Chas and I had a discussion recently regarding many of our students both in person and online. Last week, Chas wrote about one of his younger students Henry and how fast he has developed in such a short period. We’ve been amazed how far some of our students have progressed since their initial evaluations. Glancing back through my most recent articles, I realized I’ve been writing some pretty heavy articles and haven’t produced any recent case studies. I want to start sharing more success stories with you about students who embody not only my teaching methodology but characterize the values of learning and practice.
As I enter into my fourth year of teaching, I now have a staff of students who have made significant strides in their pitching deliveries, as well as achievements on the field. I’m proud of all of them, but a few of them have been a joy to watch develop over the years. The process of development takes a joint effort between me, the student, and parents. This case study centers around Eddie A, an in person client here at I.T.S. Baseball.
We first met Eddie and his parents Tom and Katie on May 2nd, 2012. They originally wanted Eddie to be evaluated in hitting, but after a conversation with his parents we decided to take a look at Eddie’s mechanics first, since he pitched regularly. Eddie was in sixth grade at the time and had his eyes set on making the middle school baseball team the next spring. Eddie, or as a commonly refer to him as “yea yea”, a nickname given to him because of his frequent response “yea yea”, was receptive from the start and eager to learn. Since I’ve known Eddie, he has always been ahead of the curve with his “sock game”. From dress socks, Nike Dri-Fit Elite’s, or Shawn Kemp Super Sonic socks, Eddie always walks in looking on point with his sock/shoe combinations. Here is Eddie’s initial evaluation video at I.T.S. Baseball.
The first order of business was to reduce Eddie’s arm from going to extreme limits outside of his body. We began to work diligently on a variety of arm swing drills in an effort for him to feel his arm and trunk move into healthier positions. He picked up the arm action faster than expected, and we quickly moved into incorporating the concepts of better trunk rotation into each throw. Eddie rarely saw the mound through this initial training phase. He remained focused, and every other week, Eddie arrived at I.T.S. baseball eager to advance to the next step.
As Eddie began to learn and master his upper body mechanics, we shifted gears and concentrated on his lower body movement. As the center of his mass started to move together down the mound, we soon found instabilities within Eddie’s core and hips that needed to addressed in order for him to fully rotate his entire body through the acceleration phase. The instability proved to be Eddie’s toughest challenge in his development thus far. With his long limbs and undeveloped musculature, Eddie had a hard time stabilizing his body consistently. We worked to build him a training regimen at home to increase his stability and muscle function throughout his entire body. The speed of his new movements was proving to be too much for his body to handle.
Right after the turn of the new year in 2013, Eddie’s body began to stabilize, and his pitching delivery escalated to new heights. His delivery was blending nicely and was beginning to showcase a stronger finish from the mound. This was a great sign for us all; Eddie’s middle school tryouts were right around the corner. I know there was a degree of uncertainty from Eddie on whether or not he was good enough to make his middle school team, but he soon realized, after the team was announced, he was a proud member of the 2013 squad.
Eddie rarely pitched in his seventh grade year, a few of his teammates were further along the food chain, and just proved to be bigger and stronger. Didn’t discourage Eddie at all, and as we headed into the summer, Eddie turned it up a notch. After a year of my teaching under his belt, Eddie had clear goals and all the information he needed to practice on his own. He started spending more time improving his strength and repeating his delivery in the mirror. To aid in his development, his father Tom, built Eddie his own private pitching mound in the backyard. “No Excuses” Tom verbalized in an email, and he was right. Eddie had all the resources at his disposal and this year Eddie was focused on contributing valuable innings to his middle school team.
Two games into Eddie’s eighth grade middle school campaign, he got the start and the win. Two years of work earned him a spot in the rotation, and he proved to be victorious. Take a look below to see the strides Eddie has made over the last two years.
Here’s what Eddie’s parents, Tom and Katie, have to say about Eddie’s time with I.T.S. Baseball and Baseball Rebellion.
Eddie arrived with a love of pitching, mental focus and relatively good control but lacked proper mechanics and his delivery looked clunky. Justin was able to break his delivery down into a progression of steps and corrected his mechanics one part at a time, with eddies understanding that he would not move on until each was mastered. Justin is a great communicator and has a unique ability matching the progression of the delivery to a changing and maturing youth physique. He is a solid mentor, role model, and friend to my son, a coach that he naturally wants to please.
In Eddie’s Words,
Justin gives me good tips, drills and exercises that I do at home to speed my progress. He speaks in a way that I understand which helps me improve fast. He teaches me to use whole body, not just arm. Everything working together in one flowing motion. Throwing correctly will help my arm last.
I created a short highlight trailer of Eddie’s delivery.
Eddie and his family have been dedicated to my program for the last two years and I want to thank them for entrusting me with their son’s development. I’ve truly enjoyed my time spent with teaching Eddie, watching him progress, and getting to know his family. I’m always excited to see him on my schedule and will continue to deliver my information to the best of my ability to see him reach his full potential.
-Justin Orenduff, Leader of the Pitching Rebellion