By Steven Ellis, former Chicago Cubs pitching pro
Are you a parent or coach?
STOP - Don't let your kids throw one more pitch!
Pitchers can't make changes or improvements until they see what needs to be changed, pitching video analysis is the only way to do that.
If you're a parent, it's your responsibility to learn what you can so your young pitcher isn't being taught the wrong thing, or being put at risk for arm injury. Baseball pitching creates more stress to the elbow and shoulder than any other sport, and thousands of kids each year develop life-long pitching arm injuries by being taught incorrect pitching mechanics at an early age, or not being taught anything. Don't expect your little league or high school coach to know how to teach proper pitching mechanics, or how to correct flaws. 95+% of all little league coaches and 99% of parents really don't know how to teach proper pitching. They're using methods they were taught when they were young (which most likely was wrong).
If you're a coach, it's your responsibility to learn the correct way to teach pitching since you're affecting several pitchers and potentially the health of their arms. 95% of all youth baseball coaches either simply don't know the correct mechanics of pitching and the affects of poor mechanics, or they hope the pitcher is learning it at home or from an instructor. Don't risk the arms of your pitchers, and don't simply teach pitching how you were taught or go by what you've heard. It may not be right.
Pitching with good or poor mechanics is all about "muscle memory". Each throw with poor mechanics makes it harder to correct. Develop the correct mechanics now while their arms can be more easily trained and build proper "muscle memory" that will improve your pitchers success and reduce the chance for a sore arm or arm injury. Don't let your pitcher struggle with control or lack of velocity, you and they will enjoy the game more if they're more successful.
How To Video Tape Your Baseball Pitchers
From three positions, set your pitching video camera on a tri-pod or something level and steady that is between chest and shoulder height of the pitcher.
First video - from the back. Place the camera about 10-15 feet behind the pitcher, facing between the neck and his pitching shoulder.
Second video - from the side (3rd base side for righties and 1st base side for lefties). Place the camera about 15 feet away so while the pitcher is in the normal stance they appear in the left side of the viewer (reverse for lefties), so when they throw and stride the camera will pick up the entire motion. Don't swivel the camera as they pitch, have the camera at a wide enough angle to get head to toe, and left to right.
Third video - from behind home plate, straight on with the pitcher. You should be able to squat and catch without interfering with the camera. Zoom in somewhat so it doesn't video the whole field, we want the pitcher. Make sure in each video I can see the entire body all they way through the complete motion. I need to see the landing foot and follow through as well.
Throw 7-10 pitches from each location. Make sure your pitcher goes through the proper stretching and warm up before throwing. Have him throw at least at 85%, and half at 100%. If your pitcher is working on his changeup, have him throw 3-4 of these from each location as well. If your pitcher is under 12 years old don't send me a video if he's throwing curves on it.
If taping more than one pitcher, please speak into the video who is pitching and what pitch they're throwing (i.e. fast ball, changeup), or write it down so I know. I can use VHS, 8mm (not high-8), and digital video on a CD, or a digital video copied to VHS.
If you're going to video tape your pitcher(s) and post the video on LetsTalkPitching.com for analysis, use these sample images as a guide to what type of video angles we need.
That's what our complimentary video analysis is for, to take you by the hand, but analyzing videos, knowing what to look for and what drills to do to correct mechanical flaws could very easily take you hours as you try hard to look for things when you're not really sure what you're looking for and provide tips and drills to work on to correct specific flaws.
If you did review the tape and you did happen to spot a few flaws, that's great, but what would you do to correct the flaws, is what you might try going to make it better or worse, would it help at all? Do you know what drills and tips to use to correct certain flaws? and how to communicate them properly so the young pitcher can take this information and apply it. I know a lot of very good pitchers, guys who've played in the pros and can't communicate what they know, they simply know what they do, but can't easily communicate it to kids. It's a lot like a golf instructor, many of them never played in a pro tournament, but they have a skill in communicating information to teach or improve even a pro golfer.
Every throw and/or pitch your player makes, they're creating muscle memory, which if done incorrectly means it will take 3 times as long to create the new, improved, and correct muscle memory.
I look forward to reviewing your pitchers with you on LetsTalkPitching.com.
Related Pitching Materials
Want to learn more about coaching pitchers and teaching pitching? Arm yourself with the most innovative and up-to-date baseball pitching training available. These related pitching materials from former Chicago Cubs pitching pro Steven Ellis are guaranteed to help you or the players you coach pitch better and reach the next level faster!