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FREE DRILL GIVEAWAY! Arm Swing Separation Drill With Band Resistance

#ThirtySecondLesson

This past week I tweeted a quick drill without going too far in depth into why we do the drill and what it is for. I use this drill for pitchers and position players of all ages every day in my lessons. It works so well that I wanted to share it with all our readers in hopes that it will make your (or your son/daughter’s) delivery safer and more effective. Hope you enjoy!

Drill Part 1: The Arm Swing

In the video below I explain the first of three phases of the Band Separation Drill. A good arm swing starts right out of the glove. It is involved with the first initial movement of the lower half momentum. As the lower half drives toward the target, the throwing arm should be relaxed out of the glove.

The reason I use the band is to allow my brain and body to work together.  Use the tension of the band to allow the body to do most of the work. You do not necessarily want to PULL the band into position.

 

The Flaw

The reason for a more consistent arm swing, and why we want to integrate a proper sequence of movements, is to maintain a healthy and effective delivery. We want to avoid teaching cues like show the ball to center fielder and point the glove to the target because these cues make the player’s hands break away from each other which leads to unhealthy and uneffective timing flaws. For example, pitchers that have these tend to have their head/trunk very forward too early in the delivery.

The photos above are of Carter Capps pitching for the Marlins before he was traded to the San Diego Padres. Capps received Tommy John Surgery in March of 2015 and needed surgery for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome this offseason. They hope he will be back for 2108 spring training but he is a huge question mark for a return to full health. Capps was one of the most promising young pitchers of the game at one point but poor mechanics have hurt him. WHY?  You can see above that he points his glove right to the target and tries to hide the ball on his backside. There is no arm swing involved with this delivery. He also does a crazy leap forward off of the mound, which puts him in a very bad spot at foot strike. His elbow is above his shoulder with his upper body forward over his belt. This type of delivery is bad because he never allows his posture to change to continue his shoulders to rotate properly toward the target. The next part of the drill goes into how proper posture change leads to an efficient position at front foot strike.

Drill Part 2: Shoulder Separation with Posture Change

 

Drill Part 3: Rotation into Ball Release

 

 

40 Minute Fix

Please comment below, email me dave@baseballrebellion.com, or tweet @Dshinbone15 or @BRrebellion with any questions about this drill!

Want the bands that Dave is using in this drill?  Check out our store to purchase the bands!

 

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Does Your Youth Pitcher Keep Missing the Strike Zone with Their Fastball? Slider Spin May Be Why!

Identifying Slider Spin

Does your son or daughter have slider spin when throwing a fastball? A common problem in youth baseball is not informing kids that slider spin on a fastball is not ideal for throw/pitch efficiency.  How can you identify if your son or daughter has slider spin on the ball in their throws? First thing is knowing what you are looking for when you’re playing catch in the backyard. If your son or daughter is a righthanded thrower, the first good indicator of slider spin is YOU may be catching the ball on the right side of your body consistently pulling the throws across your body.  A slider has a clockwise rotation and spins on an axis that faces to player indicated by the blue line in the gif below. When playing catch you will be able to identify slider spin by seeing a circle in the middle of the ball. For righty or lefty throwers a 4 seam fastball should have close to perfect vertical spin/12 o’clock to 6 o’clock spin. A  2-seam fastball’s axis, in comparison to a righty, points towards 11 o’clock.  For young kids slider spin when throwing a 4 seam fastball is not horrible for them but can become a bad habit to break. Plus we want to have the correct spin on the ball, especially as a pitcher. In this article, we will identify slider spin, what causes it, and how we can help eliminate it from 4 seams and 2 seam fastballs.

           Slider Spin
           4 Seam Spin
            2 Seam Spin

What Causes Slider Spin

The main culprit that causes slider spin is the release point of the middle finger off a fastball grip. Most the time kids can’t help throwing the ball off the middle finger because:

  1. The middle finger is their dominant finger and longer than the index finger.
  2. Young kids tend to throw with three fingers, with a tendency to release on the side of the ball, again off the middle finger.
  3. Their arm swing doesn’t allow them to get on top of the ball. This is when mechanics play a role in causing slider spin.
  4. Kids, Parents, and Youth Coaches don’t have the knowledge on how to teach the throw and release of the ball properly. This is the problem with many my youth pitchers.

A 4 seam fastball is the most common pitch and the ideal grip for a position player as well on the transition from glove to hand. WHY? Because at release point the finger causes backspin on the baseball. The result is the ball does not drop as much as otherwise, without backspin. In other words, a 4 seam fastball is really appearing to defy gravity and travel more in a straight line. A 2 seam fastball is thrown with similar backspin but again on 11 o’clock axis.

This is a 4 seam fastball. You can see the pitchers’ fingers rip through through the ball to create backspin almost making the seams on the baseball invisible.

 

You can see the spin of the ball off the fingers of the pitcher creating backspin on an 11 o’clock axis. This makes the ball tail in or run away from the hitter.

The Magnus Effect

The pitcher is taking advantage of the Magnus Effect when throwing a fastball. The Magnus Effect is when a spinning sphere effects the air pressure around it. The side of the baseball spinning with the direction it is traveling moves against the air faster, creating more drag and pressure on the ball which causes the air to push on it. On the opposite side of the ball, air pressure is reduced which makes the ball travel easier in that direction when a spinning sphere effects the air pressure around.

 

When throwing a curve or slider the Magnus Effect is being taken advantage even more than fastballs. The topspin of a curveball and the side spin of a slider makes the ball drop and cut. Both grips and releases cause the seam to push air around to change the pressure on the ball.

This is a slider. You can see the pressure being put on the middle finger. The release point is more on the side of the ball which creates a clockwise spin that will make the pitch drop on its way to home plate.

 

How Can We Fix It

Asking if a kid can see that slider spin is occurring is a common question I will bring up in lessons. Having a thought process and feeling with what they are doing is something that he or she can control and fix from throw to throw but it is not often taught. We like to have kids visualize and react to what is being said and into what is being felt. When trying to recognize the slider spin, the catcher should be able to see where the thrower is missing with his fastball. Seeing the ball out of the thrower’s hand and knowing that a slider has clockwise spin on the baseball you will be able to clearly tell that they released the ball wrong.

The arm swing and finish is the hardest thing to correct in a thrower besides having a feel for which finger the ball is coming off of through the throw. Lucky Baseball Rebellion has developed some fairly simple concepts to allow your child to efficiently enhance upper body mechanics and arm swing.  Here is a #TransformationTuesday tweet from Baseball Rebellion showing how a forty minute lesson can help your son or daughter with arm swing mechanics.

Being able to identify if your son or daughter is trying to throw a 4 or 2 seam fastball and throwing a slider instead is also key. They are different spin axises that affect a consistent ball path. So when playing catch learn how to pay attention to spin on the baseball along with consistent movements. Ask your son or daughter what they are feeling on a throw to throw basis. What finger did the ball feel like it came off? Did you see the spin on the ball? Where was your eyesight? Your arm swing looked a little stiff, did you feel that?

In conclusion, clearly, the seams on a baseball have a huge role in affecting the flight of the ball.  Learning how to create correct spin needed to give a throw/pitch the highest potential for success is huge in developing effective throwers.

This is something we can now measure here at Baseball Rebellion. Our new Rapsodo is a great tool that measures and tracks Velocity, Total Spin, Spin Axis, Spin Efficiency, True Spin, Strike Zone Analysis, and Vertical and Horizontal Break. It is an amazing product that can pinpoint adjustments needed to be made to improve any baseball throwers.

 

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The MEW Drill to Help a Thrower’s Arm Path

A clean and consistent “Arm-Swing” is crucial to the health and longevity of any thrower.  Through hours of video analysis, studying various drills, and looking at various patterns the best pitchers of all time we have determined the most efficient arm swing happens when the throwing hand falls out of the glove staying relaxed into the arm swing.

Maintaining the highest level of consistency throughout a pitchers career is the biggest part of being able to repeat a healthy delivery. One of the vital components the Baseball Rebellion throwing program is to make each individual excellent at playing a simple game catch.  If you can become consistent throwing a baseball within your individual throwing program, there is no reason you shouldn’t be consistent off the mound.   We can become better throwers instantly once we understand the value of repeating our arm action and understand how the arm works.

One of the most valuable components of our program is teaching a student to build a consistently repeatable arm swing in their delivery. The arm swing is the path a pitcher’s hand or arm takes as he brings the ball out of his glove and eventually into the acceleration of the throw. Characteristics of a well-executed arm swing are, how the arm extends out of the glove as one piece. This is properly done when performing the M part of the drill. The arm should stay relaxed with no added tension or stress as it moves through the throw. Your hand will extend upwards into a rotation. Towards 3B for RHP and towards 1B for LHP into the E phase of the drill. The arm swing matches the momentum of the body. The arm should rotate with the shoulders to provide and consistent ball release which is the W part of the drill. The arm swing can be long or short but it has to match the movement of the lower half.

The concept of the MEW drill is simple and effective to all throwers. It is done in the mirror using a Wilson tennis racket.  Follow the steps and start to complete a more efficient and healthy arm action. I hope you enjoy the drill video below and the examples of both youth and professional throwers emulating this technique.

              M                                  E                                W

(Throw was after doing the MEW Drill with racquet)

 

              M                                E                                  W

 

Dave Shinskie, Leader of Pitching Rebellion

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A Basic Warm-Up Routine for a Youth Pitcher

When a client (usually a pitcher between the ages of 8-18) comes in for a first-time evaluation at Baseball Rebellion I have them warm up in their normal way they would on any given day.  What I have observed has been both informative and concerning. A majority of the young pitchers (especially those who aren’t in high school yet) do a few light arm stretches and some arm circle.  Some of them, if they have been playing on a competitive travel team, mix in some awkwardly done band exercises.  In a few cases, the pitcher just looks at me with a confused look and says “I’m good”.

What this article aims to do is show youth players and their parents a basic warm-up routine for practice and games.

 Pre-Practice/Game Warm Up

An Individual warm-up can be done before each practice and games as well. In the big leagues, you usually see a pitcher’s doing some sprints and extra stretches before they start their throwing progression. This is where you can individualize your own warm up before games if you know that you are the starter that day. Individual warm-up routines don’t have to be written in stone, they can be something that you work on and change. It is especially important for pitchers to warm up their bodies along with their arms. Here is Cleveland Indians starter Trevor Bauer and how he gets ready for his games.

 

Bauer’s warm-up is not typical by professional starter pitcher’s standards but like I said it doesn’t have to be cookie cutter or written in stone. It just has to work for you. In this video, I will go through a warm-up example that works for both pitchers and position players. It is a full body warm-up and should be done before.

 

Below is an example of a workout day for a pitching specific player. The throwing progression and flat ground pitching can be modified to position players throws and batting practice. Coaches and parents should stress the importance of properly warming up before practice and games at a young age. Pushing routines at the youth level promotes discipline, self-control, and preparation for the player. Learning these traits help grow kids as individuals and team leaders.

Flat Ground Work Day – Sheet1-2

 

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The Cause of Andrew Miller’s Knee Trouble

 

 

We don’t usually talk about lower half injuries in baseball pitchers. It is more like shoulder, elbow, lat, and an occasional blister on a finger. In this article, we look at what happened to Tim Lincecum and why Andrew Miller is having knee problems. In March of 2015, Gabe Dimock wrote an article on the topic linking front side leg injuries to swing mechanics. He talked about how landing with a closed front foot “may lead to front leg injuries that limit the productivity and longevity of a player’s career.”

How It Relates To Pitchers

There are many pitchers in Litle League, high school, college and MLB baseball that land with a closed front foot. This means that the front heel is crossed over the back toe when the pitcher is in full stride. Tim Lincecum is one the biggest examples of being in this position at front foot strike. You can see in the picture below how far he the center line of his back foot.

Tim Lincecum at Foot Strike

What Happened To “The Freak”

Tim Lincecum Stats

Lincecum had a stretch of four years where he had over 200 innings and 200 strikeouts and made the all star team in all four years. In his first two full seasons ((2008,2009) he won two Cy Young Awards After 2011 he had failed to hit those numbers and significantly dropped in all pitching stats. SO WHAT HAPPENED? In 2015 31-year-old Lincecum underwent an arthroscopic procedure after being diagnosed with degenerative hips. A disease that affects the hips and causes arthritis from putting excess stress on the joint.  I think the reason for the drop in efficiency was due to his hip injury caused by flawed mechanics. You can see the force being put on the front foot which travels all the way through his hips. Being closed at front foot landing and staying connected with the ground with his back foot enhances the stress levels put on the hip joints.

Andrew Miller

Andrew Miller has been the number one reliever for the Indians with an above average fastball and a nasty slider that seems to never get hit (Editor’s Note: even though chas dominated his face in college with a double off the fence…EAT IT)  He was a starter in the Minor Leagues and moved to the bullpen after getting to the big leagues. This is not uncommon, usually, good starters in the minors become great relievers in the majors. The reason I wanted to write this article is that I was wondering if his mechanics play a part in his current knee injury. You can see in the picture below that Miller closes his lower half off landing outside of is back toe.

Why This Is Bad

Andrew Miller has been suffering from patellar tendinitis in his right knee and was placed on the disabled list on August 22. He is expected to come back mid-September. Patellar tendinitis is a common overuse injury, caused by repeated stress on your patellar tendon. The stress results in tiny tears in the tendon, which your body attempts to repair. But as the tears in the tendon multiply, they cause pain from inflammation and weakening of the tendon. When this tendon damage persists for more than a few weeks, it’s called tendinopathy. This is the reason why I think Andrew should look at changing his closed off landing and work on landing heel-to-heel. In the gif below you see that when Miller lands and is securely into the ground with his cleat his hips rotate open. Just Like Tim Lincecum the front leg braces up, which it should do, but being as tall as  Andrew Miller the force is transferred to his knee.

 

At Baseball Rebellion we say being inside the width of your foot is acceptable. Three examples of pitchers that landed slightly closed or inside of the back cleat ( Josh Beckett, Greg Maddux, Mariano Rivera)

Heel-to-Heel Landing

Landing Heel-to-Heel is the optimal way to allow your hips to rotate all the way through to braces up the front leg. A pitcher can also create the most amount of hip to shoulder separation into the stride. The length of the stride will increase by landing Heel-to-Heel to maximizing velocity.

Sandy Koufax

Clayton Kershaw

Bartolo Colon

Pedro Martinez

 

 

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It’s all in the Hips! The BEST Hip Activation Drill for Throwers

This is a drill that helps activate the hips and create awareness of how to use your lower half into a throw.  Some kids have trouble with the movement shown in this video. Simply learning how to properly rotate your hips into a throw will help promote natural velocity gains.

The rear hip generates force toward the target which should open up the front side. I see kids struggle with this drill when trying to increase speed, so start off slow. Make sure you pay attention to not letting your upper half fly open when rotating the hips toward the target.

This is a three part drill. When done correctly this drill can increase hip mobility and create better separation when front foot lands. Baseball Rebellion promotes front foot heel landing so the glute can fire instantly to allow a proper brace up of the front leg, which will create more velocity on your throws by allow your hips to clear. Increase the intensity of the drill as you feel more comfortable with the movements to maximize arm speed.

I hope this drill helps activate your hips and teaches you how to properly rotate the lower half through a throw. Try it out, comment below with any questions or thoughts on the Hip Activation Drill.

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The Breakdown of Pitching in Fastpitch Softball

In this article, I am going to break down the mechanics of fast-pitch softball pitching. It is important to point out that not all pitchers are the same. Every individual pitcher has her own set of tools that make her successful. For example, some pitchers possess more speed than others and rely on that for their success.  Another pitcher may have less velocity, but can move the ball further.  A different pitcher may change speeds really well – she could have off speed pitches or an unbelievable change up.  Another option is a pitcher who can locate her spots exceptionally – she may not have a lot of “options,” but she can throw her mastered pitch anywhere in the zone. Pitchers can also come in all different shapes and sizes.  The moral of the story here is that there is not one “perfect pitcher,” there are multiple ways to be successful. The key is to know who you are and to maximize your strengths as a pitcher.

While  there may not be a cookie-cutter perfect pitcher there are a few nonnegotiable point to fast-pitch softball pitching. Regardless of a pitcher’s individual style or strength there are certain required fundamentals in the mechanics of a successful pitching.

Let’s break break down these nonnegotiable aspects of the windmill pitch!

#1: The Attack Position:

Every pitcher has her own way of getting to the attack position – there are endless styles of windups. However, when a pitcher gets into her attack position, she must get her body in the proper alignment and angle so that she can start to create energy right away when she starts her pitch. With her chest tall, she will bend at the hips to get her body going towards the hitter, putting herself in a positive body composition.

When you think about getting into an athletic stance on the mound, what do you envision? The elite college pitcher starts her load in her front foot.  If you look at all the clips provided below you will see that each of these pitchers are lifting their heels with their shoulders forward, putting them in a positive composition. Imagine you are about to start a race against someone and then picture what stance you would take to beat your opponent. The sprinter’s stance is very similar to that of the attack position for a pitcher.

 

#2: The Power Position:

Once a pitcher has used the ground to generate energy, she will launch herself from a positive body composition into a negative one.  She will do this with a big lift of the front leg, while relying on her back knee to pick up her chest while driving her knee as high as her hips. She will have this leg pull her out and toward the plate in the middle of the pitch – keeping her linear. After she lifts her leg, the pitcher creates an open path. She maximizes her potential here with the amount that she gets her shoulders and hips open. As you can see in the clips below, the pitchers are able to expand their slot allowing them to clear their arm circle because they are open and as big as possible. What is also important to notice is their heel is fully lifted up off the ground, not dragging into the ground.

#3: The Finish:

As Newton’s Third Law states: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. So how is this at all relevant to softball and pitching? Well when a fastpitch softball pitcher is delivering her windmill pitch, she is moving her body forward with immense amounts of force. Having the ability to stabilize this force with the strength of your front leg is what will increase velocity, this is known as front side resistance. Often times, if your pitcher has a weak front leg she will be off balance, be weak in the core, and begin to bend, or she will push her body forward – all of which will decrease velocity and accuracy of her pitches. In order to increase velocity, your pitcher needs to have stabilization from the front leg to help redirect the force of the arm delivery, which as a bonus will also help prevent injury.

 

Take a look at Cheridan Hawkins (Oregon) below.  As she is about to land her front foot to the ground, her front leg will be in a strong and stable position to help maintain her posture.  You can also see in this clip that Hawkins is not collapsing at the waist and is keeping her shoulders back behind her front foot.  Take notice that her arm is bent and not locked, this allows her to lead with her elbow to the slot and allows her to maximize the whip to her snap. She also keeps her back leg bent which is where her release is fired. Lastly, you can see she has a wide base and her shoulders are placed behind her front foot. Lastly, when she finishes her body is upright and is not collapsing forward.

#4: Putting It All Together:

Let’s take a look at Kelly Barnhill who plays for the Florida Gators. In 2017, she recorded a 0.51 earned run average over 193.2 innings pitched, 359 strikeouts, .121 opp. batting average, and maintained a .866 win percentage, going 26-4 when she pitched. Unsurprisingly, Barnhill was named the 2017 USA Softball Collegiate National Player of the Year. It is fair to say she is known for her velocity and deception with her movement pitches, in particular her riseball. Below I have attached a video of Barnhill pitching in slow motion. As you can see, she is perfectly emulating what a pitcher should be doing as they come off the mound. She is explosive, strong, beginning in a positive composition, remaining linear, and she is able to maintain all of the force she has generated to her front foot, where she is able to maximize her front side resistance. If you watch Barnhill, you will also notice that she is remaining open into the slot as she is coming off the mound. She does not close until she has released the ball.

 

Every pitcher has her own path to success and they each have different tools that make them successful. However, it is vitally important to note that the nonnegotiable points are where all successful pitchers are similar. Having proper mechanics not only maximizes your potential, but it allows you to pitch legally and remain healthy. If you are looking to improve in any of these mechanics then you should look to train with me.

While doing lessons with Softball Rebellion we will focus on fully developing your potential with a strong emphasis the mechanics of fast-pitch softball pitching in order maximize pitch spin, improve deception of change-of-speed pitches, increase pitching accuracy, and create an increased understanding of when and why to throw certain pitches. In our lessons together we will work to help you know your strengths and  be confident in what pitches you have in your arsenal.

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The Myth Behind The Risk

In the following article I hope to enlighten you on how to properly throw a curveball and why it’s a myth that it puts more torque on your elbow. It has been a controversial subject when talking about the right age to start throwing a breaking pitch. In my opinion, it is not the age of when to start throwing a breaking pitch but rather the mechanics of the pitcher. When a young pitcher shows that they can repeat a natural smooth delivery with an acceptable efficient arm path, I allow them to attempt to take that into a breaking ball. Video evidence and a credible source (Al Liter) will prove my point that a curveball is alright to start throwing at any age if the movements of the body are consistently healthy.

Throwing A Curveball

Thinking back on my pitching career I realize now that I never thought about the process of throwing different pitches. I just changed grips and threw it as natural as I could. I share this with kids when trying to teach them how to understand the correct way to throw off speed pitches and breaking balls. We have pitchers feel the release point of their fastball and pay attention to the way the ball spins out of the hand. This feel of the release point is difficult sometimes because kids want to see the break so badly, they end trying to manipulate the baseball. This manipulation of the ball is what we don’t want to do.

In this video, Al Liter explains how he threw his curve by using his core muscles to bring the arm along for the ride. This is one of the better videos I have seen on  pitching instruction. He demonstrates bad posture change and shows the correct way to help pitchers not lead with their elbow. Listen to how he explains why he felt less stress on his arm when throwing a curveball compared to a fastball.

 The Myth Behind the Risk

There are a few myths that are associated with throwing curveballs.  Pronating the hand and wrist through the release of the baseball and following through to the opposite hip helps make the arm path be as natural as possible. No twisting of the ball ever happens, and like Al Liter said, causes less stress on the elbow.  As the front foot hits, the hips should stop with the leg bracing up to allow the upper body to rotate properly forward through the breaking ball. In this video I explain the myth that a curveball puts more stress on your arm than a fastball, and I show you an efficient arm path to be more repeatable when throwing a 12-6 curveball.

 

Best Curveballs In The Big Leagues

In both videos,  Clayton Kershaw and Justin Verlander pronate through the baseball when releasing their breaking pitches. 26 seconds into the Kershaw video and 16 seconds into the Verlander video.  Hitters get fooled by not only the break of the ball toward the ground but the speed change and the deception of their repeatable mechanics. The two pitchers change nothing from their fastball but the grips and release.

What Not To Do

This is a Youtube video that has over 830,000 views. The content in the video is the opposite of what an instructor should be teaching. The only valuable aspect in this video is when the instructor explains not to hook your curveball. I hope this article and the videos provided show how to provide proper instruction to pitchers and how pitchers can throw a breaking ball while maintaining a healthy arm. Bad instruction can lead to inefficient mechanics which leads to inconsistency, and ultimately, arm injury. Please contact Baseball Rebellion or post a comment with your thoughts on the subject. Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it.

 

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Baseball Rebellion Pitching Breakdown: Masahiro Tanaka

Baseball Rebellion Pitching Breakdown

Masahiro Tanaka

Masahiro Tanaka is struggling in his last 4 starts of the 2017 season. Baseball Rebellion breaks down his pitching mechanics and gives insight on Tanaka’s troubles.  He throws a four and two-seam fastball, slider, curveball, and a nasty split-finger. Tanaka was an All-Star his first Major League season in 2014. Much of his success has come from throwing low is the zone and mixing up his fastball and off speed. He is having to throw more fastballs this year and he is leaving balls up and over the plate. In this breakdown, I mention that these balls left over the plate can be due to a lack of efficiency with his hips and his front leg bracing up. Split-finger fastballs put tremendous stress on the elbow when thrown. This can also be a case of having to throw more fastballs because of his partially torn UCL that was never repaired. Either way, Masahiro has a few things to fix mechanically or he will continue to struggle. Thanks for watching this week’s pitching breakdown.

If you are interested in having your swing broke down by Dave, click here!

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How To Stop Kids From Throwing Sidearm

The most common problem I see in both online and in person evaluations is a lack of body awareness through the throwing delivery. Many kids are seemingly taught to just lift their leg and then throw. There is a gap in instruction on how the lower and upper body should properly be used together. These teaching patterns persist for one reason; parents and coaches were never taught proper throwing mechanics themselves.

Why Do Kids Throw Sidearm?

The number one reason why kids throw sidearm is their shoulder rotation is on a horizontal plane instead of a directional plane toward the target. Horizontal rotation happens because young throwers are trying to hit a target by simply aiming and, by doing so, stop the rotation of their shoulders and trunk. The arms follow the path of the shoulders toward the target causing the throwing arm to move away from target while struggling to maintain a consistent arm path.

Fixing The Pattern

The quickest way to transform a poor throwing motion is to gain control of upper body movements. Additionally, the more the player embraces the difference in the feeling of how to control their arms together the faster the changes happen. When teaching repeatable movements I focus on the player using more of his or her body to propel the arm forward. We train the player to allow their arms to move around the head and instead of letting their shoulders fly open. Teaching players to allow their body body to move purposefully significantly increases accuracy and velocity.

Nathan G. Before

These videos are about a year and half apart. The video above is of 10 year Nathan G. throwing sidearm from 46ft. Nathan is now 12 years old and pitches from 50 and 60ft. The movement changes we made with both his lower half and Directional Rotational are clear in the video below. He now has the confidence to be the player we knew he can be thanks to his hard work.

Nathan G. After

Drills To Help Directional Rotation

A better timing pattern of movements is the key to having and efficient and fluid delivery. Flying open with the front side is usually related to a delayed trigger. A common reason associated with a delayed trigger is “Sitting Into The Back Leg.” This does not allow the body to be properly synced from the start. A proper back leg drive starts the chain of better movements. Keeping your shoulders closed, through the initial drive and into front foot strike, will help create a more repeatable throwing motion. This also creates a “rubber band” effect in the body that is called Hips to Shoulder Separation.

This is the position evident in all hard throwers when their front foot hits the ground. Training the brain to work with the body in order to hold on to this feeling until the shoulders are ready to release is another key factor in avoiding throwing sidearm. Staying committed to a constant flow of energy from lower half drive into proper shoulder and truck rotation, while  staying connected to the mound, can be learned with proper repetition. At Baseball Rebellion, we have a variety of drills to help throwers learn how to feel this movement. Below are few basic and effective drills to introduce consistent positive movement dynamics.

Focus is the Key

The best part about learning these patterns is they do not have to be done with a ball. Starting out by learning to concentrate on repeating the throwing motion, by using more core strength, will create a more whip-like in the arm allowing the player to stay strong through the entire motion. Focus is key when trying to feel the changes happening in your delivery. The younger you can start a player working these drills with tempo and consistency, the more it will pay off in the long run. I hope you enjoyed my article, thank you for reading. Please leave your comments below.

Dave Shinskie – Baseball Rebellion Head Pitching Instructor


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