Question for Zita and others on sidearm mechanics


#1

My son has been working on his sidearm delivery for the past six months. He experienced a lot of pain in his elbow throwing 3/4 but did it for two seasons. He threw 25-30 pitches and had to come out due to pain in the elbow. He threw that way each season but was told not to do it. He said he feels more comfortable at this angle and has MUCH better accuracy and velocity.

I noticed that he likes to drop low to the ground and I tried to correct that (forcing him to stay taller) and his accuracy disappeared. I have seen a lot of Japanese pitchers drop low to the ground like he does.

Can you see anything that looks correct?

Is there anything that he can be doing better?

He has been trying to crossfire and trying to not over do it. Looking at his pitches, they stay low and move from right to left and sink. Is this just how he pitches (or type of pitch) or is he missing the running fastball from sidearm pitchers?

Thanks for you help.


#2

Just pay attention to that arm recoil after he releases the pitch. It sometimes flips back around behind his body after he releases the pitch. Other times it goes off toward third base. You still want to follow through consistently when throwing sidearm or submarine.


#3

Well I have heard that some guys in the bigs extend their careers by starting to throw sidearm, I would be concerned about pain though and if this is what he has to do then by all means throw that way vs pain at 3/4.

You might consider that he might just not be physically mature enough to throw 3/4 or over the top yet, give it a year and then bring his arm angle back up then maybe he will be able to pitch out of 2 arm slots comfortably for strikes.


#4

The sidearm delivery is actually the most natural and the easiest on the arm and shoulder, so if the kid is comfortable with it and can throw without discomfort, by all means he should stick with it. And, with or without using the crossfire, this delivery is a menace to batters’ averages—and their egos, because they have a lot of trouble picking up on his pitches. I should know—I discovered at age eleven that I had a natural sidearm delivery, and a pretty nice little curveball that came attached to it.
The important thing is that he work on finishing his pitches—following through on the delivery, especially so that he ends up in a good fielding position—and balance. That’s always important. Also, when using the crossfire (ooh, did I ever fall in love with that delivery, I used it all the time), it’s essential that he use the same speed working from the stretch as he does from the full windup. I had a problem with that at first, but my incredible pitching coach helped me with it.
Happy sidearming! :slight_smile: 8)


#5

The sidearm delivery is probably safer on the shoulder but is definitely not safer for the elbow. Research by Aguinaldo et al. indicates that elbow stress shoots up as the delivery reaches the sidearm slot.


#6

That’s funny, kyleb—that’s very funny. I never had any problems with that delivery. Here’s something to chew on: when Ed Lopat was with the White Sox he learned both a long-arm and a short-arm delivery from his manager, Ted Lyons, who was himself no slouch on the mound. When Lopat came to the Yankees, I hooked up with him a few years later, and he taught me how to adapt the short-arm motion to my sidearm delivery—I already had the long-arm motion and had been throwing with it. So I was using both versions of the delivery, plus my very favorite—the crossfire—with no problems. And I used it effectively for more than two decades. 8)


#7

I believe that you believe it isn’t stressful on the elbow. But science doesn’t necessarily agree. That’s all I’m saying.


#8

It looks like you are just doing fine by that guy. I’ve seen a few very respectable youth sidearmers. That video of you two catching is priceless. Do you realize how many videos get posted with kids throwing into screens, walls, off plywood or backstops? Nobody there to catch them? My kid is 19 soon to be 20 and we still go out back for a catch. It’s downright therapeutic after I get over the sore hand… :?


#9

I’d watch the glove - looks like he flies open with it which could open the shoulders early and leave the arm dragging and THAT could add some stress to the arm as he plays “catch up” with the arm.


#10

@ Steven - I noticed that more after you mentioned it. I passed that to him and he is working on that.

@buwhite - He throws overhand when he warms up and coaches keep asking him to “throw correctly” and he tries to make them happy and when he complains of elbow / shoulder pain they say its because of how he throws - not that he has been trying to throw overhand and make them happy.

@Zita - Something that he is doing is trying to finish the pitch but he is sliding from right to left and the pitch is wild. Its happens more from the mound at the field and not so much from the makeshift mound at home. I am guessing he is not bracing hard enough of the front foot causing him to slide on loose dirt?

@Dino - I love going out with him to work. When I was in high school, I pitched into a pitch back. He has bruised my fingers - I had to go out and buy a catchers mitt and I still get stung some.

@Rodger - He is trying to bring his glove in to his hip and square up. When he does, he does a lot better.

Quick question, if you watch his delivery, he dips down and drives but he is sliding (no grip at all) down the mound (dirt) causing him to fall. Is this leg strength that he is lacking or timing from not planting the foot before going home?

Thanks again everyone!


#11

I think that most coaches that think a kid is going sidearm in fact the kid is probably throwing 3/4 and not side arm. Now I know that the pitching videos has him throwing side arm but does he maybe throw 3/4 (which is fine BTW).


#12

He can throw 3/4. I used to throw from a higher 3/4 when I played in high school. I started teaching that to him and he never made it that high without crying after a several tosses. He can throw high lobbing tosses overhand but if you straighten them out and put something behind it, he will go past his breaking point. I would see him on the mound with tears on his face and still try to throw that way.

He will warm up 3/4 “ish” but I could park my truck in front of him and would feel safe that he couldn’t hit the window. Kids don’t like warming up with him. They have to throw over or 3/4 and he has a low success rate of hitting them in the chest. He drops to the side and can toss all day.

I try to get him to throw 10 over, 10 3/4 then drop to the side for warm-ups.


#13

If that is how he throws with no pain then that is how he should throw. Discussion with coaches would be the next thing I would do to make sure that they understand what he does and how he throws well, hey I think it would be a positive to have a sidearm pitcher that can throw strikes on my team!

Next would be where can/does he play when he’s not pitching? Maybe 1st base, or one of the corners in the outfield would be the best positions for a sidearm thrower…I don’t really know, maybe someone else has comments on this.