Q's on scap-loading and leg lift

Context: pitchers ages 11-13.

Scap load
Our pitching coach hasn’t shown this at all, yet I read on this forum lots of discussion on it. All the MLBers do it.
My son is extremely flexible and I’d like him to start doing this. When should this be taught? Is there a reason the coach wouldn’t be teaching this?

Leg Lift
I notice that most MLB pitchers when they bring their lift-leg up, they tend to tuck it inwards (say between 3b + SS). Our pitching coach keeps correcting my son when he does this. He wants it to be 90 degrees (pointing at 3B) from home plate. But my son can’t really generate leading with the butt (Hershiser thing) without tucking in the leg.
Who is right?

And same question about the lead shoulder during leg lift.

Please, please, help me out.


I definitely come down on the side of “scap load” happens. When you try to “manufacture” it I think it can really mess up a kid’s rhythm. If he’s leading with his hip, getting good momentum and firming up his glove near his front foot, keeping his head moving to the target he is well on his way to being a good little league pitcher.

As for the leg lift. I think anyone who really watches the game at all would agree it varies. Some lift to their lead shoulder. Some lift more toward the chin and some lift to back shoulder. I think the real key is “lift” not “swing” . A “swing” can take momentum away from target or affect “side to side” balance. (that being said i’m sure some high level pitchers have some swing in the lift) Is he teaching “balance point”? Some coaches believe this to be important and a kid will then lift more to his lead shoulder so he can reach his coaches goal of balance. Why you teach a pause in the middle of an extremely athletic movement I’m not sure but many do.

As for the shoulder turn. NPA stuff makes sense to me. Some guys have big shoulder turns, (kevin brown, cc sabathia, some have shoulders more on line with big hip turns, clemons). coaches need to realize that good mechanics are important but pitchers can “look” different from each other and both have solid mechanics.

How to deal with the coach? Good question. Some get very defensive when questioned. All I can say is if you take a little leaguer who can throw strikes and compete and fill his head with “mechanics” and turn him into a jumbled up mess you should be ashamed. Kids sign up to “play” baseball not to be apart of some coach’s science project. I honestly believe the coach should give the kid the LEAST amount of information he needs to succeed. A good tip for one kid may confuse the heck out of another. The goal is not “perfect” mechanics. It’s to command the baseball. Help them do that. Watching a kid who knows he can throw stikes is really a lot of fun.

Thank you!!!

This is definitely a post that my son will be able to read, understand and appreciate. So far, he’s kinda been lead to believe that there is only 1 way to pitch (yet I’m grateful for what he’s been taught).

As for the scap load, I’m not so much trying to have him manufacture it, but whenever he brings his arm back - if it is not inline with his shoulder, it gets corrected. The coach wants his arm to be straight. Any thoughts?

I always ask, what is the reason for a coach trying to make an adjustment, if its just to have the pitcher fit a predetermined mold of how a pitcher should look, then that isn’t a technique or mechanic that the coach should try and instill. Instead what is the reason, the coach sould try different leg lifts, scap loads and other mechanical things that will improve that particualar pitchers overall mechanics.

Is the coach teaching to reach back towards second base? I’ve seen kids who have obviously been taught this and do well but I’ve also seen kids who have whippy arms who end up more towards the second baseman (for a righthander) and do well. But at some point that scap loading thing happens. So without seeing a video my question would be is your son struggling with control? Is his arm/shoulder bothering him? Has he lost velocity? If not I’d most likely leave that area alone. If his arm is getting stuck behind him/late you might try just having him experiment with an over all slightly faster tempo. Sometimes this will get a kid to keep his arm more in line ( but not perfectly in line) with his upper body( not necessarily in line with 2nd base) because the body really wants to stay in synch.

It is way more common in my experience, albeit limited, that kids are more likley to get their arm up to soon rather than too late. If it is too late let me know. There’s a couple of other simple things to try to get things in synch.

Thank you both for your comments. Food for thought.

My son is short and light but very athletic & flexible. He did gymnastics when he was young (his mother was a competitive gymnast) so he has advanced body-awareness.

What this all means is that I’d like him to use these strengths to try things (like scap-load and leading with his hip) to compensate for his undersize. He’s an accurate pitcher, and throws pretty hard for his size, but ok for his age. I’d like him to increase his velocity so he can use an off-speed pitch effectively.

Honestly the best thing then is to get some video up either here or on the mechanics page and see if some have comments on his situation now and how he can improve those points and pitching in general.

Generally speaking the idea of getting video up here on the website is going to be beneficial to you and your son…perhaps not so much to your sons coach though :lol:…more then likely and unfortunately he will not like the idea that your son is learning from someone else and or not doing what he wants him to do…problem is your son has to play for him so there is a fine line there; to an extent.

Things to keep in mind…don’t think of the leg lift as a swinging motion it is a load up and more so the further back the knee is brought.

Balance when done properly has nothing to do with stopping to achieve it or stopping load just so a leg lift can be at an angle towards 3B for the righty.

Generally speaking if a kid does that type of leg lift ideally you would want a higher knee/leg lift…the higher the better as long as every thing else remains in sync/control.

Whatever the case may be a pause is not good even if to achieve balance unless with real young kids who are all out of control falling towards the plate out of sync, then perhaps it is better to think balance then not. However this does not sound like the case with your son.

Sounds ot me like the coach is simply set on one particular leg lift for your son and probably all pitchers on his staff and that would give testament to those who view things differently that he is perhaps not as all knowing as he believes he is.

As others have mentioned a video would encourage some here on the forum to give insight and opinions as they relate to the entire situation.

I would bet a dime to dollar that there is a middle ground to come to that could be properly sold to the coach that would also be more beneficial to your son…for instance and guessing; say a happy medium…higher leg lift a bit more behind his back knee…or something like that…total speculation though at this point.

Honestly if your kids pitching coach is confident in his skills then he will totally support you putting a video up. It should continue to progress him further into his pitching career and push you to spend even more money with his instructor to fine tune the things that might be suggested. My kids have all taken lessons, all have been up here for suggestions and all just want it more and more. It’s also pretty cool for your kid to know that there is a youtube video of him practicing, my younget loves the fact that he has video of him progressing since he was 8 or 9 and wants to see the next one, the comments for the next one and to work on improving from the last time.