Side arms

I see a few kids (10 yr olds) pitching side arm. How can I correct this or should they even be pitching? At what age do submariners get started on that type of delivery?

In pro ball in the Chiago Cubs organization, the submarine delivery was a last resort for a pitcher who was on his way out of the organization. A last ditch effort to keep the dream alive, so to speak. The pitcher, usually a guy who didn’t throw particularly hard, would be on a short rope. If he had success within a 2 or 3 week period, he got the chance to stick around to pitch some more. If he didn’t experience quick success, he was released.

In talking to most pro scouts, the concensus is they’re not to hip to drafting a sidearm/submarine pitcher because of the arm problems that come associated with the mechanics of the delivery.

As far as correcting it in youth pitchers? I strongly suggest that! The earlier the better, too. Once a pitcher progresses into his teens and logs lots of innings throwing one way, it’s tough to override that mechanical imprint left on the body later in his career when changes will inevitably be made.

Hi,
At 10years old they really shouldn’t be pitching because there arm still has a lot of growing to do, but if they are pitching or have to pitch, and if they are good a pitching side arm (i.e. accurate), it is much harder to hit a side arm throwing pitcher and some doctors suggest it does less damage to the arm than over hand. Hope that helps :smiley:

At 10 yrs old there is no reason that they shouldn’t be throwing as long as they are throwing with the proper mechanics.
Now for the subject on side arm…Is a side armer realley a side armer??? think about it…most side arm pitchers dip the shoulders down to throw. Picture this. If you were to stand up a side arm pitcher and look at his arm angle he most likely wouldn’t be throwing side arm.
Now if you throw standing straight up without dipping your shoulders and throw side arm :shock: OUCH!! that is not good for the arm!

I agree with formerpro, pitching with good mechanics at 9 or 10 is fine. Think about it, if it weren’t, we wouldn’t have kids throwing across the diamond either.

The side armer in particular I was referring to stands almost straight. Since he plays a lot of hockey I began to wonder if it was an effect of all those slap shots. Back to my first question then, if it can’t be corrected (if the kid won’t raise his elbow) should he be allowed to pitch and risk injury? He is a great catcher and third baseman.

If he is serious about pitching or playing baseball, I would suggest he get some good private pitching/throwing lessons. Maybe Steve Ellis can make a trip! :smiley: . Here is a drill that I have some of my kids that I do lessons with…It helps them keep there elbow up and finish there pitches.

Have them stand in front of a wall (padded if possible) around 18" away. Have them come to a balance point with a small towel (dish towel) in there throwing hand. Have them go through there motion holding the towel and popping a coaches mit or object out in front with the towel where his release point is. This does two things…First, it keeps them from rotating on a horizontal plane and helps keep there elbow up (just above your shoulder). You want to throw on a downward plane. Secondly, it helps them finish there pitches…popping the towel out front over your landing leg. This drill is done not throwing the towel hard. It is designed to help create good “muscle memory”…working on your balance point to your finish point.

I think he can be correct with the proper instruction and practice. It is just going to take time to break his bad habit of throwing side arm. This is what I tell my kids I work with:
Think of throwing a baseball like a truck driving down a worn dirt road with grooves where the tires go. That is very similar to what I call creating good muscle memory. He needs to create new grooves (arm angle) for his throwing mechanics! I hope I didn’t lose you on this. This is the time to correct his mechanics before he gets older. It is very hard to change someones mechanics after they have been throwing for a long time.
GOOD LUCK!

I’m no expert so I would definitely listen to Steve Ellis regarding sidearm. I have heard other people talk about how it doesn’t matter how the arm comes across it is about their natural arm slot. Personally, I would think throwing side arm can’t be good for the long haul. Steve’s comments about the pro-organizations bears that out.

Now, to correct: What we do is have the pitcher stand next to a fence or wall perpendicular to their throwing arm. This allows them to go through their delivery but prevents them from throwing side arm. BTW we also use this drill for pitchers that have a tendency to step out or pull their pitches. We put the with the wall/fence on their non-throwing arm.

Hopes this helps.

I’m going to take a left turn on this subject…

Are there any websites or resources to help someone become a better submarine/sidearm pitcher? Pitch holds, mechanics, etc…

I’ve been pitching submarine from 8th grade and into college (it always felt more natural). I’m 26 now and have been considering pitching again in a men’s league but wanted to come back better than before [I can dream, right :lol: ]

So, I’ve got 2 & 4 seam fastballs, slider, change, and am working on a sinker but was wondering if there were any resources out there that would show the proper way to throw specific sidearm/submarine pitches so I can increase velociy and so I don’t screw anything up in experimentation … thoughts?

I had a quick question for anyone out there that has an opinion. For a sidearm pitcher should they start with their hands at their waist? The reason i ask is that it seems that sidearm pitchers that start their hands up tend to have unneccesary movement in their delivery. So if they start with their hands down to begin with will that help them?

Realize what you are getting into as a guy who throws from this arm slot.

Your suite of pitches are very limited:

Fastball
Curve
Circle Change

Your fastball will carry overspin which means it should have nasty sink to it. It should run in and down to same side hitters and away from opposite side hitters. Much of what has been said about the fastball is true for a circle change. Your curveball will be the “frisbee” curve and probably spin from 3 to 9 or 9-3 for lefties. This means it is a one plane pitch.

The good news-it starts low and has some opitcal illusion aspects to it. Guys that hit from the same side WILL bail out since it looks like you are throwing the ball from behind them. This pitch can rack up some K’s or get weak ground balls. The bad news: It is pretty ineffective to opposite side hitters. Yeah, you can use it for a jam job occassionally or maybe try to back door it every once in a while, but that is about it.

Also the batter gets a great look at this pitch all the way in-not a good thing for a pitcher! So one of your high priorities is to decide how you will get opposite side hitters out.

Some ideas: turning the ball over.

Instead of snapping your wrist through on your fastball, throw the pitch sometimes with a screwball motion. This will make it sink even more than usual and take probably 4-7 mph off the speed of the pitch. Instead of running down and away, it will mostly run down. This can also be done with your circle change.

Realize that when you face opposite side batters you main goal is to induce ground ball outs not strike outs. Infact, that is the overall goal of most sidewinders. The ground ball double play is your greatest friend!

Another note-most guys who are successfull with this arm slot are long and lanky. Not necessarily tall, but have long arms and fingers. I think this is because this helps them get greater rotation on their fastball which must,must, must, sink. Quisenberry, Tekulve, Abernathy, Grainger, were all long lanky guys the exceptions being Byung Kim and Gene Garber.

Frankly, starting out, conventional is the way to go.

my 2 coppers,

Ian

"You pays yer money and you takes yer choice."
I would say that it all has to do with the right mechanics. It really doesn’t make any difference whether you throw over-the-top, high 3/4, low 3/4 or sidearm, even standing on your head, if your mechanics are sound. I discovered, when I was playing catch at the age of eleven, that I was a natural sidearmer with a good curve ball that came attached to that delivery—one of those rare things that happen once in a while, it was just there. I wasn’t particularly fast, so I had to pick up some good breaking stuff right away. When the guy who would become my pitching coach for a few years showed me how to throw the slider, I was just working on familiarizing myself with the easier wrist action, and he watched me and made some mental notes—and he noted that I was a natural sidearmer who could throw hard and who used a slide-step. He put this and some other things together in his mind to form a jumping-off point from which he could determine what might work for me.
And when I picked up the crossfire—that’s a move that works only with the sidearm delivery—he worked with me and helped me refine it, and he also showed me something he had picked up when he had been with the Chicago White Sox—a short-arm version of the delivery. (I already could throw with the long-arm version.) One of his basic tenets was that every pitcher has a natural motion and so what he would do was to work with that pitcher to help him (or, in my case, her) make the most of it.
So I really would suggest that if the kid is a natural sidearmer, go with it and show him how to make the most of it. :slight_smile:

The general tenor of this thread is just unbelievable.

Jon’s_dad’s question was a very reasonable one given that he has little or no clear understanding of pitchers’ arm-slot issues to begin with.

On the other hand, only one respondent (Zita) comes even close to giving him a reasonable answer.

Most everyone else in this thread appears to tacitly assume that the OP’s fears about sidearm pitchers may be grounded in fact. This is not a real strong testamonial on behalf of the expertise level at this site.

As your hackles are rising in response to my blunt appraisal, try this interesting experiment: Go to the MLB website and find the 30 MLB rosters (easy). Copy and print the MLB pitching staff rosters for the 30 teams (also easy). Go to Getty Images website and look up each MLB pitcher, by name, and look for appropriate stills that show his arm-slot at release point (easy, but downright tedious). Q: How many current MLB pitchers are clearly sidearmed (i.e., within +/- 10 degrees of a pure sidearm slot)? A: About 11% as of April. They are spread relatively evenly, although some teams have no sidearmers and others have more than one.

Several notable sidearmers are credited both with extraordinary velocity and pitching longevity. By any reasonable criteria Randy Johnson is a sidearmer, Pedro Martinez is a sidearmer, Walter Johnson was a sidarmer, Carl Hubbell was a sidearmer…etc, etc.

Where is there even a shred of actual evidence to be found that “sidearm throwing is potentially injurious”?

What a joke!

Flippin—good for you!
What most people don’t seem to realize is that the sidearm delivery is the most natural one—it’s easier on the arm and shoulder than any other. When I used to go to the Yankee games, every chance I got, I watched the Yankee pitchers, especially the Big Three, and I saw what they were doing—they were driving off the lower half of the body, really using it—using the legs, the hips and the torso and getting all the power behind their pitches that way. I realized that doing this took a lot of pressure off the arm and the shoulder, and I made a note of this and started working on this essential aspect of mechanics on my own. Later on, Ed Lopat saw what I was doing, and he helped me refine that move.
And when I learned how to really use that crossfire, that gave me twice as many pitches—it really made up for my not having a fast ball.

So La…how are ya doin?
You seem …I don’t know…spoilin for a fight? Ian has a right to his opinion, you didn’t have much issue with Zita…I don’t think Steven lied…if he did, to what hidden agenda to you attribute an ex-pro making that statement?
Now the last time we saw you on this site, I believe you were asked simply to be civil…not agree nor endorse O’Leary…only a couple of kids and a couple of lurkers on this site do. But we asked that you maintain decorum and not just savage him…heck you were attempting to hijack a thread that was deconstructing one of his “main points”…So you went off to e-teamz where they’ll let you get away with just plain bashing…ok…you trashed this site there…or at least implied that key members "followed Chris…or didn’t challenge him to your liking or what ever…thats your right. You first came on here and seemed like you were a gentleman, represented House nicely (Though some good people thought perhaps as slavishly as a Marshallite) and contributed, your ideas and thoughts and genuine care were welcomed except I think for 1 kid who is still a big time fan of O’Leary. This site has always had a welcoming spirit, but your snide looking down your nose at a 3 year old thread isn’t cool, needed or welcomed. House himself has made modifications to how he trains pitchers, you can come on here any time you’d like and present a differing point of view…heck we welcome it, respect your expertise…but if you want to just be a prick and put down the site…go back to e-teamz and hang out with Joebad.
Oh by the way I think you can suceed as a side-armer also but if you are a submariner you’ll likely only do relief.
Your attidude and snide remarks are the poor reflection I’m afraid and that isn’t a joke…nor funny

jd,

Howdy, friend.

I hope I’ve never claimed that people are not entitled to hold personal opinions. On the other hand, opinion is usually some shade of gray between “informed opinion” or “uninformed opinion”. Mine included, of course. So, on topics that interest me, I generally feel that opinion-supporting facts should trump ‘common wisdom’ whenever possible.

I have no reason at all to question Steve’s sincerity–and I didn’t; however, the principles of decorum seem to require that I should dance around the real issues that were raised in this thread (sorry! I didn’t even look at the dates, the OP’s kid has undoubtedly been retrained to throw “correctly” by now…LOL).

I’m not spoiling for a fight, I’m telling you sincerely: In my opinion, a website that represents itself as being a source of high-quality information within a specialty topic as narrowly focused as baseball pitching should be able to understand and handle the type of feedback that I posted in this thread. Most of the feedback, though admittedly lacking decorum, was given in an attempt to provide factual evidence to support a viewpoint that is apparently in shocking contrast to the ‘common wisdom’ about sidearmed pitching. In turn, I am shocked at how foolishly baseless this particular ‘common wisdom’ happens to be. What should I do?–I’m no politician.

My ‘indictment-of-LTP’ tone raised your hackles, but the totally unsupportable b.s. and illogic of the preceding posts in this thread apparently doesn’t bother you nearly as much…c’mon jd, you are better than that, and I know it from having read your many informative remarks on a number of baseball topics.

So, anyway, jd, your note does cover a lot of old beefs and issues and such–an interesting personal history lesson and I appreciate your opinions. I thought the “be a prick and hang out with JoeBad at eteamz” was pretty funny…I never get involved in his endless technical disputes about hitting mechanics but I still maintain that JoeBad’s series of satirical posts, i.e., “Who brings the aftergame sodas…?”, etc, was one of the funniest phenomena ever witnessed at eteamz…

re: “if you’re a submariner you’ll only be used in relief…” You may be correct as far as the US goes, but with all due respect that is a provincial viewpoint. I was in Japan for the exhibition games and some of the Koshien HS tournament–the Japanese clearly recognize the value of diverse arm-slot strategies for screwing with hitters. They’ve got lots of “Chad Bradfords” at all levels there and some of them are starters, some are relievers.

Okay, enough for now–best regards to all, but let’s try not to let “style over substance” be the defining characteristic of our discussions, okay?

Fair enough koom-bye-yah and all… :smiley:

Me either…I think in retrospect I would likely address you in a pm in the future to ascertain your motivation.

Of course it does La as you know well enough, I look to the grown ups to dispell the illogical, injurious and just plain dumb…I was quite clear that I felt you were impuning the site…a reputation is very difficult to resurrect once spoiled…so I am guilty of over-protection…I feel for good reason, this site is such a rareity in this internet world…kids can post without fear of exploitation nor oppression…my fervent desire is to maintain that…a fanaticism that I, on one count am proud and the other try to be careful to curb with reasonability…believe me I immediately raised the subject amongst the other admins to insure I wasn’t being a prick, wiennie or just mean…I’ll happily report that the proposed voodoo curse was discarded out of hand immediately :shock: 8)

I agree …but he is a bad bad actor…if he goes back to combining his lithium with prosac he may in fact not have to wear that “jacket with the funny arms” anymore :wink:

Didn’t BY-Kim start? I’m sure there are few exceptions…The 4 year ace at my college was a low-sidearm lefty, when he was drafted by the royals he immediately went into a relief role. I think for the most part thats what will happen.

[quote=“Jon’s_dad”]I agree with formerpro, pitching with good mechanics at 9 or 10 is fine. Think about it, if it weren’t, we wouldn’t have kids throwing across the diamond either.

The side armer in particular I was referring to stands almost straight. Since he plays a lot of hockey I began to wonder if it was an effect of all those slap shots. Back to my first question then, if it can’t be corrected (if the kid won’t raise his elbow) should he be allowed to pitch and risk injury? He is a great catcher and third baseman.[/quote]

I doubt that hockey has anything to do with it. I played to a high level of both sports and the only significant similarity is you play both on ice early in the year (I live in the “Great” Northwest…we play cold-weather baseball) :roll:

Mr. Ellis repeats what I’ve heard a lot from guys in and around the big leagues…though there are short-term side-arm successes, side arm is a last resort of those who aren’t making the grade, similar to the adoption of the knuckler as your primary pitch.

I doubt that the kid throws sidearm as a catcher, which would lead me to believe he is consciously throwing sidearm when he pitches in order to get an advantage, or just because he thinks it looks cool, or maybe because he believes he pitches better side-arm. At any rate, at 10 years old, I would move that arm slot up to 3/4 and see how he does there. He’ll have plenty of time later to develop his side arm delivery if that’s where he wants to go.

Hose

“Mr. Ellis repeats what I’ve heard a lot from guys in and around the big leagues…”

–With all due respect, that should be “minor leagues”, no? And, what someone “heard around” doesn’t make it true, whether it was big leagues, minor leagues, or Little League.

Anyone with a serious interest in sidearmed pitchers and/or throwers can verify that current MLB rosters employ about 11 % sidearmers, that some very outstanding pitchers with very long careers are sidearmers, and that most infield positions, 2nd base and SS are notable examples, have a high incidence of sidearmed throwers.

[quote=“laflippin”]“Mr. Ellis repeats what I’ve heard a lot from guys in and around the big leagues…”

–With all due respect, that should be “minor leagues”, no? And, what someone “heard around” doesn’t make it true, whether it was big leagues, minor leagues, or Little League.

Anyone with a serious interest in sidearmed pitchers and/or throwers can verify that current MLB rosters employ about 11 % sidearmers, that some very outstanding pitchers with very long careers are sidearmers, and that most infield positions, 2nd base and SS are notable examples, have a high incidence of sidearmed throwers.[/quote]

Well Flippin, actually its both, but I wasn’t trying to make myself out to be intimately involved with MLB. I’m just a dad who played a little ball and has a kid who is being coached by some former MLB, AAA, and College coaches. My personal experience playing baseball ended in college.

That being said, I know some coaches around who have lived the life, and they, without exception (and I grant you this is apocryphal) say the same thing as Steve Ellis.

That doesn’t make it true. It doesn’t make it valuable. Only you can decide that in these cases since so little is actually published, and that which is published is contradicted by another study that says the opposite.

My personal assumption is that if side arm was so valuable and effective, you would have more than your 11% pitching in the bigs. And I, unlike you, take you at your word for the sake of argument.

Hose