Dick / Ryan,
I have been a quiet member for 2 years now. I have purchased most of your videos, I’ve been out for a private lesson, and I recently had a video analysis by Ryan. I follow everything you guys say and try to push it on to my son Tyler who is now 11 years old but I’ve never really participated in the forums.
I’m writing to confess that I never agreed with your advise about playing fall ball until now. Tyler has played baseball continuously now since the fall of 2009. In the beginning I saw major improvements in his baseball skills and perhaps that is what led me to believe it was important. Now however, I think he has reached the point where he needs to make fundamental changes in his delivery in order to improve and he can’t do that while he’s playing ball. He slips back into old habits in order to gain control.
As we started trying to fix the faults that Ryan identified in our recent video analysis, he made the changes quite easily and gained about 5 mph. He struggled with control in the beginning but eventually he did improve. However now that he is playing fall ball, he is slipping back into his old habits. I noticed Friday that his hands were coming down while his leg was coming up. Carrying his hands was one of the things we tried to fix and I thought we were past that. The fall ball season ends in mid November and we will have to go back and work on the same things again (stride and hand break). I’m a little frustrated but should have taken your advice to start with.
The one problem I have with not playing live baseball is that he has trouble focussing during bullpen sessions. I constantly have to slow him down. He wants to throw, throw, throw. I have to find a way to get him to practice at game pace and intensity.
Thanks for everything you are doing,
I don’t have to tell you this but most people do not understand that breaking bad habits or building new mechanics is all about doing enough volume of practice to displace the old bad habits. It takes much more practice than most are willing to do.
Thus why there is so much room at the top.
Mix things up at this age. Make sure that his playing catch mechanics have similar elements to his pitching. Let him know that he can have fun playing catch and still improve his overall throwing mechanics.
The key is to focus on one area at a time and make that natural before you move on to the next.
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