Luckily for me, my first two children were girls.
Through the trial and error process we call development, I learned a few things that I would like to share with you today.
Do you have a young son or know somebody that does?
If that’s the case, stop what you’re doing and forward a link to this post IMMEDIATELY!
It could be your chance to save a young baseball players career before it ever starts.
I’ll be the first to admit that my daughter throws like a girl! Thank goodness my boy doesn’t! I’ve often wondered why my girls have such poor arm action, is it because they are girls or was it my fault? Keep reading and I will tell you the answer.
Arm action is a learned complex skill that is ingrained into your central nervous system (CNS) and is difficult to change after a certain age.
Therefore, it’s important that your son learns to throw the ball the correct way early in his development. How do you do that?
Start by learning the primary shapers of his development:
- Intent: Read this article.
- Emulation: Emulation plays a critical role in the early development years, as players get older, not so much. This article should help.
- Instruction: In the 1st stage of development it’s all about “what” to do, therefore, instruction plays a very critical role as you will soon find out. Therefore, you need to be careful what you say, read this article. In the 2nd stage of development, it’s all about “how” to do it.
With my girls, I never stopped to think about their development. In fact, I hindered their development! I would throw to my girls with a very passive arm action with the hopes of them being able to catch the ball. I wasn’t going to be the dad throwing bullets at 5 year old girl because I didn’t want to deal with Mom.
So, I would passively get the ball up above my head and lightly toss it to them.
Guess what they did?
They emulated what they saw me do.
They didn’t know right from wrong, (and neither does the body), they only did what they saw Dad doing.
Over time, it became ingrained and stuck with them. Add to the equation, my assortment of useless cues (used to instruct) and you’ve got a recipe to throwing like a girl!
Now, my son’s developmental course is totally different, in fact, here’s the only instruction that he receives s, “Throw it hard!” This will be the case for the next several years and you know what, I could care less if he can catch the ball, not now anyway. Why?
Throwing is an ability, catching is a skill.
There’s plenty of time for skill work and now is not the time.
You heard me direct him to throw it hard and that’s the only way he throws the ball, in fact, I’ve got a window inside the house that would agree. Forgive me if I come across as “that Dad”, my intent is to convey the importance throwing the ball hard at an early age.
Another aspect of his routine is to throw the ball from a short distance at a plastic swimming pool. The reason I encourage him to do so is simple, it’s really loud. That’s a form of instant feedback and he associates the loudness to throwing the ball harder. So, guess what he does? He continues to throw the ball harder with each throw to see if he can make it louder than the previous throw, think of this as his radar gun!
One last piece of advice before we finish here. If you guys are throwing together, throw the absolute crap out of the ball in his direction. Notice, I didn’t say at him (REALLY IMPORTANT)! I usually throw the ball about 10 ft from him, against a wall, just so he will emulate what he sees!
The point of all this is:
- Your son’s early developmental years are extremely important.
- Don’t over load your son and let’s keep instruction to a minimal.
- Stress Ability before skill! Please read this article if you have younger son!
- Encourage them to throw hard!
If your asking your kids to perform skill oriented activities without the necessary motor skills to be successful, while simultaneously over-coaching through the use of cues, then your on the fast track to him throwing like a girl.
Don’t believe me? Watch this guy!
Can you help me?
- Will you forward a link to this article to someone else you know? It could really help them avoid the mistakes I made.