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scorekeeper
03-08-2007, 01:20 PM
Had a very strange conversation with a 14 year ML position player yesterday. We were watching a HS game, and I mentioned that the kid who was on the mound was having a lot of trouble when runners were on, compared to when they werenít. That initiated a conversation that took place over a couple of innings, and one that quite frankly amazed me.

He basically took the position that it didnít make any difference at all whether a P was throwing from the stretch or the windup, and I was taking the position that for most Pís, there is a definite difference, and it can range from just a little, to a whole lot.

We were really goiní at it pretty good until I tricked him. I asked him if it was more likely that some kind of error would be made in something done with a lot of physical movements, or the same thing being done with just a few. He said, and I agree, that the more movements, the more likely an error of some type would be made.

The I asked him if the action was normally the same, which would be the most beneficial, the many movement execution, or the minimum movement execution. Again he said the minimum one because it would be more likely to be repeatable.

Finally I asked him if he was right and there was no difference between a P throwing from the windup or the stretch, why does any P throw from the windup? I had to chuckle because he didnít have an answer.

Personally, Iíve tracked many of the differences between throwing from the stretch and the windup for a lot of years now, and I can tell you that in he HS and JUCO Pís Iíve scored, there is definitely a difference in the statistical numbers, and from watching the scouts, there sure seems to be a physical difference in things like velocity.

Anyone car to comment?

Chris O'Leary
03-08-2007, 01:35 PM
Personally, Iíve tracked many of the differences between throwing from the stretch and the windup for a lot of years now, and I can tell you that in he HS and JUCO Pís Iíve scored, there is definitely a difference in the statistical numbers, and from watching the scouts, there sure seems to be a physical difference in things like velocity.

I'm not convinced that you pick up anything when it comes to pitching from the stretch versus the wind-up.

There are two reasons why I hold this view.

1. I recently scouted a kid who actually LOST a few MPH (went from 93ish from the Set to 91ish from the Wind-Up) when pitching from the Wind-Up versus the Set/Stretch. I have no idea why (the kid is a converted OFer), but I think that demonstrates that going from the Wind-Up will not automatically give you a velocity boost.

2. Many of the "Wind-Ups" that I see are so subtle that I don't see how they would gain you much. Most just involve a step to the side or starting out with the foot off to the side of the rubber. In looking at 30 or 40 prospects over the past couple of months, I have only see one old-school, arms over the head and a step back toward 2B Wind-Up.

Hawaii
03-08-2007, 03:53 PM
Interesting issue.

Two questions:
Are you faster with a windup?
Are you more accurate from the stretch?

A recent study from NPA/Tom HOuse/others found that getting your booty moving, the degree of shoulder/hip separation, and delayed shoulder rotation are the most important elements of velocity. I'd bet that due to genes, flexibility, strength, timing, etc, some people can do all that better from the stretch than they can from the windup, while others can do it better from a windup, albeit a compact windup.

An "X factor" is also the mound/rubber--or maintainence thereof. When you have to stand on a rubber which is an inch or more above ground level, pivot and drop into a hole, and then throw, that seems harder than just launching from the stretch. With a well-groomed mound, maybe it's not as much of an issue.

I tried to get my 13 YO to experiment with going all-stretch. He tried it for about 3 pitches and said "Dad, starting pitchers use windups, so that's what I want to do --it feels better."

My reply: "what about Mariano Rivera--he ain't bad." His reply (rolls his eyes).

ametsfan#5
03-08-2007, 04:58 PM
Would Mariano Rivera throw harder with a wind up? Some time when you are charting a game, chart how many pitches are thrown with a man on base and without a man on base. I think it would be interesting to see the percentage.

Baseball gLove
03-08-2007, 04:59 PM
My son had 5 pitches clocked at 79 mph on flat ground from the stretch. From the windup on flat ground, he was clocked at no better than 75 mph. I noticed this difference in velocity in the video clips of him too.

scorekeeper
03-08-2007, 05:06 PM
Some time when you are charting a game, chart how many pitches are thrown with a man on base and without a man on base. I think it would be interesting to see the percentage.

You can take a look at http://infosports.net/scorekeeper/images/fallcounts.pdf pages 11&12 and see what I got in the 10 games this past fall. Iíve also got the same thing for 4 other years of HS and 2 years of JUCO ball, and believe me, almost the exact same thing is occurring. What happens in the ML is something different, but I suspect that 4 year college programs and Minor League ball is pretty much the same too.

scorekeeper
03-08-2007, 05:22 PM
I'm not convinced that you pick up anything when it comes to pitching from the stretch versus the wind-up.

There are two reasons why I hold this view.

1. I recently scouted a kid who actually LOST a few MPH (went from 93ish from the Set to 91ish from the Wind-Up) when pitching from the Wind-Up versus the Set/Stretch. I have no idea why (the kid is a converted OFer), but I think that demonstrates that going from the Wind-Up will not automatically give you a velocity boost.

2. Many of the "Wind-Ups" that I see are so subtle that I don't see how they would gain you much. Most just involve a step to the side or starting out with the foot off to the side of the rubber. In looking at 30 or 40 prospects over the past couple of months, I have only see one old-school, arms over the head and a step back toward 2B Wind-Up.

Mebbe the ďwindupĒ was not a precise term. How about not coming set? ;)

I wasnít really thinking about a velocity boost at all, but rather there was ďsomethingĒ, even if it couldnít be defined, that was realized from being able to get the entire body in motion rather than a virtual explosion and having to deliver the ball without having all the time necessary to get everything into position.

But I will ask again, if there is no advantage, why do nearly all Pís use some form of the windup? When my son wanted to try to pitch, I kept things as simple as possible. He threw from noting but the stretch for almost his 1st 2 full seasons. To me it just made common sense. Let him learn the basic mechanics and to throw the ball correctly before he got into all the goofy things 10YO kids get into when they try to use a windup.

I canít say it wouldnít have been better if Iíd let him wind up, but he was always one of the most accurate Pís in any league he played in, I,e. fewest walks, highest strike percentage, highest 1st pitch strike percentage, and fewest WPís.

What was really neat was, he was so confident in throwing from the stretch, sometimes when he didnít feel quite right, heíd just switch to the stretch, and heíd sometimes do it right in the middle of an AB, and it really screwed with many batters. Also, when he moved to the big field with leadoffs, he had absolutely no trouble at all since heíd already been doing it for 4 years.

Its all in oneís philosophy I suppose. ;)

ametsfan#5
03-08-2007, 07:24 PM
Scorekeeper,
The pdf was interesting. I know my own son pitched from the stretch until he was a sophmore, then he started using an abreviated windup. Whenever our pitchers seem to be struggling they just go from the windup and that seems to help. Personally, I don't think there is any velocity change between the windup and stretch.

scorekeeper
03-08-2007, 09:20 PM
Scorekeeper,
The pdf was interesting. I know my own son pitched from the stretch until he was a sophmore, then he started using an abreviated windup. Whenever our pitchers seem to be struggling they just go from the windup and that seems to help. Personally, I don't think there is any velocity change between the windup and stretch.

The reason I pretty much stay away from the threads that purport to be analyzing and helping isnít because I donít think I have anything to offer. Its because Iíve become a firm believer that ďhelpingĒ a ball player, especially a pitcher, is a very very difficult thing to do well in person over a long period of time, and nearly impossible through a media like this.

I have no doubt there are some folks who can and do, do a great job of it, but Iím one of those guys who needs to be there. Iím just not comfortable telling someone to do much of anything long distance, other than to mebbe take things slow, donít work on too many things at once, and donít try to listen to advice from too many ďEXPERTSĒ at the same time.

That may not seem to be answering your post, but have patience for a moment. :o

I have no idea what your son looks like when he throws, no idea about his ability, his mechanics, his success, his age, his level, or anything else, other than heís at least a So in HS, but I know this much for sure. Heís playing, heís having some degree of success, he seems to have a brain in his head because he has enough sense to know when something isnít ĒrightĒ, plus he has something to fall back on when he hasnít got his ďAĒ game.

Do you have any idea how much that puts him ahead of a lot of kids who take the mound at every level? IMHO, thatís a great thing to have.

Whatís really nice that Iím reading into the post, and hopefully youíll tell me if Iím wrong, is that heís had some coaches during his ďcareerĒ who pretty much have allowed him some room to be himself, but still managed to help him and give him the opportunity to throw without feeling obliged to change him.

So many coaches would not allow their young charges to do that. Whether they want to believe it or not, most coaches have a predetermined template in their mind, and arenít real comfortable straying far from it. Iíve seen coaches who are pretty decent with RHPs, botch up a good goofyfooter. Iíve also seen some pretty decent coaches who work well with ďnormal: Pís, but let a low arm angled guy show up, and they start frothing at the mouth and fumbling for something intelligent to say!

Its not that theyíre bad coaches, teachers, or people, its that they just arenít nearly as good once they get out of their comfort zone. My sonís HS coach would have had your boy for lunch if heíd have changed his delivery type in the middle of a game.

I can say that because he jerked my boy out of a game he was winning 6-2 in the 5th inning for doing the same exact thing, and he didnít even go to the mound to do it! He just called time and yelled a substitution to the ump, with the sole intention of embarrassing the boy and showing who had the ďpowerĒ.

Of course this guy was a real mutt and did much worse to lots of other players, but my point is, every player is different, and what they need is guidance and understanding, not a lecture on what works best for MOST pitchers. I guess it show that Iím not a big believer in neither cloning nor power trips from people who should be earning respect, rather than demanding or expecting it out of hand.

If ya wanna keep track of what Iím seeiní, you can look at http://www.infosports.com/scorekeeper/ and check the hitting, pitching, counts, and defense. Counts is where youíll find the stuff about pitching from the windup or stretch.

Weíve only played 2 games so far this year with #3 tomorrow, but if you want to see something I think is pretty amazing, go take a look at those same reports on pages 22&23. Our Pís are goiní along at a great clip of 52% stretch to 48% windup, but look at our opponents. 69% from the stretch! :ughh

ametsfan#5
03-09-2007, 09:51 PM
Whatís really nice that Iím reading into the post, and hopefully youíll tell me if Iím wrong, is that heís had some coaches during his ďcareerĒ who pretty much have allowed him some room to be himself, but still managed to help him and give him the opportunity to throw without feeling obliged to change him.

Basically I have been his coach since he was little. I have been an assistant coach for our high school for a number of years. The head coach and I have a great working relationship. So, thank you for the compliment. We like to give our pitchers some freedom. There are certain things we like them to do. They know if they are struggling and need to change something. I feel for the most part our pitchers enjoy playing for us for this reason. We are not the my way or the highway type of coaches.

My son is a senior this year. This is the last summer I will be coaching either one of my sons. He will be going to a D3 school next year to get an education first and play ball. Very good school for an education and he really likes the head coach. We have been to a few of his camps and have visited with him quite a bit. Really looking forward to another chapter in his life.

scorekeeper
03-10-2007, 11:46 AM
Ö We are not the my way or the highway type of coaches. Ö


I donít know for sure, but it sure seems to me that the coaches who come under that umbrella are finally beginning to go the way of the dinosaur. They had their moment in time, and that style probably worked to some degree.

But as everyone learns more about this strange old world and how things in it relate to one another, there is more and more proof that alternative philosophies not only exist, but are at least as, and often much more effective.

Good on ya, and the best of luck to the boy.

scorekeeper
03-12-2007, 04:33 PM
On another board, this same thread has evolved just a little, and now there is at least one poster who thinks throwing using a slide step is a crock, that the slide step is garbage, as another tool in a P's arsenal its a joke, and that anyone who teaches it needs to find a new ďgigĒ.

I was just wondering if there were a lot of folks here who feel the same way.

Baseball gLove
03-12-2007, 08:24 PM
On another board, this same thread has evolved just a little, and now there is at least one poster who thinks throwing using a slide step is a crock, that the slide step is garbage, as another tool in a P's arsenal its a joke, and that anyone who teaches it needs to find a new ďgigĒ.

I was just wondering if there were a lot of folks here who feel the same way.

My son was taught to mix his delivery of a full kick, a small kick and a slide-step with runner(s) on base

scorekeeper
03-12-2007, 09:18 PM
My son was taught to mix his delivery of a full kick, a small kick and a slide-step with runner(s) on base

Exactly as mine was, and I daresay exactly the same way most young pitchers are taught.

What this guy doesnít seem to want to understand is, not every P is able to execute each of those moves equally well. Just like different pitchers canít execute different pitches equally well, there obviously are Pís who for some reason canít quite get the timing necessary to do even 2 of the moves, let alone all of them, and still be able to pitch effectively.

He says he was a P and it didnít work for him, so obviously it must be a horrible thing for everyone. ;)

I know it has its critics, but so does everything in baseball! Thatís part of its charm. But Iíve never seen anyone this totally negative, thatís why I was wondering.

dougmac
03-12-2007, 09:41 PM
Have you ever seen a HOF pitcher or future HOF pitcher use the slide step?

Koufax-nope
Gibson-nope
Seaver-nope
Carlton-nope
Marichal-nope
Sutton-nope
Fingers-nope
Sutter-nope
Maddux-nope
Clemens-nope
R. Johnson-nope
Martinez-nope

There are however about 80% of the amatuer coaches teaching and sometimes demanding that their pitchers use the slide step. It is a waste of time and causes rushing problems for many youngsters. If you learn how to stop the runner, you have done your job as a pitcher as far as the runner goes. Changing your delivery is a good way to make mistakes with the location of the ball and get "lit up".

scorekeeper
03-13-2007, 01:56 PM
Have you ever seen a HOF pitcher or future HOF pitcher use the slide step?

There are however about 80% of the amatuer coaches teaching and sometimes demanding that their pitchers use the slide step. It is a waste of time and causes rushing problems for many youngsters.

Changing your delivery is a good way to make mistakes with the location of the ball and get "lit up".

If you learn how to stop the runner, you have done your job as a pitcher as far as the runner goes.



I canít say what any pitcher does because I donít see them throw every pitch in every game. ;)

I donít know how many coaches teach anything, but I will agree that forcing most Pís to throw a certain way is pretty stupid, because not all Pí;s are the same.

Yes, changing not just the delivery, but even varying pitches and speeds will generate mistakes. But, again, every pitcher will be able to cope with things differently.

Its even more basic than that. Stopping the runner should never be the focus! The focus should always be on making the best possible pitches to the batter. After that, the worry should be about the turkeys running around the bases.

Making poor quality pitches for any reason is not something very bright to do, but if a P can make quality pitches, how he does that shouldnít be questioned.

Chris O'Leary
03-13-2007, 02:30 PM
Its even more basic than that. Stopping the runner should never be the focus! The focus should always be on making the best possible pitches to the batter. After that, the worry should be about the turkeys running around the bases.

Making poor quality pitches for any reason is not something very bright to do, but if a P can make quality pitches, how he does that shouldnít be questioned.

I completely agree.

IMO in a lot of cases trying to manage the runner makes it much harder to deal with the batter. Very often you will see a runner get to the pitcher which forces him to go to the slide step which causes him to rush which causes him to leave the ball up which leads to the heck getting hit out of the ball.

Within reason, I prefer that guys ignore the runner and focus on the batter, especially if there are 2 outs.

Just don't let the guy steal home and focus on getting the batter out.

scorekeeper
03-13-2007, 02:46 PM
I completely agree.

IMO in a lot of cases trying to manage the runner makes it much harder to deal with the batter. Very often you will see a runner get to the pitcher which forces him to go to the slide step which causes him to rush which causes him to leave the ball up which leads to the heck getting hit out of the ball.

Within reason, I prefer that guys ignore the runner and focus on the batter, especially if there are 2 outs.

Just don't let the guy steal home and focus on getting the batter out.


Your ďwithin reasonĒ statement is where people will have a problem because they canít figure out what ďreasonableĒ is.
:dance

Just this morning I was talking with my old friend and we were discussing the slide step. Since there was a list with Don Sutton on it, and this guy is mentioned in Don Suttonís HOF entry speech, I figgered who better to ask.

As I went down the list, he was harrumphing and snorting until I got to Sutton. Thatís when he laughed out loud. He said Sutton was probably the worst pitcher in the world for holding runners on, and definitely one of the slowest to the plate. But, he didnít care! He just concentrated on the batters and evidently did it well enough to get into the HOF. ;-)

He also went on about Tommy John and his similarity poor skills at holding runners on and getting the ball to the plate, and even mentioned Mike Marshallís name as being the same way. But the thing they, and all those guys on the list had in common is, they stayed focused on the batter, and throwing him quality pitches.

The trouble is, not very many pitchers are of that same caliber, and they might need other things to help them. The man told me he wouldnít bother teaching the slide step to ML pitchers, but if they used it, he wasnít gonna stop them.

Baseball gLove
03-13-2007, 03:21 PM
There is a pitcher, Dave Johnson, who says the Slide Step did him in. http://www.pressboxonline.com/story.cfm?id=621

Chris O'Leary
03-13-2007, 03:27 PM
There is a pitcher, Dave Johnson, who says the Slide Step did him in. http://www.pressboxonline.com/story.cfm?id=621

The problem isn't with the slide step in and of itself.

The problem is when you mix in a slide step with a full wind-up and a full Set position kick and don't alter your timing for each motion.

With a slide step, you get to foot plant faster. If you don't also speed up your arm action when going from a slide step, then your arm will end up late and you will end up rushing. This will at least cause you to elevate the ball and in the worst case can cause rotator cuff problems (ala Kerry Wood).

scorekeeper
03-13-2007, 06:10 PM
The problem isn't with the slide step in and of itself.

The problem is when you mix in a slide step with a full wind-up and a full Set position kick and don't alter your timing for each motion.

With a slide step, you get to foot plant faster. If you don't also speed up your arm action when going from a slide step, then your arm will end up late and you will end up rushing. This will at least cause you to elevate the ball and in the worst case can cause rotator cuff problems (ala Kerry Wood).

Pretty much what I was told.

There are some pitchers whose ďstyleĒ lends itself to the more rapid things going on, and some that donít. There are also some pitchers who donít feel comfortable with it for some reason, and they shouldnít use it either. Thereís a million things that COULD cause problems with it, but a coach just ranting and railing about it because he couldnít make it work seems pretty silly to me.

wogdoggy
03-13-2007, 06:25 PM
I hate the slide step AND I hate the fact its taugt as a must for incoming freshman pitchers..last year I told my kid not to slide step and he told me the coach wont let him throw unless he does..I believe it takes your body out of the throw and puts more unnecessary wear and tear on your arm.

how many starters choose to start a game in the set? i cant think of any..the windup gives a pitcher a feeling of a running start,,these guys can pitch however they want but when they can,,, they use the windup..

scorekeeper
03-13-2007, 07:23 PM
I hate the slide step AND I hate the fact its taugt as a must for incoming freshman pitchers..last year I told my kid not to slide step and he told me the coach wont let him throw unless he does..I believe it takes your body out of the trow nad putx more unnecessary wear and tear on your arm.

how many starters choose to start a game in the set? i cant think of any..the windup gives a pitcher a feeling of a running start,,these guys can pitch however they want but when they can,,, they use the windup..

This is pretty bizarre to me! Did you read my very first post on this thread? From your 2nd paragraph, it looks to me that we both agree, at least in part. :clapping

But your 1st paragraph is something else again. I can understand that you HATE the slide step because you honestly believe its harmful. No sweat, we disagree.

But that its taught as a MUST to incoming pitchers has nothing to do with the slide step! It has to do with your school having a HVC who is one of those MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY guys.

Whether itís a good or bad thing is immaterial to me. Iíve had to deal with a HS coach like that and lemme tell ya, it was pure misery! We were told that baseball was a privilege, and that if we didnít like the coachís program, we were welcome to leave. Hopefully your situation is better than that one.

wogdoggy
03-13-2007, 07:40 PM
keeper said

Whether itís a good or bad thing is immaterial to me. Iíve had to deal with a HS coach like that and lemme tell ya, it was pure misery! We were told that baseball was a privilege, and that if we didnít like the coachís program, we were welcome to leave. Hopefully your situation is better than that one.

Thats how it is in our school..they have loads of talent every year and don't even come close..

scorekeeper
03-13-2007, 07:55 PM
Thats how it is in our school..they have loads of talent every year and don't even come close..

Thatís not only a shame, in my mind it should be a reason for a coach at least having his/her program reviewed! Allowing the coach a free hand to go about administering his/her program is one thing, but allowing them to have that kind of power over a kid is just wrong.

ametsfan#5
03-13-2007, 10:03 PM
Bill Thurston taught the slide step. I wouldn't really call it a slide step tho. The knee didn't come up, you bring the front knee back towards the rear knee. It's hard to explain, a lot easier to see it on his video.

scorekeeper
03-14-2007, 10:07 AM
Bill Thurston taught the slide step. I wouldn't really call it a slide step tho. The knee didn't come up, you bring the front knee back towards the rear knee. It's hard to explain, a lot easier to see it on his video.

Thereís as many ways to execute a slide step as there are to throw a curve ball, throw a CU, make a pick off move, Ö

Its just too bad when people get their feet so stuck in the concrete that they find it impossible to see thereís more than one way to skin a cat, but the main goal is getting that skin off.
:crazy

ametsfan#5
03-14-2007, 12:17 PM
We actually use what is on Thurstons video. He calls it a modified, not a true slide step. The front knee comes back to the rear knee, the weight shifts back to the rear leg, then you break your hands. This isn't a true slide step. We don't use it every pitch either. We try to vary, sometimes a regular leg lift, sometimes a modified slide step. Different things to throw off the runners timing.

Baseball gLove
03-14-2007, 12:42 PM
We actually use what is on Thurstons video. He calls it a modified, not a true slide step. The front knee comes back to the rear knee, the weight shifts back to the rear leg, then you break your hands. This isn't a true slide step. We don't use it every pitch either. We try to vary, sometimes a regular leg lift, sometimes a modified slide step. Different things to throw off the runners timing.

This sounds like my son's slide step. He learned it from Erik Hiljus formerly of the Oakland A's. Again, he mixes it in when there is a runner on 1st. With a runner on 2nd, he looks at the runner and uses a big kick to either pitch or spaghetti move to either fake or throw to 2nd. His control is very good.