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Thread: Hand/Ball Position/Direction

  1. #1
    Softball Junkie T.J.'s Avatar
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    Default Hand/Ball Position/Direction

    I apologize if this topic has been covered in the past. My question is about hand position (direction) through the windup. I have two DDs that pitch, (11 & 15). Their regular coach is battling medical issues so we are reaching out for new PC's.

    We found one for our 11yo. She is telling us to pivot the push-off foot on the rubber (see recent posts) and she also is telling us to have the throwing hand facing backwards (toward 2nd base) as long as possible through the windmill; which is what I'm asking about.

    My 15yo is not thrilled or excited about this PC, so we have been waiting to find the right coach for her; which we feel we finally did. Her new coach is telling us, NO don't pivot the pushoff foot; you want all the energy going straight. She is also telling us to basically have the ball kind of facing 3rd base then to rotate it around near the snap region. And she demostrated it all and showed up a good wall drill where she used mental finger cues of "pinkie-middle-thumb" brushing the wall as you come around.

    I was happy to hear this as I thought keeping the ball pointed to 2nd base caused stress/strain in the arm. I also told my 11yo all this and she was soo happy b/c she felt it was awkward and painful too; just an unatural feeling.

    Unfortunately the new coach is booked solid so she has no room for my 11yo, but I'm thinking of parting ways with the other coach; regardless.

    Can anyone validate my feelings that this new coach has it more right and parting ways with the PC my 11yo is seeing is a good and smart move? I'll be able to take what the new coach says to my 11yo along with what she and I already know and do; so I think she will be fine at this stage.....plus i have all you to help me out...right??? (lol)

    Thanks for your input & advice.


  2. #2
    13th Step Softball Addict coach james's Avatar
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    I disagree with pretty much all of that.
    Pivot happens after the drive. Picture a sprinter in the gates...
    Hand placement... if the palm/ball is facing 2nd base at the top of the circle, that means the elbow is probably locking straight out, so the pc is most likely teaching hello elbow snap and not a whipping ir motion.
    Do yourself and your dd's a favor by simply comparing what this pc is teaching vs. how the best pitchers in the world are pitching. Study Boardmembers posts in the ir forum and google Bill Hillhouse videos. Follow those two and their style and you'll see real quick if your pc is a moron or not.
    "The only difference between average and exceptional, is the attention to detail applied to the task... Don't practice mistakes." James Clark

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  4. #3
    I eat, sleep and breathe softball quincy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coach james View Post
    Hand placement... if the palm/ball is facing 2nd base at the top of the circle, that means the elbow is probably locking straight out, so the pc is most likely teaching hello elbow snap and not a whipping ir motion.

  5. #4
    I eat, sleep and breathe softball Ken B's Avatar
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    If the PC is teaching that the backs of the hands lead, then I agree. I encourage the pitcher to push hard with the backs of the hands and stride toe towards the catcher ("shove the glove") and that the ball hand more or less stays this way up until the whip. I don't care for the brush the wall drill. I'd rather encourage the girl to think "lead with the elbow and back of the hand," then let what happens happen unless another issue rises. The idea that the ball must face 3rd should not be drilled as an absolute. This may become a "smile and nod" thing with your PC.

    There is no conscious pivot of the "pivot" foot. There may need to be a conscious effort to keep it straight, but only if needed to correct or encourage forward energy. A small pivot should not be discouraged unless it's contributing to an over-effort to get open. Watch a few vidoes of high level pitchers and you'll find a small pivot is more the norm than the exception.

    Finding the perfect PC is a tough deal. Many reputable coaches teach poor mechanics; yet connect with, motivate and produce many good pitchers in spite of the bad instruction. The hope is that you can find someone who provides the most benefit to your kids with minimal not-so-good stuff. A couple of my favorite coaches fall into this. One is an older college pitcher and training center PC who teaches terrible mechanics. I really like the way she connects with the kids. She is brutally honest with families that bring kids who are clearly not pitching material and does not tolerate monkey business. However, her information is so bad that I would have to discourage people looking for a PC in that area. I know another who has a very good understanding of the motion, but is a poor teacher. The rest are in between. As I mentioned above, sometimes you have to go with the best available, but be ready to smile/nod when it comes to some things.

    Best wishes,
    Last edited by Ken B; 02-07-2013 at 01:21 PM.

  6. #5
    Pitching Coach Carly's Avatar
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    If you're doing an I/R release, you want the palm skyward—or as close to skyward as you can personally get it without causing shoulder tension—just as the elbow is coming in toward the back hip and the forearm is preparing to whip past the body. Getting in that position without causing unnecessary shoulder tension is all that's important, and different pitchers have different ways of getting there. When I'm teaching a total beginner, I advocate "handshake position" coming up the front of the circle; your arm behaves exactly as it would when reaching out to shake someone's hand, palm/ball facing the glove when the hands are together. This generally causes no shoulder tension, allows the elbow to get used to relaxing and pointing down, and makes ending up in the right release position come naturally for most people upon opening up.

    If you AREN'T using an I/R release, well I can't really recommend that... but I just tried it myself and I think palm to third base, pinky leading toward the sky does give you the best positioning to come into a hello elbow release. It definitely causes more tension that what I just described though. Stand like you're shaking someone's hand and hold it; now flip it so your palm is facing the opposite direction and hold it. See what happens.

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