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3 pronged problem

Jul 31, 2008
2
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I found this site last week & find it very helpful. I thought I'd see if anyone can help some mechanical issues I am trying to rid my 12 year of. She will be moving up to U14 next season & she has had a good year this season but now we need to clean up some bad mechanics she has been struggling with & I'd like to get it cleaned up as quickly as possible so we can real start to pin-point locations better, pick up more speed & continue to develop the peel drop. She is a RHP who throws 51-52 mph & has a super change. She is still working on the drop as it is not ready for game situations yet as she does not have her release lined out yet. The low ones have a lot of movement but bounce in too early. When she brings it up - it is straight down the middle & would get tattooed..... Anyway, I don't have video but hear is a very accurate description that seems to be a consensus: I believe all of these issues tie together.
Problem #1. It's obvious when watching her that her hips are getting in the way. She is not getting open enough (shoulders included) & then closing them too soon. At times it's as if she almost has to bring her hand around her hip. If she doesn't really maintain her proper arm speed on the change, she hits the hip. As she explodes out, her glove hand tends to fly towards the 1st basemen.
Problem #2. Her glove hand. As she explodes out, & her glove hand gets just over eye level & then it is flying out towards 1st base. I believe this is pulling her shoulders & hips with it & is part of the 'hips in the way problem'.
Problem #3. She seems to have lost her awareness of her power line. She always now seems to be stepping over the power line towards the 3rd base side & many times if off balance upon finishing her pitch, falling of to the 3rd base side when she finishes. At her mechanical worst, you can see her falling off the 3rd base side as her wrist is turning around her hip & the ball drives across hard to the outside of the plate. It looks like it would be painful.

Side note (if this helps): She seems to look better & have more velocity when performing what I'll call a walk over where she is about one foot in front of the rubber, simply rocks back on her push put & explodes out from there. She does go to a pitching coach once per week but we have not got it worked out yet as late season practices & a bunch of tourneys at the end of the season have limited some of their sessions.

Anyway, that's where we are at. Any help would be appreciated.
 

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
5,882
63
Dallas, Texas
You sound like you're patting yourself on the back for a great 12U pitcher. If I had a quarter for every "great 12 YOA" pitcher than never was worth squat at 14 YOA, I would be a rich man.

Throwing 50 MPH is no big trick. Any girl can learn to do it. If they practice a little, any girl will be able to get it over the plate. And, at 12U, a bunch of kids can't hit it. So, all your friends got to say, "Ooohhh...she is good." She throws that at 16U, and your friends will say, "Ooohhhh...she really hit that one."

The deal is that a girl's hips are narrower than her shoulders, while a woman's hips are wider than the shoulders. Guess who is becoming a woman? What is happening is that her hips have widened, and she is doing all that crazy stuff to compensate for her hips suddenly being wider than her shoulders.

You and your DD have to understand that she either changes her pitching motion, or she finds a different position to play. It is that simple. There is no other way.

She has to re-learn her pitching motion. The way to do this is to take her body totally out of the pitching motion, and then slowly add everything back in. The process is:

(A) Re-learn the arm motion in a fully open position.
(B) Add in legs without using hips
(C) Add in hips.

So, the first drill for her is a "turn and throw." In a turn and throw, the pitcher stands on the mound, and pitches normally *EXCEPT* that her right foot stays flat on the rubber. The only way for her to do this is to keep her hips open, not throw her glove to 1B, and keep everything in alignment. She also will have to keep her weight back.

Also, full frames would be good. A "full frame" is where the pitcher stands full open, and throws to the catcher with her full arm motion, using only her arm and not her body.

After you do 20 or 30 turn & throws, then have her pitch without closing. Remind her *NOT* to close. As soon as she throws even *ONE* pitch where she closes, go back immediately and do some more turn and throws. Then, try it again. It is a long, tedious process. She isn't going to get this in one or two sessions.

When she finally can stay open and deliver the ball, then add the hip closing. But, as soon as you see that arm start circling the hip, then she has to go back and do turn and throws.

Also, go check her speed at some place other than with her pitching coach. (I always suggest a baseball academy--they tend to have the most honest speed guns around.)
 
Jun 2, 2008
62
0
Sluggers - While the point of your opening comment may be true, I think you could have said it differently. Duck asked for advice, not to be told his 12yo may not be "worth a squat" at 14U.

Duck - patience is the key. If her pitching instructor is worth a salt, he/she will recognize the problem and work through it. My 12YO went through a very similar, if not exact problem. I don't know if it was a hip problem, or just a breakdown in mechanics that magnified over time. She was pitching alot and didn't get to her instructor for some time. I personally believe she was plain old tired. She seems to be back on track after some well deserved rest and a simple breakdown and rebuld of basic mechanics.

Stay positive and provide lots of positive encouragement and I'm sure your daughter will be "worth a squat" in whatever she does.


For what its worth.
 
The drill Fernandez is showing is good-----but I sure wish she would get over the "figure 4" toe drag emphasis. Forget about forcing a specific toe drag---let the action of the hips and torso dictate the toe drag. Toe drag is really a follow throught affect and should not be forced.
 

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
5,882
63
Dallas, Texas
mad: The competition within the team is brutal. The whole "band competition" approach (everyone gets a medal when it is over) doesn't apply to pitching. There is only one big dog pitcher on a team, and every other pitcher is a footnote. 52 mph isn't fast enough, and DD won't throw any faster until her problems are fixed. If the DD doesn't fix her problems, she is destined to sit the bench and watch someone else pitch. That is simply the way it is.

Rick: I agree--the best approach is to turn the volume down and just have DD watch the drill.
 
Jul 31, 2008
2
0
Sluggers, By no means was I trying to come off as arrogant or delusional about her abilities. I guess I was just trying to provide an overview of where she was at based on what I had picked up from others looking for help had posted. The need was to get advice on how to fix her problems & learn what I can to help her improve as I am quite aware of what will happen at the next level if we don't get these problems ironed out. I am also aware that once these are resolved there will be a slew of others that will follow & how every MPH she gains from here will be hard to come by. Thanks for everyones feedback.
Duck
 

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
5,882
63
Dallas, Texas
duck: Great. I'm glad to hear it. Parents can be so stupid about pitching. I've seen parents ruin their kids because the parents think their kids are God's gift to the softball world.

Parents and kids get fed so much BS by coaches that it is amazing anyone learns how to throw a fastball.

My DD's last and best pitching coach told her that she sucked (regularly), and that she better work her a** off if she ever wanted to throw one pitch in college. He was a refreshing change from the usual pitching coach routine of "oh, your DD is so wonderful...just another 10 lessons at $50 an hour and she'll be ready for the Olympics".
 

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