Getting Ball Arm Up Way Too Soon
We see so many pitchers that come into our program with this pitching flaw. I don’t know why so many kids do it and most of them that are doing it have pitching coaches, which makes it even more mind-boggling. We try to clean this up immediately when we see it.
Basically, the pitcher is going to take their ball arm up and back way before the front foot plants. Many kids are taught to get their ball arm up and back, however, for many players, they are doing it way too soon. To fix it, we spend some time on the rocker drill with the glove up, ball down version and then we got on a mound and work on delaying the ball arm longer so the legs can do what they are supposed to do in the proper sequence.
Getting Around the Baseball
This is so basic, but so many younger players mess this up. They just constantly get around the ball (or on the side of the ball), so it appears that they are throwing cutters or sliders instead of fastballs. Spending some time to help them understand how to stay behind the baseball is important, especially when they want to be accurate with a 4 seamer or get arm side run and sink with their 2 seamer.
Many young pitchers will fly open with their shoulders. The shoulders are going to turn, but many athletes will do this too soon and they will have the dreaded arm side miss that pitchers coaches absolutely hate. To fix this, we work on staying closed as long as possible with our shoulders as our hips rotate. This will create hip to shoulder separation and then it’s time for the shoulders to rotate and then we really focus on getting extended and finishing our pitches. This will help keep us from pulling off or flying open.
Many youth pitchers will take super short strides down the mound. We need to lengthen this out. It will help them use their legs to throw with much more velocity.
They Don’t Finish Their Pitches
Many younger pitchers will let go of the ball sooner than big league pitchers would and they don’t get extended, they won’t have any trunk tilt forward and they end up just staying fairly tall after they throw the pitch. This is bad. They need to work on having some forward trunk tilt, releasing the ball farther out front (extension) and finishing their pitch across their body. Many of the best will then have their upper body end up parallel to the ground as they finish their pitch.
This isn’t easy to do , but usually after showing how major league pitchers do it, they will be able to start copying some of their body movements. For some of our players, the towel drill will really help as well.