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  • My 9YO Pitcher

    My son just turned 9 a month ago. He pitched about 10 innings or so on his 10U rec league team this year, but ended up being the primary catcher due to an injury to the other good catcher we had. He did not pitch at all in all-stars, but he threw bullpens to me at least once a week and continues to do so. He is about 4'-4" tall and weighs about 65 pounds. His only formal training came from a 2 hour camp at a local high school back in March and some help from our rec league HC who at least knows more about pitching than I do. Today was the first chance I had to video him in a long time. Based on these clips, what do you think he should work on in the off-season?



    WAR EAGLE!

  • #2
    The first video appears to be set to private view only. The second works for me.

    The biggest thing I notice is that he's close to the "inverted w" like Strasburg. From everything I've learned this is very bad from an injury standpoint. He pulls the ball out of the glove with his hand on top of the ball which makes it really easy to end up in that position. He needs to supinate his wrist as he's bringing the ball back to avoid the inverted w. I'm not a "pro" like some of the folks on here so we'll let them chime in.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by The Flush View Post
      My son just turned 9 a month ago. He pitched about 10 innings or so on his 10U rec league team this year, but ended up being the primary catcher due to an injury to the other good catcher we had. He did not pitch at all in all-stars, but he threw bullpens to me at least once a week and continues to do so. He is about 4'-4" tall and weighs about 65 pounds. His only formal training came from a 2 hour camp at a local high school back in March and some help from our rec league HC who at least knows more about pitching than I do. Today was the first chance I had to video him in a long time. Based on these clips, what do you think he should work on in the off-season?



      Football or soccer and basketball or hockey.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by tg643 View Post
        Football or soccer and basketball or hockey.
        I recommend swimming or water polo.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by lancers View Post
          I recommend swimming or water polo.
          My point is kids don't need an offseason training program, especially pitchers. They should play other sports. I'm not looking for the sports that might develop them the most for baseball. They're prepubescent.

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          • #6
            I think he looks pretty good.

            See if he can get his stride to 2 giant steps (his height).
            efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

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            • #7
              Originally posted by tg643 View Post
              Football or soccer and basketball or hockey.
              He starts soccer on August 24th, but until then, he likes pitching so I would like to give him some good pointers if possible.
              WAR EAGLE!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by clayadams View Post
                The first video appears to be set to private view only. The second works for me.

                The biggest thing I notice is that he's close to the "inverted w" like Strasburg. From everything I've learned this is very bad from an injury standpoint. He pulls the ball out of the glove with his hand on top of the ball which makes it really easy to end up in that position. He needs to supinate his wrist as he's bringing the ball back to avoid the inverted w. I'm not a "pro" like some of the folks on here so we'll let them chime in.
                Both videos are set as "unlisted" which with the link provided here, you should be able to see it.

                I don't think he gets his elbow above his shoulder and therefore is not in the inverted W, but I'll keep a watch on it. I need to read more about the hand being on top of the ball. Do you have any good links that discuss the pros and cons of the hand being on top versus being more under or behind it?
                WAR EAGLE!

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                • #9
                  1. When he raises his front leg, he really just tucks his foot. Bring the front knee toward the back shoulder, having the knee split the elbows. Edit: The upper body can also "crunch" toward the knee a little bit to help "stay closed", although it can make for some unflattering pictures if you have some 'torso girth'. *grin*

                  JB3-10yo - Raise.jpg

                  2. Here is what the poster is referring to when bringing the ball back without "pulling it back/up" via the elbow.

                  JB4-10yo - Sep.jpg

                  Lastly, at some point, he want to "scap load" ... pinching the shoulder blades together. The 'unhealthy' way to this is to pull both elbows up to the sky (Inverted-W), the other way is to take the elbows toward 1B, with the pitching forearm in a vertical position when the front foot lands.

                  JB2-10yo Scap.jpg

                  I recently found some pictures of L'il CC11 pitching at age 8, and I see that he did this back then too ... so perhaps he did it naturally. I know we worked on "bringing the ball back" a certain way quite a bit at young ages.

                  JB1-8yo.jpg

                  At his age, I would pick to 2 or 3 most important things to work on, and NOT everything is tied for 1st as being most important. I would start with the leg raise and bring the ball ball (away from the body).

                  At age 9, my son pitched with a rigid front leg ("storking it" as I called it), but everything else was pretty good. At 10, we got rid of that and pitched over a good, solid bent front leg. Now, as we enter 11, we're working on increasing the stride length. I try not to work on too many things at once or you get "something worng" on every pitch which will just destroy his will to pitch, IMHO.
                  Last edited by CircleChange11; 08-11-2012, 04:11 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by CircleChange11 View Post
                    1. When he raises his front leg, he really just tucks his foot. Bring the front knee toward the back shoulder, having the knee split the elbows. Edit: The upper body can also "crunch" toward the knee a little bit to help "stay closed", although it can make for some unflattering pictures if you have some 'torso girth'. *grin*
                    Are you saying he needs to turn his hips away from home plate more? I am envisioning Johnny Cueto as an exaggeration of what you are describing. Or were you thinking of something else?

                    2. Here is what the poster is referring to when bringing the ball back without "pulling it back/up" via the elbow.
                    The picture helps explain it better. Is this purpose of this safety or for control or velocity improvement?

                    Lastly, at some point, he want to "scap load" ... pinching the shoulder blades together. The 'unhealthy' way to this is to pull both elbows up to the sky (Inverted-W), the other way is to take the elbows toward 1B, with the pitching forearm in a vertical position when the front foot lands.
                    That might be what he needs for velocity improvement the most.

                    At his age, I would pick to 2 or 3 most important things to work on, and NOT everything is tied for 1st as being most important. I would start with the leg raise and bring the ball ball (away from the body).
                    When he pitched in rec league, he generally was pretty accurate (>50% strikes), but was pretty slow. Accuracy is everything in our league, so I think it is more important to work on consistency than velocity. We won't have much time to work on it before his mind turns to soccer this fall, but when he asks to pitch, I will have him focus on being consistent with his knee lift and glove/ball separation.
                    WAR EAGLE!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by The Flush View Post
                      Are you saying he needs to turn his hips away from home plate more? I am envisioning Johnny Cueto as an exaggeration of what you are describing. Or were you thinking of something else?
                      Cueto "twists" at the waist after raising his knee. That's not what I am saying. However, when you raise your front knee toward your rear shoulder, you will show the batter "some cheek" (as we say), you could say "show them some pocket" ... but really the cue to take the front knee "toward" the rear shoulder should be cue enough.

                      Once he masters that if he wants to go further ala Cueto or Kinf Felix, that's up to you and him. I don;t recommend that type of thing to start because what ends up happening is that the young pitcher simply "twists" rather than raises his knee.

                      The picture helps explain it better. Is this purpose of this safety or for control or velocity improvement?
                      It helps the pitching elbow go to where it needs to go. More safety than anything else.

                      That might be what he needs for velocity improvement the most.
                      The most would be to use the front leg to load, get a good stride, and use the hip rotation in conjunction with the scap load. Eventually you want to get "hip-shoulder separation" which simply mean you want the hip and shoulder to be stretched apart from each other as far as possible. Tim Lincecum is an extreme example, the belt buckle (or belly button) is facing home, while the rear shoulder is still facing 3B or LF.

                      When he pitched in rec league, he generally was pretty accurate (>50% strikes), but was pretty slow. Accuracy is everything in our league, so I think it is more important to work on consistency than velocity. We won't have much time to work on it before his mind turns to soccer this fall, but when he asks to pitch, I will have him focus on being consistent with his knee lift and glove/ball separation.
                      IMO, anything you work on now will be forgotten by the winter/spring. If he's done with games, I'd just take time off and move to the next sport.

                      Start working on it, from scratch, once the calendar turns to 2013.

                      When you resume ...

                      1. Knee Raise - Front knee toward rear shoulder; split the elbows.
                      2. Proper ball/glove separation - easiest way to do it is once the hands have separated to move the ball up to it's highest position by moving it in a semi-circular motion --- A) Coming out of the glove, ball faces home, fingers under ball, B) Midpoint - ball faces ground, fingers on top of ball --- C) highest point - ball faces 3B, fingers on top of ball.

                      If these two things are done properly, you will likely find the he's loading the scap (squeezing his shoulder blades together). I teach young pitchers that their glove side elbow "points to the target", then "goes to hip" (or more accurately the hip goes toward the elbow/glove). So, when the ball is being raised, so is the front elbow. If you were doing it standing up with straight legs together, your body would look like a "T".

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by CircleChange11 View Post
                        your body would look like a "T".
                        Some might say "equal and opposite".

                        His feet should begin at shoulder width, he's starting from a very unbalanced position.
                        Then just have him bring his knee back to knee.
                        At this age instead of working on very formal mechanics which can lead to stiff mechanical movements as the immature mind tries to sort it out) work on throwing fundementals, start from a basic knee drill and build to a long toss...make games out of it..repeatability games. You want him to be comfortable throwing the ball, not worried everytime about his mechs, particularly in the off season.
                        I agree that you have the right mindset to have him playing a diversity of sports as TG recommended. Given that, over-all athleticism is where I'd say the biggest need is, if you want him to emulate anyone right now, it is a smooth relaxed, athletic, "baseball player", building on fundementals until puberty will get you the very biggest payoff.

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                        • #13
                          Thanks for all the input. I know that by next season he will have forgotten most of what we have worked on. But I feel that if we can capture some good mechanics on video now , it might make it easier to pick it back up in the spring by reviewing it. Plus, he finds this fun and it is always him who requests to go work on it. If I help coach again next year, everything I learn now and work on with my son should make it easier to help other kids with in the spring. The kids can wait until next year to practice, but I need to learn what to teach now.

                          Should I keep him pitching from the stretch or should he start from the windup?

                          Does anyone have a good video clip of a pitcher that would be good for a kid to emulate?
                          WAR EAGLE!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jdfromfla View Post
                            His feet should begin at shoulder width, he's starting from a very unbalanced position.
                            Then just have him bring his knee back to knee.
                            He does start with his feet shoulder width apart in the first video, but he then brings his feet together before he really starts the pitch. Are you saying he should go from feet apart straight into the knee lift without bringing his feet together first?

                            At this age instead of working on very formal mechanics which can lead to stiff mechanical movements as the immature mind tries to sort it out) work on throwing fundementals, start from a basic knee drill and build to a long toss...make games out of it..repeatability games. You want him to be comfortable throwing the ball, not worried everytime about his mechs, particularly in the off season.

                            I agree that you have the right mindset to have him playing a diversity of sports as TG recommended. Given that, over-all athleticism is where I'd say the biggest need is, if you want him to emulate anyone right now, it is a smooth relaxed, athletic, "baseball player", building on fundementals until puberty will get you the very biggest payoff.
                            I am not too worried about his basic throwing fundamentals as he is pretty fluid when throwing from any defensive position. Maybe the lack of thinking about it makes him more fluid then. We spend a lot of time with me hitting him balls and throwing them back to me with focus on making a good throw. We would do more long toss but it hurts my elbow to do it (I must be doing it wrong). Any suggestions for repeatability game are appreciated.

                            He is a good all around athlete who has also played a lot of flag football, basketball, soccer, futsal, and golf and is almost always a first round draft pick in those sports. He was the main QB in flag football, but doesn't like it anymore because he does not get to score TDs as QB. He does not weigh enough to play in our tackle football league, so he is going back to soccer this year and has had a couple different coaches ask if would play for them. He just has fun playing any sport.
                            WAR EAGLE!

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                            • #15
                              Are you saying he should go from feet apart straight into the knee lift without bringing his feet together first?
                              Yes, the athletic position is where he should start in baseball (Old timers called it the "horse" position).

                              Maybe the lack of thinking about it makes him more fluid then
                              Yes..

                              As to fun repeatability stuff...I guess it's more how you approach it, I'd rather he does stuff like "step-behinds" and 'toe-taps" and just work on the movements, I've made "games" out of most fundemental drill work for that age and under, really 12u.



                              I am not too worried about his basic throwing fundamentals
                              You should, they worry about it all the way into the pros..nearly every day they work fundementals.

                              He just has fun playing any sport.
                              Great!

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