?'s for offseason work on mechanics

My son is 12 & has good mechanics, but like all pitchers needs to develop in a few key areas. He is shutting down throwing from Oct to end of Dec, but we want to take advantage of the down time to work on a couple of things that were tuff to tweak in season.

2 ?'s… Is it okay to soft toss 15 feet into a target with a 1 oz ball as he works on drills/timing? Does that compromise his “down time” as he rests his arm for the 3 month dead period?

What drills are best to work on his timing (arm position & shoulders being closed @ foot strike) & lower body work (back leg extension, explosive stride & arm extension @ the target into release)?

I’m looking at the towel drill as one drill to incorporate but not sure how that affects his arm during down time?

What other drills or exercises can develop his timing of the arm position @ foot strike & effective use of his lower body?

To answer part of your question I am finding that with young pitchers such as your son you can do all the “shoulders closed at foot strike” drills you want but until their core strength is sufficient to maintain the posture necessary little improvement is noticed or gained. I think the same can be said for some of the other things you’d like to work on. I’d suggest taking this “downtime” opportunity to work on functional strength issues, especially the legs and core.

I suspect you will find several opinions on the towel drill and whether it is appropriate during the “down time”. The benefit is that it gives feedback on your overall mechanics and puts little stress on the arm. If you take the ASMI recommendations literally it does involve the overhead throwing motion however.

The towel drill, as the NPA uses it, is often misrepresented on the internet. Here is one of the best descriptions of the drill I have found along with a good explanation of the feedback the drill provides.

JT,

Throwing with a 1oz ball can actually put more stress on the arm (specifically, the backside decelerators) than a 5oz ball because the arm can move faster.

You didn’t say how long your son has been playing up until now but, if it’s been the better part of a year then my opinion would be to have your son take the time off without any throwing. Let hiim play some other non-throwing sport or work on some conditioning like JP suggested. Or let him just be a kid.

Now, take a look at the video JP posted and listen to what the coach in the video says about posture and glove. Those would be things to work on with your son once he starts back up again.

sounds like taking a break & letting snow boarding take over is the right call. He went to the local community center 2 mos ago on his own & set up a core/lower body workout to kill time over the winter… I was pretty impressed by that to say the least.

Interesting feedback on the core strength factor as it relates to expectations & areas of focus with preteens… That’s something I’ve always wondered about.

This site is a goldmine of information, but what & when to apply sometimes get lost as we discuss pitchers at various levels.

Roger, he’s been a lot more consistent with his spine/head/center of gravity etc since this video. In previous posts I’ve read your thoughts re: the chest to glove vs tuck/pull. I think you even advised that with a video of my son in Jan '10.

We video a lot… games & bullpens. One of my sons strengths is the ability to make quick adjustments & consistently repeat mechanics.

Having said that it seems like I’ll catch “adjustments” if not flaws that he makes on his own… tall spine/back leg position will suddenly change to a Roy Halladay tilt or he will tuck like Nolan Ryan & then go a couple weeks bringing his chest to the glove a la Maddux.

I don’t know if its him watching pitchers on TV & replicating things or if its subconcious? I’ll catch it, make a comment & then he’ll make the adjustment. Kinda weird, but I can’t figure it out & he seems oblivious to the changes.

Consider yourself lucky - most kids won’t listen to dad. :wink:

Then you have ones like mine that after 70 or 100 lessons and thousands of pitches, just know more about pitching than you do. At that point you just gotta take a back seat and admit it.

but only in pitching young man!!!

Oh trust me we are already there:) He’s still a good student but there is a lot more mustang in him than “blind faith” these days.

I have outsourced as much as possible these days (pitching coach who is the asst HS coach he would eventually play for & his new travel team is sponsered by the best facility training ctr in town) so that he develops & continues to have fun.

Message to all Dad’s out there with 8-13 year olds… if I have anything to offer its this:

This sight is invaluable in many areas… use the resources & members feedback as much as possible.

Focus on fun, mechanics & health. Be sensitive to what your son can handle physically, mentally & expectations based upon his skill level.

Its a long road out there… burnout eliminates more athletes than injury & probably isnt too far behind skill.

When its time to turn your kid loose to other sources, choose wisely & don’t interfere. It’s “time” when your son isn’t having fun, isn’t developing or has exceeded the level of which your knowledge can develop him.

Have fun!

I have one thing to add to that, find a team that is a non dad coached team, daddy ball has emotion and personalities in it that non dad coached teams just don’t have.