Timing


#1

I hear and read a lot about a pitchers timing being off. How the bottom half and top half our out of sync or the timing is off between the two.

Are there check points in the delivery that you look for to see if a pitchers timing is off or if he is out of sync?


#2

munster,

Don’t make it harder than it is. A pitcher’s timing is off when the ball doesn’t go where he wants it, and that happens more times than not. If you try to pitch apart the delivery of a pitch that has thousands of different movements in it, you’re gonna go nuts! Its not that it can’t be done, but you have to realize everything from the 1st movement affects everything through the release. So if you make an adjustment for one problem, likely as not you’ll cause another one someplace else.

You can analyze and dissect a pitching movement all you want, but in the end it all boils down to trying something, if it doesn’t work you try it again, making minor adjustments until it works more or less the way you want. Once you have that, you work on making it work consistently the same way, and that goes on from when a kid throws his 1st pitch until he retires after a 20+ year ML career.


#3

re: “You can analyze and dissect a pitching movement all you want, but in the end it all boils down to trying something, if it doesn’t work you try it again, making minor adjustments until it works more or less the way you want.”

----------Munster, this piece of advice you’ve been offered sounds to me like a different way of saying, “I have no idea if there are any specific timing issues you can look for in a pitching delivery, so use trial-and-error and hope for the best”.

I am not a professional coach but I’ve spent a lot of time around some pretty good ones, including Tom House. I think that most pitching coaches want to help their pitchers shorten some trails toward optimum pitching mechanics, not throw you into the pit of “trial-and-error”.

For example, if a pitching coach noticed that you were rotating your upper torso open before, or at about the same time, as your hips were opening…he might call that out as a timing issue and ask you to work on changing that. That flaw might also be considered a ‘sequencing’ error; however, it has always seemed to me as though timing and sequencing are closely related issues that can’t be separated from each other in any obvious way.

I suggest that you address your questions about timing issues directly to someone at LTP like Roger Tomas, who is an outstanding professional pitching coach with many years of relevant experience.


#4

[quote=“laflippin”]I suggest that you address your questions about timing issues directly to someone at LTP like Roger Tomas, who is an outstanding professional pitching coach with many years of relevant experience.[/quote]Roger would be fully endorsed from here!!


#5

Not being Roger…but a guy who has watched this kid for a couple of years…I’d recommend Roger too 8)

I’d also offer that equal and opposite at foot plant has been “a standard” that many coaches look to…I’d also say that it is a dynamic transitory point that gives the body a full base to throw from.


#6

I’m not quite sure why you feel its necessary to take a backhanded shot at me like that, rather than just say “That guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”, but its all good. If you bothered to read what I said, Its not that it can’t be done, but you have to realize everything from the 1st movement affects everything through the release, it didn’t say there weren’t specific things in a delivery that couldn’t be isolated as causing timing problems, at all. In fact, if anything it was just the opposite.

Ya know, I don’t mind when someone disagrees with me about an opinion, but it does grind on me when I say something true, but I’m made out to be some kind of bumbling fool because I didn’t throw a bunch of advice out there to some soul looking for answers, that I know will likely do little more than cause him more trouble than relief for his issue.

Here’s the bottom line to me. Flopping out a lot of advice to someone without a lot of experience, will often cause them to try several things at the same time because they don’t understand that everything’s tied together, and it takes more than a few tries to get it right. So to me, its preferable to make it plain from the beginning that what they’re looking at is extremely complicated, and that even the very best coaches have no magic pill that fixes something as complicated as timing by trying only one thing.

If it were that simple, every single pitcher that someone like Tom House has ever worked with would have perfect timing, perfect mechanics, and would become a star in the ML. But rather than to simply say its difficult to pinpoint something without seeing it in person, you threw out torso torque and foot plant as possible timing problem causes. Now what do you think is planted in his mind and that he’s gonna be looking for with no idea about how those things fit into the sequence, or that something a early as 1st movement can throw off timing, as well as something as late as release.

Just once on one of these boards I’d like to see some self-proclaimed expert not offer examples of what could be, but rather offer the advice to seek out the best local help they can find, and refrain from throwing out things that have just as much chance of making things worse than better.

Maybe its time for me to just take my leave. Its obvious I have nothing to offer because I’m considered such a bozo.


#7

Thanks for all the replies.

He is going through some of the biggest struggles i have seen him have. He has always been a pretty good pitcher, not the greatest but a very solid guy that would give you good innings.

He is struggling with his control and it looks to me that his top half is behind his bottom half which is making him open up before he is in a position to get out over the front foot to throw.


#8

Repeatability is the key to consistency, if he’s pressing it gets dicey.
Does he do sync up kind of drill work? Step-behinds, long toss…even some towel/sock drill just to sync up.
Also, another factor in consistency is fatigue…thats where you can identify watch points and understand if his mech is breaking down.


#9

Munster,

Relax and take a few deep breaths, buddy. Patches of difficulty and failure are the best teachers, or rather they are the most effective motivators for new learning, change of habits, and advancement.

Like I said, a good pitching coach should be able to help your son identify specific timing problems, and/or other kinds of issues. Virtually any mechanical problem in a delivery can be worked on and optimized…but only after you understand exactly which are the problematic areas that need the work. That’s what an experienced and insightful pitching coach can do for your son.

What you can do for him right now is: Help him understand that there is light at the end of every tunnel but that it always takes desire, work ethic, and some time spent working to reach that light. Help to bolster his self-confidence in his ability to overcome his current problems with diligent effort. Help him to understand that development and mastery of pitching skills are life-long processes for pitchers.

JD’s questions look like very good starting points for drilling down into what’s currently giving your son trouble. The motto of this forum should be, “You’re in good hands with LTP”. The experienced coaches here will not let you get too far off the track.


#10

Thanks for the support on this guys, we have been through struggles but not like this stretch.

We have been doing step behinds but not much long tossing or towel drill work which maybe we should get back to.

It really started about the end of the high school season in May and has lasted most of the summer. He played on a new summer team this year and only got a few innings in since he was having control problems and other kids were throwing better.

The fall season started and the problems are still going on. He is frustrated and looking to me for answers and i am not coming up with the any. We did take some time off after the summer season, about four weeks.

Here is a video from 8-12 of him throwing, two from the side and two from the back and then both again slowed down.

I know the posture needs improved, as he has gotten older he has struggled with the shoulder tilt or posture.


#11

This in my opinion isn’t mechs.
It’s mental.

Uncertainty of the new team, taking too much time away, perhaps less dominance than is normal…all shake the heck out of your nerve on the hill…what do you do? You press, you try to be too fine and end up walking guys…then you have base runners, make a mistake over the plate and get to sit down…miserable on the confidence. He needs an edge and a swagger…my vote is to develop a sinker or some late movement…got to make them miss the sweet spot while still throwing strikes with confidence…no sink…no problem…work a change 4 seam combo…the idea is to be in the zone, make them swing get some outs…or get mid-evil and apply the K…what-ever the strategy is in his personality…he needs the confidence of seeing a few guys sit down instead of him.


#12

It could be pressing a little.

He had a lot of success early and got all the pats on the back but as he has grown older I think his expectations of himself have grown pretty high. Now it is what is wrong with him if he does not pitch at a high level instead of good game, I hope that makes sense.

I am not saying he is a superstar, I just hope he has two good and rewarding years of high school baseball left and gets lucky enough to continue playing some type of ball afterwards.

I know with his size and velocity it will have to be at small school if he does gets that chance. I just want do my part in giving him the opportunity to get that chance. Like I always tell him, he is my favorite baseball player.

Control has really been the biggest issue; he has not given up any hits this fall through 4 innings but has 7 walks and 8 k’s.


#13

I could see where it would be very tempting for a pitching coach to take on a kid like this with the idea of making him better with mechanical tweaks. And I guess if you’ve got time, the resources and the will to put in the required reps to change, it might just happen if the arm holds out. And I can see, as a father, you’d want to do anything that would give him better odds to succeed. The physical changes are tangible, you can get your hands on them, mold them into something that looks more successful. I can see it, because I was there with my kid.

At this point in the adventure I had to make the decision to fish or cut bait. Whatever he was going to be mechanically was pretty much set. The mind however, was still developing and shortly he was going off to college where other people were ready, willing and able to mentor him. Now, I don’t know the specifics of your situation. I’m throwing out notes on my experience only for something to take a look at. By no means do I think I know the answers to what’s digging at you.

The simple fact is that at this stage of the journey you begin to realize how little room for error there is and that the competition both on the mound and at the plate forces never before seen errors. The speed of the game literally catches up and passes some by. What was in total control a few months ago now is utter chaos. And there are different levels of this experience. Some are just barely holding on to control, some handle it well and some just can’t keep it on the track.

Where my son fell on this continuum was largely defined by his god given talent or lack thereof and what we , as a team, had worked on over the last ten years that made him what he was. With no blame assigned to him or me regarding our deficiencies; he pressed forward to see how far he could go and remain in the game. We had designed a pitcher, for better or for worse and that pitcher was going to pitch every time he got the opportunity. Where it was all headed, we had no clue.

In the end, he had a great run. Some might analyze it as a failure to reach potential. I am sure they are short sighted. It turned out that pitching provided a more valuable goal than mere success on the mound. It really developed his character. Never give up - keep climbing the mountain - prove the others wrong - go ahead and put your nose to the grindstone and get a bloody nose - it is all part and parcel of what baseball has to offer.

Pitching is alot like fishing. Sometimes you use live bait, sometimes fake. They both catch fish. Tell him to throw strikes or something that looks like a strike. Don’t nibble. You got eight guys trying to help out.


#14

Sure looks like a guy in search of the perfect pitch instead of getting guys out…


#15

Nice post Dino full of some good information. This summer he did hit a level of baseball that was much tougher for him. As he gets older the summer teams all seem to be full of kids that can play. There are fewer kids that play in the summer compared to HS so the teams we play against seem to be all loaded with talent.

JD, his HS coaches preach corners, corners, corners.


#16

You’re not a bozo. You’re the scorekeeper. If there is one thing I’ve learned from LTP, it’s not the place for the faint at heart or “soft” skinned. This is a forum, not a support group. It happens, you’ve been as guilty as anyone else. Pick your head up, don’t be guy that takes his ball home when it doesn’t go your way because you feel like you’re not getting a fair shake or equal playing time. Please don’t have me pull out the video of Justin Timberlake and his “Cry me a River” video. :wink:

A few more self sympathetic quotes like that one and you’re going to have guys screaming that “Scores out’s don’t count, just let him play”

If I took every comment on this forum personal, I don’t think my insurance provider would be willing to cover my expenses incurred in mental health expenses. Outside of the knowlegeable guys on this forum, it’s the controversy and the “No holds barred” approach that can only be found on LTP that keeps me coming back!


#17

We threw a bullpen tonight and it started off pretty rough. After a 15 pitches he was ready to call it a night but I told him lets slow it down and just throw at a speed that allows you to control your body and throw strikes.

Once he got to where he was hitting the glove pretty good we sped up the tempo and effort a little until the control broke down and he was having trouble getting the ball over.

The thing that jumped out to me is his leg lift. When he slowed down his foot on his leg lift was further away from his body, it was hanging right below the knee.

As he sped up his delivery or increased his level of effort his foot would be tucked more under his knee and closer to his drive leg.
With the foot tucked under he would tend to land open, when the foot was further away he would land in a much better position and his control was night and day difference. Control, not command but at least he was over the plate.

If you watch the video in this thread you can see what I mean by tucked under the knee.

So I went back and looked at old video and sure enough at some point this small leg lift thing had changed or crept into his delivery.

It is a step in the right direction, we will see Friday when we through another bullpen if it holds true.

I hope that ramble all made sense, i am curious to what your thoughts are on my theory of opening too soon with the tucked foot under the knee.

Thanks again for all the advice. I really enjoy reading all the advice and different thoughts on pitching on the forum.


#18

Something more to think about over the next 6-8 months, if your boy wants to pitch his way into a good college program somewhere…I take it this is the beginning of his Junior year in HS?

His performance in his HS program may be important, but even more important to him will be: Getting seen by coaches from the colleges he may be interested in during the summer of '14. There are lots of different kinds of summer showcase opps and you and your boy should be starting to think about which ones make the most sense for him.

Good control may be the best way to get playing time on your boy’s HS team, especially if the HS coaches are preaching corner, corner, corner as you suggested. However, when he starts showing off for college coaches, certainly in the large showcases…make sure he understands that the single characteristic that will stick out on his evaluation forms, to the coaches that don’t know him personally, is a single number: “Peak FB velocity”.

In the showcase environment, control with modest velocity does not stack up against blazing speed with wildness. Sorry to say (because there is definitely some injustice in it) it’s generally not even a close call, especially for RHPs. Blazing speed with control will have the coaches actually drooling and fawning, but when it comes time to perform for college…choose speed over control, if you have to choose.


#19

I remember when I was a little snip, eleven, twelve years old. What I used to do, I would get a good catcher, and he would set up behind a marker representing home plate—or, if we would be working on a field that wasn’t being used at the time I would take the mound and he would set up behind the plate. And we would play a little game we called “ball and strike”. The catcher would position his mitt in various places, high, low, inside, outside, every which way but standing on his head :lol:, and what I would do was work on getting the ball smack-dab into the pocket of the mitt. It was a terrific workout and a lot of fun, and what a sense of satisfaction when I heard that resounding “thwack” as the ball hit that pocket. We would go at it for an hour at a time, three times a week, and I can’t think of a better way to sharpen up one’s control. Later on I would get someone to stand in the batter’s box, first one side and then the other, so I could really zero in on the strike zone.
And even after I got into playing the game I continued to do this. From time to time my incredible pitching coach—an active major-league pitcher—would pull on a catcher’s mitt, get behind the plate and catch for me so that he could check on some other things I was doing. (And he wasn’t half bad as a catcher.) I was an honest-to-gosh sidearmer who threw hard, used a slide-step throughout, and added the crossfire which he helped me refine, and believe me, it paid off. :baseballpitcher:


#20

LA/DM/JD - thanks for the endorsement. I really appreciate it.

Munster, I agree with JD that your son’s current situation could certainly be creating mental issues.

But I also think there is a mechanical issue that could be causing control issues. And you already mentioned it - posture. As your son’s shoulders start to rotate, his head and spine veers off to the glove side. I believe this pulls his shoulders open early which prevents him from getting out over the front foot.

Another way to look at this is his center of rotation moves in a different direction than the arm is trying to throw the ball. I believe this makes it more difficult to establish that repeatable delivery JD mentioned. It can lead to arbitrary manipulation of the arm path. It can also pull back and raise the release point which can make it more difficult to keep the ball down in the zone and which can reduce movement on breaking pitches.

See if you can get him to just keep his head upright.

Now, Dino made some excellent points. In fact, I typed up most of this post before reading Dino’s post and it had even occurred to me that this could be a difficult change at this stage of your son’s career. But I think it is possible with proper desire, commitment and preparation.

laflippin also made and excellent point about the importance of velocity. In your son’s case, I feel the posture issue and potential arm path manipulation could be robbing him of some velocity - maybe not a lot but 1-3 mph could certainly be a possibility.