Potential arm trouble

My Sophomore son's coach is trying to turn him into a sidearm pitcher. Whenever he pitches at practice his arm hurts and he tells the coaches but they say he needs to build arm strength. His arm has never hurt before when pitching. I told him if it hurts tell them you can't do it. He has been very successful throwing at 3/4 slot and never any pain. Should I be concerned or trust the coaches. Common sense tells me protect his arm.

Original Post

Tell them to pound sand. Listen to your kid and his arm. What hurts and where? Why can't he pitch 3/4? Do they want the other look or is there more to the story? Will he lose mound time if he doesn't conform? At that point, you need to eval what you want to do and what his potential in on the team. 

I know a few HS coaches that have a strong tendency... when they see 3/4, they want to take them all the way down to make them specialty guys.  This has generally been an effective strategy.  But, of course, arm health should always come first.  Some make the adjustment with no issue, some do not.  The transition should be introduced with some gradual ramping.

Many here will not agree with me but there is a difference between some soreness and pain.  Pain is a clear indicator.  Some soreness can occur when initially working back into a throwing routine, when throwing more than normal and when throwing in a different manner than normal (arm angle, etc.).  A young HS player will benefit greatly from learning to differentiate.  If in doubt, you are right to express concern.  Questions should be asked and discussions regarding arm health (or health in general) are ones that are OK for parents to be involved in.

I know that is not as easy as it sounds.  But only your son (and you) are close enough to the situation to make the determination.  Hopefully, after concerns are expressed to the coach, there will be some more clarity.

 

A little backstory. He has been a really good pitcher since age 11. He played in A fall prep league a year before Starting H.S. and his freshman year competing with area Jv  players and he has finished 1 and 2 in all categories. He is on Varsity this year and it is a young team predominantly sophomores. They had 9 or 10 seniors quit prior to tryouts this season. Most people say it was because of the coach. My gut tells me the coaches are trying to take sophomore pitchers and drop them sidearm so they can get more movement and pitch more effectively at Varsity level. As far as the paint he says his whole arm will start hurting during pitching session then will isolate to muscle just above elbow and muscle in back of shoulder. 

ironhorse posted:

TO me the only reason to drop a guy down is because he's proven he can't get guys out any other way. Basically a last ditch effort. After that is knuckleballer!

First, success and stats from age eleven through JV are irrelevant to the situation. Coaches look at mechanics, metrics and potential upside. The coach is telling your son he doesn’t see him becoming an effective pitcher unless he can be turned into a specialist who can get out a couple of hitters coming from a different angle. 

If it’s pitch in pain or don’t pitch you don’t pitch. It’s not as if some GM is staring him down about not getting his monies worth on a million dollar contract.

What is your son's FB velocity at this point (before the sidearm switch)?   If it's me and my son had a chance to play in college as a pitcher, I'd be very much against this change.  A kid throwing sidearm is looked at as a novelty by college coaches....not as a true pitching prospect, unless he is unbelievably good.  My thought is unless your son is throwing in the upper 60's or low 70's, which isn't going to get varsity guys out anyway I'd really have to consider talking to the coach....both because of the pain/soreness issues...and also the fact that it's basically taking away any chances of your son moving on beyond HS as a pitcher

There is no way I would let a pitching coach make that big of a change without understanding the why? I recommend that your son talk with coach and ask him why? Tell your son to share with coach about arm pain. Speak with your son after they talk. If you are not happy with reasoning behind change, ask for meeting via email or phone. Be prepared with specific questions and your plan, should you not agree. There are some great coaches out there who make these decisions based on mechanics and what is best for your son's short and long-term development. There are others who only care about wins and will do whatever it takes to get those wins. Then you have the coaches who just don't have a clue. Have seen them all at some point.

He just turned 16 and he throws upper 70's average and has just started hitting lower 80's some. He has tremendous accuracy and really good ball movement. I am perplexed because no other coaches have tried to change him and he was really successful his Freshman season.

Thanks for input. His coach said he wanted him to throw sidearm to be more effective for this season. They only have 1 senior and 1 junior picher. The rest are Sophomores. They are working on the other sophomores to throw more sidearm as well.He is playing for Rawlings this Summer so I think I will arrange a session with the pitching coach. Again thanks for input!

Little posted:

He just turned 16 and he throws upper 70's average and has just started hitting lower 80's some. He has tremendous accuracy and really good ball movement. I am perplexed because no other coaches have tried to change him and he was really successful his Freshman season.

How tall is he? You? His mother? There may be some projecting going on. 

"They are working on the other sophomores to throw more sidearm as well."  It sounds like one or more of these coaches are for some reason enamored with side arm pitching and the situation has little to nothing to do with developing your son's individual pitching ability or promoting his future success at the next level. Combined with their cavalier attitude toward his arm pain (always a red flag), I would be seriously concerned if I were in your position. I agree with other posters that step one is to talk with the coaches, and if that does not go well then the school's athletic director.  Beyond that, you may not have much recourse other than to look for a different program.  That sounds drastic I know but the last thing you want to do is risk serious injury to his arm at such a young age. It's just not worth it, especially if he has aspirations to play beyond high school. 

Buckeye 2015 posted:

A 5'11 16 year old that's in the low 80's in February of his sophomore year??   Only 1 explanation.....your coach is an idiot

I was thinking this last night. I was curious to see if someone else would post it. A soph throwing 80 and going to grow to 6’1” is a solid candidate to be throwing mid 80’s by senior year if he puts in the work. 

I hope so. He loves pitching over any other position and starting to see more strength and size since weight training and pitching work kicked in again. A little roadblock with the attempt to change delivery but we will see after a few games if they will pitch him any or be headstrong since he told them throwing sidearm hurts. 

Personally I would schedule a meeting with this coaches and your son and find out why they want him to throw side arm and more than likely tell them your not comfortable changing his arm angle.  They certainly don't need a whole roster of side armers.  

I'm also a parent of a 2020 pitcher, 3/4 slot, with similar stats.  In my opinion, and it may not be a popular one.  You don't screw with things that hurt, PERIOD.  If they wanted him to get stronger he can do that with specific weight exercises, he doesn't have to screw with his entire mechanics. 

Again, my opinion that may not be popular, High School Coaches are supposed to make SLIGHT tweaks to a kid, not change his entire delivery.  If you don't want his summer to be messed up soon I suggest you become THAT dad and make some noise as to the why.  I personally don't ask my sons coaches to justify anything to me, but if I thought they were hurting him I'd SOOOO be THAT mom.

Cabbage wrote (paraphrased) “ PLENTY of HS coaches are more than qualified to make more than a tweak of an adjustment to a pitching motion.”

Thats true, but even more are not qualified- way more don’t know pitching than do.  See it every freakin’ day. 

CaCO3Girl posted:

I'm also a parent of a 2020 pitcher, 3/4 slot, with similar stats.  In my opinion, and it may not be a popular one.  You don't screw with things that hurt, PERIOD.  If they wanted him to get stronger he can do that with specific weight exercises, he doesn't have to screw with his entire mechanics. 

Again, my opinion that may not be popular, High School Coaches are supposed to make SLIGHT tweaks to a kid, not change his entire delivery.  If you don't want his summer to be messed up soon I suggest you become THAT dad and make some noise as to the why.  I personally don't ask my sons coaches to justify anything to me, but if I thought they were hurting him I'd SOOOO be THAT mom.

Congrats CaCo, you have learned that the correct terminology is “arm slot” not “elbow angle.” 😀

adbono posted:
CaCO3Girl posted:

I'm also a parent of a 2020 pitcher, 3/4 slot, with similar stats.  In my opinion, and it may not be a popular one.  You don't screw with things that hurt, PERIOD.  If they wanted him to get stronger he can do that with specific weight exercises, he doesn't have to screw with his entire mechanics. 

Again, my opinion that may not be popular, High School Coaches are supposed to make SLIGHT tweaks to a kid, not change his entire delivery.  If you don't want his summer to be messed up soon I suggest you become THAT dad and make some noise as to the why.  I personally don't ask my sons coaches to justify anything to me, but if I thought they were hurting him I'd SOOOO be THAT mom.

Congrats CaCo, you have learned that the correct terminology is “arm slot” not “elbow angle.” 😀

Somebody are their grumpy sarcastic Wheaties today.  There is an arm slot, there is an elbow angle, and the two should never meet....

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