Updated Video

Ok…we have been working on getting momentum down the hill with the hope of improving his timing a bit. I am not sure if his timing has changed, however, the momentum is causing him to throw the ball a lot harder. He also has a drag line from the wind up (not so though from the stretch). Here are videos of both the old and the new. all comments are appreciated.
Old:

New:

I’m not going to talk about his mechanics but something far more special that is happening here.

Positive thoughts and a great relationship are happening between you two. I love how you keep your attitude positive when throwing this will help him alot. Everytime you keep a positive attitude it helps the pitcher out I have seen dads get all angry at little kids for doing one thing wrong and they end up crushing there time to have fun. Keep up having that positive attitude when he is on the mound it will help in the long run.

Keep up the great work

From the stretch, start with the feet a little closer together

[quote=“RIstar”]I’m not going to talk about his mechanics but something far more special that is happening here.

Positive thoughts and a great relationship are happening between you two. I love how you keep your attitude positive when throwing this will help him alot. Everytime you keep a positive attitude it helps the pitcher out I have seen dads get all angry at little kids for doing one thing wrong and they end up crushing there time to have fun. Keep up having that positive attitude when he is on the mound it will help in the long run.

Keep up the great work[/quote]You know, RIstar, I noticed the same thing. This kid is probably having fun doing this. Is that Dad we’re hearing, if so, great job Dad.

[quote=“dm59”][quote=“RIstar”]I’m not going to talk about his mechanics but something far more special that is happening here.

Positive thoughts and a great relationship are happening between you two. I love how you keep your attitude positive when throwing this will help him alot. Everytime you keep a positive attitude it helps the pitcher out I have seen dads get all angry at little kids for doing one thing wrong and they end up crushing there time to have fun. Keep up having that positive attitude when he is on the mound it will help in the long run.

Keep up the great work[/quote]You know, RIstar, I noticed the same thing. This kid is probably having fun doing this. Is that Dad we’re hearing, if so, great job Dad.[/quote]

Great job indeed, brought a smile to my face when I turned the sound on and heard the encouragement!

Yes, that is me (Dad) that you here and yes we are both having a great time. As my son is getting older he is starting to develop the same passion for the game that I have always had and it is very special sharing it with him.
Now, another technical question. When landing on the stride foot, is it best to land on the toe (which I doubt), flat footed or on the heel. I have noticed that on the original video I posted, my son lands toe first. On the most recent video, he lands either flat footed or heel first. I believe that this is why he is now getting a drag line and his hips also seem to be opening up just a little sooner (into foot plant). Correct?

Your son does appear to be improved since the first video though it will take many more reps before the improvements really take hold. He does appear to have a drag line which is a good thing. It’s ok if the foot lifts and then touches down again.

I was also going to comment that his feet still looked too wide in the stretch position. But he doesn’t really have the weight shift towards 2B that he had before so I’m thinking he might be ok. In fact, once he lifts his knee (especially since he takes his knee toward his back shoulder) it leaves his front hip out in front and ready to lead his stride. So I’m inclined to leave that alone.

It does appear that your son still opens the shoulders early. I think that is due partly to a posture issue and partly to an instable glove. The posture issue is he tilts his head toward 1B during his stride. It’s hard to tell just how much he tilts he head from just a side view but it seems most noticeable in the last pitch where he falls off to the side.

The glove issue is that he still lets the glove drop early and even fly open to the side. I’d want to see his glove up in front somewhere over the front foot at front foot plant in an opposite and equal position (upper arm-to-forearm angles the same). Making the glove arm do this makes it take some time which gives time to the back side to delay shoulder rotation. Increasing his momentum will make this easier as he won’t have to hold the front arm out there for any length of time. It only needs to be there for a moment but it needs to be there at foot plant. And once it’s there, he should leave it there and bring his chest to the glove. As the shoulders rotate, the elbow should tuck down to the side or slightly in front of his torso, the glove should turn over all, and the glove arm should firm up to create a stable base for the throwing arm to throw against.

I also noticed your son doesn’t get any low back extension as his shoulders rotate and square up to home plate. Low back extension sets up a load that results in forward trunk flexion which is the last link in the chain to “fire” before the arm snaps forward. The lack of extension could be due to a lack of functional strength and/or flexibility in the low back - not uncommon for young kids. Or it could be that the early shoulder rotation preempts it. I’d work on fixing the early shoulder rotation and then see where he stands.

My dad never really comments to me negatively or positively. I really don’t know why. However I wish my dad encouraged me more. I mean he comes to games and plays catch with me but, I don’t get much feedback from him.

His only feed back usually is from games about the mental aspects of the game not really helping me anywhere else.

I think it’s nice that you encourage your son like that. I only really get feedback from my dad if I do something horrid or something grand.

But hey, the little guy is looking better. Keep it up man!

Roger,
Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that he is breaking his hands a bit early. By delaying his hand break a little, will that not help with the timing issue that you describe?

I like his upper body rotation. Looks like he “wants” to rotate and throw hard. I see evidence of a bit better momentum now. In the first video, his back leg stops and hangs there in the air a bit, indicating that he’s stopping the momentum. Just the fact that he’s “able” to stop it is of concern on this issue. The second one doesn’t have that issue.

Now, having said that, I do notice that he wants to put the front foot down quite early. I’d like to see him continue his sideways momentum generation just a bit longer. This will lengthen his stride a bit if the tempo is increasing. Some of us here always caution that lengthening the stride isn’t so much the goal as much as the generation of sideways momentum. Thinking of just striding further can lead to a simple “reaching” of the front foot, which is not terribly productive.

His hand break is a bit early and will especially need to be later if he generates sideways momentum for a longer period of time. This will take some trial and error.

All in all, good job, especially with the positive encouragement. I think we all agree that this kid’s in good hands.

[quote=“RedHawks Baseball”]Roger,
Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that he is breaking his hands a bit early. By delaying his hand break a little, will that not help with the timing issue that you describe?[/quote]
Yes, I suppose his hand break is a bit early given the rest of his mechanics and, more importantly, timing. And that will make it harder to get to opposite and equal at foot plant because once the glove arm gets out front, it doesn’t want to just hang around there - it wants to do its “next thing”. Speeding up the tempo reduces the time it has to get out there and “hang around”.

Like I said earlier - and like DM said - if he increases his tempo to generate more momentum, you might find his hand break ends up being right on time. My preference would be to increase the tempo and let the hands figure out what to do before imposing an arbitrary and artificial delay in the hand break.

“Now, another technical question. When landing on the stride foot, is it best to land on the toe (which I doubt), flat footed or on the heel. I have noticed that on the original video I posted, my son lands toe first.”

--------I’m sure that various people may have different opinions about this. Tom House would tell you not to teach the stride foot to land in any particular way as long as the important aspects of your son’s mechanics are being optimized. Continue to work on the mechanical features of your son’s delivery that are crucial and his stride foot will take care of itself.

Note that something like 50 % of elite pitchers land on their heel, 25 % land on their toe, and 25 % land flat-footed. Incidentally, there are similar kinds of distribution numbers for landing with the foot slightly open, directly on line with home plate, or slightly closed–all of these styles are well-represented and are usually just the most comfortable and effective adaptions to individuals’ delivery mechanics.

I’m sorry I didn’t read all the posts, but I’m going to tell you basically what Tom would tell you. I spent the last weekend with Tom up in Detroit, and I helped coach the younger group of kids (14 and under). Through the course of the weekend I learned many new fixes, especially for younger kids, that I didn’t know before. (The other times I’ve been with him have been 1 on 1.)

Anyways back on point. This is what I see with him, and what I would say if he were on of my students. (I also instruct in addition to being the varsity pitching coach at my high school at home.)

1.) He’s got a definite issue with balance and posture. His head (I would say torso also but it’s hard to tell if his torso is leaning from this angle.) has definite movement to the his glove side which leads to negative stress on the fronts of both the shoulder and elbow.
The Fix: Tell him to think sidearm. What should happen is he will think he is throwing sidearm but really its the same arm angle but his head is straight on the target instead of drifting off to the glove side. It’s also a strength issue as it is with most younger kids. House would most likely call him a “cannonball on a broomstick,” which is how he refers to taller, skinnier kids. It’s a good idea to shrink him down a few inches to lower his center of gravity so if his head moves a little bit it doesn’t throw everything off. (This can be used until he gains sufficient strength.)

2.) His drag line looks to end off the center line to his arm side. This could also be causing his head to move to the left because his mind is attempting to correct itself. Think equilibrium.
The Fix: When approaching a mound the first thing you should do is draw a center line. Then you take a couple of throws. If your drag line ends on that line, there is no needed adjustment. If, say, the drag line ends to the right of the line by 4 inches, then you should position your back foot 4 inches to the left of where it was posted during that throw, etc.

3.) His glove is very unstable. Sometimes it looks as if he’s really “pulling” or “yanking” it. Another time it isn’t all that bad, but it still finishes a bit too low for comfort.
The Fix: The glove is the most important part of the delivery. Put it this way: A stable glove may allow a pitcher 100 K’s and 25 BB’s compared to an unstable glove allowing the pitcher 70 K’s and 55 BB’s. It’s very hard to throw strikes consistently with an unstable glove. This definition is straight from the NPA: “As the shoulders begin to rotate, the glove needs to stabilize over the landing foot somewhere in front of the torso (between shoulders and belly button).” Basically tell him to put his glove on his chin throughout his delivery. Eventually it will end the “yank,” and he will find a comfortable spot to finish.

npa rookie,

that is a very nice post. the difference between a good post and a post is the good ones tell you how to fix the problem (just like yours did).

coach house has changed his teaching a little recently and it makes much more sense to me now. some of the things were simply misinterpretation of what he was saying. for instance, stack and track does not occur until release. that makes sense, he also emphasizes leading with the hips two foot lengths in front of the rubber, this allows for tilting and gaining enormous momentum if you have the stregth and flexibility to control it (that is why core strength and flexibility cannot be overemphasized in young pitchers). you must be strong there to throw hard safely and effectively.

i also like his have all the pitches come out of the same tunnel idea. if they all look the same then move in different directions, you can pitch effectively.

the one thing i’m still studying is the drag line concept. when i look at sandy koufax in his prime handing the yankees their a^# in the world series, his drag line was well to the first base side and he had an enormous stride (which i consider an absolute to pitching for a long, long time). could you elaborate on that a little if possible.

i want to attend one of his certification camps sometime. needs to have one in the dallas area for us rednecks.

Dusty, NPA Texas has camps but I dont know if they do coaches certifications. I helped out with their last camp but there aren’t too many kids out in this neck of the woods.

to further expound on the pitches out of a tunnel idea,

different pitches will have different release points for example, a fastball away will have a different release than a fastball in

Combinations start to reveal themselves when you look at other pitches for instance, a slider away might look the same as a fastball in for many right handed pitchers. In this sense, you can trick a batter with a fastball in/slider away combo.

Sorry to get off topic. I would talk about the drag line but I’ll let roger or flippin handle that since they know the word of the science better than me

my understanding from house is that if you can make all your pitches look the same for the first 4 feet coming out of your hand, you have an excellent chance to pitch in the big leagues. if they come out different, you have a tough time getting high school hitters out. for example, if the curveball “pops up” out of your hand, the hitter can recognize it. if it looks like a fastball then turns over late, the hitter cannot adjust. this is a better curveball.

if you can get the change to look the same as the fastball coming out of the hand, you’re home. you have 3 pitches doing 3 different things, that look the same for the first 4 feet toward the plate. if the change up is 12-15 mph slower with inperceivable speed difference on release, it is close to unhittable (ask trevor hoffman). this makes sense and i think it is what he is talking about. but i don’t know and want to ask him at a camp he conducts.

that is why throwing the breaking pitches hard with enormous spin is critical to good pitching. you must fool the hitter in some way.

Well I’m taking this idea from perry husband but I agree with what you are saying also, except releases have to be the same type, speed, but slight differences in position will happen. That’s my understanding

Oh most definitely. He had me stand behind him when he was looking at the tunnel when a few pitchers were pitching and taught me how to look at it. It’s very, very cool and makes perfect sense. Basically every pitch should look the same as the fastball does. John Smoltz does this so well it’s scary.

Well, I wouldn’t consider myself an expert, but I do know a great deal about mechanics, nutrition, working out, etc. I never had the opportunity to watch Koufax pitch, but I can make a few judgements. His career lasted only 11 years and was stopped short due to arthritis. I use only when comparing him to elite pitchers with ridiculously long careers like Clemens, Ryan, etc.

You mention his drag line moving well to the first base side. Well his career ended at the age of 30 due to arthritis. For those who aren’t totally familiar with arthritis, arthritis is basically means inflammation of the joints. I’m guessing it was his shoulder. It could have been genetic but, I’m guessing he got arthritis due to the repetition of one or more bad mechanics. (The drag line being one…)
Remember you can still be a great pitcher with bad mechanics. Unfortunately you are going to get hurt at some point or another because of it. One of my buddies from my high school team is a perfect example. He won the state championship as a sopohomore and was throwing around 85-88. As a junior he hit 90 at the beginning of the season but during his 2nd start he tore his rotator cuff. He hasn’t really pitched since. (That was 3 years ago, and he is still having shoulder issues.)
[/quote]

Dusty,

House and the NPA make two recommendations based on the drag line.

The first recommendation is that the drag line end on the line betwen the center of the rubber and the center of home plate. This has ramifications on posture and balance. Consider, for example, a pitcher who strides closed and has to throw across his body. If this pitcher started on the right side of the rubber, chances are that his drag line would end to the right side as well. Such a pitcher runs the risk of having to make a late posture change to get his head and shoulders squared back up to the target. But this issue might be easily solved by simply moving his starting position on the rubber to adjust the end of the drag line. It’s a very simple fix as no other changes to the pitcher’s mechanics are necessary.

The second recommendation is for the drag line to end two of the pitcher’s shoe lengths in front of the rubber. This indicates a proper amount of momentum was generated. And I think it is a much better cue to tell a pitcher to lengthen his drag line than to tell him to lengthen his stride as it takes the focus away from the front leg/foot and should avoid “reaching” with the front leg/foot. And increasing the length of the drag line will most likely lengthen the stride as a byproduct.

NPA Pitcher said:[quote]Basically tell him to put his glove on his chin throughout his delivery. Eventually it will end the “yank,” and he will find a comfortable spot to finish.[/quote]
NPA,
Could you explain this a little more?