Hi all, I have a quick question? my son has been taking pitching lessons from a former pro. it’s going very good, he has fixed a couple of mechanic issues. like opening up to soon. he’s throwing very hard with good location. as you may remember my son hurt his shoulder playing hockey back in sept and spent 2 months doing pt. anyway the shoulder is doing great and he continues to do his shoulder exercises. my question is where should his throwing elbow be in regards to his shoulder? even, alittle above or really above. yesterday the coach wanted him to get his elbow up, he’s normaly even or just a bit higher. after his lesson my son was complaining that he had some soreness on the inside of the elbow upper forearm area to middle of the crease. he said it started after he started getting the elbow up. later in the day the soreness was gone. I just want to be Very cautious with his arm health. thanks for any advice…
Ideally the throwing elbow should be just about even with the shoulder—a tad below or a tad above wouldn’t make that much difference, but it seems to me that coach is asking for big trouble. If indeed the kid’s arm soreness is due to his elevating that elbow that much, he needs to stop at once, and that coach should be raked over the coals but good. Hasn’t anyone ever told him that you do NOT mess with a pitcher’s natural motion?—and it seems to me that having the elbow even with the shoulder is how the kid throws naturally, and it needs to be left alone. :x
I would be very careful about changing the arm slot. Getting the elbow up will likely be accompanied by a postural tilt which will put more load on the shoulder. It sounds to me like your son’s arm slot is fine and shouldn’t be messed with.
So why was your son’s elbow sore? Probably from favoring the shoulder. Favoring a mobile joint and over-taxing an adjacent stable joint will surely do that.
Just because the instructor is a former pro doesn’t mean he knows how to instruct well. From what I’ve seen, former pro guys are often conventional wisdom guys. I give instruction to a high school pitcher whose team pitching coach is a former pro. He likes to tell kids to “get on top” or “throw over the top”.
Roger, I agree with you one hundred per cent.
My pitching coach was an active major league pitcher—a key member of the Yankees’ Big Three pitching rotation of the late 40s to the mid-50s, not to mention that he doubled as an extra pitching coach for the team—and one of his basic tenets was that every pitcher has a natural motion. What he would do was work with that pitcher and show him or her how to make the most of it—take full advantage of it—and that was not “conventional wisdom”; it was common sense. I will never forget the time I asked him a question about the slider (albeit with some trepidation because I had had no idea what to expect); his response was to take me aside and show me how to throw a good one, and when he noted that I was a natural sidearmer he worked with that. He helped me refine my crossfire move, and because I really wanted to know and was willing to work at it he had no hesitation about teaching me some very advanced stuff he felt I needed to know.
I wonder if you remember a guy named Fred Sanford. He was a pitcher with the old St. Louis Browns, and he was a classic example of a pretty fair country hurler with the lousiest team in all creation. The Yankees saw something in him and acquired him in a trade at the end of the 1949 season. But then the trouble began. Sanford had a pitching delivery best described as herky-jerky, and never mind that he was getting the batters out: pitching coach Jim Turner didn’t like it. Third-base coach Frank Crosetti (and how did he, a former infielder, get mixed up in this?) didn’t like it. It—can you beat this—offended their esthetic sensibilities! They wanted Sanford to have a smooth, Spalding Guide-perfect delivery—and so they started futzing around with it. They screwed the pooch, was what they did; they ended up destroying him. When they got through with him he wasn’t a good pitcher any more. At the end of the 1950 season he was traded. Esthetic sensibilities, my Aunt Fanny!
That’s right—you don’t ever mess with a pitcher’s natural motion. It’s one thing if a pitcher throws “over the top” because that’s the way he has always done it. It’s another if a coach tries to make him do that—for no other reason than “just because”. It’s true that some ex-pros make horrible coaches, but others—like Ed Lopat, who helped me become a better pitcher than I had been before—not only could pitch, but when he wasn’t beating the Cleveland Indians to an unrecognizable pulp could also coach and teach. I could go on and on all day about him, but I’ll just say that they don’t make pitching coaches like him any more, and I’ll stop there. 8) :baseballpitcher:
thanks for the replies. I don’t think he is favoring the shoulder. he say’s the shoulder feels good and the shoulder ortho gave him a green light.
my son just said after the lesson once he started getting the elbow up. it was sore. he had some soreness during last season in the same area. I consulted with a former pitching coach that had worked with him and he said it was due to him getting the elbow to high. he should keep it even or slightly up. once my son did this the soreness was gone.
my feeling is the coach wants him to keep the elbow up to throw harder.
I feel he’s 12 will be 13 in may. and throws hard now. as he gets older add’s more size. his velocity will increase. it’s about proper mechanics and repeating the mechanics properly. thank’s again.
I believe getting the elbow too high would be an issue for the shoulder - not the elbow. But ultimately we would need to see what other effects getting the shoulder too high may be causing to determine impacts to the elbow itself. For example, if getting the elbow too high causes postural tilt which, in turn, pulls the shoulders open early then that could impact the elbow.