Rush the Process, Ruin the Pitcher

Sometimes people will send us a drill from the internet and want to use it with their daughter. Before discussing the validity of any drill, you must realize that our entire focus is on the “development” of the pitcher. It is a process, step by step.

It is planned, practical, precise. Our best pitchers, by far, are those who embrace the process, so we are not anxious to grab the “drill of the week” just because someone thinks it sounds pretty.

One drill that we see a lot makes us cringe. It is almost guaranteed to create a crowhop in the pitcher. I keep a lot of records, and of the last 32 new students who came to me with a crowhop, 31 of them had done this drill early in their training. Unfortunately, a large percent of the pitching community does not even recognize, or realize the damage of a replant for a female, beyond its legality.

A highly touted drill may also create big problems if the student is not at the right point in her development. Recently, while working with a new kid, I tried a drill that we created which gives our students explosive starting power. It did nothing for the kid. I realized that she was not ready, so over the next two lessons we cleaned up other little issues. By the fifth lesson, she had those under control. When I suggested she try the drill again, she was hesitant, but this time she experienced an explosive release of energy, much to her delight.

When we explain our philosophy on development, one of the defenses over-anxious parents use is that they know a pitcher who had great success with some drill, so now their daughter should do it. The question is this. Is your daughter built the same, have the same movement tendencies, is she at the same level of experience, or just as athletic? Sometimes I will introduce new things to a kid who has worked with me for a few months and she will love it, but invariably asks why we waited so long to teach it to her. The answer, “I was waiting for you to get to this point so it would work for you”.
There are even times when we must have a student work with a very qualified strength trainer or physical therapist so she can achieve certain efficiencies. For example, if I try to dramatically increase the arm speed of a kid who has shoulder instability, she will either make compensatory moves or she will try to force the shoulder through the roadblock, potentially ending a career. No, let’s fix the physical limitation first. Obviously! Even a great drill, introduced at the wrong time, can produce disastrous results.

If learning to pitch was as simple as doing a bunch of drills, we could create a long video and say “good luck”. Unfortunately it is not that simple. When we see a new student, our minds start looking down the road. Where is she now? Where can she be? What physical issues might limit her? What are the benchmarks, in order, that must be achieved to get her from Point A to Point B and then to Point C? Patience, measurable objectives, and adjusting to a pace that is comfortable to her are very important in preventing frustration and injury, and in helping her fly.

If you are a former college pitcher who would like to be a part of the nation’s most unique research and development organization, dedicated to Changing Pitching in America, contact us today.

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