So this post is a little tongue in cheek… but if you haven’t seen this video yet, you have to check it out.

A friend of mine always used to joke that more major league pitchers should throw an Eephus pitch.

Bugs_Bunny_EephusAnd I’m talking about that high, super-slow, lollipop Eephus, not the slow curveball you guys throwing.

Here’s a great one of those by the way:
Yu Darvish 59 MPH Curveball

I mean, can you imagine a major league pitcher practicing his lollipop Eephus down in the bullpen? It’d be hysterical.

See, the problem with the true, super-high, super-slow, Bugs Bunny style Eephus is it’s such a low percentage pitch…

You basically have to drop it right on home plate for it to be a strike! His response to that?

“Yeah, but if you COULD throw it for a strike, it would be unhittable!”

Well, the other day I saw this video… And the kid in me though it was great – you have to give the pitcher credit, it took some guts to throw that pitch… not to mention the amazing accuracy. But it basically proved my point.
[h5]Check out the video… total awesomeness (aside from the pitch being a ball):[/h5]

One thing I would have liked to see was the hitter’s reaction time if he wound up and fired a fastball on the next pitch… a pitch like that will make 90 MPH look like 150 MPH.

(Remember, pitching is all about upsetting a hitter’s timing)

Sadly, that cartoony, slow-pitch softball style Eephus just isn’t practical. But there is a pitch you can throw to get a similar effect – the Yu Darvish style “Eephus curveball.”

The whole idea here is you’re giving the hitter a totally different look, something that’s outside of his mental framework of possible pitch velocities.

And then, when you get that pitch in the back of the hitter’s mind, it gives your fastball that extra little hop (great time to elevate your fastball).

See, it’s not just about velocity… it’s what the hitter sees (or thinks he sees).

This isn’t necessarily for beginners, but once you know the right way to throw a curveball, you can start changing speeds with it, taking something off when you want to, or putting something extra on it.

The best pitchers in the game know how to do this with all of their pitches.

In fact, one of the best things you can learn as a pitcher is how to change speeds with your fastball… it’s all about adding and subtracting.

[h3]Here’s a closer look at Darvish “Pulling the String” on his Curveball[/h3]

Note: the above video is actually one of the many Bonus Videos from my best-selling Curveball Mastery program. You can learn more about that here: CurveballMastery.com/System

Now before wrapping up, a quick word of caution… The thing that makes the Eephus curve so effective is that is has to go along with a good fastball. Otherwise you’re just a junk-baller.

So don’t make the mistake of going to the well too many times, or you’ll end up like El Duque in this video here… Ouch.


Okay, so this was a pretty lighthearted post, mainly because I thought the Japanese pitcher’s Eephus pitch was just too good not to share…

But hopefully in keeping with my mission with this site, you got some valuable nuggets too.

So what do you think, should the MLB bring back the “old school” Eephus?

And if you liked the videos, share this post by clicking one of the buttons below!

Okay, so this post kicks off what will likely become quite a lengthy series on tips for Coaching Youth Pitchers…

And keep in mind, while much of this information will be relevant for pitchers of all ages, this series is specifically intended for coaches or parents working with young ballplayers of Little League league age.

[h3]Installment One: Begin at the Beginning[/h3]

My first recommendation is pretty simple. Start with the basics. Show them how to grip the ball – if you’re not holding the ball well, good luck throwing the ball well. And if you need some help on this one, drop a comment below or shoot me an email and I’ll put together a short video on my YouTube channel.

After that, when it comes to mechanics, my bottom line for working with young pitchers is this:

Don’t make it more complicated than it has to be.

You can nitpick mechanics to death if you want to… and when kids are first starting out, they’re going to have all kinds of mechanical flaws. It just goes with the territory.

But when you boil it down, a good pitching motion is really about 3 things:

Balance, Timing and Power

If you have these 3 things as a young pitcher, you’re in great shape.

Okay, that’s all nice, but how bout some practical advice…

“So what should I actually start working on with my young pitchers???”

Okay, here goes… But first, a side note…

Please don’t get too caught up with having to follow this information to the last detail. You’re the coach and you know your pitchers better than I do. These are all just suggestions… But they’re also tips and strategies that I’ve personally found to be very beneficial in my work with young pitchers.

Alright, now let’s get to it. Here is the first thing I like to work on with young pitchers (after showing them how to hold the ball):

[h3]Understanding the Glove-Arm, Throwing-Arm Connection[/h3]

Your body wants to be in balance. Balance in your pitching delivery isn’t just about your legs, though that’s a big part of it – and it sure isn’t about getting to a “balance point”.

Balance is also about a level of symmetry (not perfect mirror-image symmetry) and the idea of the front side (glove side) and throwing side being in sync. It’s also about the upper half and lower half being in sync (a topic for another time).

What you do with our glove arm is going to have a direct effect on your throwing arm.

One big tendency you see with young pitchers who don’t get this yet is that they just never get the glove arm into their delivery at all. It just drops or flails wildly to the side as they throw.

Pitcher-Dropping-Glove-Arm

Here is a drill I like to help pitchers develop the feel for getting their glove arm into their delivery and learning the feel for the glove-arm, throwing-arm connection. I call them torque & turns, but you can call them whatever you want.

(this video is an excerpt from my program, the Ballistic Pitching Blueprint)

[h4]Key tips:[/h4] [circle_list] [list_item]It’s not about pointing the glove arm directly at home plate[/list_item] [list_item]It’s okay to have the pitcher pause at first when they get the elbows up to help get the feel for the movement.[/list_item] But once they get it down, they should practice the drill in one fluid motion. We don’t want to be making robots (a mark of a bad pitching drill)[/circle_list]

A couple reasons why I like this drill:
[circle_list] [list_item]It takes the legs out of the equation[/list_item] For beginners especially, not having to worry about what the legs are doing makes it very easy to focus on the glove-arm, throwing-arm connection.

[list_item]It trains the feel for good trunk rotation at the same time[/list_item] By helping pitcher learn to incorporate their whole core and throw with good trunk rotation, it helps them feel the difference between getting their body into their delivery vs. throwing “all arm”.

One coaching cue I like with this one: “Think about replacing your front shoulder with your throwing shoulder.”
[/circle_list] Here are a few Big League pitchers as examples – keep in mind everyone’s mechanics will be a little different – the pitcher should be allowed to develop their own style.

Pitching-Glove-Arm-Throwing-Arm-Connection
Some commonalities:

  • Arms in sync (what some refer to as Equal & Opposite)
  • Glove stays “inside the box” as they get through ball release
  • Glove arm doesn’t block them off – they show full trunk rotation

Here’s Mariano Rivera showing you what the Glove-Arm Throwing-Arm connection looks like

Mariano-Rivera-Glove-Arm-Throwing-Arm-Connection-smaller

Okay, now instead of dragging on and risk losing you, I’m gonna end there today.

So that wraps up Installment One: Begin at the Beginning.

But stay tuned, because I’ll be back soon with Installment Two, Starting Position: Set the Pitcher up to be Successful

Closing thoughts: Two quick notes to youth baseball coaches

[h4]1. Less is More[/h4]

Don’t over-coach mechanics. Overloading your brain with a bunch of mechanical mumbo-jumbo is never really a good thing as an athlete, but it’s especially dangerous at the beginning. It just leads to overwhelm, frustration, or worse… turning budding young athletes into stiff, tense mechanical automatons (not to mention neurotic, worried too much about their mechanics to throw effectively).

[h4]2. Keep it Fun![/h4]

Remember these are kids and a lot of this stuff is completely new to them. Just because they don’t get it today at 10 years old, doesn’t mean they’ll never get it.

It’s a long road. Show them the ropes, point them in the right direction… but then let them enjoy playing the game so they’ll stick around and still be playing this game when they get older, enjoying all the rich experiences and life lessons that go with that.

Do you work with young pitchers? CLICK BELOW for a FREE Youth Pitching Lesson Framework

youth-pitching-lesson

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So in my post not long ago about Masahiro Tanaka’s loaded hips, I mentioned a follow-up Video Lesson I would be putting together for you… this is that post.

As a lot of coaches and parents have been telling me, it’s one thing to understand the idea of leading with the hips (or staying closed and loaded with your hips)…

[h5]Actually doing it or helping pitchers “get it” is another story[/h5]

Some pitchers are just so programmed to lift and get to a “balance point” or have spent so much time focusing on stepping straight towards the catcher without any regard to staying closed that this just doesn’t come easily.

[h5]So how do you counteract all this old programming?[/h5]

What you need is some new “movement pattern mapping” – or whatever term you want to throw out there for developing the “feel” for a new series of movements. So in this video I go over a simple process for helping pitchers learn the feel for leading with loaded hips in their pitching delivery.

[h4]Tips for Learning the Feel for Leading with Loaded Hips[/h4]

This is just one approach… and depending on your pitching style it might not be for you. But it’s worth trying, and I’ve personally found these steps to be extremely effective with many of my pitchers. Give ’em a try and let me know how you make out!

And if you found this video helpful, do me a huge favor and share this post!

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