Youth pitching mechanics: So simple even a caveman can do it


#1

If you were to break down pitching mechanics into 5 or 6 teachable steps specifically for 10-13 year olds, what would they be? I’m specifically talking about teaching the delivery to newbies. I’d like to start a wiki on this forum to help youth baseball coaches and parents teach the basics as simply and effectively as possible, even if they’ve never pitched before.

Here’s what I’m thinking:

  1. Starting stance
  2. Leg lift (I want to completely eliminate the term “balance point” for this stage)
  3. Hip leads/hands separate
  4. Stride
  5. Release
  6. Follow through

#3

Nice. I see what you’re saying. Look forward to your list, and then we can start to really drill down.


#4

Glad to see you put “Starting stance” in there. Too many coaches skip over that. To me that entails position on the rubber, relative feet position and amount of bend in the knees and waist (i.e. posture). How a pitcher sets up affects balance and can be a make or break deal.

I’m trying hard not to just regurgitate the NPA mechanics model but I’d add “opposite and equal”. It’s about balance and, more importantly, timing.


#5

There’s a lot that can be compressed into this. I have found that those pitchers that are physically fit to command their balance all the way through their pitching cycle have common traits. Some, not all, are itemized below.
http://i216.photobucket.com/albums/cc90/CoachBaker/motion_zpsemu8bwgs.jpg


#6

Maintain dynamic balance through:

  1. Rock/ Pivot/
  2. Rock/ Lift/ Push
  3. Stride/ Align/ Plant
  4. Drive/ Rotate/ Release

That’s a very complicated movement pattern vastly over simplified, but hey…that was the assignment.

Or if you want two words: :wink:

Rock and Fire

:smile:


#7

This. For sure!


#8
  1. Rock/ Pivot/

I think that stepping back with the free foot is better than stepping to the side. I always have and I always will. If a pitcher feels comfortable stepping to the side, I will not stop him, but I will do my best to explain why I believe keeping the distance to a minimum helps to avoid drastic weight shifts outside the target line. Every time you move away from the target line, it will result in another movement back along that same line to get back to the rubber. When these two movements are not on the target line, momentum must be stopped before future momentum can get on the proper line. Essentially, everything not on the proper line is a complete waste of time and can only really help establishing tempo, if at all.
Of course, the pivot foot must pivot. I would keep it to a simple turn or a lift, turn, and place. Too many people moonwalk from one side of the rubber to the other during the pivot. Keep it simple.

  1. Rock/ Lift/ Push

Now we are ready for a forward rock into the leg lift. I would recommend the upper leg to get to parallel with the ground or slightly higher. I would limit it there. Again, lifting the leg any higher requires it to come straight back down before it can move forward, effectively cancelling out any extra momentum gain. This momentum into the ground is effectively increasing the force required by the pitcher to push his body down the target line. If it helps the pitcher with tempo, then I won’t change it, but it’s really seems to be a waste from a mechanics perspective. Sometimes a high leg lift does help some pitchers set the drive leg at the proper knee bend angle to deliver an effective and explosive push. I’d have to evaluate the push before deciding to limit a pitcher’s lift.

  1. Stride/ Align/ Plant

The stride and upper body alignment along the target line is where we are really culminating the kinetics of the delivery. It’s the piston stroke of the whole delivery. Balance and coordination of this phase allows for maximum efficiency. Get that stride leg down the line with the outside of the ankle facing the target as early as possible and for as long as possible. Break the hands as late as possible also on the target line. A late hand break forces it to be a fast hand break. Keep the shoulders and the arms equal and opposite through the stride and foot plant. You are about to ignite all that powder you have stored in the barrel.

  1. Drive/ Rotate/ Release

The plant and back side drive should result in energy flowing forward into the plant leg. The back side unloading all of its stored energy beginning with lower body rotations firing up through the body toward release of the ball and the upper half catapulting over the lower half.

If everything is done properly, the follow through takes care of itself.


#9

Steve, As I type this, I am watching an MLB game on TV and I have noticed that every single pitcher thus far, from both teams, have thrown exclusively from the stretch position, with or without base runners, everything’s been from the stretch. I am coaching 10 year olds, and I had decided to teach the full, non-stretch position delivery, with the step back, then the pivot.

Maybe I should teach the stretch delivery first. But is this a new trend in the MLB , similar to the defensive shifts?
All night the royals and white sox have pitched from the stretch, and it’s 2-2 in the 13th, so base runners have been few and far between.


#10

David Price essentially eliminated the entire rocker step too. You can see pics of it here:

www.youthpitching.com/mechanics.html

I actually like it. A lot of that initial movement in the full windup is good for tempo and rhythm but is not necessary.


#11

Everything going on before the leg lift starts has more potential to hurt you than to help you.