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Love the breakthroughs

Ken Krause

May 7, 2008
Mundelein, IL
Tonight I was working with one of my students, a girl named Brigid. (Yes, that's the correct spelling. I confirmed it with her a while back.)

Brigid had done some pitching a couple of years ago, but a wrist problem stopped her career. She decided to give it a try again this year, and a couple of changes we made earlier has made it possible for her to pitch without pain.

She has had one persistent problem, though: she keeps throwing inside. It's a habit she's had a tough time breaking. We were able to figure out that there are a couple of different causes, but one of the main ones has been her arm circle. She tends to let it wander behind her, so at release it has to go out to her right to avoid slamming into her hip.

We've tried a few things over the past weeks to try and fix it, but none have had much lasting success. Tonight, though, I think we had a breakthrough.

One of the main causes of her circle problems has been pulling the ball behind her on her backswing. That motion forces her arm out and away, which creates an off-center circle. So tonight we switched her to a barrel roll start. The barrel roll forces her to start with her arms in the center of her body and keep them there until the ball gets overhead. In other words, it completely eliminates one of the main causes.

It wasn't perfect -- she also has a tendency to pull her shoulders up and out at times -- but it made a big dent in it. One of the biggest benefits was a rise in her confidence level. She was excited and smiling by the end of the lesson, and inspired to go forward.

Hopefully it will have a lasting effect. Stay tuned.


May 9, 2008

Hi Ken,

Sounds like the light bulb turned on over her head. Which must be very gratifying for you.

There is a product called the Xcelerator that can be used to track a pitchers arm circle and determine whether it is correct. It's basically a cylinder attached by a small rope to a softball/baseball and during the windmill windup you can track it as it moves. It provides a coach with instant feedback so adjustments to arm motion are simple to assess.

You can visit Play Ball!!! to check out the device. My dd has been using one for the past 3 seasons and it's a get warm up tool. You can swing it in warmups repeatedly without the stress of ball release. It only costs $35 plus s&h and it works.:)

Best Regards,


Ken Krause

May 7, 2008
Mundelein, IL
Pops, can you check the link? It took me to a tournament page (I think) but I didn't see anything about the product you mention.
Aug 2, 2008
My daughter has the same problem with her backswing, I noticed the cause was that the right shoulder was getting pulled backwards by her arm, throwing the arm circle out of alignment. Lately she has been concentrating on keeping both shoulders pointed at the catcher during her backswing, and that has helped alot. I would like to know how your students new wind up is doing in a couple of weeks, it might be something worth trying.


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