I’ll preface this by saying that I realize that this is normal to some degree, but I feel like my 12 y/o son is capable of more velocity than he is currently displaying during games. He freely admits that he backs off at times to gain control, which, again, I’m aware is normal. I guess the question is what’s the answer to move him closer to his bullpen velocity? More frequent bullpens?
I know a majority of young pitchers do this, but it’s incorrect in my opinion.
When you slow down the delivery to throw strikes, timing issues almost always result that actually make it more difficult to throw strikes, not easier – especially when a pitcher slows down that explosive first movement away from the rubber following max knee height, which results in a shorter stride, less force production, and dropping the arm (characterized by what looks like dart throwing, not pitching).
That said, a reduction in velocity could be due to a few things: 1) a slight change in his mechanics (posture, perhaps), 2) his arm may be a little fatigued, or 3) he may need to focus more closely on “intent.”
Can you post some video of his mechanics?
The pitcher needs to be made aware that when he slows down his delivery, his arm speed, whatever, he’s telegraphing his pitches, and in any league that’s a no-no. I remember when I was pitching and we were facing a team we used to beat all the time; they had a pitcher with an absolutely beautiful slow curve—and he was tipping that pitch every time, he would twitch his elbow AND slow down his arm speed when he was going to throw it, and invariably we would pick up on that and drive the guy from the mound in the third inning every time. And for some reason neither his manager or his pitching coach ever called this to his attention. Dumb, eh?
I agree with the above comments but I’d also add that he may simply be afraid to let loose and hit the batter. Put a batter in the box during his bullpens to get home used to a batter being there. Make sure to use righties and lefties.
Thanks for all the replies so far. I need to take some recent video of him. I think the best thing to do would be to video a bullpen and then get some game video. It may take some time.
I don’t think he’s afraid to hit the batter. He hit three yesterday alone. I think he’s trying to hard to be accurate. He’s been struggling with opening his hips too early every since he started pitching, and it has been a bit worse than usual lately. Since he’s left-handed, he tends to miss left of the plate, from his perspective, when he does this. The first batter he hit was left-handed, I’m going to assume opening up too early caused that one.
To his credit, he is now conscious of what he’s doing wrong without being told. Sometimes when he attempts to correct this fault, he over-compensates and misses to the right of the plate. This could account for hitting both left and right-handed batters yesterday. He was an equal-opportunity employer.
Although he still gets in the most trouble with runners on. He seemed to think the majority of the hit batters yesterday were the result of looking at the runners and trying to pick up his target too late and never really saw where the ball went, which is kinda scary.
When you try to throw hard and accelerate your delivery, your body takes over. When you slow it down to attempt greater control, you are letting your brain run the show. We aren’t in tune enough with how our muscles fire to control all of that consciously. We need our subconscious to do it for us.