I've been reading here for several months, great information. This is my first post.

My son is a junior, but a young junior. He just turned 16, had he been 30 days younger he'd be a sophomore. He's been pitching for as long as he's been playing baseball, very accurate and successful but not impressive speed. He went to a D1 college camp over the summer and you know how kids are, they don't tell you everything, it comes out later. The pitching coach discussed stride length at the end of the session and mention that my son had the shortest length, but said "it'll come".  I just heard this in the last week, but its the second knowledgeable baseball person I heard saying it, very matter of factly. He's a big kid at 6'4" 225, naturally muscular, but doesn't throw as fast as you might expect. Is there a natural evolution into a longer stride, likely delayed for him because he doesn't stop growing? Or should he be pushing himself for a longer stride?

Thanks in advance!

Original Post

Funny, we are getting into this, albeit for different reasons. My soon to be 16yo has been seeing a Therapist about elbow pain, and the PT has determined (he is also a pitching guy who has worked with Team USA, and MilB and MLB players) that my son has to revamp his motion. Basically, he said he was using too much arm and not enough of his  strong body. He wants to see a longer stride, among other things. It's hard, because son has to break old habits.

  PT's mentioned that he wants my son to get a tired core, legs, and shoulder/back, not a sore elbow.

  In our case, the longer stride never would've happened if he hadn't gotten help/training, and it is still a work in progress.  I find that most pitching coaches just deal with what you bring and make small adjustments. They don't want to completely change things. 

 

 Having said all that, pitching is intensely individual. There is no "one size fits all" advice.

My son has the shortest stride I've ever seen.  He was throwing 90 in HS and people would comment that it looks like he isn't even trying.  He got to 93 a couple times in college and again, people were shocked because it looked like he was throwing in the backyard.   He is a volunteer assistant at an NAIA school now and has just started throwing again after not pitching all of his senior year.  I think he's mostly doing it to show off for the kids he's coaching (he is working with JV right now).   He sent me a video of him throwing earlier this week....he was up to 90 and still looks like he's not even trying.  He almost throws standing straight up lol.  It would be interesting to see what he could do with a stride and a follow thru lol.   Can't figure out how to post it here or I would....but if you want to PM me a number I'll text it to you...it's only one pitch, but you'll see what I mean

My son was taught "power up"...ie. strengthen legs, & core to create more explosive release. Son did lots of lunges, stretching, high steps, yoga, etc to loosen up & create flexability in hips...Agree, stride will come, but needs a little nudge, concentration...

If you'll do a search above for pitching, you'll find lots of info. This post from pitchingacademy is pretty spot on...https://community.hsbaseballwe...ve-pitching-workouts

Also, Steve A contributes from time to time...former pro pitcher...If he sees this, he may chime in...

Thanks everyone. Good points.

Yes, he was once told he was using just his arm too much. Always a big kid, he tends to cheat, but that's never mentioned anymore.

yes, some are just very gifted, no stride seems to be needed.

Yes, he needs core exercise. What got me was how both coaches, the most knowledgeable that have seen him, simply say "It'll come" He's also been told often that he needs to grow into his legs.

If a pitcher doesn’t stride far enough his stride foot hitting the ground becomes resistance to his body and arm. It makes the pitcher throw with more arm. Think of the effect when a vaulter’s pole hits the plant spot.

When the pitcher strides to the proper spot his body and arm experiences less resistance and the entire pitching motion is more fluid. There are enough ways to put wear and tear on a pitcher’s arm without making the effort harder on the mound. 

RJM posted:

If a pitcher doesn’t stride far enough his stride foot hitting the ground becomes resistance to his body and arm. It makes the pitcher throw with more arm. Think of the effect when a vaulter pole hits the plant spot.

When the pitcher strides to the proper spot his body and arm experiences less resistance and the entire pitching motion is more fluid. There are enough ways to put wear and tear on a pitcher’s arm with making the effort harder on the mound. 

I have no doubt that this contributed to my son's sore elbow the end of his junior year.  He shut down for 3 months based on the opinion of  a well known ortho here in Ohio.  Tried to ramp it back up in January, but still was having some pain by the start of his Senior year.  Fortunately for him he ended up as the DH/1B and just called it a career with regard to pitching.  Not sure if he's working on it now to try to get noticed again...or if he's just doing it to say he did.  A former teammate of his who had TJ his junior year and didn't come back to throwing is getting some pro looks now as an NAIA assistant....maybe this has my son thinking about it again

 

While I'm much more of a listener (reader) than I am a poster, I thought I would share our personal experience regarding stride length since our kids are similar in age but very different in size.  My son has what some consider a long stride when he pitches and is certainly lower half dominant when throwing naturally, but what I can tell you is that the day after a pitching performance his elbow may have slight tightness which is pretty much gone after icing but his legs are what is really sore after throwing a 90 pitch game.  I will post a pic I took from a game at the end of this summer season.  Distance from the rubber to plant foot seems good to me, but I'm just a dad so I cannot really speak to whether his stride is or is not a good distance, but I thought I would share for some perspective.

Son has worked on stride length in addition to control for the past 2 years using yoga, flexibility and core strength training.  His results have been noticeable and I've been pleased to see an increase in velo but not an increase in arm soreness.  While there may be a lot of contributors to that, I'm a big believer in stride length based on sons experience.  

Anyway, Just thought I would share. 

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4funfinders, that's the sort of stride my youngest is going after. He used to step across his body, and have a medium length step. It was effective, as I think it hid the ball from hitters and gave his ball natural movement, but he had no choice but to change due to elbow pain. 

 

 He is able to throw with the new stride from flat ground, and has some nice zip (for him), but tends to revert when he throws from the bump.

Stride should be at least 80% of height but more than that is better. If you ever hear a pitching coach tell you to shorten your stride get a new pitching coach! Some kids really have to work hard to increase their stride so I don’t agree with the “it will come” advice. My advice would be to push the envelope. It will be uncomfortable at first but will pay off in the end. 

Saw this thread last weekend but did not have the time to respond and then forgot about it until today. As always, I am not trying to offend anyone but think it is vital that parents/players have basic information that will provide a starting point for additional individual research.

In my opinion, coaching stride length is like treating medical condition symptoms yet never doing anything about the condition itself. Appropriate stride length should be byproduct of effectively loading the back hip/posterior chain and using that to create momentum down slope of mound. In order to effectively load back hip, the pitcher must have appropriate mobility, stability, and strength.

When coaches focus on the symptoms, they often screw up the natural timing that is associated with throwing a baseball with intent and command! I just received a vid last week from one of our players who played summer/fall ball with largest travel ball club organization in our state. They sell parents on all of the ex-pro's working for their organization. When this player left us at end of spring, he was in a good place and had progressed enough that he had moved from JV to V and was getting innings during varsity games. The vid I received from him last week included a message that said something like; "Coach can you take a look at my video and see if you see anything I can fix because I am losing velo?" After looking at the video, I was fired up. A number of things had changed. I asked if he had been coached to do anything differently and he said that his 25-year old ex-pro coach was working with him on changing his arm path. 

I know the initial post was in regards to stride length but it goes back to my point regarding symptoms. Because he was so focused on making the arm path change, he was no longer throwing with intent which effected a number of other things including his stride length (now shorter). The last thing I am going to do is work on the symptoms. My first recommendation was to see our local PT and get an assessment. We will then address any mobility, stability, strength issues while we get back to throwing with intent. I am betting that this will get him moving in the right direction again with improved velo and command, without ever mentioning stride length.

Just my 2 cents.

I've been reading up on stride length and velocity this week too, in attempt to help my son target the appropriate off season non-throwing training exercises.  There is so much internet content on this subject, with many conflicting opinions that I feel the more I read the less I understand … and shit, I have college degrees in both physics and mechanical engineering.  The aggregate search results on this subject are quite frustrating and I am about to give up on the cerebral pathway to pitching stride enlightenment.

How do you help a 13 yr old pitcher (who lacks the maturity to embrace PT exercises but understands why adults carry a pocket radar to tournaments) understand "loading the back hip/posterior chain and using that to create momentum down slope of mound"? … seems that the boy needs to learn to feel it in his physical manifestation, and I should not expect him to think his way into action.  

Last off season, my son attended an NPA assessment weekend - the results indicated that his stride distance on flat ground was too short by ~16 inches (he was 6 ft tall at the time).  I can't have him worrying about stride length while he is competing.  

COACHLD - Are there one or two non-throwing exercises you can recommend that will lead to better mobility, stability and functional pitcher strength?

 

 

mjd-dad posted:

...There is so much internet content on this subject, with many conflicting opinions that I feel the more I read the less I understand … and shit, I have college degrees in both physics and mechanical engineering.  The aggregate search results on this subject are quite frustrating and I am about to give up on the cerebral pathway to pitching stride enlightenment.

 ..

 

Love this... yup, pretty much sums up today's world of baseball instruction.  If THIS guy can't follow along...  imagine all the regular Joe's and Judy's out there trying to help their little Johnny ... 

cabbagedad posted:
mjd-dad posted:

...There is so much internet content on this subject, with many conflicting opinions that I feel the more I read the less I understand … and shit, I have college degrees in both physics and mechanical engineering.  The aggregate search results on this subject are quite frustrating and I am about to give up on the cerebral pathway to pitching stride enlightenment.

 ..

 

Love this... yup, pretty much sums up today's world of baseball instruction.  If THIS guy can't follow along...  imagine all the regular Joe's and Judy's out there trying to help their little Johnny ... 

There is no doubt that there is a lot of bad info about pitching on the Internet. There are a lot of not so good real life pitching instructors too.  The interesting thing about baseball (compared to other sports) is that every common man (and woman) seem to think they know something about the game. Some think they know enough to teach.  Some do but most don’t. That usually doesn’t hold them back however. I guess it’s because baseball has been referred to as The National Pastime for generations.  But when you combine uneducated consumer with used car salesman is when you end up owning a lemon. 

mjd-dad posted:

I've been reading up on stride length and velocity this week too, in attempt to help my son target the appropriate off season non-throwing training exercises.  There is so much internet content on this subject, with many conflicting opinions that I feel the more I read the less I understand … and shit, I have college degrees in both physics and mechanical engineering.  The aggregate search results on this subject are quite frustrating and I am about to give up on the cerebral pathway to pitching stride enlightenment.

How do you help a 13 yr old pitcher (who lacks the maturity to embrace PT exercises but understands why adults carry a pocket radar to tournaments) understand "loading the back hip/posterior chain and using that to create momentum down slope of mound"? … seems that the boy needs to learn to feel it in his physical manifestation, and I should not expect him to think his way into action.  

Last off season, my son attended an NPA assessment weekend - the results indicated that his stride distance on flat ground was too short by ~16 inches (he was 6 ft tall at the time).  I can't have him worrying about stride length while he is competing.  

COACHLD - Are there one or two non-throwing exercises you can recommend that will lead to better mobility, stability and functional pitcher strength?

 

 

My son has a very long stride, sometimes I think maybe a bit too long.  He's never had a pitching lesson.  All I ever told him was fall down the mound (after loading, keeping right shoulder behind rubber, etc.).  At 13, maybe that's all he needs.  Load and explode...keep it simple, because as you mention, there are way too many ideas out there.

In one of his books, Tom House says something to the effect of the brain will, in most cases, only allow the body to stride as far, and as fast, as the body can handle.  A short stride can be related to mechanics, but more often than not it's related to strength and flexibility.  Just telling a kid to "lengthen your stride" is almost always bad advice.  But, as CoachLD and 57Special have alluded to, most of the strip mall pitching coaches tend to use what I call a Band-Aid Approach and never really address the real issue.  

mjd-dad posted:

I've been reading up on stride length and velocity this week too, in attempt to help my son target the appropriate off season non-throwing training exercises.  There is so much internet content on this subject, with many conflicting opinions that I feel the more I read the less I understand … and shit, I have college degrees in both physics and mechanical engineering.  The aggregate search results on this subject are quite frustrating and I am about to give up on the cerebral pathway to pitching stride enlightenment. 

Agree. Two kids who are both 6'2" tall could easily have an inseam difference of 2". Should they have the same stride length? Probably not.

Great discussion. Thank you everyone. His new coach and organization thinks pretty well of him. We're going to talk at Sundays game where I'll get more details of what they suggest. I think we're all close in thinking that he needs a good coach and needs to improve core strength and flexibility. 

mjd-dad posted:

 

COACHLD - Are there one or two non-throwing exercises you can recommend that will lead to better mobility, stability and functional pitcher strength?

 

 

Not sure that it would serve you or your son very well if I tried to narrow it down to 2 exercises. My recommendation is to find a reputable training facility that is focused on holistic care of pitchers (think Cressey Sports Performance, Driveline, etc.) where they work on mobility, stability, strength and understand how the works hand-in-hand with the mechanics of a pitcher.  However, I can share a few resources that I highly recommend along with drill that will help develop the feel necessary to load the back hip.

Resource: Eric Cressey Baseball Content (search for pitching content)

Resource: Lantz Wheeler YouTube Channel / CVB YouTube Channel

Drill Vid: Load Drill - Great video from Wheeler on loading the hip and using that load to move efficiently down the mound. My favorite drill is the where pitcher is using PVC pipe to stabilize which allows him to load back. I like to tell our pitchers to think about driving the back foot thru the floor and feel the back hip/glute doing the work. I will tell them to poke their back glute to see if it is turning on. Sometimes they may not have the body awareness to feel initially so I watch their back foot to make sure that the back heel is not lifting early. Weight should be felt midfoot thru heel until they start to ride down the mound. If they are unable to perform the drill correctly despite coaching cues, it is usually a good sign that they lack the appropriate mobility/strength to make it happen.

Hope it is helpful.

Thanks to everyone that is paying it forward and offered links to resources … "he needs a good coach and needs to improve core strength and flexibility." … and have fun while working hard this off season … is a nice keep it simple takeaway.  

Exact same issue here.  6'2" 185lb lefty that has been told by many coaches that he needs to use his lower half more.  He tried yoga and hated it so he is now working with a personal trainer 2x a week on core and flexibility to get ready for his senior season and beyond. 

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