The Running Doctor: Baseball advice from a Professional Pitcher
In the past while sharing some of my baseball articles with Paul Hartzell (a former major league baseball pitcher) he was kind enough to share some advice which is worthwhile to review to future young pitchers.
He pitched six seasons for the California Angels, Minnesota Twins, Baltimore Orioles and Milwaukee Brewers. In June 1977, Hartzell became one of the very few major league pitchers to be credited with two wins in one day, in defeating the Texas Rangers in both games of a doubleheader.
Paul’s advice (especially for young arms and legs) comes from all those pitches and outcomes. They are as follows:
The back of your lead foot as you deliver the ball should line up with the ankle bone of the foot in contact with the pitching rubber. It is important to point the ball of the lead foot toward home plate in line with the rear ankle.
Every young person should hold the ball with their thumb at 6 o’clock and the index and middle finger at 11 and 1, if you are looking at the ball as it is being released. If the child’s hands are too small, teach this lesson with a smaller rubber ball until they are comfortable.
Never dramatically change the arm position because everyone is different. Always make sure your elbow is above your shoulder.
Never throw a curveball or a slider until you are 19 years or older. Work on control and learn to throw a fastball. He learned from Hall of Fame member Don Drysdale. “It’s tough to hit a 400 foot ground ball, so keep it low and make it move lower.” This is solid advice for any young or old pitcher.
Finally, never throw a baseball from October 15 to January 5 as the arm needs rest. When throwing 10 or 11 or 12 months of the year, it can cause more serious injuries to young players at every level. Let the arm rest.
Dr.Robert F. Weiss is a podiatrist specializing in foot and ankle surgery, He was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Marathon Trials. Weiss is a veteran of 35 Marathons and has a practice in Darien ,for more information go to www.facebook.com/drrobertweiss