Postural tilt and arm slot


#1

Something Roger said in another thread got me thinking…some of you might remember that i posted some pics of my son and his very pronounced shoulder tilt a while back, although i cant seem to find the thread i posted the pics in. Since then we have tried to work on it, but have not made much progress. Such a fundamental change in his delivery is uncomfortable and awkward to him, and he abandons it as soon as the first pitch isnt a perfect strike, usually no more than about the third throw.

Anyway, here is the quote from Roger:

What about the reverse of this? If a kid already has a pronounced postural tilt that is bad enough that it seems to be affecting his control/velocity, is lowering the arm slot a remedy?

I ask because the other day my son was working with his coach and the coach (an ex-Div2 All American pitcher) was trying to get him to not tilt so much and in the course of working with him began to tell him to lower his arm slot to a more 3/4 delivery. So my question is…

Is this something i should be on board with?

Here is a gif of a pitch he threw the other day…

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#2

Well, I think the tilt still may be the issue. Look at when he comes to the peak of his leg lift. Look how far to the left his head is, it isn’t above his leg. So essentially, it appears that this postural tilt is a component of leaning to one side. This means that his ‘tilt’ is due to him pulling his head off the target, which I am not on board with.

The reason that the coach would want him to drop his arm slot then is so that the ball doesn’t come out at such an awkward angle with the tilt, otherwise he is robbing himself of velocity and control if he has such a strong tilt and throws over the top.

To fix this, have him work from the stretch, but when he is set, make sure his back leg is a little bent and have him almost lean forward. It shouldn’t make him feel awkward, just different, but remember, you are teaching him a new balance point almost, so it may be different than he is used to.


#3

[quote=“CSOleson”]Well, I think the tilt still may be the issue. Look at when he comes to the peak of his leg lift. Look how far to the left his head is, it isn’t above his leg. So essentially, it appears that this postural tilt is a component of leaning to one side. This means that his ‘tilt’ is due to him pulling his head off the target, which I am not on board with.

The reason that the coach would want him to drop his arm slot then is so that the ball doesn’t come out at such an awkward angle with the tilt, otherwise he is robbing himself of velocity and control if he has such a strong tilt and throws over the top.

To fix this, have him work from the stretch, but when he is set, make sure his back leg is a little bent and have him almost lean forward. It shouldn’t make him feel awkward, just different, but remember, you are teaching him a new balance point almost, so it may be different than he is used to.[/quote]

I didnt even notice his head being so far back at the peak of his leg lift. I was more talking about his shoulders at ball release. But i guess you are saying that they are all the same problem, that his head is offline at peak leg lift and that this starting point causes the shoulder tilt.

WE will try throwing from the stretch and see if it helps.


#4

[quote=“southcarolina”]I didnt even notice his head being so far back at the peak of his leg lift. I was more talking about his shoulders at ball release. But i guess you are saying that they are all the same problem, that his head is offline at peak leg lift and that this starting point causes the shoulder tilt.

WE will try throwing from the stretch and see if it helps.[/quote]
Right, the postural tilt could be directly because of this. Starting out with something wrong can lead to overcompensation in one area of the pitcher and throw everything out of line. In this case his head being so far off center to begin with may be what is causing him to tilt his shoulders, as the shoulders and head are a platform directly linked. Working from the stretch helps the issue become more apparent and easier to work one. Fix it there, then move to the windup.


#5

Don’'t fix the arm slot - fix the posture and let the arm go where it wants. I believe the posture issue is pulling the shoulders open early causing a sequencing problem in that his hips and shoulders appear to rotate together instead of hips before shoulders.


#6

One thing I noticed from the video clip-
when he gets to foot strike,
his foot is not pointing straight towards the plate.
This could also be forcing him to come over the top,
putting alot of stress on his shoulder and elbow (not to say that pitching from any other arm slot doesn’t put stress on the shoulder and elbow).
I think this is one spot that could be costing him some velocity.


#7

[quote=“CardsWin”]One thing I noticed from the video clip-
when he gets to foot strike,
his foot is not pointing straight towards the plate.
This could also be forcing him to come over the top,
putting alot of stress on his shoulder and elbow (not to say that pitching from any other arm slot doesn’t put stress on the shoulder and elbow).
I think this is one spot that could be costing him some velocity.[/quote]

I saw the front foot thing and i think it was more of an anomaly than anything. His front foot hasnt ever really been a problem. I’ll keep an eye on it though.


#8

The problem is that even though the shoulder tilt has been a known issue for over a year now, everything i have tried to remedy it has not worked. Anytime he tries to pitch with less shoulder tilt, he says it feels awkward and that he cant pitch that way and refuses to give it anything more than a cursory attempt.


#9

All right, here it comes…THE SECRET.
I’ve spoken about this a lot on this website. It’s something I learned a long time ago, when I was getting into pitching, and it is this: You have to get your whole body into the action and not just throw with the arm and the shoulder. I learned this from three Yankee pitchers—the Big Three of the late 40s to the mid 50s; I watched them closely, and I saw just what they were doing. They were driving off the lower half of the body, using the legs, the hips and the torso in one continuous (and, it seemed, seamless) motion, and among other things doing this took a lot of pressure off the arm and the shoulder.
I saw just how they were doing this, and I made a note of it and started working on it on my own. As I practiced this essential element of good mechanics I discovered that I was doing the same thing those guys were—getting that seamless motion into my delivery, and although I was not particularly fast (I topped out in the low 80s) I threw harder with less effort. One of the key components is the hip action, and to this end I refer you to something called the “Hershiser” drill which aims at getting the hips fully involved.
Also, the kid needs to be sure that when he comes down with that left leg the foot is planted squarely in the direction of home plate. I’m convinced that this whole problem is a question of mechanics—you’d be surprised at what a difference it can make. So go ahead, give it a shot and see what happens. 8)


#10

SC,

I tell all the pitchers I work with that when I have them make an adjustment that it will push them out of their comfort zone - it’s not what they’re used to. And even the smallest adjustment can feel huge. While they’re out of their comfort zone, their velocity and/or their control will likely drop off. (This is why you don’t make certain changes in-season.) But they must stick with it until they get enough reps in to make it feel comfortable. Then the velocity and control will return. If you’re not willing to do this, you will have a tough time improving. Nothing improves overnight - everything takes time. I know that can be difficult for young kids to buy into.

I just finished working with a 10yo you had incurred a mild growth plate injury. This doesn’t even pitch - he’s a position player. This kid had a glove issue that resulted in early shoulder rotation and hips and shoulders rotating together. This was easily seen on high-speed video. I’m not trying to scare you and I certain can’t predict injuries. But this is an example of what kind of thing can happen. So I would take seriously the sequencing issue I mentioned previously.

Now, I took another look at the video you posted above and have some more comments for you. First, your son shifts his posture at the beginning of his delivery. The step to the side and back starts the movment toward 1B nd 3B. Then, as he goes into knee lift, he leans back toward 1B. Finally, as his knee drops, he leans forward toward 3B. All of this movement in directions other than towards home plate will be a source of control issues. It will make it more difficult to have a repeatable delivery.

Next, your son’s lower half is not contributing much. He is late in getting his hips moving forward. It’s tough to tell from the camera angle but you can look at his shadow on the ground and see this.

Finally, like I mentioned previously, he has the sequencing issue of hips rotating with the shoulders. This keeps him from using his body to through. The consequence is that he’ll try to compensate using his arm.

Note that I can’t really see what his glove does but it kind of looks like he turns the glove over before foot plant. If that’s correct, then there’s some room for improvement there. Ideally, he should be “equal and opposite” as close to foot plant as possible. That can be achieved by holding the flove out front longer or by getting the hips moving to get into foot plant a bit sooner.

My suggestion is to start with what comes/happens first in the delivery. That would be posture and balance. I would work on eliminating all unnecessary head movement. Have your son start in a more athletic position by putting a slight bend in the knees and waist. Tell him to think “batting stance”. Then have him try to keep his head from moving in any direction than torwards home plate - keep his head upright and online with the target as long as possible. You can use the NPA’s knee drill and rocker drill to isolate the upper half to get him started. Then add in lower half movement.

Once your son has the posture stabilized, then work on getting the hips moving forward a tiny bit sooner. Once he’s got that figured out, work on equal and opposite.


#11

Roger, it’s essential that this kid, who has a lot of work to do, stick to it. I posted something in the “work ethic” thread elsewhere on this website—something Ed Lopat once said when he was being interviewed by a baseball writer. Lopat was uncharacteristically blunt on this subject; he said that if you want to get better you have to work at it, that you can’t just sit there and wait for it to be handed to you on a platter. There’s no getting away from it. 8)


#12

Roger, what do you make of the fact that the foot of his post leg is coming off the ground before he reaches even the high cocked position?


#13

That tells me that he is not in the best balance, I am sure at that point his abs are working hard to keep his upper body from moving. I would like to see him keep his foot flat on the ground and the body stay relaxed all the way through the post. There might be a little too much leg lift for this pitcher too, a pitcher really shouldn’t lift the leg any higher than the body can stay nice and relaxed.


#14

I think it’s a combination of things contributing to the back foot lifting early. The tilt can certainly do that. So can early shoulder rotation. While there is a lot of postural movement between 1B and 3B, what we can’t see is if he is leaning towards home plate (i.e. leading with the shoulder instead of the hip). That would also contribute to the back foot lifting early. We also can really see what/when the glove is doing - a side view to accompany the rear view would be good. Anyway, all of these things contribute to the sequencing problem and the back foot lifting early.


#15

I would also like to see the back foot stay down longer not by putting the focus there but by fixing the things in my previous post. The back foot staying down is more of a desired result of other things.

Agreed. The posture he shifts into after his knee starts to drop should probably be the posture he starts in.


#16

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#17

It might be worth taking a look at the position of his foot against the rubber. It looks like his heel is a couple of inches in front (the ball of the foot is against the rubber). I know not all pitchers keep their heel right against the rubber but just as an experiment if i move my heel away from the rubber and try to throw to the catcher my natural reaction is to tilt to get back in line and my foot pops up early because my hips have been locked out. May be worth thinking about because it would be a simple fix.


#18

I know you addressed that question to Roger,
but I think that what you said about his post leg coming off the ground
could be something that is making him lose some velocity.