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Strange pitching habit

Mar 16, 2009
I am a pitching coach and I have an 11 yr old who has learned a very weird pitching habit of leaning way over to the right and throwing side armed. She is releasing the ball close to a foot away from her leg. She amazingly throws strikes somehow. Anyway, I have gotten her to stand up straighter but she is still throwing sidearmed. I have tried putting her next to a wall and pitch and i have also had her using some weighted balls. I'm trying to just go back to basic mechanics. Do you have any suggestions on drills?

Ken Krause

May 7, 2008
Mundelein, IL
Try putting her down on one knee. Taking the feet out of it might help her focus on her arm circle more. You may need to stand next to her to force her to keep the arm and hand close.

Do you know at what point she is going off-line? Perhaps having her do half a circle, stopping, and then finishing might help too.
May 13, 2008
It is a pretty common flaw for kids to pick up and should be corrected to prevent shoulder problems later in life. Most of them pick it up after slamming the ball into their leg a couple of times. The symptom is the circle isn't close to the body, but often the cause is that the body isn't getting lined up on the power line.

Make sure that she is getting completely open with only one shoulder/one hip visible to the catcher when she strides out. I find it helps by giving the kids a cue of; chin up, head straight, big kick, big glove. Look at her head and make sure it is level and straight, the body will try to correct itself if the head is crooked by leaning. I like the stride foot to come up straight and as high as the knee to encourage a good push and to keep the weight back. I want the glove to come out straight and at least shoulder high. This opens the shoulders and engages the scapula muscles.

Some drills:

Ball on the wall - standing close to a wall in the open position the pitcher does an arm circle keeping the ball on the wall as long as possible

5,4,3,2,1 Circles - from the open position the pitcher does 5 arm circles before throwing the pitch, then 4, then 3, then 2, then 1. Repeat.

Obstacle - if the pitcher is stepping off of the power line or leaning one way or the other, place an obstacle in such a way that it encourages her to stay on the power line. Sometimes I'll stand a foot or two off of the power line at stride length. They usually straighten up on the first pitch and throw a strike. At first something big like a person works best, then keep making the obstacle smaller (bucket, bat bag, glove, ball) until she can stay straight on her own.

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