Son of southcarolina

I have been debating whether to post this for a day or so, but in the end my panicky concern for my son’s arm health outweighed any reson i could think of not to post it.

I took this video a few days ago because we had been working on his follow through (which was non existant at times last spring) this summer and i wanted to see how he looked. To my surprise i saw something ive never seen with the naked eye (in fact its kind of hard to see even on video at regular speed. If you watch the video frame by frame though its pretty obvious.)

Just after he releases the ball he twists his arm counter clockwise (from his perspective) to the point that his palm is facing almost straight up for part of the follow through. This isnt normal, or correct, is it? He says he doesnt realize he is doing it. What in the world can we do to fix this?

If it makes a difference, my son is 9 years old (he’ll be 10 in Oct).

The video:

Any comments or advice would be greatly appreciated

Looks to me like he’s pronating - turning his hand so that the thumb is down when he finishes. Totally normal, healthy, and correct.

He looks good. From where he’s at, if he’s throwing strikes, I’d just ell him to have fun and throw the crap out of the ball.

SoCo,

It looks like to me you can relax. What your son is doing is called pronating. The wrist/hand pronation, or turning counter-clockwise (righty), or thumb down, after release is the arm’s natural shock absorber for the throwing motion. Now going all the way through to palm up seems a little far but everything looks fairly normal to me. From the video I can’t see if he really goes that far or not. Supination- the opposite direction of pronation- or turning thumb up- before, during, or after release- is a move associated with improperly thrown curve balls and is thought to be a source of injury. Keep pronating.

[quote=“JP”]SoCo,

It looks like to me you can relax. What your son is doing is called pronating. The wrist/hand pronation, or turning counter-clockwise (righty), or thumb down, after release is the arm’s natural shock absorber for the throwing motion. Now going all the way through to palm up seems a little far but everything looks fairly normal to me. From the video I can’t see if he really goes that far or not. Supination- the opposite direction of pronation- or turning thumb up- before, during, or after release- is a move associated with improperly thrown curve balls and is thought to be a source of injury. Keep pronating.[/quote]

Whew.

I mean seriously…whew!

Ive been obsessing over this for two days now, sure that i had somehow missed something and that his arm was one pitch away from flying off.

Thanks for the input.

[quote=“quaff”]
He looks good. From where he’s at, if he’s throwing strikes, I’d just ell him to have fun and throw the crap out of the ball.[/quote]

Well like most 9 year olds, he can be very inconsistant. Ive seen him pitch 4 innings of no hit ball and strike out 10 of the 12 outs he got. Ive seen him give up 8 runs in one inning, and look like he had never even thrown a baseball before. Part of the learning process i suppose.

Now i will say that when he struggles with the strikezone, its almost always that he leaves everything high. And i dont mean just a little high. Like batters forehead and above high. Its been my completely uneducated observation that his release point is too high, that he doesnt throw the ball down off the mound, if that makes any sense.

I never played an inning of organized baseball, so im trying to learn this stuff on the fly along with him, which is how i found this forum.

Sorry…im rambling…i could talk about my kids all day :slight_smile:

Thanks for the input. It really took a weight off my mind.

I used to throw the ball high as well. Two large things apart from learning the release point was a longer stride, and a good follow through. Went from throwing fastballs at the belt to fastballs at the knee. I definately feel now when I don’t stride well enough, or follow through enough. And you’ll notice the pitch location is high as well :lol:

Sounds like a normal 9-y-o. Even the best are inconstant.

Usually missing high comes from not finishing. Got to follow through and “pick up the hat”.

As others have said, it is normal to pronate after ball release.

Given that your son is only 9, I wouldn’t get too worked up about much of anything. However, I would pay some attention to posture and glove arm. Don’t let him develop a bad habit of leaning over to the glove side. Instead, get him to at least keep his head upright, eyes level.

With regards to his glove, he just sort of lets it dangle whereever. Get him to control it more by extending it out front so that he’s got some symmetry with the throwing arm.

Once again let me apologize for my long absence. Winter has been unnaturally cold here, and we had gotten a little slack in out pitching work. But now baseball season is here again, and i am back with more questions.

Just as a refresher, the young man in question is now 10, and is now about 5’4" and 135 lbs. For those that are interested, here is another post with older video, in which the assorted braintrust here diagnosed my son’s glove side arm issues.

http://www.letstalkpitching.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=11490

Here is sampling of pitches, taken last weekend. As a side note, his pitching coach really stresses throwing strikes, so most of these pitches are less than max effort, maybe 75-80% of max effort by his estimation. He threw 4 innings on Saturday against the second best team in the tournament, allowing just 2 hits and one run, and only throwing 1 wild pitch.

Things i think i see:

  1. Something is breaking his momentum to home. I dont know what it is, perhaps it is a symptom of GSA issues, or shoulder tilt issues, but there is a definate hitch in his delivery that seems to me to rob him of all his momentum just as he should be exploding toward home.

  2. His GSA looks better than it was, but still is still inconsistant. Where as he used to let the GSA dangle, and throw over it, he now sometimes pulls it, or swings it out wide, or doesnt ever get it to “equal and opposite”. More work needed here.

  3. The shoulder tilt is still there, but doesnt seem as pronounced as it was Still have work to do here.

So anyone have any comments, or observations?

To me, he looks pretty darn good. If you have a way to slow the videos down to about 1/4 speed that’d be a good way to help these guys get a more detailed analysis.

Let me preface what I’m about to say by letting you know that I’m certainly no Roger. Roger has forgotten more about pitching than I know. I’ve played baseball off and on for about fifteen years but I’ve only been pitching for a little over ten months. Having said that, those ten months have involved borderline obsession with mechanics and pitching in general. So here’s my comment:

You mentioned that it looks as though something is slowing up his momentum toward home plate. I had this problem when I first started throwing off of a mound. One thing I did was to try and make sure that I ended up in a more flat back position during follow through. That’s the one thing that jumped out at me. His torso is pretty upright during his follow through. Anything other than this I’m probably not qualified enough to say.

He appears to be putting very little effort into his pitches. Whether it’s 75%, as he says, or 50%, as it looks to me, my understanding is that, except for warming up, pitchers should always pitch hard (Dick Mills) (I know, I know).

In the first set of “side view” pitches, with each pitch he gets less and less extension of his GSA. That, with his deliberate “75%” or “50%” effort, is certainly not helping his momentum and causing him to pitch “standing up”.

In the second set of “front view” pitches, it looks like he’s trying to throw harder, but it’s “all arm” with little to no body drive and follow through.

I’ve never heard of a coach who wants his pitchers to pitch at 75% capacity, and wonder about the long term consequences of such activity.

In short, your son looks smooth, and looks like he could throw hard, but he has to be let loose!

[quote=“littlelefty”]He appears to be putting very little effort into his pitches. Whether it’s 75%, as he says, or 50%, as it looks to me, my understanding is that, except for warming up, pitchers should always pitch hard (Dick Mills) (I know, I know).

In the first set of “side view” pitches, with each pitch he gets less and less extension of his GSA. That, with his deliberate “75%” or “50%” effort, is certainly not helping his momentum and causing him to pitch “standing up”.

In the second set of “front view” pitches, it looks like he’s trying to throw harder, but it’s “all arm” with little to no body drive and follow through.

I’ve never heard of a coach who wants his pitchers to pitch at 75% capacity, and wonder about the long term consequences of such activity.

In short, your son looks smooth, and looks like he could throw hard, but he has to be let loose![/quote]

I guess i should have been more detailed. His coach doesnt “want” him to pitch slower, but he has had wildness issues and his coach has told him that he would prefer strikes at a lower velocity than balls 8 feet over the batter at higher velocity.

As far as him throwing all arm, I agree. I feel like from the beginning of his motion through his front foot planting he is ok moving toward home, but then everything just stops, and he just arms it up there.

[quote=“southcarolina”][quote=“littlelefty”]He appears to be putting very little effort into his pitches. Whether it’s 75%, as he says, or 50%, as it looks to me, my understanding is that, except for warming up, pitchers should always pitch hard (Dick Mills) (I know, I know).

In the first set of “side view” pitches, with each pitch he gets less and less extension of his GSA. That, with his deliberate “75%” or “50%” effort, is certainly not helping his momentum and causing him to pitch “standing up”.

In the second set of “front view” pitches, it looks like he’s trying to throw harder, but it’s “all arm” with little to no body drive and follow through.

I’ve never heard of a coach who wants his pitchers to pitch at 75% capacity, and wonder about the long term consequences of such activity.

In short, your son looks smooth, and looks like he could throw hard, but he has to be let loose![/quote]

I guess i should have been more detailed. His coach doesn’t “want” him to pitch slower, but he has had wildness issues and his coach has told him that he would prefer strikes at a lower velocity than balls 8 feet over the batter at higher velocity.

As far as him throwing all arm, I agree. I feel like from the beginning of his motion through his front foot planting he is OK moving toward home, but then everything just stops, and he just arms it up there.[/quote]
Hi SoCa,

Whether the coach intends it or not, his instruction is causing your son to pitch at less than full momentum.

I don’t think it’s physically possible to perform a proper windup and follow through at 50%, or even 75%. That’s like asking a golfer to swing a driver at 25% to hit the ball 75 yards; he won’t do it; he’d rather take a full swing with a pitching wedge.

As for his “wildness” when he throws hard, the problem is obviously something in his mechanics, but we can’t see that in a video of him throwing 50% or 75%. Perhaps you should video him throwing hard, including a view from behind the catcher, and the experts here can have at it.

As an aside, when your son practices pitching at full velocity, is he throwing to a glove only, or to a batter? Having someone stand in with a bat and helmet will make pitching practice far more effective and help improve control. On my Little League team whenever the pitchers are throwing bullpens we always have a batter stand in.

My two cents worth. The direction his coach has given him to just throw strikes has resulted in him “throwing darts”. His goal is so limited that he has no need to use the body in an effective way. He could stand at the rubber and just “throw darts” and he would be successful in achieving what he’s been asked to do.

You’ll notice his front leg motion. He lifts it and then places it, almost gingerly so, down at a comfy landing point that facilitates the dart throwing. He has no requirement, as a result of the coach’s request, to generate momentum toward the plate. He just has to throw strikes. Far better to have him learn a total body motion right now, while he throws those strikes. Roger has often given very good advice on how to do that.

There are some good things going on and, yes, his glove side is better. I like the slight bend in it, as opposed to straightening it out front, although that’s not an absolute by any means. He’ll find his own way as he grows and practices.

Are you saying, as a result of him not efforting more, that he understrides?

[quote=“dm59”]
Roger has often given very good advice on how to do that.[/quote]

I hope Roger will weigh in then. I tried searching for posts by Roger using the word “momentum” and got 512 hits. Im thinking Roger likes to use that word :smiley:

[quote=“littlelefty”]

Perhaps you should video him throwing hard, including a view from behind the catcher, and the experts here can have at it.[/quote]

I will do this as soon as possible.

[quote=“littlelefty”]

As an aside, when your son practices pitching at full velocity, is he throwing to a glove only, or to a batter? Having someone stand in with a bat and helmet will make pitching practice far more effective and help improve control. On my Little League team whenever the pitchers are throwing bullpens we always have a batter stand in.[/quote]

They do some of both.

[quote=“southcarolina”]Are you saying, as a result of him not efforting more, that he understrides?[/quote]Effort’s certainly a part of pitching but I’m really just speaking of a mental imagery that is related to the desire to utilize the entire body to fuel the action of the arm. With a mental goal of just throwing strikes, focus is limited there. Pitching’s a whole body activity where momentum generated in the stride is transferred up through the body, helping to deliver the arm and ball. There’s a lot of advice and discussion on this board about the “how” of doing it but a kid will need to have the desire and incentive to put all of the pieces together, as opposed to the limiting cue of “throw strikes”. Develop his ability to throw strikes with a total body motion that will take him further as he grows. If he’s so worried about just throwing strikes (although there’s nothing wrong with strikes) he may develop a method that doesn’t fit with the need to throw with the entire body. Then, he’ll be asked at some point to put some gas on it and those bad habits will need to be broken.

I see what you are saying. It makes such simple sense, i dont know why i didnt see it myself :slight_smile:

Here is another element of this that my son finally just revealed to me in the car while we were running a couple of errands:

Last summer, sometime around the end of May, my son hurt his arm at practice. We arrived a little later than usual, and there were already 5 or 6 kids there warming up, which quickly evolved into a “who can throw the ball the furthest” contest. My son took about three warm up throws, and then launched on from the foul line into centerfield. His elbow started hurting almost immediately.

Now i honestly dont believe this was an overuse issue. He didnt start pitching off a mound until mid February, didnt pitch in game action until March, and then only pitched in about 6 or 8 league games, only once going beyond 40 pitches, and one game or less in 5 tournaments spread out from March thru May.

After the injury, we shut him down pitching for the rest of June and July, and didnt throw again until August. The pain was gone, and we eased him back into pitching VERY cautiously. He pitched some in Fall Ball, with no pain.

Anyway, all this backstory led up to the conversation we had in the car today. I mentioned to him that i wanted to take some video of him throwing max effort pitches, and he said no way. When i pressed, he finally admitted that he was afraid his elbow would start hurting again. Ive asked him about this before, and he has always claimed that he wasnt worried about it. But now we know that isnt the truth. So on top of everything else, i have to somehow nurse his psyche back to healthiness.
I told him that we needed to at least try throwing harder, so we could see if his arm/elbow was going to hurt, so that if it did, we could figure out if the elbow injury was a one time thing or a longer term problem.

I’m just a baseball dad, and I haven’t been one for long, but your son is the best looking 10 y.o. pitcher I’ve seen. He’s definitely one of the biggest. :lol:

The comparison between his old an new videos is striking. I bet with time and practice, the little issues you see are going to work themselves out.

With respect to the glove side, I think he’s got the right idea. That will get more refined on its own as he get older.

Maybe some informal long toss (moderate distance that reflects his age and strength) a couple of times a week will help him integrate his body and arm and help increase his velocity without sacrificing control.

Good work, dad.

Doublebag

I’m not going to advocate max effort throwing right now. My advice would be to work on total body mechanics but not necessarily at max.