Pitcher also used as catcher, now has mechanics/control prob


#1

My son has been pitching since he was 9 years old, always had great mechanics and control. Last fall he began catching also (travel ball), developed control problems. Mechanics are not the same, trying to throw three quarters and not getting arm back. Took winer off throwing while continuing to hit. Started to throw shortly before Christmas and looked much better. Started lessons with former pro, with some minor adjustments looked great. Started spring training with team, suiting up and catching. With catching came same problems from fall. Arm motion looks very similar to when he’s behind the plate, also loss in velocity (was throwing mid 60’s). Has anyone else had similar isues? To the point of asking coach not to use him at catcher. Really short on catchers so don’t want to jump the gun, he’s a much better pitcher than catcher (or used to be) and also plays shortstop. By the way, pitching instructor has only worked with him once since he started catching again, was shocked at the difference. Any input would be greatly appreciated.


#2

Sounds like the catching is messing up his pitching mechanics.
Do you have any video(s) of him from when his mechanics were great?
If so, you could compare the video from his good mechanics
to his mechanics after he started catching, and see what he’s doing
differently.


#3

Mike,
It’s not a good thing to be “specializing” with both. I understand the need for catchers but no player gets arm issues with the same frequency as a kid who both catches and pitches. I get the feeling, though you don’t mention his age, he’s young (Not yet to HS) and quite frankly, if you want him in the game and healthy into high school ya’ll are going to need to make some choices…Obviously the kid is good or he wouldn’t be playing the 3 key positions, ss is also a throwing position…it is just simply too much load…now the standard answer is he loves it and doesn’t seem to be bothered now with the load…Don’t believe it, being the exception to the rule is not rare it’s non-existant…The fact that he’s having issues adjusting between the positions is indication enough that another strategy is in order. Don’t accomodate the travel squad at your boys expense…when all is said and done that team will be only a dim memory of a place where all of your money went during this period…IOW it don’t mean nothin!


#4

Thanks for the replies. I wish we would have taken video, unfortunately we didn’t. Obvious to see the difference, he runs through his wind more quickly and doesn’t have the slight pause when he loads the ball like he does when he’s pitching well. The end result is his shoulder flying out, diminished control and velocity. Pitching coach is good and sees what he is doing (he knows what he’s doing also) but can’t reighn him in. Sorry I didn’t give his age, he’s 12. Former High School all star and college catcher who worked with him on hitting in winter told us he need to decide to do one or the other, but didn’t eloborate. He’s average at best catcher and had reservations letting him try it, but like coach and hard to say no. Didn’t think about the over use of arm, but should have. Our team is using three middle infielders to catch, other two pitch also but not primary.


#5

[quote=“jdfromfla”]Mike,
It’s not a good thing to be “specializing” with both. I understand the need for catchers but no player gets arm issues with the same frequency as a kid who both catches and pitches. I get the feeling, though you don’t mention his age, he’s young (Not yet to HS) and quite frankly, if you want him in the game and healthy into high school ya’ll are going to need to make some choices…Obviously the kid is good or he wouldn’t be playing the 3 key positions, ss is also a throwing position…it is just simply too much load…now the standard answer is he loves it and doesn’t seem to be bothered now with the load…Don’t believe it, being the exception to the rule is not rare it’s non-existant…The fact that he’s having issues adjusting between the positions is indication enough that another strategy is in order. Don’t accomodate the travel squad at your boys expense…when all is said and done that team will be only a dim memory of a place where all of your money went during this period…IOW it don’t mean nothin![/quote]

Nice post JD. A lot of folks who haven’t got the benefit of years and years of experience dealing with such issues don’t realize the kind of workload players have when they try to combine pitching with other positions, especially catching. While it is possible to excel at both, its very rare indeed that a player who “doubles” up pitching and some other position does as well at both as he would at either if he gave it his full attention.

I can’t help but comment on something else you said. Talking about which positions are “throwing” positions caught my eye, and I thought about it a bit. There’s no doubt P and C are indeed throwing positions, but the other ones are questionable in my mind. Part of the problem is, there’s really only 1 way to measure “throws”, and that’s by counting assists and throwing errors. But it that a real indication of how many times a player “throws” the ball?


#6

Well I guess my perspective in the comment was that ss is a key role at the age…heck all the way through…but for this discussion…The best kids play the spot because the majority of outs are percieved to be obtained via interaction in the 3 key spots…now it may be ultimately true that the 2bman gets more chances because of weak hitters swinging late but the ss has to make the longer throw so generally speaking you see the better kids there and not 2nd. I think they need the more mature arm control necessary to make the longer throw with a reasonably high degree of accuracy (Whatever that may be). They are also generally the kid taking relays…in between innings they are also “throwing” at the further distance.


#7

[quote=“jdfromfla”]Mike,
It’s not a good thing to be “specializing” with both. I understand the need for catchers but no player gets arm issues with the same frequency as a kid who both catches and pitches. [/quote]

Thanks for the insight. Last year we made the decision that my son’s positions to be pitching and 1st base. At first, my son didn’t like it. He wants to be in the middle of every play. But as the year progressed and he’s starting to think about this year, he’s softened up to being the 1st baseman. Now, when people ask him what position he plays, it’s said with confidence, “1st base and pitching.”

Plus, Pujois and Howard play 1st base. :slight_smile:


#8

Thanks for the advice, pitching instructor advised pitching and catching don’t mix well. Talked to coach today, very understanding and agreed to relieve my son of catching duties immediately. Probably should have addressed earlier but didn’t want to let the team and coach down.


#9

W2E,

FWIW, here’s a perspective from my experiences watching HS ball.

Typically, 1st base is pretty much a catch-as-catch-can position. The main requirement of a HSV 1B seems to be, the taller the better, for obvious reasons. :wink: Perhaps interchangeable, or at least running a very close 2nd, is a strong bat. After that, the ability to snatch up errant throws in the dirt, or at least keep them from getting by, seems to be a pretty high priority. LH as opposed to RH doesn’t seem to make a great deal of difference.

Something I seldom see personally, is one of the better pitchers being given anything more than spot duty at 1st. I don’t know why that is, but I’m guessing its because there’s so much opportunity there for contact or injury.

Usually, when a pitcher’s a real “stud”, he’ll of course be put at short by those coaches who believe SS is the most important IF spot. But, coaches who consider that having their best SS someplace else, rather than at short for a third of the games isn’t a good thing, will generally find some other spot where they’re really deep.

The thing that’s gonna determine whether he gets much time in games where he’s not pitching, is gonna be his bat. If he’s a better hitter than the other 8 regular position players, he’s gonna bat. If he’s only as good as they are, he’ll soon a be a PO.

Now that’s all gonna change by the program he’s in, the philosophy of the coach, and how much of stud pitcher he is.


#10

There’s absolutely no doubt what position most people BELIEVE is the most important. LOL! I suppose whether or not its true depends on the individual and their PERCEPTION of what’s taking place on the field. I’ve given up getting into very deep discussions about it, and just let folks believe what they want.

Now if we get to trying to measure using REAL things, it can get pretty complicated. I don’t do a lot with defense, but if you look at http://www.infosports.com/scorekeeper/images/def2a.pdf you’ll see how the defense breaks down for all the HS games I’ve scored.

As you can see, by far and above when it comes to total chances, F3 is the king. But, since for what we’re discussing, throws, F3 just isn’t know for having to make a lot of full bore throws, and that can be seen in the relatively low number of Assists being the lowest of any IF position.

Ordinarily I’d argue that F2 was really the top throwing position, but again, for this conversation, F2 isn’t an option, and neither is F1 since he’ll be doing that regardless. I’d also ordinarily argue that the OF positions are the real “throwing” positions, but in all honesty, I don’t keep minute enough records to be able to tell. You’d have to be able to count all the balls that went into the OF, and which fielder picked them up, and whether or not an accurate throw had to be made. That’s way more than I want to keep track of.

So all that really leaves, is F4, F5, and F6 in the IF. IMHO, F5 is the most difficult of all the positions to play because of the typical opportunities there, but it doesn’t get all that many throwing chances. It could be that the percentage of throws F5 has to make that are hard, accurate throws is higher than either F4 or F6, but it isn’t worth an argument because so few would believe it.

That leaves F4 and F6. Since they’re both position that require a lot of cut-offs, there’s also a lot of potential for hard throws. Its easy to declare F6 the winner because of its distance from 1st, which is the throw it will likely make most often, but I think a good argument could be made for other positions as well. :wink:


#11

When young kids play year round with rec and travel ball do their mechanics start to slide? Is there enough time with both teams to find time throw a bullpen without stressing the arm? It seems hard for a kid to practice/play a position other than pitcher 4-5 days a week and yet maintain good pitching mechanics.


#12

I’m no expert; that’s why I’m here asking for advice. We play travel (12U) during Spring and Fall. Start Spring training in January one day per week and move up to two day’s in February (all indoors). Try to get outside as early as possible but normally practice two with maximum three days per week (total indoor and outdoor). Play nine tournaments usually (4-7 games per tournament) in season. Finish in July (mid month) and take about a month off. Start back up in mid August with two day a week practices start tourneys in late August consisting of four in season, three to four games each. We finish in early to mid October and are done until the first of the year. I continue to let my son hit one day per week with no pitching until late December. In our age group 10-12 kids per team is average (ours tries to carry 10) so it is necessary to play multiple positions. Playing shortstop (or outfield for that matter) has never effected his pitching mechanics. Catching is something he was asked to do in the fall, it does seem to have caused issues. Would be nice to focus on pitching, but at this age we have no idea where they will end up playing in High School (today’s position is not necessarily a good indicator of where they will play when they are older). Pitching only is not an option with the number of players, also leaves them unprepared for later on. That being said, I hope giving up the catching will allow him to focus more on pitching. My eyes have also been opened to the probability that it is too much of a load on the arm doing both pitching and catching.


#13

Mike4,

My son used to do both before his 11. After he got trained by a MLB retired coach, the coach asked him to give up catch. The reason is very simple, pitch and catch throwing ball by different mechanics.

Your son may be is the best player in his team and the coach ask him to do more than he needs. Just quit catching and tell him why. He should understand or he is a dunm coach.


#14

[quote=“Franklin”]Mike4,

My son used to do both before his 11. After he got trained by a MLB retired coach, the coach asked him to give up catch. The reason is very simple, pitch and catch throwing ball by different mechanics.

Your son may be is the best player in his team and the coach ask him to do more than he needs. Just quit catching and tell him why. He should understand or he is a dunm coach.[/quote]

Seems to be the consensus, should have addressed earlier. Replies are pretty much in agreement with you as is my sons pitching instructor (former pro). Mine didn’t start catching till last fall shortly after turning 12, always been a pitcher. Coach is great, addressed with him yesterday, very understanding and relieved my son of catching duties immediately. We are like a lot of other teams and lacking catching, was reluctant to let my son do it but coach has been very good to him. Hope giving up catching will get him back on track.


#15

[quote=“scorekeeper”]W2E,

FWIW, here’s a perspective from my experiences watching HS ball.

Typically, 1st base is pretty much a catch-as-catch-can position. The main requirement of a HSV 1B seems to be, the taller the better, for obvious reasons. :wink: Perhaps interchangeable, or at least running a very close 2nd, is a strong bat. After that, the ability to snatch up errant throws in the dirt, or at least keep them from getting by, seems to be a pretty high priority. LH as opposed to RH doesn’t seem to make a great deal of difference.

Something I seldom see personally, is one of the better pitchers being given anything more than spot duty at 1st. I don’t know why that is, but I’m guessing its because there’s so much opportunity there for contact or injury. [/quote]

Good reasons why he fits the protocol 1B . . . tall (projected height is 6’-5"), strong bat (batted 3rd last year), and has a good glove and a long reach to get errant throws. He prefers catching as his 2nd position, but one errant bat hitting the throwing hand would ruin his day. :slight_smile:


#16

My theory reguardless of anything else is, “Don’t catch your pitchers or shortstops”. This came into reality last year when my 15 yr olds team was having practice last summer, they stuck their shortstop in to catch at practice, hitter came back and broke his hand. Lost our starting shortstop for 8 week + he was rusty when he did get back. Just a basic rule of mine.