Wes Barnhart Pitching Analysis 16U

The first four pitches are from the windup ( fastball, fastball, curveball, changeup). then the same sequence from stretch

This is of my son and I don’t know much about pitching. I feel like he isn’t getting the most out of his lower body. He has good natural movement and off-speed pitches but he wants more velo. Surprise :smile:

Thanks for looking.

Okay, I will list what I believe he needs to work on and you can take it from there. Just post further video in a few weeks with updated mechanics and if velocity increased.

  1. He needs more bend in his back leg as if he is sitting down half way or doing a 1/4 squat. .10 second mark in video below of John Lester

  2. He needs to allow his back hip to rotate forward as his front foot touches the ground. Allowing his back hip to rotate will allow his back leg to reach the needed extension before rolling the knee over and coming up on ball of foot/toe, this is the time to push off the rubber.
    Also, when rotating the back hip it will allow the front leg to straighten which will provide more velocity. .13-14 second mark in video below of John Lester.

Many coaches say push hard off the rubber (only due this when the back foot has rolled onto the ball of the foot/big toe. Pushing hard off the rubber before getting to the ball of the foot / big toe will make the body rise and the arm to lay back or hang back and cannot catch up. This causes stress on the elbow and shoulder and he will not be as accurate as he could be. Major League Baseball frowns upon pushing hard off the rubber, it is preferred to have the back hip rotate, which causes the knee to roll over and up onto the ball of the foot / big toe this is when you push.

3… It looks as if his lead foot is across his body when it is landing. Front heel should be aligned with back heel when it touches the ground. .13 second mark in video below of John Lester

  1. I would bring glove to chest instead of pulling down beside his hip. By pulling down it will on many occasions jerk his body or allow his front side to open prematurely. .14 second mark in video below of John Lester

5.On his follow through have him bring his pitching hand down to the outside of his lead leg. This will allow him to bring his chest down and forward over his front foot. It will also allow his arm to fully slow down and recover without putting stress on the elbow. In today’s game many pitchers are slinging the arm across the thigh and hip area. This causes serious stress on the arm. More Tommy John surgeries in today’s game due to poor mechanics. .16 second mark in video below of John Lester

  1. Also, work on his hip tilt, this will happen if he practices as if he is trying to throw the ball as far as he can. Example, Let’s say his is at home plate and trying to throw the ball over the center field fence. He can practice this without a ball. .10 second mark in video below of John Lester

  2. Work on keeping his shoulders back as best as he can as his hips are facing home plate. This is known as hip to shoulder rotation. .13 second mark in video below of John Lester

Watch the video below to compare to your son’s mechanics.

Work on the things listed above and then come back with an update.

Hope this helps,

Former pitcher and current pitching coach

Thanks Topgun! I’ll share your feedback with him and repost after a few weeks.

  1. One more thing he could work on that I forgot to mention-
    Just before his arm is in the cocked position and ready to throw his shoulders should be pinched back - it would feel like he is trying to pinch his shoulder blades together. .13 second mark of John Lester video.

Work on one thing at a time and when he gets the first thing down and it becomes muscle memory, move on to the next correction.- Do not overwhelm him with corrections all at once or it will screw with his head. Give him positive feedback and be patient for the corrections to work.

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I would like to add one more thing if I may.

When he is following through have him pretend there is a wall directly in front of him and he must stop his body going forward or he will hit the wall. This will prevent him from chasing the ball and will allow him to firm up his right leg.

Thanks, that is a great que. He has started with the bucket drill to help him feel the back leg engagement. He is trying to figure out the timing of his push off the rubber and foot strike. Is there an ideal sequence? Thanks so much for your time and help!

Let me explain how the drive off the rubber actually occurs. When he is into his leg lift his body or center mass should drift slightly towards home plate, .08 second mark of Greg Maddux video below.

Then he drops down with the back leg- .09 second mark of Greg Maddux video - his knee on the back leg should be rotated out towards the shortstop position or close to it.

The drop of the back leg, combined with the drift, will cause his back leg to automatically begin to drive towards the plate due to gravity. So, at this time, the drive will automatically occur. There is no need to push hard off the rubber. He can drive just as his foot is coming up onto the big toe if he wants, but I personally do not have my pitchers push off the rubber.

As stated previously, pushing hard off the rubber causes the body to rise and the pitching arm to lag behind making it difficult to catch up. This causes major stress on the arm and shoulder and makes for poor control.

So, leg lifts and drift occurs towards home plate, Back knee is rotated outward, Then drop of back leg happens… The back leg will begin to extend outward as if doing a split. .10 second mark of Greg Maddux video. As his back leg extends out hold the torque on the back knee as long as possible.

When his back leg extends, his back foot must roll inwards where the inside of the cleat is almost fully on the ground. .13 second mark of John Lester video above. His hips will continue to rotate, opening the hips completely.

Once his front foot is almost on the ground his hips should be open close to a 45 degree angle, doesn’t have to be exact .13 second mark of the John Lester video above.

His back hip should be pointing between the second base position and the second base just before his front foot touches the ground. For a right handed pitcher his back hip would be pointing somewhere near the shortstop position. His shoulders should remain closed as long as possible as his hips are opening up.

Then after his front foot is completely down his hips will continue to fully rotate open. The back foot will then roll onto the ball / big toe with his momentum pulling the back foot laces down .11 second mark of the Greg Maddux video

You want the hips to open as early as possible, while keeping the shoulders closed as long as possible.

I am using the Greg Maddux video to give a different perspective for you.

I hope this explains how and when the drive off the rubber actually occurs.

If you have any more questions just ask and I will answer them as soon as I can.

Good luck,


P.S. The best way to work on his drift towards home plate is to have him put his pitching shoulder approximately 3-4 inches from a wall as if he is in the stretch position on the mound. Have him fold his arms across his chest, left hand on right shoulder, right on left shoulder. Then have him go through his motion with his leg lift keeping his hands across the chest trying not to hit the wall. He may hit the wall with his knee, shoulder or both the first day or two doing this drill, but that’s okay.

Once he gets to where he is not hitting the wall have him try doing the drill with his full motion using his entire body, arms and legs. Again his arm or hand when extending out may hit the wall doing the drill from the full motion, but that’s okay. He will eventually get it to where his drift will not allow his body to hit the wall. This is a very good drill and he need not rush it.

I have one more suggestion for you - When his arm is laying back to throw have him bend or bow his upper back / thoracic spine extension and when he is doing this have him roll his shoulder back. .29 second mark of the Zack Greinke video below.

Have him practice this in front of a mirror and he will see his chest puff up and out and his shoulder rollback allowing him to lay his arm back even more. This will produce more velocity.

He can get the feel of it by standing with his back approximately 4" in front of a wall or door then have him bend is upper back /thoracic spine until his shoulders touch the wall /, door without moving his feet.

Thanks for all the tips and feedback. He hasn’t been able to work on much lately. We are waiting to get an mri for a possible stress fracture in his right leg. He’s been relegated to the exercise bike.

Hopefully, we’ll have some results to post later in the spring.

I am posting an older video of a drill that I have my pitchers use during rainy days and winter months. If he is capable of doing it he can do the sock drill while healing.

I posted a video below.

Hope this helps