Bill Hillhouse and the PCM
I admit I’m a little behind on my softball reading, but I just read a great article on Bill Hillhouse’s House of Pitching Web site. It’s a rant about what he calls the Pitching Coach Mafia (PCM) and how it’s ruining the chances of pitchers to have a great career. He couldn’t be more right on.
Bill is a somewhat controversial guy because he calls it like he sees it, and doesn’t mind it if people don’t like that. As I read the article, though, all I could think was “right on!” He is constantly crusading against some of the bad techniques that are being taught by various instructors who may mean well but shouldn’t be teaching.
One example Bill mentioned is locking the elbow while pitching. I have stood in gyms where kids I knew were taking lessons extended their arms out as far as they would go, locked their elbows, and pushed the ball through the circle. They tend not to continue pitching by the time they’re about 15. Other examples are “closing the door” (slamming the hips closed), exaggeration of the wrist snap, and slapping the leg with the glove. Ouch!
One I’d like to add to that list is touching the shoulder with the hand after the pitch. The reason given for doing it is to make sure the pitcher follows through. But she doesn’t really. A follow through involves bringing the elbow through, not just the hand. Trying to touch the shoulder with the hand is a proven way to develop elbow problems, and it will actually make you throw slower, not faster. It will also prevent you from learning other pitches.
In the article, Bill also talks about the folks who know nothing about hitting but teach it anyway — which is why this post is also classified under hitting. Things like slapping the back with the bat make no sense at all, yet enough girls do it that somebody has to be teaching it. Bill says he thinks the hitting problems are worse because while not everyone feels qualified to talk about pitching a softball, everyone thinks they know how to swing a bat.
Be sure to check out this article, as well as others on the site. He’s a great resource to tap into.