I have an 8 year old who is a becoming a very good pitcher. I've talked with some other parents and coaches and I'm surprised how many of them are telling their 8 year old kids to throw 3 or 4 different kinds of pitches. It seems ridiculous to be adding complexity to pitching when kids are struggling to find the strike zone at this age. I think sticking to a standard fastball would be best because:
- Small kids have small hands - can't effectively grip the baseball for most kinds of pitches.
- Low velocity - slow pitches don't break.
- Too close to the plate - Even a great MLB curve isn't breaking much 38 feet from the mound
I could see adding a change up at a young age but at lower velocities is it really a deceptive enough pitch? Most young hitters just seem to watch the ball anyway so a change up may only just give them a little more time rather than getting them too swing early.
So at what age should a kid start to throw change ups and breaking balls in games? Or maybe a better question is what kind of command of their fastball should a kid have before trying new pitches?