Coaching Pitchers: How To Fix 7 Pitching Mechanics Mistakes (Most Youth Pitchers Make)

  • Last updated June 6, 2016
Youth pitching program
ATTENTION PITCHERS: One of the big misconceptions in baseball is that playing the game keeps you in shape to pitch. I wish that was true. It's not. To get to the next level, preparation matters. Big league pitchers spend far more time preparing to pitch than actually pitching. If you believe adding velocity could be critical to your success, check out my proven programs for pitchers of all ages.

 

Check out Noah Syndergaard's pitching mechanics on this 98 mph fastball...

Noah Syndergaard pitching mechanics
Image source: pitcherlist.com

Great mechanics like this are truly beautiful to watch. I mean, there's no way you can watch the slow motion of this GIF and not emit some sort of approving noise, right?

Pitching mechanics are known for being one of the most complicated and complex movements in all of sports.

That's why so many youth pitchers fail to achieve correct pitching mechanics. Sometimes the mechanical issues are difficult to fix, while others are much more common and can be fixed in a single pitching lesson or practice session.

In this article, I'll share some common baseball pitching mechanics mistakes. These are the improper techniques that I have seen most youth pitchers make (and even some high school and college pitchers). By fixing some of these common mistakes, you may see an immediate increase in velocity once you fix the issue. Some other issues may take practice to learn the proper technique, but will be beneficial in the long run.

Techniques common to kids 10-13 years old

Due to a lack of muscle and skeletal strength, youth pitchers often use different throwing techniques than a more mature pitcher.

Therefore, it's important that coaches and parents recognize and understand some of these differences and that they don't expect or force the youth pitcher to attempt techniques and skills which physically is not capable of performing.

As the young pitcher gains strength, coordination, and balance, proper throwing techniques should be taught and practiced.

Pitching mechanics mistakes image
Matthew O'Haren/Icon Sportswire

One of the major reasons that so many high school and college players have major throwing problems and lack arm strength and arm stamina, is that they never threw enough during their formative years, and never developed proper throwing mechanics.

In the past, many young pitchers learned proper techniques by trial and error. They learned what felt good, learned what techniques were effective for them and just did a lot of throwing on their own because it was fun to play catch.

We have come to a point now where throwing skills need to be taught and drilled because young players don't do enough throwing on their own, or working at the game on their own.

7 pitching mechanics mistakes

If you are suffering from any of these pitching mechanics mistakes, it is important that you take it one step at a time. Don't try to fix several mechanical issues at one time. Focus on one aspect until you have mastered it, and then move on to subsequent issues.

  1. Problems coordinating the legs and body with the throwing arm action.
    • Poor balance during the leg lift; improper and early weight transfer forward.
    • Lead leg and hip doesn't close up enough; therefore, the front shoulder never closes properly.
  2. Problem with the timing and action of the hands breaking apart:
    • Hand breaks backward instead of downward causing the throwing arm to hesitate during the backswing and disrupt the throwing sequence
    • The pitching hand often stays under versus on top of the ball.
    • Causes a short arm (infielders technique) throwing action.
  3. Stride problems
    • Short stride landing on a stiff leg.
    • Direction: usually young pitchers stride open by 2-3 inches since they don't have enough hip flexor and abdominal strength to properly rotate the trunk. This action adds a lot of stress on the arm and shoulder.
  4. Grip problems
    • Due to a lack of hand size, finger length, and grip strength.
  5. Ball release problems
    • Undercut the ball trying to impart a side spin
    • Throwing elbow and hand are too low and too far out to the side.
    • Lack of hand speed; they lead too much with the elbow and shoulder causing the hand to drag. This is probably due to a lack of arm muscle strength as well as the front shoulder flying open too early.
  6. Follow-through problems
    • Recoil action of the upper body and arm due to:
      • Landing on a stiff leg
      • Weak abdominal muscles preventing good forward trunk flexion.
      • Short arm follow through action
      • Lack of balance throughout the acceleration, release and follow through phases.
  7. Common arm injury problems
    • I personally believe that players 10-13 years old experience more elbow than shoulder injuries. At this age, the bones have not fully developed and hardened and the ligaments are not as firmly attached as they will be after puberty.
    • The arm muscles may not be sufficiently developed to support and decelerate the throwing arm properly.
    • Youth pitchers do not usually generate enough force to cause injury to the larger shoulder muscles and ligaments. Also, players at this age have great joint flexibility and range of motion which may help to prevent injury.
    • Youth pitchers should not throw breaking pitches because these pitches put more stress on the elbow joint than the fastball or straight change. Encourage youth pitchers to develop their fastball, control, and change up speeds instead.

The earlier a young pitcher can learn proper mechanics and good throwing action, the better his chances are of avoiding throwing arm injuries, plus he will be more effective pitcher with improved control and velocity.

Get my pitching velocity program

Youth pitching program
One of the big misconceptions in baseball is that playing the game keeps you in shape to pitch. I wish that was true. It's not. To get to the next level, preparation matters. Big league pitchers spend far more time preparing to pitch than actually pitching.

If you believe adding velocity could be critical to your success, check out my proven programs for pitchers of all ages.

What do you think?

Now it's time to hear from you:

Are there any pitching mechanics mistakes that I missed?

Or maybe you have an idea of how I can make this article even better.

Either way, leave a comment and let me know.




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