Please analyze my 11 y/o pitcher


#1

Please look at all three views and give advice on my 11 y/o son. Pitching from wind up and stretch. He is in pony league and needs to do both.

Thanks,


#2

A couple of things that may surprise you, both related to the non-throwing arm:

  1. His glove is much to large for his size. A good pitching delivery has a lot to do with balance and symmetry of the throwing arm and glove arm. So, your son is throwing a 5 oz baseball from one hand and wearing a 2 lb glove on the other…that’s a big mismatch. My 15 yo pitcher is 6’2" tall and weighs 175 lbs…but I’d guess he uses a smaller, lighter glove than your son does.

  2. Looks like your boy has been coached to think that throwing is only about the throwing arm…but look at some slo-mo video of some of the best pitchers. They all mirror what their throwing arm is doing with a sort of equal and opposite action in their glove-side arm. Possibly because your son’s glove is too heavy, he doesn’t really do that…instead, he keeps the glove side kind of close in to his body…even looks like he pulls the glove in close to his chest on purpose.

I urge you to look at video of lots of good pitchers, and start trying to understand what is individual style versus what is fundamentally important to all their deliveries.

Here’s a pretty good one to start with:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xj6H_6n6PyY


#3

Below are some of my explanation and examples from the pictures i found in internet

look at river’s arm action, he does not swing the arm and point to 1st base
and does not show the ball to 2nd base,

look at when he finish, his back is flat, and the front leg is bend then get up after swing,

look at the front leg kick, which shows that the leg has full extension.

(i remember one of the article from this website has tell the difference between kick to the catcher and kick from the right side of the mound)

another exmaple

this is what i mean when your right hand is up to the perfect timing, which behind the head, right, your son has did the right thing, but what i concern is that the front leg, your son’s front leg is quite straight up , but look at the picture’s front leg and back leg’s extension

this is roger’s example that he does not kick his front leg with good extension but he does not has the problem when he comes to perfect timing stage, look his front leg is also quite low demonstrate a good stride angle between 2 legs and his back leg is also extend very well

Stride

this 2 pictures shows that how a proper stride is, look at the left hand and their right leg, the right leg’s balance is a little bit lower, and left hand will bring the glove to his chest , not just foward your chest to the glove


Now lets look at upper body with arm swing

Justin Verlander has the simliar problem, which is that the front leg is quite straight and high which will influence the followthrough phase , look at justin verlander, his followthrough phase is not so flat , but you can argue that is above the average, because he has bend his body and use the energy to throw , but it is difficult for him to stand still after pitching, that is the problem and also influence his command.
a good command pitcher will always keep his body balance still~!!!

did you see the difference between swing from side , not to the back and shows the ball to 1st base?

if you swing from side and have properly swing like Justin verlander, Roy oswalt, Rivera, the hitters will never see your ball and it will not increase the load at the right shoulder, that is why Ben sheet and Rich harden always have this problem

why i took these 3 pitchers’ mechanics ? because they all use long arm pendulum swing, and i think this will be helpful for your kid, maddux and Roger clemens, are simliar arm swing that their elbow will bend backwards and form a /_ hand

like this

the roger right picture with a traiditional L shape is when he is 2008 and 2009, the later stage in Yankess,and another L shape is like MO and Red Sox’s closer Jonathan


2 of these pictures above illustrate that shows the ball to 1st base, especially the one with ben sheet, the hitters can see clearly the pitchers’ ball and also that this increase the load at the shoulder’s joint and the ball should face to the right side of the mound not like ben sheet, face to 2nd base or centre field

look at his back leg extension, which is totally straight, and the front leg,
see the front leg is bend which support the whole body’s weight to prevent the balance goes off, the reason your kid stand still because he does not use his body which means he does not bend his whole body downards, if he did , with that straight front leg, he will looks like F-rod who lose the balance and can not even stand still with a good fielding position. Then a bad followthrough phase is occour.

another exmaple shows how flat the back is and also the body balance is very solid.

regards

reference:

the video is from MLB.com
and the pictures, some of them are from ChrisOleary

this is only for pitching mechanics analysis
not for any other purpose

cheers

Finaly reminder, please do some drills or exercise or training to help for the flexibilty for followthrough phase, else it is difficult to force and change a beginner to do what exactly a professional does

your son is so lucky to use the equipment and a father who has a good camera to post the video :>

all the best


#4

It looks like his glove is an issue. It alters how he would naturally throw. My college aged, 6’ 185 lber uses an 11" or 11 1/4" I can’t remember. His mechs will change as soon as you get a different one. It may frustrate him because he kind of uses it for leverage (Body rotates around the glove), so the sooner the better.


#5

Thank you for the input. I will work on a couple of those sugestions. It appears that he is keeping the left leg too straight and stiff using mostly upper body. Any ideas for drills to try and fix that? I will be getting him a smaller glove also.


#6

The third drill on this vid is one that may help get him a bit more fundementally sound in his delivery.


#7

It’s unusual to see such a young guy who is so inflexible.

You can see it in every part of his pitching mechanics.

His stride (the maximum opening between the front and trailing leg) is only about 60 degrees. Hall of Famers have 120 to 165 degrees.

This is much more of an issue than the size of his glove or his timing.

His form will get much better once he improves his flexibility.


#8

willvill,

Pitchmaster has identified something that is interesting but, being primarily a golfer (I think), he didn’t quite put it into the same words that most pitching coaches might use.

Rather than focusing on the angle between your son’s legs when he lands, pitching coaches tend to discuss the ratio of height/stride length. Stride length is conventionally measured from the front edge of the rubber to the tip of the toe at landing point. One of the reasons for thinking about it in that way is: Pitchers and coaches can actually make those measurements and assess what is happening during a bullpen session

Anyway, pitchers should generally strive to have a stride that is at least 90% of their height. 100% is very good, and some elite pitchers stride 110% of their height or maybe a little more.

Pitchmaster’s point of view is not at odds with those numbers because the angle between the legs does obviously increase with stride length. However, even using good video it is more difficult to accurately measure an angle between the legs than it is to measure a simple ratio of the pitcher’s height divided by his stride length.

Finally (sorry this is taking so long!), I’d like to return to the issue about glove size/weight. As mentioned before, the excessive weight of your son’s glove prevents him from being able to achieve well balanced “opposite and equal” arms during his stride. He mostly keeps his glove-side inappropriately close in to his body throughout the delivery, probably due to that weight imbalance. That will also cause him to take a shorter stride, in my opinion. If his glove weighs 2+ lbs right now, imagine as a thought-experiment what would happen to his stride distance if his glove weight were doubled to 4 lbs…IMO, his arms would be even less balanced and he would shorten his stride even further to compensate for that. If you get him a glove that is appropriate for his size, he will be able to optimize his delivery.

Tom House has actually discussed a similar point concerning quarterbacks–the mismatch between ball weight and free hand is very large for them, and consequently QBs use a much shorter stride than pitchers. Pitchmaster might wish to think about this issue in golf terms: What would happen to a golfer’s mechanics if he used a driver that was 1/2 lb heavier than it ought to be?


#9

willvill,

I’m not a pitching expert, just a baseball dad and assistant LL coach with an 11 y/o son who likes to pitch. I don’t have a baseball background, but I’ve been learning as much as I can to help my kid and his teammates. Here are my thoughts:

  • Control first, velocity second. Too much velocity can even be impediment to game success at this age. Many young batters are afraid to swing the bat. At the same time, youth league umps seem to have a tendency to call a smaller strike zone for better kids who throw hard. This can make batters 6 through 9 a challenge for the young flamethrower. While it is undeniably cool to be the team fireballer, at this age small improvements in control pay much bigger dividends than improvements in velocity.

  • Have realistic expectations and goals. Maddux or Clemens (insert the name of your favorite MLB pitcher) might be good models for mechanics, but they are poor comparisons for youth performance. From reviewing pitching data from LL World Series regional playoff games, I’ve come to the conclusion that a skilled 12 y/o pitcher in our region can be expected to throw just over 60% strikes under game conditions. That seems to be a realistic, measurable, and achievable goal for a young pitcher.

  • I think your son is already doing pretty well. In the first video, five of the eleven pitches would probably be called strikes in our local league. Another two or three would probably be close enough to induce swings. In my mind, that is a pretty good start. Remember, he will only get better. Watching youth basketball this winter has reminded me of the difference (strength and coordination) between an 11 y/o and a 12 y/o. Just with some regular practice he is going to see improvement.

  • I agree with what everyone has said about your son’s glove side control. In the first video, you can predict the location of his pitches by watching his glove. My son and I use “chest to glove” as the teaching cue for controlling his glove. It works really well for him. With a smaller glove and increased awareness of his glove location, I think your son will see a lot of improvement.

  • I would like to see less lateral head movement. One thing that has worked for us is keeping a focus on the target (a dime-sized spot on the catcher’s glove) through delivery and after release. The tendency seems to be to be to release the ball and then track the ball with the eyes to the catcher’s glove. Focusing on a small spot all the way through delivery and after release has improved my son’s focus and reduced his head movement. We use “chin to catcher” as the teaching cue for head movement. Sometimes we try to watch the spot on the catcher’s glove with just the right eye (my son is right handed and right eye dominant).

  • Try not to do too much at once. Too many “do” instructions (“do this” and “do that”) can take the fun out of the whole thing. When things aren’t progressing as quickly as you think they should, just let it be. Go shoot some hoops together and come back to pitching another day.

Doublebag


#10

Very good advice, Doublebag.


#11

im sorry that those photos are not showing because my photobucket is overlimit

i will sign up another account and recover those photos recenetly and as soon as i can

by the way

your son’s arm swing, has point to 1st base which is not good like

Weaver,Ben sheet,Harden, and dodger’s billingsley that will cause the shoulder injury!! please prevent that

just swing from side not to the back will be fine


#12

i think what youths need to focus on is to prevent what to do such as inverted L or not perfect timing problem (just few important notes , not all of it)

meanwhile do some other excerise to strength the weakness of the body or legs such as stride or footplant

Look at Tim Lincecum, his pitching mechanics is very simliar to when he is young, (i remember there is a video about TIm when he is young on youtube)
the pitching mechanics is very very much simliar to what he is doing now

because our body has memories, which means it will learn with more practice so when young players can develop a habitual pitching mechanics, with decent move, almost no mistakes , ignore pitching velocity, (also learnt some wrong pitching mechanics if you keep practice with it)

a consistent pitching mechanics (also release point) will develop and definitely make a awesome overall pitching mechanics and as a result a good pitcher is form.

so i think he has to tell what he feel, not like a lot of young pitchers did, they try to throw very fast, and sometimes a aweful mechaics is form, or there are few mistakes , but those young kids, only see the velocity and recognise that this high velocity is the best pitching mechanics i have to learn , this is wrong, they have to learn how to pitch with most relax and ease. and how to learn?? their body will tell them.

i can pitch around 95 over 8 innings and the next day i do not feel any pain, and i still can go outfield and practice other techniques such as fieldings or doing other drills. then after 1-2 days rest, i start to step on mound and practice with 60-70 % of my maxinium speed. then 1-2 day rest, then go into game and pitch again!!


#13

[quote=“Doublebag”]willvill,

I’m not a pitching expert, just a baseball dad and assistant LL coach with an 11 y/o son who likes to pitch. I don’t have a baseball background, but I’ve been learning as much as I can to help my kid and his teammates. Here are my thoughts:

  • Control first, velocity second. Too much velocity can even be impediment to game success at this age. Many young batters are afraid to swing the bat. At the same time, youth league umps seem to have a tendency to call a smaller strike zone for better kids who throw hard. This can make batters 6 through 9 a challenge for the young flamethrower. While it is undeniably cool to be the team fireballer, at this age small improvements in control pay much bigger dividends than improvements in velocity. [/quote]

Excellent point. An 85 pitch count limit goes very fast (3+ innings) for a flame thrower when the other team doesn’t swing and the umpire has a dollar size strike zone . On the other hand, the kid who throws with less velocity but throws strikes can pitch five or six innings in a game since the opposing team is hitting the ball that can can be fielded for an out.

Another good point. I see the same thing when observing the differences between 11 y/o and 12 y/o kids.

I can tell the location of my son’s pitch by watching his eyes. If it’s focused on the catcher’s glove, it’s a strike. If his eyes wander, then it’s a ball.

[quote=“Doublebag”]* Try not to do too much at once. Too many “do” instructions (“do this” and “do that”) can take the fun out of the whole thing. When things aren’t progressing as quickly as you think they should, just let it be. Go shoot some hoops together and come back to pitching another day.

Doublebag[/quote]

With young pitchers I work on one objective at a time. Over the course of a baseball season, working with a purpose comes together and you see gradually and steady improvements.