Case Study #1: Consistency at 10 years old??

Written By: Justin Orenduff

10 Year Old Demonstrating Proper Pitching Mechanics with ConsistencyIs it possible that a 10 year old kid could be the most consistent pitcher I have in my program?  The answer is YES!  After I finished part 3 of the “UP, DOWN, & OUT” article, I wanted to make sure I provided you with an example of how I can take a high level mechanical pattern seen in professional players and instill the same pattern in a young pitcher.

My case study is a 10 year old pitcher who has been  in my program for almost a year now.  He had no prior pitching instruction and limited experience on the mound before his first  pitching lesson with me.

I want to begin to shed light on my pitching theory, and what you will see in this case study will give you a couple of core components of the delivery I teach here at Baseball Rebellion.    I’ve created a foundation within this young student that will allow him to repeat his delivery for years to come, stay healthy, and as his body matures, so will his velocity gains.

His ability to command his fastball at 10 years old is unmatched for his age.  Time and time again he reaffirms our belief the value of implementing advanced patterns in the younger athlete before they are prone to bad information.   Chas Pippitt, over at the Baseball Hitting Rebellion has hitters as young as 6 performing high level patterns within their swings.  It’s rewarding to see what can happen with the right information.

I have implemented the process but without the student’s own personal work ethic we couldn’t have progressed as quickly as we have.  His ability to engage within lessons, communicate, and understand the principles of his delivery have allowed him to practice correctly on his own time.

Let’s look at his initial evaluation video…

BEFORE:  Student’s Evaluation Video (11/11/2011)

Initial Analysis

One of the most common fundamental coaching cues with regards to playing catch  is “Hit him in the chest”.   A problem that begins to surface is the body is never forced to fully complete the throw.  The chest stays upright or tall, and the arm never gets proper deceleration.  We must strive to get ALL of our throwers to work to get the chest over the knee; if even just slightly.   Young throwers tend to throw the ball forward which leads to a “push”.   We want to constantly think of driving the ball down.  Try saying, “Hit him in the belt”.

After watching the student’s evaluation video, I noticed this “push” was evident in his delivery.  I asked him if he pushed off his back leg to generate power, and he responded “yes”.  Pushing off the back leg in most cases, can lead the chest and head to get too far forward at foot strike, leading to the arm playing catch up. When the spine angle (chest)  is forward at foot strike, our head and shoulders have to open up across the body forcing the arm to get to a lower arm slot than it should be.

Pros:

  • Good direction with lower half
  • Keeps head on target
  • Clean arm swing
  • Hips are fully open at foot strike

Cons:

  • Lead foot gets away from body too quickly
  • Sits on back leg
  • Pushes off rubber leading to his chest and head getting forward to quickly
  • Arm is unsupported through release

I decided to start the student’s developmental plan by getting him to think about throwing the baseball differently…DOWN.

AFTER:  Student’s Video (7/25/2012)

Down = >

Have you ever seen the equation above before?  I like to use a simple analogy of a greater than sign “>” or a sideways V when I talk to young throwers about getting their bodies in a position to drive the ball down.

Mariano Rivera, New York Yankee, Pitching with Signs of Baseball Rebellion Mechanics

Look familiar?

The symbol seems to resonate in their minds and they instantly transform their movements differently.  I started my student’s throwing program by creating a series of throwing drills where he was constantly forced to manipulate this “>” pattern into each throw.  We create this position by allowing the hips to lead us out into the throw, keeping our head and chest behind our back hip, and at foot strike, we drive the chest down.

Within a few lessons, the ball flight of the student began to dramatically change.  His arm slot went from  a low 3/4 angle  to high 3/4 angle with added velocity and more depth at the end of each throw.  His chest and head have remained consistently behind his back hip as he moves forward into each throw, and as he goes to fire, his arm is now supported as a result of this efficient pattern.

Don’t try and create a great wind-up off the mound first.  Work on throwing a baseball consistently by just playing catch and you will be amazed at the results when you advance to the mound.

I’m Justin Orenduff, and I’m the Leader of the Baseball Pitching Rebellion

 

 

 

 

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jerry
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jerry

I really like that greater then sign advice .. I know how hard it is to teach apitcher to move his front hip out ahead of his body . But I belive your really on to something with that.. I see that many of the elite pitching coaches are trying to teach this ..and this is what most of the top hard throwers are doing look at cinn reliver chapman and baird from boston both guys really get that front hip going and get the body moving sideways down that mound .. well once again you guys at its really… Read more »

Coach Ryan
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Coach Ryan

While I appreciate the information you are providing, the whole “leading with the front hip” is not new information. Guys like Tom House from the NPA (National Pitching Association) have been teaching this for years. Steven Ellis,The Complete Pitcher website, who teaches much of the same drills as House is his Tuff Cuff program for Youth (Hershiser lead hip drill), towel drills, etc. has had this in his program progression drills for years. New guys like Brent Porciau, Top Velocity, teach the same. But my vote for a guy who really understands pitching is Ron Wolforth. Just his way of… Read more »

Ted Wilson
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Ted Wilson

Great Article but video of a player throwing and then after with a towel. Come on lets see him throwing a baseball and compare the two.

Ted Wilson
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Ted Wilson

I guess because the arm speed is not the same, be like having a QB throw a football then have him do it without anything, it wouldn’t be the same comparison. That is the only thing I would like to see is some video of your athletes throwing before and after in same exact angles with same exact objects. JMHO
The old apples to apples argument.

Coach Ryan
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Coach Ryan

What I said about leading with the hip is not necessarily a criticism of your article. I was meaning that the information has been a known for sometime. Many of the drills Tom House wrote about in his book The Art and Science of Pitching are still staples in many pitching instruction programs. Your usage of towel drills is a good example this. The pitching coach here at Kent State (Ohio), Mike Birkbeck, still uses them. His pitching staff has flourished with them. I can tell you from experience that both of my boys we able to add velocity by… Read more »