I’m sure you spend time throwing with your son, right?
How many of you guys encourage your son to get the ball up?
You know, in the letter “L” shape?
Common sense tells us that it’s a probably a good idea to emulate what we see in a picture, right?
Unfortunately, that’s about the worst thing you could do!
Still frame pictures can be very misleading and traditional cues are stunting the development of young pitchers!
Today, I’m going to share with you something your son should NOT be working on and if he IS, a very simple tip that will help correct the problem. Keep reading
The most important tool for any pitcher is arm action, it’s how your arm works and it forms your identity as a pitcher. Here’s what you’re looking for in arm action: (If you haven’t read this article, make sure you do before we start. I will wait for you.)
3 Primary “Outside” Influences On Arm Action:
I spent 30 minutes today scanning YouTube and I have to be honest, there is A LOT of poor and mis-leading information out there. (That’s the primary reason I started this site, to bring truth and a new way of looking at player development.)
Today we are going to discuss the coaching side of things. In particular, the cues and drills for “getting on top” of the ball and getting the arm in the shape of the letter “L”.
But before we get started, I have to admit something…..
I am guilty of doing the same thing that I am warning you not to do.
Call me a hypocrite or a pitching coach with an open mind and willingness to accept change. I never really questioned the purpose of the drill, but like most coaches, I taught it anyway because I saw everyone else doing it.
If you ask other coaches why it is important, you will get responses like:
I get it, I totally understand how coaches can think this, it’s what they see. But here’s an obstacle every person, coach or parent faces.
We choose to see what we want to see!
Let’s start with the idea that every MLB pitcher gets to this position. That’s partly true, but where coaches go wrong is that the position is not nearly as important as how the player got to that position.
Let’s use a simple analogy ( I will use 4th gear as a generic reference point). Every race car driver gets to 4th gear but not every race car driver gets there the same way. The leader of the race was probably a little smoother and quicker in between the gears than the guy in last place.
One gear is never more important than another. What’s important is how you get to each gear, it’s the movement between the gears that separates players and race car drivers from their peers.
So, young pitchers that focus on getting to “4th gear” will sometimes try and go from 1st-4th and skip everything in between. Just like a car, this will force the body to stall, stutter and perform poorly.
Here are three MLB pitchers in the same position as the drill from 3 different angles that look very similar:
INSERT: roy ozwalt, cc sabathia and other Videos
Watch the following video clips and notice how they each arrived to that point in their own unique way. They also do a great job of involving the chest and back to throw the ball, more on that later.
So, after watching 3 future Hall of Famers, what do you see?
I see three guys getting to same point three different ways!
Moving on to the next point, “It puts the arm in a powerful position and reduces the stress on the arm.”
Here’s Cole Hamels and Rex Brothers, 2 LHP that run the ball in the mid-upper 90’s. Take a look at these pictures and then watch the short video clip to see how they involve the chest and back to throw the baseball.
Here’s the video:
Did you see how they involved the chest and back? Read this article, it details the importance of thoracic mobility and how to increase it.
Here are a few other reasons why I would strongly discourage this drill or position to start your drill or throwing work.
Watch the two guys below, both are throwing the ball 78 mph. Which looks faster to you? The guy on the left has been taught to get the ball up out of the glove with the intent of showing it to 2B. The guy on the right must have not been coached as a youngster, as he uses the elbows to take the ball out of the glove.
The “L” drill places the focus on the hand and only the hand.
The hand doesn’t actually throw the ball, its responsibility is to grip and releases the ball, that’s it!
TRY THIS: Move your elbow in any direction and watch how the hand will follow. Pretty simple but I bet most of you guys have not thought about this. Focus on the elbow leading the action and the hand will always follow. I promise!
Here’s a simple tip that will help you improve arm action, enjoy!
In closing, don’t think about getting to certain positions, realize it’s more important how you arrived to the position. Everyone is different and be careful of those that ask you to move and look like someone else.
P.S: You liked this article, right? If you liked it, forward a link to this post to 5 other people you know would benefit.