T-Ball Throwing! The 4 Stages Simplified For Coaches And Parents!
I want parents to become familiar with the four stages of throwing. In this tip, I'm going to to over stage one and stage two. This is right from a Dr. Robert Pangrazi and his excellent book on physical eduction.
Stage one throwing is generally observed between ages 2 and 3 years. The stage is basically restricted to arm movement from the rear toward the front of the body. The feet remain stationary and positioned at shoulder width, with little or no trunk rotation occurring. Most of the movement force originates from flexing the hip, moving the shoulder forward and extending the elbow.
Stage two throwing develops between the ages of 3 and 5 years. Some rotary motion is developed in an attempt to increase the amount of force. This stage is characterized by a lateral fling of the arm, with rotation occurring in the trunk. Often, children step in the direction of the throw, although many keep their feet stationary. This throwing style sometimes looks like a discuss throw rather than a baseball throw.
Parents must realize that accuracy will come last. Parents should focus on recognizing what stage their child is in and never become concerned if their development is a little later than earlier. Human nature makes it tough when two friends live next door to each other and one is developing at a faster pace.
One observation I have found even at the youngest age is if the child has older brothers and sisters. If they play sports, the younger kids in this setting have an advantage two ways 1) By participating with them 2) By observing them. Many young kids are sharper than we give them credit for as an observer.
Typically, stage three is found among children ages 5-7 years. The starting position is similar to that of stages one and two in that the body is facing the target area, the feet are parallel, and the body erect. In this stage, however, a step is made toward the target with the foot on the same side of the body as the throwing arm. This allows rotation of the body and shifting of the body weight forward as the step occurs. The arm action is nearer to the overhand style of throwing than is the fling of stage two, and there is an increase in hip flexion. Unfortunately, the throwing pattern of many students never matures beyond this stage.
Stage four is a mature form of throwing, and more force is applied to the object being accelerated. The thrower uses the rule of opposition in this stage, taking a step in the direction of the throw with the leg opposite the throwing arm. This develops maximum body torque. The target is addressed with the non-throwing side of the body and strides toward the target to shift the body weight. Beginning with the weight on the back leg, the movement sequence is as follows: a) step toward the target, b) rotate the upper body, and c) throw with the arm. The cue phrase used is. "Step, turn, and throw." The elbow should lead the way in the arm movement, followed by forearm extension, and a final snapping of the wrist. This pattern must be practiced many times to develop total body coordination. Through a combination of sound instruction and practice, the majority of youngsters are able to develop a mature pattern of throwing by age 8 or 9 years.
If there is ever a case that leagues should focus on fundamentals, this is it. Read again the last sentence of stage four:
"Unfortunately, the throwing pattern of many students never matures beyond this stage."
Leagues have to be convinced to delay playoffs and
All-Stars for the younger players. Focus on skills. Take it from someone who is over competitive when on the baseball field that there will be plenty of time for competition. Let's focus on what is important at each stage of development.
Here is a hint! Don't get over consumed if you don't understand the four stages of throwing. All I ask is to get in front of a full length mirror and practice throwing all kinds of ways. Using the legs. Not using the legs. Rotating and not rotating the hips. You will be able to see the correct and incorrect skill set of throwing.
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