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need advise

May 22, 2008
351
0
NW Pennsylvania
My dd is starting to have control problems...actually, she has aways had this problem, but sometimes are worse than others, Anyway, she is a lefty & if i ask for a dead center pitch, 4out of 5 pitches will be on the outside corner for a RH batter, or in the LH batters box. what are the most likely mechanical flaws to be looking for?? thanks
 

Aug 2, 2008
553
0
My daughter and I are pretty new to this but one minor thing comes to mind,
on her downswing between 12 and 6 oclock is her hand drifting behind her back/centerline causing her to throw outside?

Mike
 

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
5,751
48
Dallas, Texas
You guys are off on the wrong tangent. The angular difference of the hand at release for a ball that goes down the middle and for one that goes across the left side of the plate is less than .2 degrees. It is a little crazy to think that there is some mechanical flaw for her hand being off by .2 degrees.

Whatever the reason, the cure is to teach her control. Teaching control is a lot like teaching speed--she puts all the thoughts about mechanics away, and focuses solely on pitch location.

Control is not about throwing the ball into a specific spot. Control is about learning how to move the ball left and right and up and down. Why? During a game: the wind is going to be blowing, there is going to be a four inch trench where foot lands, she is going to have a blister on her finger, her right shoe is going to fall apart, the pitching mound will be set wrong, the plate is cockeyed, and on and on. She has to adjust to all of these conditions.

Luckily, it is pretty simple to teach control. It involves a lot of time consuming, tedious work.

(STEP 1--learn to pitch to the left and right sides of the plate) Divide the plate in half. She then learns how to alternately throw a pitch to the left half side of the plate and then the right side of the plate. The specific location is not important. The only thing that is important is that she put the ball on the left side of the plate or the right side of the plate at will.

(STEP 2--learn to pitch the ball up and down) Same thing, except you divide the strike zone vertically. She learns how to throw the ball above a predetermined height or below the predetermined height. It doesn't matter if the ball is 8 feet over your head, or if the ball rolls across the plate.

(STEP 3--learn to throw in quadrants) At this point, she can move the ball at will left and right and up or down. Now, you divide the strike zone into four quadrants--inside and high, outside and high, inside and low, outside and low. She learns how to throw the ball into each of these quadrants at will. Same thing--it doesn't matter where the ball is within the quadrant, just as long as she puts it within the selected quadrant.

(STEP 4--learn to throw the ball to a specific location). With this, you move the glove around and have her throw the ball into the glove. A "good" pitch is one where the ball hits the web of the glove. A "bad" pitch is one where the catcher has to move the glove.

When you work on location, each practice session involves going between these four steps. You start with STEP 1. If she shows she can do that, you progress to STEP 2. If she can do that, then you do STEP 3. If she can that, you go to STEP 4.

When she starts struggling, you digress to a previous step. When she is showing consistent success with a step, then she progresses to the next step.

The actually teaching consists of the catcher giving feedback to the pitcher. So, this is an example:

CATCHER: I had to move the glove on that pitch, but you did get the ball into the correct quadrant. Let's try it again.
(next pitch)
CATCHER: The glove was in the down and inside quadrant, but the ball was in the down and outside quadrant. So, the next pitch, just try to get the ball on the inside of the plate.
(next pitch)
CATCHER: Good, you put the ball was on the inside of the plate. So, let's try the down and inside quadrant again.
(next pitch)
CATCHER: Good, the ball was down and in. Now, try to hit the glove.

You work around the entire strike zone like this. And you do this "forever"--at every practice, for about 20 minutes, from now until she hangs up her glove.

You systematically work around the whole strike zone, going from quadrant to quadrant.

Does it work? My DD pitched 37 innings without walking a batter. That was not in sunny California, that was in Northern Illinois in the rain, the blow and the snow.
 
Aug 2, 2008
553
0
I understand your point about a pitch being only .2 degrees off, but if pitches are being thrown a foot left or right off the plate there might be some mechanical issues right?

when you say "she puts all the thoughts about mechanics away, and focuses solely on pitch location." You mean just for the 20 minutes that you are working on pitch location? It is important for her to focus on mechanics at other times right?

My daughter is a young 10 and has pitched for 1-1/2 years, she is now throwing consistantly down the middle. We have just started incorporating location training into the lessons, I like the steps you have listed and will be using them.

Mike
 
May 13, 2008
832
0
I prefer to keep things simple when it comes to this type of issue. When dealing with left/right problems I tell the pitcher that they've done something to come off of the power line. I remind them that glove, foot, and circle work together to achieve a consistent release point. When you get to a consistent release point then you can worry about .2 degree offsets.
 

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
5,751
48
Dallas, Texas
Just to be clear, the goal if for your DD to be able to put the ball anywhere she wants within a 2' x 4' rectangle. Her goal is *not* to be able consistently to throw knee high strikes down the middle of the plate.

Is she off by a few inches or a couple of feet? If she is missing the plate by one or two feet, then she has a mechanical problem. If she is off by a few inches, then the only she fix is hard work and practice. There is no magic to it.

To miss the plate by a couple of feet, generally the arm is messed up, usually because her hips are closing too early, thereby causing her arm to circle the hips. That is, the arm is on line with the plate at 9 o'clock, and when it gets to the hips, the arm moves to the right to get by the hips, and then she tries to get the arm back on line to throw the ball. Videotape her from the rear and see if her arm is on the same vertical plane throughout her motion.

As to this "thinking about mechanics"--this isn't gymnastics. She doesn't get points for proper form during a game. The line from Bull Durham is 100% correct: "Don't think, Meat. Throw."

In the back yard, you and she should first work on mechanics. So, you do drills to reinforce certain parts of the mechanics--usually the stuff she has problems with.

After that, she and you do speed work and then control work. When she works on speed, her job is to simply throw the ball as hard as possible. She is not to be concerned about form. That is *YOUR* job. You are looking at her form, which is why you better get yourself a mask and some chin guards. (A friend of mine got his jaw broke by his DD.) When you see her form break down, you stop immediately, do drills to get her form back, and then do more speed work.

Same thing with control, although generally the form isn't the issue with control work. Usually, she will slow down and try to guide the ball. So, you usually are telling her to throw harder. Again, when her form breaks down, you go back and do some drills to get her form back, and then back to work on control.
 

halskinner

Banned
May 7, 2008
2,695
0
My dd is starting to have control problems...actually, she has aways had this problem, but sometimes are worse than others, Anyway, she is a lefty & if i ask for a dead center pitch, 4out of 5 pitches will be on the outside corner for a RH batter, or in the LH batters box. what are the most likely mechanical flaws to be looking for?? thanks
Are you talking about a fastball?? A traditional fastball grip???

Hal
 
May 22, 2008
351
0
NW Pennsylvania
I am talking about a girl who can control 1 side of the plate or the other most times, & can hit the glove pretty well on a good day, a& then for no apparrent reason,she has a day or two where she consistently misses left(she is a lefty)by 6 inches to 3 feet.
 

Ken Krause

Administrator
Admin
May 7, 2008
3,421
38
Mundelein, IL
Here's one from my experience. Check to see whether her left foot is driving behind her right foot, or coming up to the left side of her right foot. If it's the latter her hips will get in the way, which will cause the pitch to go off-line. She may do it sometimes and not others.
 

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