Video Analysis of 15 yo Beck


#1

Here is slow-mo video of my son (15 years old) throwing 3 pitches. A few days ago I posted some other slow-mo video of him from about 6 months ago. My concern is that it looks to me like his arm is nowhere near “cocked” when his front foot plants. One of the responders called it “flat arm syndrome.” My main concern is whether his mechanics are increasing his risk of injury, but I also wonder whether they are robbing him of velocity and/or movement on his breaking balls. Any advice or observations are greatly appreciated.


#2

In the earlier video you posted he was flat armed at first foot contact with the ground, but his arm was up to half cocked at full foot plant. In this video he is definitely flat armed at full foot plant. O’Leary claims to have found a correlation between flat arm at foot plant, which affects timing, and risk of injury, specifically Tommy John. Below is a photo from O’Leary’s website comparing Tom Seaver, Jose Fernandez, and Nola Ryan at foot plant. One had Tommy John at age 21.


#3

Thanks, Southpaw. That’s what it looked like to me also, but I’m not an expert, so it’s good to get confirmation. He has lengthened his stride, which ordinarily would help give his arm time to “catch up”. But he’s also been encouraged to eliminate any pause at the top and to speed up his stride, so I guess the end result is that his arm is actually a little “later” than it was before. Can you tell if there is a specific cause of his “lateness”. He obviously brings the ball down really low - by his right knee - and it looks like he pauses his arm down there by his knee for a split second before starting his throwing motion. Some people would say “just break your hands earlier,” but I’m not sure that would help if he’s just going to let the ball pause, hanging down by his knee anyway. Any other observations - and particularly any drills or exercises for how to fix the problem - would be great.
Thanks.


#4

Gosh, I probably shouldn’t weigh in because I am not an expert, by anyone’s standards. BUT something looked soooooo familiar to me, so I’m gonna go out on a limb in case it might accidentally be helpful to you.

My son (also 15yo) has a classic textbook delivery. I do NOT say that to brag either…truth is, he probably leaves something on the table by not incorporating some of the secret “tips and tricks” that gurus have found to increase this or that. His delivery is unmodified and might even be antiseptic, but long story short it was our choice as a young kid to have him be a “blank slate”/devoid of habits that are hard to undo for a future coach/super pro trainer (:joy:), whatever, for as long as possible (and it was saf(ER). In other words, what I’m about to tell you might be your preference as opposed to a "glitch"or a problem for your son…

My son suffered a horrendous shoulder injury in wrestling a few winters ago. He narrowly escaped surgery so we obviously didn’t expect much when he was finally cleared to throw mid season following the injury. He did just well enough that we didn’t analyze him too carefully for problems needing “a fix” that first season, but when he started throwing again the next spring in the yard something just didn’t look right. His arm seemed to be lagging behind, his chest was “flying open” and he’d finish by “diving” off towards first base. Those may not be the right words that experts use, but that’s the best way I can describe it. I see a little of those things in your son, too…

Well, because my kids delivery is so straightforward, I was able to see pretty quickly that he was dropping his shoulder and “dipping” behind the rubber more than he ever had (I imagined it was likely a habit he developed from his shoulder being weak the season before). This action seemed to force his glove arm to “swim” or “swipe” around and go straight into a tuck instead of going to the target and back to his body (thus why his chest looked all “barreled out” ) , and the combo resulted in him “diving” off to that side probably to “force” his arm to catch up.

Anyway, we tried to just have him focus on not dipping and dropping that shoulder, and that helped some, however he would often revert back after several pitches. So, the real fix actually came from something much easier…just having him focus on not making that “sweep” with his glove arm. For some reason being aware of that part of his motion before starting it got his posturing better off the rubber (no longer “dipped” behind it), and that "dive"at the end went away on its own because everything else was fixed.

While I never thought to notice your specific concern- if my son’s arm was cocked at foot plant, the elements I did notice (that I notice glimpses of in your son, too) would suggest that his was not. See, as non expert, I always have to think of things in super simplified terms…so by knowing that pitching is balance of “equal and opposites”, whatever flaw or change I do see, I try to not immediately isolate it and instead always “look backwards and forwards” to see what OTHER flaw/change it may have created or come from-trying to establish if what I first see is the cause OR if it is an effect. In my son’s case the flaw of “dipping” seemed to create the equal and opposite reaction of balance compensation with his "swipey "glove arm, which both in turn created the equal and opposite reaction of the “dive”. Maybe some combination or part of that might be the case with your son…

Not sure if that “mom speak” made any sense…doubt it. I confused myself. :joy::joy::joy:

EDITED TO ADD PHOTO: These were taken a few years ago in local ball after my son’s wrestling injury. While this might not be an ideal illustration of what my “mom speak” confused, it might help. Obviously my son’s delivery is much more upright (basic and boring?) than your son’s, but you can see that he drops his leg and dips back more than a kid with his posturing usually would. And even though you can’t see his “glove swim” perfectly (only the end of the swim was captured), you may be able to still see that his arm is a hair behind (I’m sure it would have been way more obvious had the frame been taken earlier). If nothing else, you DEFINITELY can see the ending result of an awkward “dive”. (His leg always goes over the top in follow thru, but this shows how contorted he is at finish because everything else was wonky)


#5

Could be caused by your son’s posture. He leans way back all the way through foot plant. Compare the photo below of your son at foot plant to photos of Greinke and Verlander at foot plant. “Roger” on this forum posts often on posture. Might want to contact him for input.




#6

Thanks for the response, QueenLBG. Just to clarify, are you talking about your son dropping his throwing shoulder or glove shoulder? One coach noticed a couple months ago that my son has a tendency to drop his glove shoulder during the throwing motion, which raises up his throwing shoulder amd causes his head and eyes to tilt sideways a bit. In essence, at the point of release his entire upper body is tilted 10-15 degrees off of level (glove shoulder low, throwing shoulder high, and head tilted toward his glove shoulder). That coach speculated that just bringing everything back to level (or close to level) might also improve the timing issue I originally wrote about.


#7

Southpaw - Great point about the leaning back. I had never really noticed that before. I’ll try and located Roger and ask him about it. Thanks!


#8

I edited my post with a photo collage someone took the season he developed the issue …it might help clarify. It’s not the best though…

However, what I was saying is about posture as south-paw better articulated…my son dropped and dipped the throwing shoulder when driving off the rubber. . HOWEVER, his glove arm probably dropped too, I just noticed it’s “swim” or “swipe” that came around in a sweeping motion to his tuck (instead of towards target and THEN to tuck) and it seemed to be a compensation for the balance and timing lost that developed as a result of the dramatic dip of his throwing shoulder at the onset.


#9

Easy fix with plenty of low effort repetitions on a few key points…

You never show his dead stop set position but I bet his back knee starts over his foot with his foot against the rubber, then it slowly turns…his heel comes off the rubber and his toe rolls up on his lift…this is being ‘ungrounded’. Set up is paramount…weight needs to be back instead of pressure, his lift is violent and wastes too much energy causing misalignment and poor posture. You want him to keep the inside part of his foot grounded, or you can say knee inside of his foot…what this does is causes him to overcompensate for a bad load and drop down to feel powerful. The dropping down is the compensation that he actually doesn’t need, this is only a side view but I would venture to say that his knee goes towards third then makes an arc back towards the plate instead of having a true linear path straight to the plate.

So basically fix the set up, take out wasted energy early in the load and it will keep him in a better posture cleaning up a myriad of bandaids you will hear suggested later in his delivery.

Point being: If your setup is not efficient, you will not have a correct lift, no correct lift then no early hand separation, no early hand separation then no strong front side, no strong front side then bad posture and compensation of power in arm and not in the body.

If you need more info just write back…ill get back with you.


#10

Wow - thanks for the detailed analysis, PitchinIn. Just a couple of clarifications.

  • Are you saying he should make sure his heel stays grounded and against the rubber during leg lift? I know that’s proper technique, and it looks to me like he’s keeping his drive foot pretty solidly “grounded” against the rubber early in his motion. However, I may be misunderstanding your point.

  • I have noticed that he drops down before he drives. We’re going to try and work on that, but the list of “tweaks” is getting long, so I don’t want to overload him with trying to fix too many things at once.

  • We’re also going to work on stopping the backward lean, as another response pointed out.

  • Regarding the front knee, you’re saying at the top of the lift, it should take a direct path toward the plate instead of an arc pattern? If so, that certainly makes sense and we can work on that.

Thanks again.


#11

The whole back half of his foot should be flush against the rubber, watch slow motion his toes roll off the ground…that is becoming ungrounded and losing load. His knee goes too much in front of his foot during delivery causing him to get off of his heel and causes poor posture.

The drop is because he wants to be powerful, and the knee that should be a direct path to the plate is the back knee not the front knee. Don’t worry about anything on the landing until you fix the foundation of a setup and lift.

The starting point is crucial, weight back…can be checked by looking at head position not where the pressure is. Head slightly in front of belly button to ensure balanced athletic posture, just think chin down eyes up.


#12

Brenkj look at his head. It’s up at foot strike then all over the place towards release and finish. Then look at all the pro photos and look at where their head is and going. He looks like he can throw some fire I will say. Mechanically he could get better and better. Safer also. Queen I think you had a great observation. Your sons head seems to be looking up in those shoots also. Where working on equal opposite at foot strike then fixed glove . The pros all look amazing. They nail it.


#13

Look at his arm action all the way through the process. His hands start very high at leg lift…above his shoulders and way off to that side. He breaks his hands at his shoulder. That is very high…should be closer to the waist. It then looks like his arm extends the ball all the way straight down to the ground. It looks like his arm is rushing to catch up with his body the whole way through.


#14

Harebone - Great point about his head. I bet keeping his head level and pointed at the target would not only improve his mechanics, but his accuracy too.

Bradybunch: I would like to get him to start using a “smaller” arm action as well - maybe bring the ball down as far as his back pocket, but not all the way down to his knee. He plays 3B too, and he needs to start using a much shorter, quicker arm action for his throws across to 1B, so changing his pitching arm action should help with that also (I assume). Thanks for pointing out the high hand break. I hadn’t noticed that, and I would think that (plus a smaller arm action) would go a long way toward fixing his timing problem with his foot plant.


#15

I’m just a dad like you trying to help my son. Like you I just took my first video of him also. It’s amazing what you can see when slow it down frame by frame. I had been lurking around here a few months and taking in info. Then I ordered tuff cuff jr. It came about three days ago. At first I couldn’t believe how small it was for 64$. Then I read it in about 2 hours( studying it). Instantly all the stuff I’ve seen lately came together. I read a review on Amazon that a guy said it was to complicated and he couldn’t read it with his son. Not my opinion at all. Simple. With simple drills to make it happen. I recommend the book to you and your son . Keep taking the videos and analyizing them. Do the drills with him they are simple. It sounds like your really interested in helping him. Your his best chance at improvement. Don’t wait for the miracle coach to show up. Just do it. Daily. If he really wants it. He really looks like he can throw it hard. Have some fun.


#16

Brenkj, I have been reading through this and it occurred to me. What are you trying to fix? Is it simply you spotted what you thought was too flat an arm at foot strike? Because I wouldn’t go bombarding your kid with all kinds of “fixes” for a debated problem.
I bet you didn’t think when you posted that everyone would find so many “faults”. Not saying some aren’t there, but he’s a young pitcher, almost all have faults.

Know that everyone is trying to help and you asked… but dont’ get too caught up in it, Pitching really is feel.

There are a lot of schools of thought on pitching and right mechanics, then there are the “gain more velocity” guys. I myself do not like the no-windup, over emphasis on balance point concept. I do believe in body control, but any momentum created in a straight line whether first away and then towards home is not, to me, wasted movement.
That said, I’m sure your son could over time improve his mechanics, everyone can, as he grows as a pitcher and can understand what the changes do. If you truly see an issue that either causes pain or prevents accuracy and velocity, than address one at a time. For everything someone points out you can find an example of a hof pitcher who does it “wrong” also. Now here’s my suggestions (to be ignored :wink: )
Keep him in a straight line towards home plate, and in this order: 1. Eyes at least one on target (your body throws the ball where you look) this also includes your head which by it’s shear weight has a tendency to throw off your body 2. Shoulder (until they open), When I say stay closed I mean 90% to home, not turning towards third 3. Side of front leg (point that pinstripe towards home) 4. glove hand…just before tuck (or elbow) 5. Land on line (relatively) with home and front foot, straight to small degree closed) prefer slightly closed 6. Have both a good strong block off (glove hand stopping and tucking to force throwing side to stay on line… and a good front leg brace to throw against.

But there have been hof pitchers who don’t do any of that… roger Sweeps, Sail has a flat arm/ inverted W … Seaver, omg that front leg,Feller nearly put the ball on the ground let alone had is back shoulder dip (btw, most power pitchers dip)

That’s it. You have my entire pitching mechanics philosophy.
There are always a 100 things someone can nitpick at. I’d just tell him to stay online with home and let him figure out the way to do it. If you start with Turn this, place that here, do this… You can really get him messed up.

ps I also suggest having both a full and stretch, worry about the hitter not the running game.

That’s it


#17

Dfboiler. Really sounds like great advice to me. Learning anything from Internet forum takes a certain approuch. It can be a over whelming amount of info and opinions. You never know when that ah ha moment is going to show up. It’s Truely a new perspective. No matter what the craft. That’s where the book gave me a little stabilization in process or thought. Everybody is different though. His son does look a lot like verlander at foot strike. But when I look at the other three I see a resemblance. Eyes look fixed on target. Shoulders square. Head stable centered. Your totally right don’t just abandon everything you do.


#18

Much like going to a doctor looking for a diagnosis on why your child is sick and then just succumbing to eating healthy and thinking positive thoughts. Yes true, those are good for you…but choosing who to listen to and who not is the hardest thing to decipher.


#19

Thanks dfboiler and Harebone. I totally agree on not overloading him with numerous “fixes” at once. My thought is, for now, we just focus on (1) better timing between the arm and the lower body, and (2) keeping the head level and pointed toward the plate through the entire delivery. I really am worried that the arm timing might be putting too much stress on his elbow/shoulder. Plus, since he needs to work on “shortening up” his arm action for his throws from 3B anyway, this will maybe serve a dual purpose. The head positioning seems like the kind of thing that will be a relatively easy fix, and it seems like it has greater potential to improve his accuracy than most other fixes.


#20

This pitcher does drop quite significantly at the start of his delivery and, during that time, his head appears to move back toward 2B contributing to the posture issue folks have commented on. The head moving back is unnecessary movement in the wrong direction. The drop is simply his body adjusting to a position in which it has the strength to do what he’s asking it to do. But the drop, as well as the head movement, represent misdirected energy and are more of an issue than the resulting posture. My suggestion here is to alter his starting position (which I can’t see well in the video) to put him in more of the position his body wants to get to right from the start. Do this by putting more bend in his knees and waist (think “batting stance” or “free-throw shooting position”).

But what really stands out to me about this pitcher is the lack of a good “equal & opposite” and a lack of “hip & shoulder separation”. These issues can affect both performance and health.

“Equal & opposite” refers to the glove arm mirroring the throwing arm into foot plant. This pitcher extends the throwing arm back to an almost straight position. However, the glove arm stays bent. A short front side is a quick front side and that almost always results in early shoulder rotation (a timing problem) which creates the sequencing problem whereby hips and shoulders rotate together instead of hips before shoulders. So early shoulder rotation reduces “hip & shoulder separation” which robs velocity and makes the arm play catch-up which can create health problems.

This pitcher does do a good job of stabilizing his glove above his front foot after foot plant and NOT pulling it back (at least not before ball release).

[EDIT] When making changes to a pitcher’'s “equal & opposite”, always make changes to the glove arm. The throwing arm belongs to the pitcher.