Throwing Elbow

I am 15 and have been pitching since i was 8. Now i am in high school and my coach says my arm goes to high when i pitch. He says i release the ball above the level of my head instead of with my arm at a 90 degree angle. I have no arm pain when i pitch the way i have been. Can throwing that way cause elbow or shoulder problems?

Your coach seems to have never looked at video. Videotape yourself and show your coach that your elbow is extended when you release.

As long has your elbow is level with the level of both shoulders you will be fine.

In this picture below, Roger Clemens elbow is above his throwing shoulder but level with shoulders. See the red lines I drew. If you are in this position at release, you are fine.

Let’s look at more pictures of Clemens. Notice on the left his elbow his higher than the one on the right, but that’s only in relation to the ground. His shoulder level is at a different angle in relation to the ground.

Now watch what happens when I change his shoulder tilt. His arm is in the same position in relation to both shoulders. His elbow is level with both shoulders.

If your shoulders are level with the ground and your elbow is above your shoulder, that is dangerous.

Let’s look at another arm slot. Low sidearm/submarine. This is Joe Smith of the Mets. You see his elbow is below his throwing shoulder, but still level with both shoulders.

Is this your varsity coach?


This is one of the oldest misconceptions out there.

It’s not physically possible to throw the ball with your elbow bent 90 degrees. In a high-level throw it HAS to extend fully.

That is why arm slot is determined by shoulder tilt and not elbow angle.

Thanks. I think im just going to drop down three quarters like i used to pitch because i seems that i have some sort of mechanical problems over the top

Hmm… It wasn’t clear to me from the original description whether the 90 degrees was the angle of the elbow or the shoulder (humerus to torso?).

Mike245, are you sure you understood your coach’s comments correctly? Baseball coaches use a lot of jargon and frequently assume players know what they mean. And, unfortunately, players don’t want to sound dumb so they never question what their coach says. Make sure you understand exactly what your coach means.

my coach says that my elbow is not level with my shoulders. i release the ball too high

Ok, then you need to look at xv84’s post above. Maybe you’re tilting your head and shoulders and your coach is really saying he doesn’t like your posture. Don’t know - just guessing.

Tilting the head and shoulders moves them offline from the target and will pull the release point back in addition to raising it up.

exactly what xv84 said

That’s unlikely.

Is he saying this based on what he sees on video?

Your coach should be employing the nine (9) point system of instruction that’s basic to all “specialty” positions. And although I’m not speaking for other sports/coaches, here’s what I do. (regardless, this system is pretty basic stuff)
A pitching coach should:
(1) Explain
(2) Observe comprehension
(3) Demonstrate
(4) Observe execution
(5) Explain sucess/failure
(6) Observe comprehension
(7) Demonstrate
(8) Observe execution
(9) Repeat as necessary.

Now some where along the line, either he or you are missing something. So being fair to all concerned, try to ask your coach to explain in detail exactly what he wants you to do. Then, insure that you understand fully, if not ask for a different approach. *Then ask your coach to demonstrate the best he can, what it is exactly that he wants you to do. Then, try in SLOW TIME exactly what your impression of his instruction was.

COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY HERE. If your not communicating well, you’ve got to step in and take charge of the situation - not him. Your coach is not a mind reader.

However, let me qualify the above- you’ve got to have a certain amount of talent going into the train’g process as well as progressing through it. Be fair wilth your estimation of yourself first before appraising your coaches. In short, try not to make the coaching process any more difficult than it already is.

I wish you the very best in your program.

Coach B.
*[/color] With respect to showing you exactly what he wants you to do, please take into account your coach’s age. I say this because over the last few years – I’m up in age and it’s sometimes a chore to show exactly what I’m trying to get accross. I even had one smart @#$%@!! say to me once… “Ah coach, you want me to pitch like a 70 year old man??” I could’ve brained - em!!