13 year old Son speed issues


#1

My Son is frustrated after being radar checked at 66 to 68 this year. Last year he was pitching in the low to mid 70s later in the season. Is this normal to loose velocity over the winter not throwing as much etc…

Thanks


#2

He—and you—shouldn’t worry about it. This is something that happens with most pitchers, at all levels of the game; unless they live in warm climates where they can throw day in and day out and work on their various pitches, their mechanics, what have you, they are bound to lose some velocity. But once they get into their regular training routine they will get it back. :slight_smile:


#3

Thanks that is kind of what I was thinking too.
He is really letting it get to him. He has this feeling he is nothing if he is not the fastest pitcher on the team. He had a coach at school not a baseball coach bring a radar gun to school and during PE a couple of his team mates both good players threw 65-66 and he only checked in at 62 he said throwing against a wall… last year he was nearly 10 mph faster then these boys so he was really dejected and wondering what was wrong… He is playing on a tournament team as well now and they have him on it for pitching and the coach likes him they gunned him at 66-68 and I checked for him yesterday day at home at 65 to 68 but I find it very tricky to get max speed on the gun . It seems to depend on where you catch the ball. I range 10 mph fast to slow sometimes pitch to pitch. I catch him and he seems fine to me speed wise from the feel of it. I hate radar guns… I only got mine to set up my pitching machine and refused to get it out last year because I did not want him hung up on speed. One other thing I wonder about he is tall for his age 6 feet about 156 lbs with long arms. He has been growing fast about 9-10 inches over the last 2 years about 2 inches since last season. I took him to a local noted pitching instructor last fall about 4-5 times and he adjusted him from steping across his body and having the ball inside his elbow. I have not been able to go back due to team practice every weekend or a tournament. The team has a pitching coach and he is getting some instruction but I am not sure how good it is…
He went 2 innings without a strike out a lot of chips and easy outs in the first and they started to hit better in the second. Then they kept on hitting every pitcher we put up there so it was not just him, but he went from no one hitting him last year to not a single strike out this year and he is really doubting himself.
I railed him on being confident and that he is good and he is fast enough and will only pick up speed as the session goes on… I fear tomorrow he will go out with a defeated mind and have another poor performance.
He is hurting on control because he is trying to throw to hard too imo…
I don’t know if I should let him practice this evening or rest he threw more then I planned yesterday.

His change up sucks right now and is all over the place mainly missing wide to the outside… same with his curve ball…Fast ball is around the plate but not able to hit his marks like I would like either…
We are both frustrated.

Here are some pictures I snapped at his last game. He was struggling and it was his first time and looked nervous.





#4

Hi JfDad,
I am a baseball Dad like you. My son is playing 12U travel baseball. I agree with Zita that don’t worry about you son’s pitching speed and it will come back as the baseball season is going. I fell that the things really bothering you and your son is his pitching performance in the game. I posteded a similiar topic few days ago about my son’s frustration about his pitching performance in one game. Zita, Roger, JP and Shoeshonte all gave me very good advice. I am not sure if it could help you on some point? Try to focus on location, change up and the sequence? You may pay too much attention on the speed?

As for Radar Gun, I have a rule. I don’t clock my son by Radar gun (I don’t have one) and I don’t let other coaches or people clock him too. I don’t know my son’s pitching speed exactly. Most time is other team coaches told me how fast my son throw because they clocked him in the game. For this age kids, Radar Gun is nothing but distraction. All big kids dream to throw 90+ in some day. So they expect their pitching speed increase everyday!!! that is impossible. I recommand you put your gun away. Don’t let it to bother him.

By the way, how about your son’s hitting? In his age, he is not supposed to pitch only. I feel you will enjoy game more if you involve more position. My son was struggling in hitting for 1-2 years and stayed on last batting postion in the team. Now he hit ball very well and bat 3rd or 4th. When his pitching was not working well, he can also hit and defence to help team to win. This is probably youth baseball fun.


#5

My suggestion would be to get to a good pitching coach for a look/review of his mechanics. One cannot diagnose a problem from the still photos. I can offer a guess based upon the pictures and your description and a little bit of knowledge of the youth pitching psyche. He is slinging his head to the side in pic 3. My guess is that he is opening up a little early with his shoulders (not delaying his back shoulder rotation and generating the torque between his hips and shoulders) and trying to force the velocity with his arm without as much help as his body could give him. Then again, I could be wrong.


#6

Yes he has a problem with turning his head trying like you said. I don’t understand how to fix the problem though. He may pitch tomorrow some so we did a very light work out little warm up and about 10 to 12 pitches… He was around the plate and looked smoother.

Hitting is ok he has shown good poise at bat so far with 1 strike out and is batting about .370 so far with a .500 on base percentage.

Thanks for the comments.

I will try to get some video.


#7

Hello friend. I am not by any means an expert but I have two sons who are left handed pitchers. One is a Freshman this season (playing freshman ball and no USSSA travel ball for the first time in several years)and the other is 12 and has started his 12U USSSA season.

Neither of my sons are hard throwers but more location/change of speed guys. I have never had a gun on them and probably won’t until they start looking at college baseball if that is what they choose to pursue however at one of my 12 year olds games last week, an opposing team had a gun set up. I slipped over there for a minute and looked although I never told him about it… His fastball was 46, change up 40 and knuckle curve 28mph. There are several boys on the team who throw harder (and pitch well) but he is in the top of their rotation and is very succesful getting guys out.

I have always preached to them location first. I don’t think it is productive for a 13 year old to have a gun on him. If he is throwing in the high 60’s as a 13 year old, that’s plenty. He shouldn’t feel dissapointed at all. I would guess that having to rely on location and a change up will make him a much better pitcher than just trying to throw it by guys to get an out.

Just my 2 cents good luck to your boy!


#8

Update.

He pitched a rain shortened game last weekend. 3 Innings and a no-hitter to that point. It was not a strong team I must say and I think his coach knew it going in and was looking to give him a confidence building oportunity. Anyway … He looked like a cat on a wire he was so nervous… I was worried…last year he had confidence and was a great closer coming in as a 12 year old and shutting teams down that were hitting, but we had some coaching issues that I can’t go into that really hurt him confidence wise and it has carried over to this year compounding the issue he had in his first game this year…

He did look better as he went, he looked very stiff and uncomfortable early, but he was focused on location and he did fine getting ahead of the batters and in the first inning he had one ball hit after putting him in a 0-2 count that was dribbled over to short and was a easy out at first then he had a strike out and then had another ground ball hit to first base for the third out.
THe 2nd inning he came out looked a little looser had the batter down 1-2 and threw inside and just grazed his jersey and gave him first base. That guy ended up getting thrown out trying to steal third. He striked the next 2 batters out and we were done. The third inning he walked one after a 3-2 count and then striked the next three batters out in order. One of the coaches told him they timing him at 71 mph on his fastest pitch in the third inning. He looked slow to me. I video taped him in the first and he looked very slow I show him the video and that was his first remark
"man I look slow " He used his curve and change up well though and striked several out with the off speed pitches…

We threw today and he looked a little ragged throwing at the target but then the wind was whipping 20 mph+ and about to blow us over and did blow the target over twice so I am not going to be to critical of him. We had a good time today and just getting out to throw the ball was the intent. We did some long toss before pitching as well…