What are the first couple steps to teach a prospective pitcher?

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Jan 25, 2022
328
63
I'm working my way through Paulygirl intermediate certification and am about 2/3 finished, and I've got probably 70 hours of observation at my daughter's lessons, so I have a pretty good grasp of the mechanics of pitching and IR. I'm helping a couple of the middle school girls who want to start pitching, and in the interest of time I'd like to get them headed the right direction as I keep working to finish my own training. I have a feeling some of this is answered in later videos of the Paulygirl lessons, but if I can get them going with a couple simple things right now, it would be a better use of our time.

I've done a basic assessment of their natural movement and athletic ability, but I'm not sure where to start with these kids from a base standpoint. One is 12 and has never pitched but already has a nice smooth movement and has easily fallen into a not-too-terrible arm whip. The other is 11 and pitched several games of little league after teaching herself the push style via youtube. From what she's shown me so far, I don't think it'll be too difficult to get her out of the push. She listens and tries her best to do what I tell her, and doesn't appear to have developed much muscle memory for the push style.

Do I just step them through the full motion a piece at a time, only moving ahead after the previous piece is "mastered?" Or do I break the pieces up into a few separate drills? It seems like teaching the last part of the sequence (9:00 to release) is something they should work on at every session.

I just don't want to send them home to practice on their own with information overload. I recall Rick saying he usually sends a student home with one thing to work on. My goal for both of them is to be able to consistently get the ball across the plate at the most controllable speed by the time games start in March.

Tips or advice?? Thanks!
 
Aug 1, 2019
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Backchaining is important. Your students should show good mechanics at each stage before moving on. Many times when they take the next step, something will pop up that needs addressing.
Emphasize the strong posture at all stages. I have my students pitch balled up socks into a full-length mirror so they have instant feedback on their posture.
 
Sep 15, 2015
63
18
I like the posture in the mirror idea for homework. But as I think I said elsewhere, for absolute step one, I would teach underhand toss from 900. See what the girl in the video below is doing. Not necessary to alternate with overhand, but do use to teach proper external to internal rotation of the arm and release at the back hip, ideally with a little brush. I would start there, using the IR in the classroom drills to simplify the steps of the whip as needed, until you have them progressing on to Ks and then a full circle with a step. That would be steps 1-4. Then teach the takeoff and lower body separately after a lesson or two just on the arm whip and circle. But that’s just me. 70 hours of paulygirl probably makes you better informed than I am.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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Jan 25, 2022
328
63
Backchaining is important. Your students should show good mechanics at each stage before moving on. Many times when they take the next step, something will pop up that needs addressing.
Emphasize the strong posture at all stages. I have my students pitch balled up socks into a full-length mirror so they have instant feedback on their posture.
That's a great idea. That way they can do it at home. I know from working with my daughter vs seeing other kids at her training facility that our practice at home makes a huge difference. It accelerated her progress tremendously. I would still consider her a lower level intermediate pitcher after a year and a half (really though it took around 9 months for the light bulb to come on a bit), but I see kids there that have been going twice as long who are at the same level.
 
Jan 25, 2022
328
63
I like the posture in the mirror idea for homework. But as I think I said elsewhere, for absolute step one, I would teach underhand toss from 900. See what the girl in the video below is doing. Not necessary to alternate with overhand, but do use to teach proper external to internal rotation of the arm and release at the back hip, ideally with a little brush. I would start there, using the IR in the classroom drills to simplify the steps of the whip as needed, until you have them progressing on to Ks and then a full circle with a step. That would be steps 1-4. Then teach the takeoff and lower body separately after a lesson or two just on the arm whip and circle. But that’s just me. 70 hours of paulygirl probably makes you better informed than I am.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
70 hours of my kid's pitching lessons, which I do pay a lot of attention to. Paulygirl, I'm 2/3 through. I think it's like 16-17 hours total. It's done in mostly videos of 10 minutes or less at a time. Super informative though. I really enjoy it and hope I can do him justice when I get my methods squared away and get some experience with it under my belt.

This is essentially how my daughter's warmup goes at lessons, and I actually passed underhand like that with the 12 year old newbie yesterday and most of her throws came to me normally. I can't tell a lot about the arm whip from that angle though. Mostly I can just see where the elbow is in relation to her torso. She may be doing more pushing than forearm action. I like your thoughts on the steps. It seems a logical progression to me.
 
Nov 4, 2015
309
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I have a daughter who starting her junior year. If I knew then, what i know now, I would have been teaching her to play catch with me underhand with a baseball when she was 6 or 7. No pitching. Just playing catch. We teach boys to throw overhand and then teach them to pitch. I think this would have made learning to pitch with all the windmill movement much easier. We play catch now, but she does it with the arm circle.
 
Oct 9, 2018
197
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Texas
I have a daughter who starting her junior year. If I knew then, what i know now, I would have been teaching her to play catch with me underhand with a baseball when she was 6 or 7. No pitching. Just playing catch. We teach boys to throw overhand and then teach them to pitch. I think this would have made learning to pitch with all the windmill movement much easier. We play catch now, but she does it with the arm circle.
I agree that "Just Playing Catch" while throwing underhanded is the single most valued activity for beginners.
 
Jan 6, 2009
5,861
113
Chehalis, Wa
You have to learn how to throw underhand first, pitching comes second. If I had someone just starting that’s how I approach it. They don’t need to be focusing on throwing a strike. The complete opposite is needed, they need to be learning how to throw first.

In fact I do have a rec player starting. That will be job number one, throwing underhand. We are starting early Sept, so she has plenty of time to learn how to throw and how to pitch.
 
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May 15, 2008
1,422
113
Cape Cod Mass.
I have a version of 'playing catch' that I call "Do what I do". If I throw overhand to them they throw overhand back to me. If I use sling shot, they sling shot back to me. I also add walk-in to the sequence. I ask them to copy my tempo and the way I balance on my back foot before moving easily into the throw. I don't let them get into the position they normally use when preforming sling shot, or walk-in as a warmup or drill, I try to keep it as free form as possible.
 
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