11U Pitcher


Looking for thoughts on my son’s pitching mechanics.

He’s 11, not a big kid, but throws in the low 60s. Had a successful year this season in travel ball (49ks in 32 innings). He’s all finished for the season, but we’re looking for things to work on this offseason.

Slo mo:


That delivery alone got the k’s, very intimidating for an 11 yr old.
I’d almost not stress more velo until he gets into some steel cleats, I bet he gets angry about lack of traction. No doubt he will “tear up a mound”.
I recommend maintaining his good velocity with lots of just throwing, which will also improve his accuracy (I used to love to play location games with my kids when they were that young), I’d do some very specific fundementals development sessions, once maybe twice a week for an hour or less, while playing catch as much as he wants. I’d work on stuff that works on glove side control, keeping the head still, area specific fortification stuff like tubing and if you choose…some long toss…Many parents with a kid showing that sort of aptitude would have him “coached”…My opinion is that isn’t really necessary now…though I’d have him to as many camps and clinics as my wallet would stand…and his hard work could earn. The kid has the ability, it’s stay in your plan, ensure it’s fun, nurture positive growth…really good start pop.

I won’t comment on mechanics as I’m not qualified. But it doesn’t take a guru to see the kid has talent.

I will disagree with JD about a pitching coach. I have been there done that with hitting. A talented kid can hide flaws, or make them easy to overlook. The longer you wait to address them the harder it becomes.

The other thing I noticed. Kid looks like he’s gassing it, so your mph isn’t surprising. Is that every pitch? The best advice my son got from his coach was very, very rarely 100%, only occasionally 95. Mostly 70-90%, and he can throw and throw and throw…Every kid I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a lot of baseball at this point, who throws hard the majority of the time has had arm problems at some point.

Curious from some on board that know, do you bother to try to correct the falling off toward 1st that this kid does? This kid has a pretty aggressive motion, so do you leave it? A lot of pros fall off toward 1st. Congrats on your boy Mcloven! Obviously you two have worked it.

Good question on the “falling off”. My opinion is that if the “falling off” happens before ball release then it is an issue possibly for both performance and health. But if it’s simply the momentum of his follow-through pulling him offline after ball release, then we probably don’t care. Yes, it may put him in worse defensive position but if the alternative is to start decelerating before ball release just to reduce follow-through momentum and finish in good defensive position, then let it happen. A pitcher’s first priority is to throw a good pitch.

I think the “falling off” could have been due to a lack of traction on the mound–the mound was a bit rough. To me, it may have been a bit more of a “walk off” in frustration instead of a “fall off.” In the slow motion video, you can see his plant foot slip as he comes forward.

Here are two others from the same day to compare (I think there’s less falling off here):

My point is until a kid gets into puberty, his delivery is subect to change, so the “finer Points” are kinda moot. It is far more important for a kid to be mechanically sound and throwing the ball in a fundementally correct way, you don’t need to drop money on a pitching coach to acheive that, pre-puberty, it can be done more efficiently via clinics and camps. Not that hooking up with some “expert” can’t pay some dividends…but it may be an expense you can defer a little while. I waited until he was on the big field before hiring an actual pitching coach ~13 yrs old…nice thing about a quality forum like this is that there isn’t a “correct answer”. Somes experience certainly is working for him and his son now.

He does (McCloven’s son) have talent, Some is correct about a 100% effort always, he will also have more success against better teams (Where you find them) if he is able to control his speed upon demand.
I really hate to see a kid let it go with that sort of effort on loose traction…very easy to injure a kid.

It (a pitching coach) should stay within reason, don’t believe a 11 needs to see one a lot. That said we went every week. But we found a guy who did one hour three kids at a time for $25. That made it pretty painless, on top of that he was great with the kids and while not Tom House Jr did a pretty good job with the kid.

But I still maintain it’s easier to avoid bad habits than fix then (and cheaper too).

I’ll tell you what, using a pitching coach at younger ages gets one thing done that is very important…kids don’t listen as much to dad as they do with a guy that they go to, learn some things and then when they see them the kid can say hey this is what is going on with my pitching. You know how kids are too, they can think that dad doesn’t know what the heck he is saying, even if it’s the same thing the pitching coach is saying.

An update/video from last night… [Interestingly, had a jump in velocity recently, into the upper 60s, been working on lower half mechanics in the off season.]

He has improved quite a bit, I like how flat he is getting at the end of the arm action, he looks to have good forward momentum thhrough the whole action. However I could still see some glove side work to stabalize the left side a bit and get both sides active.

He looks like he has trimmed down a bit and taller, these could be some of the added mph too.

Keep it up!

At first I was thinking “Here we go again… 11 yr old allegedly throwing 60+”… Umm, he is bringing it. Great to see an athletic kid that pitches w/ intent.

He’s explosive but under control. Keep him healthy & dont worry about velo, just accuracy which it seems you understand.

I’ll let the gurus jump on the mech advice… with a kid like this I’ll just add that you want to keep it fun & read up on arm care, pitch counts, rest between outings & seasons, throwing programs, when to start & better yet when not start with breaking balls etc…

He could be devastating with a low 50’s change up… I hear knees buckling already!

The first thing that jumps at me is how he crashes. Looks like he is doing a better job in the latest video of attempting to get around the front hip versus catapulting over it. His first move is rotational which is fine if he is moving forward at the same time. However, I see him trying to move forward with rotation, hope that makes sense. You start to see him using the feet to drive the hips forward (pushing the hips) and causing the energy to move vertically, from the side you would probably see the elbows way above the shoulders. Cause/effect is that he jumps into landing versus rotating and landing softly. If you had video from the open side it would really help.

I love the kids intent to throw it hard, keep doing it!!!

Any chance Tim Lincecum is this kids favorite pitcher?

First off, Mcloven I would love to have your boy in my arsenal of 11-13 y/o pitchers :). And as a few of the posters have said a basic straight change (if he doesn’t already have one) would be killer! A couple of his fastballs for strikes at moved around locations followed by a nice change low and away would sit down may a good hitter at his age group.

Also, Roger I really like your explanation of falling off the mound not being so bad if after delivery. I have a very hard time explaining that to some of my kids and their parents. Well said!

Yep, Beaver, his two favorite pitchers are Lincecum and Craig Kimbrel.

Here’s a gif of the same video:

That leg kick, momentum, and trunk tilt gave it away :smiley:

Keep it up, looks good. Don’t let anyone tell him he needs to “slow down.”

He has such an explosive delivery. Arm action is off the charts. For those of you that think your kid throws 65mph, this kid is what 65+ really looks like.

Seriously, kid is angry.

Jack read that last comment (“kid is angry”), and then had this evil half-smile on his face. He clearly liked that one. :slight_smile: