Slinging his head?

My son is 8 yrs old and has developed the habit of “slinging” his head to the side when he throws the ball. He is right handed and he slings his head to the left when he throws the ball.

We are doing “stack and track” drills everyday and “equal and opposite” drills everyday but the problem still isn’t going away.

I just can’t seem to get him to come “over the top” and keep his head up.

Any ideas on how I can correct this problem?

Do you have a video of him throwing? That might help.

In general, slinging (or jerking) the head is a sign of someone who’s…

  1. Trying to throw too hard.
  2. Trying to throw too much with his arm and not enough with his body.

He may be over throwing im 13 yrs old and when i am angry or mad because of a call i cant really help it. Tell him to step off the mound after every pitch and make him think to himself "keep my eyes on the catchers mit" it helped me!


It is common for young kids to try to use their head and their upper body to generate velocity. They dont understand that velocity comes up from the lower body through the upper body.

Either you have Tom House’s book, The Art and Science of Pitching, or your son must take lessons from an NPA certified instructor for you to know the terms “stack and track” and “equal and opposite”. Those are good things to know and to practice.

“Stack and track” is probably not related to your son tilting his head as that comes later in the delivery than the point your son is probably tilting his head. “Equal and opposite” might figure into the head tilt - if your son does not get his glove arm into that equal and opposite position, he may instead be dropping it leading to a tilt of the shoulders and head. In that case, getting him to get the glove out front and to leave it there might help. Otherwise, you could try to get him to take his head in a straight path to the target. I’ve told young kids to imagine their head is a bowling ball going down the gutter.

What ever you do, remember that he is only 8. He will comprehend only so much when talking pitching mechanics. So try to keep things simple and only have him work on one thing at a time.

Could be the next Hideki Okajima :stuck_out_tongue:

I cringe whenever i hear a parent or coach yell to their pitcher “Get on top”. You are trying to change his natural arm slot and he is compensating by tilting his head over to get his arm on top. Tell him to not worry where his arm goes and just throw the ball while keeping the head staight forward. I teach 8-12 year olds and this is common with younger kids, i had my son do walking lunges with emphasis on keeping the head perfectly straight.

Roger, when did you attend the NPA certification clinic?


Nov. 2005, Nov. 2006, Nov. 2007

were you the one that would add the nutrition speaker to your Xmas card list if he got bacon back in your house in Nov 2006?


Heh, as much as I’d agree with that, it wasn’t me. :lol:

I’m a rookie here who coaches a AA Little League team here in SoCal (9-10 year olds). My son is 9 and this is his 2nd year pitching and he experienced this exact problem. My wife videotaped him in the first game and we went out to the practice field the very next day, as he was trying to throw so hard “over the top” that he had to jerk his head out of the way for the ball to get past him. Consequently he lost all vision of the strike zone and was wild.

The first thing I did was try to have him keep the ball from going too far behind his back, and I did that by having him keep his glove closer to his body and by having him not bring the ball so far down…just bring it back, up, and out.

For the throwing motion itself, I used clock terms…he was trying to throw it at 12:00, so when I see him start to jerk his head, I just holler out “One O’Clock, Two O’Clock” and it triggers him to let his arm go more natural in a 3/4 position. Last outing was 3 1/3 innings in 50 pitches with 8Ks and only 1 hit…I’ll take that! Now that it is under control, we will work on a bigger hip rotation and longer stride.

Bob it’s an old thread…not likely to get much discussion, but welcome to the boards! The post date is listed at the top.
Looks like you’ve got him tracking right. I’d recommend that you stay with fundementals of pitching, it sounded like you almost have him mimicking a infielders ball presentation with the back up and out…of course your verbal description may be being misinterpreted by me. The rest of the stuff sounds good and having mom come on in and be a part is great thinking…I’m sure she’ll be a big help.

Thanks for the comments. It’s hard to say if I explained myself right or not. Basically, the main thing for me was keeping the ball from going way behind his body so that his head was in the way. If he keeps the ball more near the plane/path he is throwing on, he avoids getting that head in the way. He is pitching great right now and I am working on 3 things…1, trying to get the sidespin off the ball, 2, throwing an effectivce change-up, and 3, working on a down and then laterally out stride to keep the ball low and increase his velocity.

2 weeks into practice I had the “pitching coach” title dropped on me and while my son has pitched for a year, only one other of the 12 players had pitched at all, so it’s a bigger undertaking than I had expected! Fortunately, we’ve got one natural (a lefty no less) and he and my son have been our #1-1A guys, usually on the front and back end of games. The others are developing as they get some practice in and I read up more here and elsewhere. So far 9 of the 12 players have pitched in games and the team is 9-0 at the halfway point!

If you mean he isn’t keeping his hand behind the ball, try putting a piece of electrical tape around the ball, if he throws with the hand behind the ball the tape won’t have wobble to it.

9 is tough on the concept of change-up without slowing down the motion…of course at 9 that isn’t going to hurt much (Most kids fascinate off the motion of the pitcher and slowing the motion is difficult at 9 to adjust to).
I’d recommend instead of more pitches, just work on getting him to locate the FB. The better the FB the better all around everything else will be when he starts having his body change at puberty.
Think marathon…that is just what it is. Best to have a solid base of competencies (Fielding, fundementally correct motion…etc…). Believe me Bob Jr. will be popping off with the “hey dad…watch this’s” before you know it :wink: . I consider it like the old “teach a man to fish” analogy. Set the fundementals as bedrock and it will serve you a long time.