Should youth pitcher be instructed to "stick out chest?

I overheard someone coaching a group of young pitchers by instructing them to stick out their chests during the wind - up and delivery - is this correct advice? I had always heard “bend your back” , “chin down” which seem the opposite of the other tip. Any comments would help, some great arms involved.

I don’t believe it. I absolutely don’t believe it. What is this guy trying to do, instruct these pitchers in the fine points of impersonating roosters?
You don’t pitch with your chest sticking out, or your rear end, or your nose for that matter. You start in an upright position. I was watching Andy Pettitte yesterday afternoon as he pitched eight terrific innings against the Angels, and that was what he did—start from an upright position. And he struck out nine batters and didn’t walk anybody. Could he have done that if he were doing a rooster impression? Of course not. He would have been off balance, and that would have affected his control and everything else.
I have heard of coaches advocating this and that, some of which makes sense but a lot of which is straight out of the Twilight Zone, and this is a great example of the latter. You say there are some “great arms” involved—but the arm is only a part of it. What this character should have been doing is instruct them in how to get the whole body involved in the act of pitching, especially the delivery. He should have been showing them how to drive off the lower half of the body, using the legs, the hips and the torso in one continuous motion. That is how one gets the power behind the pitches, not to mention that using the whole body in this way takes a lot of pressure off the arm and the shoulder.
My advice? Go with your own good sense. :roll:

I overheard someone

One of the shortcomings of “overhearing”, is to be absent to the entire conversation/coaching/instruction and - or, situation.

The coaching process is not without its imagination … trying to get across this-or-that in a way that either corrects or drills home a point.

Some players becasue of age, lack of experience or something else, are very weak in the abdominals. Their weakness with this part of the body can contribute to a host of injuries and lack of any real control down range.

Now without actually being there - this coach could have been trying to over correct something that he saw or expected to see, again, based on the age and his/her assumed range of physical tolerance of the players involved.

Be careful watching the coaching process and drawing conclusions. That can be riddled with opinions on your part, and others, that could benefit from a bit more input on what’s-what.

Zita is correct about the upright posture in her remarks. Perhaps the only way this coach could get those players to perform this way, was to use the approach he/she did.

Coach B.

What I overheard was accurate and consistent and I know I did not misunderstand the intent, I don’t want to come accross as a busy body interfering parent - my son (11 yo) is on the team and is NOT a pitcher but I am concerned that others are receiving improper advice that could damage their long-term outlooks. I just wanted to make sure that my instinct was correct before sticking to my grounds in discussions. We have 1 kid in particular that is very talented, I may have a talk with his mom :slight_smile:

I also have a 12 yo and 26 yo - the older one was a lefty pitcher - that’s why I was pretty sure the advice being given was wrong - thanks for your time in responding!

dmlm770,

I admire and respect your point of view and your pro active interest, but, be very, very careful in your approach. This “sticking out your chest thing”, is not a life altering cause-n-effect problem for these youngsters, nor is a sure fire method to get somebody hurt. There are other irons in the fire, that are far more important to address than “sticking out the chest”, with respect to coaching youngsters in the art of pitching.

This person that’s coaching, has taken the time, the interest, not to mention volunteering to be part of this club in the first place, has done so before you or any other parent got on the scene. If your interest in doing things right, is honestly part of any participation on your part - then don’t talk to any other parent. Step up to the plate, volunteer, and put your efforts on the line as this person/coach has.

Believe me, dmlm770, there’s nothing more contemptable to a volunteer coach or person who’s willing to spend time with kids and help them enjoy a sport - then to find another adult waiting in the wings ready to analyize and gather second and third opinions - then come in the back door…" talking to other parents". Don’t go there. You’ll earn absoultely no respect, no momentum for what your trying to accomplish, and you’ll saddle your son with a tag that he’ll carry with him … right into high school. If it bothers you that much - find your son another club, or let it go. Trust me, you don’t want to do this.

I’ve been in the sport for 32 years, in the business end of it for 19. I’ve seen amateur clubs with a fair share of good meaning people who try their best with the coaching end of things, with an accent on the “good meaning”. Nobody really coaches to the extreme to get some youngster crippled … if they did, they’d never see the light of day on any one’s field.
So, don’t go looking for things that just aren’t there.

Again, your sincere interests are worthy, just be very careful on how you approach the activation of those interests.

Coach B.

Could this be a matter of the coach trying to have the kid perform “scap loading” by using this as a cue?

Could this be a matter of the coach trying to have the kid perform “scap loading” by using this as a cue?

This was one of my considerations when responding with:
Perhaps the only way this coach could get those players to perform this way, was to use the approach he/she did.

As I mentioned, the coaching process does require a certain amount of imagination from time to time. Also, terms and techniques like “scap loading” for one, are difficult to explain and reason out, especially to a group of parents not accustomed to the specifics of this sport.

And without fail, there will be that nucleolus of people (parent) who will take anything negative and feed on it. When someone brings up a sense of doubt, then follows up with his or her own this-or-that from others, those listening will invariably go in one of two directions - (1) keep that shadow of doubt and search out their own second hand input, (2) or make up their own home grown wisdom as they go along. All in all, it’s a slap in the face to those that are trying their best to give some youngsters an enjoyable experience. And like I mentioned before, this thing that this person is doing is not life crippling nor is it dangerous - if it was, he/she wouldn’t see the light of day on any field.

The point of concern here is OVERUSE. Now there’s a reason for being very proactive. But again, be very careful on how, with what kind of intensity, and be mindful of the end results as it pertains to you, your son, and your family in general. Don’t forget, there are other people that will be effected by your decisions.

The point to become proactive is from the start - not in midstream. Volunteer to coach, be an assistant coach, take the time to learn what age group is best suited for what, take the time to … take the time.

Figure it this way… you’re on the job, somebody looks over your shoulder and then goes to just about everybody at your place of work and starts to question what your doing.

Again, I respect the sincerity of interest and concern, just be mindful of the fallout that may come afterwards.

Coach B.

Coach Bob - I totally understand what you are saying and I totally agree with the sentiment…I HAVE volunteered to coach and the league told me I couldn’t because I am a woman. I feel like I DO know what I am talking about because I spent six years EVERY Saturday with a former world series pitcher while he instructed my now 26 yo on the finer points of pitching mechanics etc. My intention was never to gain an AHA GOTCHA moment here, and I agree that any comments could tag my kid forever. I have 4 boys, all played baseball and I have NEVER spoken to any of the coaches with concerns like this. My son is a possible reliever for this team and I don’t want him to get any bad habits that may affect him later - exactly what happened to my older lefty hence the thousands of dollars spent to correct said habits. You are correct in stating that this is a minor thing and I will probably just let it go - although knowing I am correct!

It’s not the scap thing either. This person is a well intentioned father who has been nominated as the pitching coach because his brother played ball…I’m not trying to put the guy down by any means - my only concern is that the boys be taught properly that’s all. By “sticking out chest” they are eliminating the power of their legs which causes more wear on the arm/shoulder…correct? Overuse is also a problem - they don’t even count pitches! And it’s very early in the season! I need to bring duct tape for my mouth I guess:)

PS - I repeatedly thank ALL the coaches who dedicate so much time and effort in the lives of these young men :slight_smile:

Are you the Coach Bob that was on the old High School Baseball Website? My 26 yo went to Australia with him :slight_smile:

Note to dmlm: You said that you volunteered to coach and they told you that you couldn’t do it because—you’re female? WHAT A CROCK OF B.S.! I thought that kind of thinking, that particular rationale, went out with the dinosaurs—but I see that there are dinosaurs still roaming the playing fields and the dugouts, the ones who—refuse to admit that they are not the only ones who can coach.
I’m willing to bet that none of them have ever stepped on a mound, taken ball in hand, and had to pitch to a dangerous hitter with the bases loaded and only one out and the score tied. Talk about those who think they have all the answers! I got news for you, honey—they do not. :x

Yes, I was quite shocked - the league had called my house and asked for my husband to become a coach…I explained that his job takes him out of town often and he couldn’t commit to coaching but that I would gladly take his place - they basically said thanks but no thanks. It doesn’t bother me one bit EXCEPT when a male coach gives improper advice and clearly shows that he doesn’t know beans about what he is teaching…albeit well intentioned and devoted. Many parents have approached me just from listening to comments I make during the games and with my sons, asking me to become a coach. I just smile and explain that the league turned me down:( For now I’ll just teach my boys everything I know…including the wicked slider :slight_smile: when they are ready!

…I HAVE volunteered to coach and the league told me I couldn’t because I am a woman.

These people deserve neither your time, respect or any association. I sincerely respect any person who wants to volunteer, in any capacity. But this situation goes beyond even the slightest amount of reasonable temperance. I hope your children have picked up on this and learn from it. Shortsightedness, prejudice, and anything else that comes close to it, is not a life skill worth passing on.

I’m not the coach that you referred to in your question - but, I do have an experience that’ll be relevant here. Oh, a very long time ago, I was asked to coach (privately) during the off-season a pitcher that had real potential. I was told that this youngster loved the game, and by all accounts from those that talked to me, was born to pitch. So, I arrived at a local gym and approached a group of three adults and a youngster - about fourteen(14). I looked around for the youngster that I was suppose to meet that morning, and all I saw was a girl in shorts, sweatshirt, hat and glove.

“Well, here she is coach.”

I was about to say that I have no experience coaching softball - but, before I could speak, the young lady stepped forward, offered to shake my hand, then proceeded to thank me for doing what no one else thought was worthwhile. I was floored. I quickly thought how insulting I would have been had I said what I had been thinking.

For the next three hours I learned a lot about humility, honestly assessing my stock and trade, my sense of fairness, my overall professional credentials - not to mention avoiding looking like a total idiot. So, during that off-season, one night a week for three hours, this young lady controlled a seventy four (74) mph fastball, painted the corners with ease, a slider that wouldn’t quit, and a off-speed that seem to change time zones. (Not bad for a 14 year old.)

During the very last session, I met the young lady’s uncle - which turned out to be a batting coach for a club I joined some years latter. Everyone knew this young lady, a gracious person with personality, and a gift for pitching would never play at any real competitive level. But, this didn’t stop her or I, her family and those that supported her.

She did join a softball club that summer and had a picture sent to my home of her in uniform. I was on the road when the picture came, and my wife said she had her back to the camera, pointing to her number. I asked my wife what was here number - she said it was “42".

I’ll be very honest with you, mother, I use to be one of those knuckleheads that you ran into. But, it took a 14 year old, among others, to bring me around.

I am very sorry for the insulting experience that you encountered. You deserved so much better

Coach B.

Great story, Coach. Cudos to her, her family, and YOU. :clapping:

I was the little girl in 1974 that wanted to play baseball…NOT softball, but was not allowed. Believe me, in 1974 it was a lot worse than it is now. I just love the game and thank God that my boys ended up loving it as much as I do.

I don’t get too upset over the male/female thing, I am a carpenter also so you can put your imagination to work on that one :slight_smile: I wasn’t too upset with the league either as I know it was their loss. On a side note, IF my boys make the high school team they will play against the boys in this league - and know all of their moves:)

THANK YOU so much for your responses, I have learned something about coaching and pitching and I WILL continue to play with the boys :slight_smile:

As usual, Coach Baker gives some great advice.

[quote=“dmlm770”]It’s not the scap thing either.[/quote]I guess I’m just trying to give him “the benefit of the doubt”. It could be a matter of timing with this cue, depending on how he’s using it. He might just know exactly what he’s doing. We don’t know enough about what he’s teaching. If he’s teaching the timing shown below, then I’d say he’s not so far off. If it’s something other, I’d be concerned.

In this Nolan Ryan clip, at frames 27 and 28, you’ll see that he is “sticking his chest out” as part of the scap loading process or even the NPA’s “stack and track” concept.

In this Smoltz clip, it’s at frames 37and 38. Same deal.

I see what you are saying and I guess you could be correct…

The boys are instructed to stick out their chests before the wind up with no specific point mentioned as to when, same comment made to all pitchers on the team. Correct me if I am wrong but this seems like an uncomfortable throwing position to achieve at any point in the wind up or delivery, also possibly create off balance pitches. In the pro videos it appears that the chest out position only results from the reach back and does not appear to be intentional by the pitchers…perhaps because they make it look so easy! Also observe how both pitchers begin their motions in the chin down, back bent position that I mentioned.

If this is a standard tip given by a wide variety of pitching coaches then I stand corrected…it just seems to be incorrectly stated and something I have never heard of before nor would ever think of to instruct mechanics.

I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and hope for the best…thanks again for your input, the discussion has been great!

yep your right, it sounds dumb as a box of rocks…no redeeming reason for it. Sounds like one of those classic “notions” that have vaguely pertainent aspects but when held in the context in which he delivered it, it sounds like some guy who really hasn’t much of an idea trying hard to sound smart. We do try to give the benefit of the doubt and not needlessly bash a coach but I’ve watched and listened and this coach just spoke from a part of his anatomy not noted for clear diction if you catch my drift… :lol:

I do have to shout out to my friend DM for going as far as he could without falling off of the earth, cutting this guy some slack :lol:

Great advice as always from Coach B.

And I agree with DM about the timing aspect of the chest sticking out.

Mom, you are correct about the chest sticking out being a result of other things - not just the reach back but also the low back working to keep head and spine upright coming out of shoulder rotation to delay forward trunk flexion (the NPA’s “stack and track” that DM mentioned).

Arbitrarily sticking out the chest - especially at the wrong time - is not going to buy you much. But I think it’s simply the coach instructing about something he’s noticed. It’s fairly common for inexperienced coaches to notice things that are symptoms of problems and to instruct in regards to symptoms - not the causes. For example, how many times have you heard a coach yell “release out front”? The coach has noticed and symptom of a problem and is telling the pitcher to correct the symptom. Coach just doesn’t know that the kids’s posture problem is causing the release point to pull back and that it’s the posture problem that needs to be fixed/instructed.

Let me also add that “sticking the chest out” is akin to the “flex” part of Paul Nyman’s concept of “bow-flex-bow”. Again, it’s all about timing and what the coach is trying to achieve. If we don’t really know that, it’s a bit premature to blast him for it. Maybe he’s asking the kid(s) to do something foolish but I just don’t have enough information to be able to condemn him. Let’s assume for a second that he is asking a kid to stick his chest out just at front foot landing and then flex forward into and beyond release. I suggest that this might just be a cue that a kid can understand and benefit from. If he’s asking for this at other times, then let’s go get 'im.

Here are some more:

Clemens
Bonderman
Smoltz

If you remember, one of Nymans most recent posts contained what he described as his favorite new pitcher (The Chapman kid from Cuba) and he had his chest stuck out there almost grotesquely in what can only be described as the mother of all scap loads…

See what I said about DM?
This is a great place…decency and fairness abound 8)
Not too much preachy, a whole big load of teachy… :shock:

WOW - you guys really know your stuff! I could agree with everything and concede to the coach in question IF the kids were mechanically sound…you have to trust my judgement when I say that they are NOT mechanically sound, one reason that my eyebrows raised when I heard this “stick out your chest”. In my opinion, they are being instructed to do this in a manner that puts all the stress on their arm/shoulder while eliminating any help from the lower body. This method is probably quite effective on someone who has already mastered the basics of proper mechanics and demonstrates it regularly during outings but what good does it do to tell an 11 yo to stick out his chest when he is off balance (leaning toward first or second after left leg lift) and his left foot points straight up until it plants. They look like they are trying to take a giant step toward the catcher, not the smooth pointed toe transfer as seen in the pros. The release point comes way off balance behind the planted foot instead of during the drive forward with the throwing arm crossing the chest and release point balanced out front. IF the guys really know his stuff don’t you think he would start with the basics of sound mechanics BEFORE trying to get complicated with “scap loads” and “stack and track”? I’m still trying to give the guy the benefit of the doubt but you have to learn to ride a bike with training wheels first…