Son's improvement


#1

Over the last year I have posted vids of my son throwing - he is LHP and 5-10, 170lbs, and 16 years old. Many of you gave feedback, and he went 5-1 this past year (Junior year) on a state championship team - not bad. However, his velocity was really starting to be a concern: it was not increasing! We did lots of long toss, weighted balls, flat ground, lifted, etc. At two Christmas camps he was clocked at 77-78, and in March he was 79 - one good thing about this is that he really focused on his off speed stuff - very good changeup and a plus curve - he has recently started throwing a slider that has out of nowhere become a very effective pitch.

I say all of this because this past weekend he pitched against a very good team and gave up only two hits (1 ER) in 6 innings of work - got the win. When he got home I asked if they clocked him and he said he did not know. I emailed the Perfect Game guys and they said he topped out at 85! I actually had them double check to make sure.

Here is the deal: over the last 2 months we recommitted to getting his hips going to the plate with explosion. We video taped him multiple times and fixed several things including lowering his arm slot, and really focusing on “cracking the whip”. All I can say is that we are now big believers in getting things going to the plate with a long stride - his stride 100% of his hight - we are trying to get even more - it used to be around 55 inches. One more thing - we stopped doing heavy bench press. What do you all think? Oh yea, he gets going to the plate as soon as his foot comes off the ground - it took a while before he was able to get his leg out in front in time - the result is that his arm is much faster. I’ll get vids soon. Thanks for everyone’s help!


#2

Sherman, that’s fantastic!! I know you and he have worked very hard and you’ve done much research. I’m glad to hear that your getting him going earlier is paying dividends. Keep up the good work and get us another vid.

Good job Dad!!


#3

[quote=“shermanreed”]Over the last year I have posted vids of my son throwing - he is LHP and 5-10, 170lbs, and 16 years old. Many of you gave feedback, and he went 5-1 this past year (Junior year) on a state championship team - not bad. However, his velocity was really starting to be a concern: it was not increasing! We did lots of long toss, weighted balls, flat ground, lifted, etc. At two Christmas camps he was clocked at 77-78, and in March he was 79 - one good thing about this is that he really focused on his off speed stuff - very good changeup and a plus curve - he has recently started throwing a slider that has out of nowhere become a very effective pitch.

I say all of this because this past weekend he pitched against a very good team and gave up only two hits (1 ER) in 6 innings of work - got the win. When he got home I asked if they clocked him and he said he did not know. I emailed the Perfect Game guys and they said he topped out at 85! I actually had them double check to make sure. [/quote]
Nice! Do you think there was also a growth spurt and/or some physical maturing that occured in the last year that also contributed to the results you’re seeing?

There is such a thing as too long of a stride. Don’t set a particular distance (or percentage of height) as a goal. He needs to be able to maintain good balance and posture and he needs to be able to get out over the front leg and keep the release point 8"-12" in front of the front foot. You can use these things as checkpoints. Make sure he doesn’t start reaching with the front foot.

What you’ve experienced is part of what some on this site are having difficulty understanding - that you have to build up proper strength and flexibility in the proper parts of your body in order to effectively utilize the energy created by “getting it going”.


#4

Roger,
It is possible that his body simply matured some - it isn’t what we think is the main reason for the increase. The thing is, this came out of no where. In fact, when I told him that I was going to contact the Perfect Game guys, he really did not want to know what he was throwing because he was convinced that he wasn’t throwing hard.

Although he had a good season in HS, he was frustrated for most of the year because no matter what we tried nothing seemed to be working. There was a recent glimpse that maybe he had picked up some speed: he pitched two innings in a travel game a few weeks ago and was lights out - struck out all six. We did not have a gun so we weren’t really sure.

I do understand that too long of a stride could present problems. He wants to be at 100% or slightly more. My son is a pretty athletic kid, but really had to work at getting his leg to catch up so he could land properly.

What ever it was that caused it (probably a few things), as you might imagine, he is pumped. Of course, I am really glad now that he worked so hard on his off speed stuff - the extra velocity on his fastball seems to make those pitches that much more nasty.

One final note: he has always thrown every pitch max velocity - this caused his curve to have a nasty break but sometimes hard to control. His circle change moved a lot, but did not have enough of a change in speed. He is now not throwing those pitches with max effort and the results have been amazing.

Get this, my son came home and quoted an often used saying: “luck is when oppotunity meets preparation.” It was good to see him realize that hard work pays off.


#5

All Right Sherman!!!
One thing not mentioned and you may want to consider is this, Arron has been working his mechanics all season long, he’s conditioned to the point that he’s peaking phyically and mentally…if he didn’t get faster I’d be concerned he was injured…obviously he’s not. Speaks legions for your’s and his hard work and of course the fact that he’s in a top flight program. It is sure a pleasure to watch you guys succeed! :smiley:


#6

Hi jd! It may be just a timing thing - his body may have simply caught up -he will not turn 17 until the very end of July.

Anyway, I know your son is playing for Rick’s team - maybe we will be in a tournament or two together this summer. Good luck!


#7

Learned just this morning that we picked up one-o-dem stud varsity dudes from E.V., the name has fled my brain…I’ll let you know


#8

Interesting. My son was 77-81 on the gun this past season although I doubt we got him on the gun on his best days and dominant at the JV level only giving up one run and no earned runs for the season. He was recovering from injury, had not pitched for over a year prior to pitching this season and is only 15 so we don’t know where his velocity will peak. My guess is that if we asked him to throw for velocity he’d peak at about 83 currently. Right now they have him and the other rising juniors playing in a summer ball league where the other teams are rising sophmores and he hasn’t let a ball out of the infield so far (only 3 innings pitched) and is hitting .500 and leading the team in rbi despite having gotten virtually no time at the plate during the regular season and having fewer at bats so far during summer ball than most. He played in the same league last year and led the team in hitting despite being injured, unable to take BP, playing in pain and for the first part of the summer ball season only getting one plate appearance a game. Despite the fact that he’s healthy now we don’t expect him to even get a chance to play varsity next season as a junior given the way he’s being treated currently. There’s always hope but right now his prospects don’t seem to be too good. They play 3 games a week, don’t have enough pitchers to go around and he’s unlikely to get any time off to work on building arm strength or to work on his pitching. In case you think I’m delusional the same coach kept a pitcher throwing in the mid to high 80s on JVs as a junior a couple years ago. The kid signed with a top tier D1 before ever playing varsity ball and was a freshman all american.


#9

It is probably Robbie Collier - UNF signee - LHP with real good stuff. He had a no hitter in the 5th inning (state championship game) when he started getting leg cramps. You will quickly see why my son did not get a chance to pitch in either the semi-final or final game - the kid who pitched in the semi-final game is a JU signee. I’ve looked over your roster and you guys should have a pretty good team. The team my son is on (Jacksonville Stars) does not have a single 07 kid on it - very young, but gritty. Good luck!


#10

Thats why I say Eagles View has never been anything but a minor league franchise for UNF :lol:

CaDAD!!!
Man, I can sure feel ya. We discovered this year that the school we are going to isn’t going to do what we need it to for his future, so we had to devise a way around it. You on the other hand seem to be in an extreme situation where the school seems top flight but because Cason had his issue it’s kind of kept him in between. Desire will open the doors. You seem to have the right network going on. My good thoughts and prayers are going your way dude!


#11

Actually it is a top flite league but not a top flite baseball school. They’ve done well when they had some big time talent pass through but generally they aren’t too strong.


#12

Having a kid throwing in the upper 80’s and not playing on the varsity is one of the craziest things I have ever heard.


#13

Congratulations for your son, I’m sure he’s pretty pumped about his increase.

[quote=“shermanreed”]One more thing - we stopped doing heavy bench
press. What do you all think? [/quote]

Of all the exercises to do “heavy” this could potentially be the most detrimental to a pitcher in my opinion. However, once you stop putting the shoulder under so much stress you could actually come out ahead.
It’s much like if you do an activity, running, lifting, or something that’s taxing on the body, and take time off, you actually get stronger and better because your body becomes 100%.

I wouldn’t rule out bench pressing for a pitcher 100% as I’ve read a study showing it more effective for velocity than medicine balls+plyometrics.

But I don’t think going heavy on bench press will ever give a whole lot of benefit for the potential risk factors.
I’ve heard of more benching injuries than almost any other lift.


#14

They did have a high 80s senior that year who was the ace of the staff and another solid pitcher so they didn’t really need him. They wanted him to get innings to work on his control, but I think he would have been better off getting the innings on varsity. I don’t know if the varsity would have been stronger that season, probably not.


#15

I’d be careful with benching. I totally avoid it me as of many other kids will feel a crack or a pop in their arm when they bench. I’ve posted on fitness forums where people report the same problem in their teens and kids from my school have the same problem. Make sure if your benching that you don’t feel any strain. If theres any kind of pain in your arm I’d totally avoid it. I haven’t benched in a long time, for me it’s not worth the risk.