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Common Pitching Problems
Common Pitching Problems
The biggest thing that you have to remember with young pitchers is injury prevention. Pitching is an unnatural motion for the body to perform and puts a tremendous amount of force on the shoulder and elbow. To prevent shoulder and elbow problems, pitchers need to understand common problems that can put stress on their arm.
Common Pitching Problem #1: Sometimes pitchers tend to lean a certain way when they get to the balance point in the wind up. This is bad because not only will it create inconsistency with your mechanics and pitches but it will also put stress on your arm when you go to stride and deliver.
If a pitcher leans back that means his momentum is taking him too far or that he is trying too hard to throw the pitch (raring back). This is no good because it takes alot of work to get your arm to catch up with your body.
This can lead to throwing the baseball high in the zone, a reduced velocity, and not to mention arm injury. If a pitcher leans too far forward that means he may not be getting enough leverage.
This is no good because the pitcher will loose velocity because he is throwing with all arm. This ultimatly leads to arm problems. If a pitcher is leaning away (from home) it means he will be leaving his arm back. It is very hard for a pitcher to get over his front side when he does this because his arm is usually dragging behind. A decrease in velocity and soreness in the arm can be expected if this problem is not fixed.
If a pitcher is leaning toward (home plate) they will have a tendency to leak. When a pitcher falls forward to early the stride must be shorter and the hips may leak open too early to compensate for falling forward. The pitcher looses alot of power by doing this. Their arm is left behind and is put under alot of stress when it is made to catch up. A loss of velocity can also be expected in this case.
The correct way to get to the proper balance point is to have the back knee slightly bent. The front leg should not be kicked but it should be lifted under control. Your upper body should be almost straight up with your head in line with your belly button. No leaning should take place.
The only leaning exceptable would be leaning forward a tiny bit to get your head over your back knee for maximum leverage. A great drill to use to make sure you are doing everything right is the balance drill.
Common Pitching Problem #2: Young pitchers have the tendency to be inconsistant with their stride. This is a problem because not only does it effect the pitches that are being thrown, the control, and velocity, but it also can effect the health of the arm.
A good stride should be shorter than you are tall. It should also be straight toward your target. The problem that some pitchers have is that they are too closed off on the landing. When this happens the pitcher has to throw across their body making the outside pitch hard to execute. It also takes away from the pitchers control and velocity.
On the other hand if a pitcher lands too far open, then he is left to throw with all arm. This happens because to land open like that the hips have to rotate allowing you to get into that position. That means that you will have no power coming from your core because it has already leaked open. The result of this is throwing with all arm. This is very dangerous and can lead to serious arm injury.
The proper way to stride out and make a good landing would be to get out about 80% of your height. Your front foot should stay closed just a tiny bit when you land but should still be in line with your back foot and home plate. This will keep you in line and keep all of your power ready for the next part of the wind up where you rotate the core and throw the ball. A good drill to make sure you are striding good would be to practice the stride drill.
Common Pitching Problem #3: Sometimes young pitchers have the tendency to pop their hips back right before they are releasing the baseball. Instead of getting over their front knee it extends and pops their hips back thus popping their body up leaving them unable to have a good follow through.
The best way to fix this would be to focus on being soft on your front side. What that means is that you want to get over that knee or get through it. It should be bent but strong. The knee will extend back a little bit but it is preventing the hips to pop back that you should be concerned with. Because once the hips pop back you have to finish with all arm.
The right way would be with a strong bent knee allowing you to get over it. It will pop back just a little bit but you do not want it to effect the follow through. Some drills you could do to work on this is the bucket drill and the chair drill.