is a pitcher without a game plan - period. Even when his backstop gives a sign - down in/down out, etc., a pitcher is still without the mental discipline of seeing his backstop as a location target … nothing more.

So, in the picture below, have your son look at his backstop while in the bullpen as a flush target to pitch at. Then pick a location… say #1 and pound that location until he can put the ball in that location about 80%. If he can’t do it, then he stops what he’s doing, and move eight (8) paces closer. Don’t go game speed here. Go about half game speed and focus on hitting that location. Now don’t be surgical about this, like in the picture on the far right. As he locates his pitches with an 80% rate, move back two (2) paces and repeat. Continue to locate his ball in that same location, repeatedly until he’s back to his full distance. Again, keep it below game speed.

As your son continues to locate that ball in area #1, he should get a sense of timing and feel for what he’s doing right. Keep a notebook of this progressive movement and why. Don’t skip this part - never. Why? Every professional has a memory of what to - and what not to, while pitching. This is from the windup as will as the set motion.

By the way, don’t move from that location #1 until his accuracy is at least 80%, day or night, like it’s his second skin.


#3

I forgot to mention - one of thee biggest problems that I’ve witnessed is trouble with amateur pitching mounds. Regardless of the composition, ground material plus clay, artificial or otherwise, the surface that the pitcher has to work off of seems to work against the pitcher. Holes, slanting surfaces, sandy compositions and other problems seem to plague a pitcher who’s trying his/her best. So you might want to ask your son if anything that I mentioned above is giving him problems with locating his pitches.


#4

Im a personal pitching instructor as well (feel free to message me about anything in the future) but if he is 85-87 his mechanics must be solid, which by the video they are. I like the glove arm, dont change that! Its creating good torque. Its either a concentration / practice problem. How often does he throw a bullpen? Because obviously control will be an issue if he only throws off a mound once per week.


#5

Yes, this kid has potential. And you care enough and want to help him.

  1. His glove needs to be tugged in, bring into his chest and armpit!

  2. He is not “balanced”, and was not driving enough from his “lower” half.

  3. If it’s up to me, I will immediately stop him from pitching “full strength” and cap him at 50%. Let him focus on his control. At 80-90% full strength, he is losing his control already, so fix this first.

  4. Make him run several miles a day. This will slim him down and build up his core and lower halves and stamina.

I will be interested in seeing how far he can get if he begins to focus on the “details” instead of just “gunning” the ball across the plate.

To sum it up, the kid needs to fix his “mechanics “!

Good luck!

Alex


#6

Thank you so much for the great advice. It’s something I didn’t even consider, but am excited to show him!


#7

Thank you so much for your help , but He plays football in the fall and wrestles in winter. so I’m lucky that I just started arm conditioning on Saturdays until wrestling is over, which of course he’s very good & has made the state tournament previously.


#8

When high school kids take their spikes and kick out/dig a hole, my blood boils… Nothing better than a well built mound


#9

Thx! He’s a wrestler. So he’s at that until we start pretty much.but he’s wrestles 170 something. Not that big.


#10

The obvious thing I see is his dynamic balance is off. His weight never gets over and through the plane of his front knee. His follow through is upward rather than forward and down. He has essentially disabled his catapult. I think you might be onto something with his glove side, but I think it is a symptom and not a cause and it has more to do with his weight being too far back at release that cuts him off from an effective follow through. He’s counteracting his follow through issue that is pulling him up and away with a glove action that goes down and back. Unlike other suggestions, I’m of the opinion that the body should follow the glove to the plate and that the glove is not to be pulled or yanked down or back at all–ever. Glove to the plate and chest to the glove and never ever glove to the chest. Look at my icon…he never gets to this position, so he’s spilling gunpowder from the cannon.


#11

Hey, Brandon. Lots of folks thought running is “boring”. But it’s also one of the sports that is hard to master on how to use your body effectively, both arms and legs, to generate momentum to propel the body in distances.

I have the chance to study Asian baseball players. They may be smaller in average size but they spent tons of time running for multiple reasons and it’s beneficial to their overall development.

I didn’t mean that your player is “over-weight “. You pointed out that he’s only 170 and also wrestle and play football. It gave me the information that he’s strong in his upper body strength. Being a pitcher, it requires certain finesse and not just brutal force. I am certain that your players will benefit to learn to use their entire bodies from running.

For the past several years that I have been involved with my son’s travel team, I observed the coaches didn’t emphasize on running at all. The players didn’t properly get their circulation going to allow all the muscle to be properly “warmed up”. Simply doing shoulder and stretching exercises are not enough. One kid even developed back spasms during the games several times and had to come off.

I also met tons of kids who could throw hard but lacked controls. They weren’t used much in critical games or pitched much for the simple reason.

We asked the pitchers to just hit the gloves on target. But even many adults haven’t mastered this skill. The coaches at BP couldn’t even throw decent pitches to all the batters to consistently swing correctly was just a waste of times!

In summary, it’s not about the times spent on practice, but how effective the practice can improve your skill quicker.

Good luck and play on.

Alex


#12

Paul,

The kid’s glove was “dangling” and possibly “dragged” to slow his motion towards plate after release.

The main point to “tug” in his glove is to prevent such “drag” and allows his body to be better “balanced” and “controlled”. :slight_smile:

Alex


#13

I’m sorry for the misunderstanding. I only mentioned him playing football and wrestling because as much as I would like to start him running, he’s involved in different sports all year up until the start of the season. he doesn’t play in the fall ball because Iof football or take part in my strength and conditioning during winter. (Wrestling)

I agree 100 percent with you on the importance of running and building lower body strength. For the players(pitchers) not playing a winter sport, I follow a strength and conditioning program by mark madden of yougopro


#14

Brandon, excellent. Statistics showed athletes in multiple sports reduce the chance of specific injuries because they learned to use different parts of their body and none of the muscles will be over-used.

Your original question was what do with his glove arm. I have shared my own ideas, 1. bring his glove in to simplify his mechanics, 2. ask to pitch with less force and simply work on hitting the catcher’s glove.

Good luck and play on. Happy New Year!

Alex


#15

I actually think Both you make great points and I appreciate it. I do notice that his body is possibly too far behind his front leg and has to play catch up once he lands. Who knows though. That’s why I’m here so I can learn and maximize these kids’ talents. This video helps explain the front leg stride


#16

I 100% agree with Coach Paul’s advice of bringing the chest to the glove and not tugging the glove in. From a lower body strength area though, I am against pitchers running more than once a week… it does create endurance but running fosters slow twitch muscles and reduces power and explosiveness, if you want to run him, run sprints. In my opinion to really use your lower half pitchers need to use olympic lifting such as increasing functional strength through squats and deadlifts. These lifting numbers are also an easy way to determine deficiencies in his strength.


#17

Brandon, thank you for sharing the video, but I thought your original question was to address his glove arm and control, not his power step out or stride!

The video is good, but it’s ahead of your player’s learning. Again, I believe he is a good athlete and has potential, but he needs to master the “basics” first. It is too much information for him to learn the advanced stuff.

For example, if one hasn’t learn basic algebra, learning calculus is good for him, but he will not be successful.

I think you get my point.:wink:

Alex


#18

I would be interested in a better angle. From the other side. My belief is he has a timing issue in not separating his hands soon enough so his upper body has to catch up with the lower half. He has to speed up the top and that can create big time control issues. If I’m right, that would explain why his glove arm is “swimming.” Like others before me, ask him to try to “grab air” with his glove and pull it straight back to his chest (palm up). That will help pull his upper body over the lower body too.Get him away from thinking rotational movements and get him to think of the throw as linear. I am 100% against pitchers running distance. Just my opinion. Throwing a baseball happens in 1.3 seconds. That is not an aerobic movement. Florida Baseball Ranch does drills lasting between 5 and 12 seconds max. I would follow the new science rather than the old for pitching. No offense to anyone.


#19

I went back and looked at it a bunch. This angle is tough but I think his lower body is actually good. It would have to be good to throw that hard at his age. Because of the angle I can’t correctly diagnose. What I would do is have him throw from the stretch all the time. I would have him slide step 100% until he shows you consistent command of the strike zone. I would bet $100 that will fix him.


#20

That’s actually a really good idea