What is the best way to start teaching pick off moves for a righty? Jon is 11 and next year runners will be allowed to lead off. He wants to start learning the motion this year to be ready.
I teach my RHPs two basic moves.
The first is a variation of the pivot move that is used by most pros. Starting out from the Set position, I have them pivot on their glove side heel and move their glove-side toe from pointing at 3B to pointing at HP. After (or as) they do this, they spin their bodies and land with their pitching arm side foot pointing directly at 1B. This move technically violates the balk rule, but I haven’t come across an ump who has a problem with it (since it’s what most major leaguers do).
The second is a step-off and throw move that is a little slower but which enables some guys to throw with greater accuracy. Starting out from the Set position, I have them step off the rubber with their glove-side foot and place it with the heel facing 2B and the toe facing Home. After (or as) they do this, they spin their bodies and land with their pitching arm side foot pointing directly at 1B. The limitation of this move is that the consequences for throwing the ball into the stands are more severe (but that isn’t a problem on the fields we play in).
With both of these moves, I have my guys trade off speed for accuracy by making sure that their feet, hips, and shoulders are all pointing at the target before they throw.
I also have my guys practice throwing to 1B before they come to Set and varying how long they hold at Set before throwing over or coming to the plate.
Most umpires will not have a problem with the spin move if the pitcher gains ground toward 1B with his front foot.
One thing I have all my club team do is complete their warm-up throwing with pick offs thrown to each other. Two right handers would alternate turning their backs to each other and “picking” to their partner positioned like a first basemen. For right handers we only focus on two simple things, short arm motion and quick feet.
Make it fun, put a coffee can in a position that approximates the inside corner of 1st (Mound/no mound/ back yard or street) have him practice coming set and then in a fluid motion, slow at first (Use rocks, or anything to toss) see how many times he can get the can inside or not. The big deal is to make him comfortable doing it, and confident he can hit the spot, get the neighborhood kids to act like they are leading off. The more he practices, in a loose comfortable fashion the better at it he’ll get. Then you can move on and start on the variations and finer points (See Chris’s post above).