Righty missing consistently high and to the right


#1

11yo pitcher has consistent mechanics, and a pretty consistent ball flight that ends up head-high and to the right. Actually, smack square in the head of a right handed batter. I tracked 30 practice throws last night. 4 were dead center strikes, two at the ankles of a left handed batter (low and left), and the other 24 were in the same spot, right about where the head of a 10 year old righty would be in the box.

The interesting thing is that the first 19 high and right pitches were all in a row. He said those felt effortless. After the first 12, I had him close his eyes on a few, and they went in the same spot. I tried a quick drill on head position and posture, and then he threw the 4 strikes and two low and left, and then 5 more high and right.

He’s not bending very far, but before I stumble in there and ruin that effortless feeling for him, can anyone offer any tips?


#2

without seeing some video footage of him, i would say that he needs to be stepping more towards home plate instead of towards 3rd base. or his release point is too early.

post a video and you will get better suggestions.


#3

Had him for drills tonight. Planned work was for lower body and foot work, because I really didn’t know what to do about his accuracy, and I figured heck, just work on some basics until I can figure it out, he’s not pitching until Wednesday regardless. I let him throw 10 pitches towards the end, and when I stood behind him, it stuck out like a sore red thumb: on the first 5, he missed high and right and his left shoulder was lower than his right, and his torso had gone past square at release. Made him do 15 full minutes of broomstick drill as penance, then let him throw 5 more. Bang. 5 crisp strikes in a row.


#4

Anything that leads to early shoulder rotation can result in that up and in pitch you see. So, maintain good posture (keep the head upright) and control the glove (don’t drop, pull back or fly open with the glove).


#5

Question for original poster & Roger as well…

OP: Can you describe the broomstick drill?

Roger: I know the teach on head position etc from NPA is upright & directly to target. I agree completely, but have a question as it relates to over the top releasers.

My son is an over the top pitcher & his head naturally trails to the left as he rotates into release (I have a few vidz posted under 12JTWilson… I believe you have commented on a few tips as well).

He has a high leg lift, leads with hip & has a bit of drop/drived combined into the hip lead.

I guess my ? is what is the teach here? I’m used to telling kids “nose to target” don’t get off line & be over lead knee with balanced eyes @ release. Outside of dramatically changing his slot/release point that advice seems to be a bad fit for my kid.


#6

Good question.

First, understand that there are no absolutes in baseball. While there are teaches, those teaches don’t always apply to everyone. In your case, you have the difficult decision to make: do you change your son’s mechanics or not? You seem to have a reason not to - what is it? Is it that he’s having success and you’re afraid to mess him up? If so, that’s a legitimate concern - coaches do need to know when to lay off a pitcher. However, you also need to not be complacent if there is improvement to be had. These are not easy questions to answer.

Also, understand the trade-offs in terms of mechanics. An over-the-top release means the release point is back and up. Pitchers who stay upright release further out front and lower. A release point that is further out front increases perceived velocity, generally produces better movement on breaking pitches, and produces later movement - all good things.

By tilting to get the over-the-top release, the release point pulls back and raises up causing the ball to travel a further distance through the air giving the batter more reaction time. Getting over the top of the ball to put spin on it is more difficult. And the posture change can lead to early shoulder rotation which affects velocity, causes those up-and-in pitches the OP mentioned, and puts more load on the arm.

Again, no simple answer. And no absolutes as you can look at MLB and see it all. My mode of operation is to teach my teaches but to accept that there are no absolutes and to back off of a teach if it just won’t work. Maybe you could have your son experiment with the NPA teach. I do that with pitchers on occasion - I say “let’s try this as an experiment” so they know I’m not forcing it on them.

EDIT: Fixed typos.


#7

Roger:

Thx for the feedback… your knowledge & how you communicate is really appreciated.

I wasn’t aware of those release point differences as it relates to distance from target & natural break… I assumed there are +/-'s based on the location of fingers/grip @ release, great to know.

I want him more upright, I’ve tried to slowly move in that direction by way of teaches like “head over knee” etc… he’s 12 & although a great student I am a candidate for “over teaching” & don’t want to overwhelm him.

He used to have an upright stance @ balance point, but I’ve seen him migrate into more of a lean (David Cone?) & I’m guessing that translates into the change of posture thru release as well.

He’s still wiry (5’2 & 90-95 lbs)… with more strength I think the transition to high 3/4’s may develop. Off season is my plan on implementing some tweaks.

Again, thx for your feedback & presence on the sight/board.