11 year old pitching advice


#1

[b]My son turned 11 in May and has now moved up to 11U ball. He pitched in his first 11U tourney this past weekend. He was facing a team that had several good hitters. Of the 5 outs he recorded 4 were K’s. He ended up giving up a walkoff grand slam that lost the game 5-2 in the bot of 5th. Needless to say he was very upset. He has good velocity (mid 50-s) and throws a changeup but mainly just his fastball. He really needs somthing good to happen for him when he’s on the mound. He pitched again later that day and looked tired. It was very hot but looked like he was not getting his arm all the way back and was throwing alot in the dirt. What are some drills we can do at home to strenghen his arm? I’m gonna try to put some video up of him, but not sure how to do it. Thanks.


#2

First I don’t think it is a good idea for a kid to pitch twice in one day unless in a tourney situation he rolls from the end of one game right into the next. In that case I would still want him to work within a conservative pitch count for that day. If the break between games is much longer than a long inning I wouldn’t have him pitch. I don’t like a kid to cool down and warm up again.

You’re probably right he was tired the second time out. Although he only pitched five outs it sounds like he faced at least 9 batters to get in the position to load the bases and give up the homer. You didn’t say how the runners reached base but if some were by walk he could have easily thrown 40-50 pitches total in the first game. For many 11yo, heat or not, that can be a full day’s work. After this many pitches IMO he shouldn’t be allowed to pitch later that day or the next day either.

IMO to ask a kid to warm up and pitch again later is heading down the road of overuse. There is a thread going in the “General Pitching Advice” forum regarding this very subject. From one dad to another this is something you should pay attention to.

Regarding conditioning I would focus on total body conditioning, particularly the core, rather than just the arm. IMO most pitchers, not just youth pitchers break down first from fatigue in the body that then forces adjustment by the arm. At 11 I’d stick with body weight exercises such as sit-ups, push-ups, etc. and for running I’d do some sprint work. With the kids we use various baserunning drills to “disguise” the sprint work.


#3

Yea, we would love to see some video of him either put it up here or in the video analysis section.

Second, I second the advice before of why is he pitching twice in one day you get all amped up to pitch then have a something happen…no energy left. I am sure he was at 20-25 pitches in the first game with the 5 outs he had since 4 were strike outs 4x3=12 already (min), the other out plus the home run, any walks and other hits he gave up. Then to come back and get ready to go again, that is tough unless like said before from the end of one game and then start the next game.

The next question is of him, did he hit the spot that he was asked to hit with the pitch that was called? If yes then the batter just did better than him on that pitch, won’t be the last homer he gives up in his career and at least you get the first one out of the way. It’s like getting a bad call, it won’t be the last this year, it’s only the most recent.


#4

Thanks for the responses guys. It was a 1 day tourney and the first game was at 9 in the morning. My son came in in the 4th inning. I don’t remember what all happned but it was a tough inning. Came out of it not letting any runs score. He pitched the bot of 5th, walked 1, one popped up, struck out next one, kid hit a swinging bunt and got on, hit next kid, bases loaded, boom grand slam. It was a first pitch fastball. It was his first time throwing from 50 ft. He pitched again in our third and final game. We started a little after 4. He came in with 2 outs in the inning and got the out we needed. He started the next inning and walked two, gave up a couple of runs but finished the inning. He looked tired. He is also the #3 hitter so he did alot of baserunning. We have practice tomorrow night and I’m gonna film him pitching. Thanks.


#5

Patpat,

Keep surfing this site and/or others and you will soon become exposed to the whole “injuries to youth pitchers” thing. In a nutshell, such injuries are on the rise and the sport medicine folks are attributing it to overuse and pitching while fatigues. The effects on the young musculoskeletal system are cumulative and often start at young ages and manifest themselves a a couple or a few years down the road.

I definitely suggest learning about pitch count limits, proper days rest, etc. to help protect your son. Not trying to scare you - just give the info to help you help your son.


#6

Hey guys, I put a link up of some vids of him pitching today. Please watch and comment. Thanks.