Sidearm


#1

Hello all, son is a submarine pitcher who has been pitching this way for about 8 months. He is very comfortable, throws a lot of strikes, and has some good offspeed stuff. He loves the game of baseball, so spends a lot of his time reading anything and everything he can on submarine pitching that will help him. He has a couple of questions.

1.) Often times, submarine pitchers arms do not hurt as much as over the top guys. However, son always gets stiff in shoulder after pitching. He believes the cause of it may be because he throws across his body. When he does this, he doesn’t trully allow his hips to fire and he has had this habit for a long long time. Would throwing across your body this way maybe be the cause of shoulder tightness because he is throwing with a lot more arm?

2.) By stepping straight (towards home plate), throwing submarine, could he add more velocity? He knows its a mechanical flaw, but has always heard that it adds deception. However, now that season is coming along he knows he will have to log a lot of innings for his team and wants to keep his arm as healthy as possible so he is willing to try and break this long habit. If I tell him it will increase velocity, it will motivate him even more Lastly, any drills he can to do help break this habit of his?

3.) Kent Tekulve said to generate the most movement for submarine guys, you let your shoulder and hips do all the work, and at the end of the pitch, “crack the whip” with your arm and wrist for added velocity and movement. Could anyone expand on this to help son generate as much movement as possible? So basically, just flick the wrist on the follow through? Any drills to help this as well?

4.) Is there anyone here that could possibly do a video review and see what they think? It would be greatly appreciated!

I know this is a lot of questions but if you would take your time and answer them as best as you can it would be greatly appreicated


#2

#3

Roger nailed it. Without the video we really can’t do more than generalize. If his shoulder is hurting, is it the front or the back? What’s his body type? If he’s landing closed, it could lead to throwing and decelerating with only the arm–adding stress. Changing his landing and getting him on a shoulder conditioning program may help him.


#4

Thanks all. I will try and upload a video of him pitching by this weekend. It is greatly appreciated! Son is 6’4 200 lbs


#5

From what I see and hear, his shoulder problems et al are indeed caused by his throwing practically all arm. He needs to learn “The Secret”, PDQ, and a good place to start is with the Hershiser drill which will get his hips fully involved. I remember how the Yanks’ Big Three pitching rotation did it many moons ago—they all drove off the lower half of the body, using the legs, the hips and the torso in one continuous (and seamless) motion, creating a nonstop flow of energy all the way up through the shoulder and arm to the fingertips and thus getting more power behind the pitches, and in the process taking a lot of pressure off said shoulder and arm regardless of what pitching delivery they used: overhand, 3/4, sidearm, standing on the head, you name it. If the kid learns to do this, if he masters “The Secret”, that is sure to solve a lot of his pitching problems. I might add: if he switches from submarine to a full sidearm, he has a few other weapons at his disposal—including the crossfire—and he saves his knuckles from getting all the skin scraped off!

Goddess of the Slider


#6

I was exclusively sidearm in my college career and had a teammate who was a submariner. Selfishly, I always thought my arm angle (basically parallel to the ground) offered more options. My fastball had more down and in life, and I could throw a much tighter slider and even changeup from that angle.

My teammate also struggled with arm problems and control issues due to what is being hinted at by the above posters. It almost seemed like a chore for him to get separation and really fire his hips. Looked like the arm had the hardest job to do.

I learned sidearm on my own one summer by just committing to it. Granted, I was coming from a high 3/4 motion in high school. Your son is a big kid, and I think experimenting with a slightly higher arm angle could be good. You can more easily implement standard mechanical advice from that angle.

The one key I always had to tell myself from that lower angle was to not allow my fingers to “scoop” under the ball. If the catchers mitt wasn’t rotating down and in and my catcher wasn’t telling me his thumb hurt, I knew I was in for a long day. You really have to focus on staying back and not flying open and letting the throwing arm drag. The middle finger cuts the middle of the baseball, or you throw a ball on a very hittable plane.

Sorry if this got a little off topic - I just love talk sidearm/submarine pitching, as it completely reinvigorated my career and made me an extremely valuable asset to my team.


#7

sidewinder34,

What “standard mechanical advice” do you think is more difficult for a sidearmer to implement?


#8

I just think the exaggerated hinging at the waist makes it harder to look at any of the big name pitchers or mechanical analysis on this site and immediately go, “oh I can implement that in my mechanics.” I know technically you are just throwing overhand while bent over when throwing submarine, but trying to tell a true submariner to “stay tall and fall” or “lead with the front hip” just isn’t as intuitive from that unique arm angle. The main reason for my thought is that we learn with our eyes and by emulating the best. As a sidearm/submariner, I can’t just look at Brent Porciau or Tom House’s videos and visualize what I’m supposed to look like.


#9

I’ve always taken the view that pitchers shouldn’t drop down to pitch submarine style unless they are struggling or injured and it’s a last-ditch effort to reinvent themselves out of the bullpen (throughout history, submarine pitchers in the Majors have essentially been middle relievers). Pro scouts favor more conventional throwing mechanics. That’s not to say don’t do it for the previously mentioned reasons, but just recognize that it is career limiting.

Brad Ziegler is an anomaly:


#10

I’ll agree on the “tall and fall” teach. Of course, that teach is bogus - even for those with higher arm slots. Now, the “lead with the hips” teach I beg to differ. I have a binder of pictures I use to show pitchers and it includes a picture of former Dbacks pitcher Byun Hyun Kim very much leading with his front hip.

Ziegler has some filthy movement and is fun to watch when he’s hitting his spots.


#11

I’ll passionately defend dropping down until the day I die. I was an above average pitcher (all-region in HS, started for my D3 college team as a freshman) from a traditional arm slot and didn’t have any injuries or anything that pushed me to drop down. I just started trying out the arm slot and realized I had the knack for throwing a hard, late moving sinker. It made pitching really, really fun because I could basically tell a righty what was coming and he would still ground out to shortstop or swing over top of the fastball three straight pitches. Lefties were another story :slight_smile: Had to be much more precise with them. I relate it to a much less talented Mariano Rivera story. I found a pitch that made me effective in any count because of natural late movement.

I’ll agree if you are a big prospect with a big arm don’t change anything. But if you’re an average to above average pitcher with some ability to throw the ball, consider it. Don’t change mid-season, but pick a summer or winter where you can give it an honest try. You can always go back to traditional arm slots. Will it limit what scouts think of you? Yes. Do you have scouts looking at you? That’s the real question. Be honest of your assessment of yourself. Dropping down made me unique, whereas throwing 83-85 with a changeup and curveball from the right side over the top did not. I set records for appearances, lowest ERA in a season/career and saves in a season for my college. There is nothing better than being an asset to your team in tight games, and dropping down can make you that asset.


#12

This really was my only point. I’m so glad it’s working out for you.

More than anything, I really believe there needs to be more (and better) sidearm/submarine pitching instruction available on the internet for guys that throw this way to get the support they need to keep improving. That’s why I’m so happy you’re on the forum and providing your insights and experience.


#13

Thanks Steven. Totally agree with the lack of sidearm instruction.


#14

Sidewinder, I’m with you all the way. In my playing days, many moons ago, I was a true, natural, honest-to-gosh sidearmer, and I used the crossfire just about all the time, and I can’t begin to tell you what that used to do to opposing batters! (By the way, Brad Ziegler is really a sidearmer and not a submariner.) Yes, I too believe there needs to be more and better sidearm pitching instruction, and to that end I call your attention to a website called www. Sidearm Nation.com—it’s a veritable supermarket of information and instruction on the art and science of sidearm pitching, and I’m on it almost as much as I am on this one. Welcome to this aspect of the bump.