Pitching disagreement with Coaches! Need Advice on GS Foot!

Gentleman first let me say that this site is a great resource and I appreciate the knowledge everyone is sharing. This is my first post but I have been browsing the site for a couple months in preparation for my sons upcoming 9U season and his teams first year in kid pitch baseball. I’m watching from the seats this year but because of the age and level of play and because how much time we spend just throwing the ball around, I still consider it my primary responsibility to nurture his love for the game and oversee his development. I’m hoping the following topic will generate some thoughtful discussion and advice that I can share with his coaching staff about an important difference of opinion concerning pitching mechanics. The teams coaching staff is made up of four sharp, insightful dads, a couple of which played college ball.

At issue is a pitching and throwing method taught by a local well-known instructor with ties to our area youth teams and university. Our coaches taught this method at a recent practice, which afterward I disagreed with and we discussed. The well-known instructor teaches a slight leg lift, balance point, shortened stride and landing the glove side foot completely closed to the target or as close to 90 degrees as possible :?: I suppose there could be some possible accuracy and control benefits for a first time pitcher by limiting the leg lift and stride and at the same time the promoting balance point. But, I don’t see how landing and planting on a closed GS foot from a mound could be healthy for the knee and hip joints, or aid in pitching velocity? The well known instructor claims this method will reduce risk of arm injury, increase accuracy and it promotes his teaching that pitching is about arm speed and not as related to stride, separation, or core mechanics as so many believe.

I’ve been teaching my son a more dynamic approach while explaining proper mechanics and the different phases of the pitch. I’ve never focused on the balance point and I’ve always promoted a lengthy but controllable stride with the GS foot landing in line with the target and slightly closed or pointing directly at the target. The well known instructor claims this is an “un-athletic” landing position and contributes to the arm being late or rushed.

Help me to discuss this topic with the coaching staff more intelligently.

Have him name one major league pitcher that does that. Just one, heck how about some minor leaguers or college guys…I don’t know anyone on earth that preaches that. Ask him if he’s kidding…I think he’s pulling your leg… :shock:

Absolutely! Nurture him, protect him and keep it fun.

Well, based on your comments below, it sounds like you shouldn’t assume that the dad-coaches who played college ball know how to teach pitching.

Limiting the knee lift can help a young pitcher to better stabilize his posture. And stride length should be only as long as can be controlled as you say. But I fail to see much use in the balance point.

Agreed. You will twist up the hip, knee, and ankle joints. And you’ll block off hip rotation which means you’re not using one of the biggest sources of power - hip and shoulder separation and the stretch-shortening cycle of the core muscles. Translated - you will not maximize velocity and will instead try to compensate using the arm.

If you can, ask the instructor to explain the mechanism by which arm injury is reduced. If he can’t provide a good explanation then be concerned. Arm speed certainly is important. But blocking off hip rotation and not using the body effectively to create energy and transfer it through the body and into the baseball is not the way to go.

“Un-athletic”? How is a landing position un-athletic? I don’t get it.

As JD pointed out, you won’t find a single MLB pitcher who does what your son is being asked to do. Ask the coaches to name one.

Those coaches are treading on very dangerous ground. If they can’t name even one major-league pitcher who does what they’re advocating, my advice is don’t listen to them. You’ve been doing an excellent job with your kid, and you’re getting good results, so stay with it.
Many moons ago, when I pitched, I had an absolutely incredible pitching coach—an active major-league pitcher who was a member of the Yanks’ Big Three rotation—whose basic premise was that every pitcher has a natural motion. What he did was to work with that pitcher and show him (or, in my case, her) how to make the most of it. I was a natural sidearmer, and I used the crossfire a lot, and he showed me how to take full advantage of this delivery. And he certainly didn’t subscribe to such stupidity as how to land on the plant foot at an angle that could only lead to injury! As a result of working with him I became a better pitcher than I had been before, and no sore arm or sore shoulder or sore anything else! :slight_smile: 8)

It’s hard to believe that someone would be preaching that when you can find so much information and videos that would show 0% support to that claim.

Every pitcher does have their own flavor/style/uniqueness…and SHOULD. None of us are alike. There are key spots that we all must hit as pitchers but how we get there could be completely different.

I couldn’t agree more. Ask for an explanation to his theory. If you get one post it here.

Hi, Barclay.
A few years ago I presented a paper at the SABR regional convention in Cleveland—about pitching coaches—and at one point I divided it into several sections. There are the pitchers who not only can pitch but also can coach and teach. There are the guys who can’t pitch to save themselves but who can coach. There are the ones who can do but can’t coach. And there are the ones who can’t do either—and it seems to me that these coaches we’re talking about fall into the last category. Ick!
My pitching coach—Ed Lopat, who was an active major leaguer and a key member of the Yankees’ Big Three rotation of 1948 to the middle of 1955—was definitely in the first category. In fact, he became so well known as a pitcher who could coach and teach in addition to beating the Cleveland Indians to a pulp (which he did with almost monotonous regularity) that his teammates weren’t the only ones who sought him out for advice and help; pitchers on several of the other AL teams would ask his advice, and he once told me that he would work with anyone, and he meant anyone, who was interested, who wanted to know and who was willing to work at it. He had formed in his mind a jumping-off point from which he could work with me. He knew I was a natural sidearmer who used a slide-step and worked with the crossfire a lot, and he helped me refine that move and showed me how to make the most of it. I will never forget the day he was helping me with the circle change, and he said to me “I know you’re going to crossfire it. You use that move with everything you throw.” He didn’t have to tell me much about mechanics, just made a suggestion here and there as to how I could make it more effective; because I was willing to work at it he had absolutely no hesitation about teaching me some of the more esoteric pitches.
I’m willing to bet that these misguided and misbegotten coaches never saw him or any other major leaguer pitch, let alone take the mound themselves. “Un-athletic”, my a**. As I said earlier, the kid and his dad should disregard them. :slight_smile: 8)