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Question for the pitching gurus in here. My son is mainly a C, but occasionally will be put in to close a game or pitch an inning or 2 here and there. For some reason he's always had great control without really working on it much. Fast forward to this summer...he throws about 10mph faster than last summer and can't get the ball down. He can still control inside and outside pretty well, but now everything is at the letters. Are there any common causes for this I can look at for him?

Original Post

It's common for a P to do this if they have had a velo jump over a season.  My son(who also gained10 mph over the winter...and lost it... but that's another story)  has to focus on pitching down and releasing the ball later than he thinks he has to . He also went from a 3/4 to an over the top delivery, giving him more backspin(as well as velo), causing the ball ride higher.

 

   It is very common for  young pitchers to throw high in competitive situations. Their body rushes to the plate ahead of their arm, which is what Opus X is referring to. 

   As always, an experienced eye on your son would have the best idea on what is going on.

Last edited by 57special
@Consultant posted:

BP Thrower;

when you son pitches does he throw like a catcher? How "high" is the mound?

It maybe the difference between "flat" ground and a elevated mound.

Bob

No, he's got pretty good mechanics for both types of throws. The mounds have been pretty standard including the turf mounds. I watched him warm up in the pen the other day and he was pounding the zone. I thought, "wow, he's on today." Then he went into the game and was maybe 40% strikes at best. At home yesterday he started out pretty well and after 15 fastballs or so he lost it and everything was up.

@Consultant posted:

Bullpen mounds are lower than on the "playing" field. His arm action will revert to his catchers release point.

Bob

This one was the same turf mound as the one on the field. 

Good point on the catcher release point. The funny thing is he worked all winter on his catcher throw mechanics. Now his HS coach is planning on playing him at C/P/SS depending on who is pitching. His primary position will still be C according to coach. 

@Consultant posted:

C/SS/P all different arm angles!!!!!!.

On the turf field are their dirt cutouts for the mound and the bullpen.

Does your son wear turf shoes or spikes?

Is the bullpen mound in a separate area away from the field or in the RF or LF area?

Bob

I know! Somehow he’s able to manage it so far with the different throws. 

The entire complex is turf. No dirt anywhere. He wears turfs there. Also wears turfs on our turf mound at home. 

He usually starts out ok and then 15 or so pitches in you see the balls starting to elevate. And it’s every pitch that is up. 

I have never been a fan of players both pitching and catching.  My first advice would be to pick one or the other. If he/you/coach insists on do both here are some suggestions on the pitching side.    Work exclusively out of the stretch until he is commanding the baseball. Make sure that the length of his stride is at least 90% of his body height. At release have him focus on letting his chin and his chest keep moving toward the target as long as possible. This will help him get better extension. Tell him to try and finish with his back parallel to the ground, head up, eyes on the target. My suspicion is that he is too upright at release and is cutting off his extension toward the target. If necessary, tell him to exaggerate to the point of throwing the ball in the dirt to get the feel for a different release point. 

A few years ago our American teams played the Victoria State Team in Melbourne, Australia.

The Pro Field was all turf, no dirt in the batter's box or the mound area. We had 3 players who were 1st round drafts 6 months later. Our pitchers were required to wear turf of gym shoes and were "slipping" on the turf.

I refused to have our regular pitchers pitch. No way ! We used position players with no wind up. Our final trip to Melbourne.

Bob

 

@adbono posted:

I have never been a fan of players both pitching and catching.  My first advice would be to pick one or the other. If he/you/coach insists on do both here are some suggestions on the pitching side.    Work exclusively out of the stretch until he is commanding the baseball. Make sure that the length of his stride is at least 90% of his body height. At release have him focus on letting his chin and his chest keep moving toward the target as long as possible. This will help him get better extension. Tell him to try and finish with his back parallel to the ground, head up, eyes on the target. My suspicion is that he is too upright at release and is cutting off his extension toward the target. If necessary, tell him to exaggerate to the point of throwing the ball in the dirt to get the feel for a different release point. 

Thanks. He’s pitched from the stretch since he was 9, so that’s nothing new for him. Funny thing is after his last 2 outings the other coaches were commenting on how fast his moves to first and second were. We always thought he was slow. 

The upright comment makes sense and I have seen that a few times but haven’t watched closely enough to see if he’s doing it every time. When he practiced pitching in the past he always had an exaggerated finish. 

I also wish he could just catch, but it’s a smaller private and most of the starters right now are two-way players. Coach said he’s not going to pitch him on days he’s catching. And since my son is going through the yips and lobs the ball back, he’s not putting in many high stress throws behind the plate right now. 

At the end of the day, he’ll be a starter in key positions on a team with several P5 commits, so I’m not going to complain where he’s playing. Now if I can just get him to add on 30 lbs we’ll be all set!

Landing zone may be the issue.  When warming up cover up the landing zone after each pitch.  He can see where he lands each time.  Draw a line where his heal is hitting and force him to drive out past that line/spot.  It may only take an inch longer in stride but the longer stride forces you to push of the rubber which in turn forces the front shoulder more downward with the follow through.   As you stated above when he uses the slide step it helps get the ball down, it's because he is forcing the increase push off the rubber and hence striding out longer.

Of course pitching is so mechanical it could be a few things but try it out and see if this helps. 

So my son looks like he will be back to primarily a C next HS season. We just had a PG9 2022 SS/RHP enroll from out of state. Kid has a solid profile. I can't see the coach "needing" my son to play SS and P at this point. He could put him out there just to change things up or maybe in a JV game or something, but unless there is an injury I don't see where my son would add value in those positions over what is there now.

@2022NYC posted:

How did you manage your kid's throwing as a C/P? For my kid, he did very little pitching last year and over the winter an elbow impingement injury from a bullpen session retired him as a pitcher.

We never really used my son as a starter on the small field. He'd close out games or come in if there was a jam. He could always throw strikes and had a nasty knuckleball. When he got to the big field the team in the fall basically had no other catcher, so he didn't pitch much then or in the spring. Then last summer his coach (also his future HS coach) basically had him in bubble wrap because he was expecting my son to start at C as a freshman. He basically had the same type of relief appearances and only started one game. The game he started he threw 90 pitches. Other than that he's never thrown more than 50 in a game. 

This spring he pitched on the JV team for 1 inning once a week and played SS. He caught the V games and pitched to 3 batters in a game he was sitting because the coach thought he may need him to pitch.  

Right now I'm not worried about volume at all. His yips issue has him kinda lobbing the ball back to the pitcher and he's had no soreness all summer. His Teres Major area used to get sore if he caught 2 games a day. My only real concern now is I don't think he warms up properly because of the yips and I'm worried he's going to hurt himself throwing to a base. 

Last summer he would MarcPro a ton. Now after DL stuff mostly. 

He does some plyoball stuff in season on off days to keep his scap area strong, especially for the Teres Major. He’s done a couple modified on-ramp DL programs designed specifically for catchers. He stops at the green plyoball though. He’s only 145 lbs, so I don’t think (and his trainer) his body is ready for that weight yet. 

He also tries to do Blackburn exercises just about every day

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