16 year old asking for advice


#1

Hello, I am a sixteen-year-old 6’4" 175lbs LHP who tops around 75mph on the fastball a 70 on the curve and I’m developing a changeup right now. The high school I go to is considered one of the best in the state in my year so I’ve been cut two years in a row being told by the coaches both years that I just missed it and that he wants me to try again next year. He said a general velocity gain and better accuracy would help me a lot (he also said to jack the f out of my legs). Freshman year I was 6’2" 135lbs so I’ve gained a lot of weight all things considered already (5lbs since February). I was just wondering what tips you guys might have for me in trying to accomplish those goals.

Thanks


#2

ArcticX,
The off-season begins just after your last pitch of the season. For some in HS that probably starts around the end of May or June here on the east coast. Some go on to play summer ball and finish in the Fall. So whenever you throw your last pitch of the season, here are some suggestions for an off-season protocol for a pitcher:

  1. Take 4 weeks off of any throwing depending on the length of the previous season. Your body needs to recovery.
  2. Take only 2 weeks off from lifting or conditioning your body.
  3. During the 2-4 weeks of recovery, focus on getting good sleep and diet for this rest period.
  4. If you are looking to gain more weight, talk to your pediatrician for suggestions. They may be able to suggest a nutritional plan.
  5. Set your goals that you want to accomplish before the beginning of the new season - gain muscle, clean up mechanics. throw harder, throw more accurate.
  6. Start an off-season functional training program for pitchers
  7. Also include in your functional training program add a dynamic warm up, arm care protocol program, performance band routine, med ball throws, and thoracic stretching exercises
  8. Take a look at video and see where you can improve on your movement patterns. Start your motor coordination progression drills (dry drills) to train any pitching delivery deficiencies - early momentum work, engaging the back leg, load phase just to name a few. These drills can be done daily.
  9. Step away from baseball and enjoy other sports like basketball with your friends. This will also give your body some different movements patterns.
  10. Start an off-season throwing program. If tryouts are March 1st, count backwards 10 weeks and start the program there. If you are throwing Winter bullpens then do the same count backwards 10 weeks leading up to your first winter bullpen.
  11. During or at the end of the off-season start a mental focus program to set your goals for the new season.

Steve - EBP


#3

Articx,

Explosivepitching pretty much nailed it as far as what you could do if you wanted to max in on improving. But make sure your grades are good to go.

From a practical standpoint,something doesn’t jive. As a 6’4 / 175lb 16 Yo Lefty Sophmore throwing 75mph fastball, it is absurd a coaching staff would NOT have you play, at the very least, JV baseball.

Food for Thought:
1, Your current size/frame is ALREADY D1 level.
2. You are a LEFTY. Lefty’s are given anywhere from a 5-8mph pass on fastball velocity.
3. Don’t worry about VELOCITY. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t put the time and effort in…You are growing and your physical maturity will at some point taker over. Stick with it, you have anywhere from 8-10MPH by just working hard and growing up by the time you are a senior.
4. You most likely (90%) WILL NOT be recruited out of the high school you attend. That is secondary, especially if the competition is so tough at your school and you don’t get enough playing time. Sooooo, play travel baseball for teams that are playing in top competition so that your skills can be recorded and seen by those that matter. Don’t play on a team that you won’t get a chance to contribute…playing is better than sitting.
5. You can control your own destiny. Your best bet for getting recognized by a school you want to attend is by attending the college camps/showcases held every year…most are held in the fall/summer. Take a weekend and showcase yourself directly in front of a coaching staff for a school you want to attend that meets your (or your parents) academic needs/desires/finances.
6. If your high school doesn’t want you, look at it as a blessing. You won’t be wasting time on a baseball field for 3 months attending practice where you probably will get nothing out of it. Take that time to prepare for competitive summer/fall Travel Ball. Use this time to figure out when and how to do strength training and velocity training, pitch development…
7. Which leads me to this. If you are sitting at 75mph for the FB, and your curve is 70MPH, you could stand to gain by perhaps working a bit more on getting a greater change in velocity between the FB and CB. I think you may be overthrowing the curve, missing the strike zone or not enough break. Work on making you pitches work great first, then evaluate how they shake out on velocity difference. At a 5MPH difference, if your CB is breaking well, you shouldn’t have a problem. And if you are competing against older hitters, you will have to mix it up more until your FB improves.
If you are working on a new pitch (change up), be careful not to work on new pitches before mastering others…you may end up mastering none. In High school, 2 pitches is enough, three is great. Location is always most important. Throw strikes and get ahead.
8. Strength training…must not impinge on your flexibility. Think Chris Sale/Randy Johnson. They aren’t bulky by any measure, and like you, have the same type of frame. And they throw the heck out of the ball by having good arm speed/active motion/flexibility/rythm/body control in their motion. Be yourself…find your motion and work smart, not just hard.

Hope this helps…


#4

Thank you both for your advice a lot of it is extremely helpful. Explosivepitching thank you for giving me an idea on what to do during the offseason. And tcbackstop thanks for other ideas that might be more effective long term than just making my high school team.

Right now my curveball is about the best pitch I have, it’s able to either break enough where it leaves the zone producing swinging strikes or break enough where kids give up and it goes in the backdoor. And I’ve been told by older kids that this high school is a sucker for changeups so I figured I should at least try to learn it.


#5

Thanks for the compliment. Glad I could help.
If your comfortable with the other pitches, and it sounds like you are, by all means give the change-up a hack.

There are several change-up grips. Find one that works for you. If the Chnage-up doesn’t work, think a bout this: a Change-up Curve. Which means you have two type of curves. The change-up Curve might be thrown with an emphasis on 12/6 movement, is slower, and is intended to freeze the hitter. Hopefully, to accomplish this your mechanics won’t tip the pitch up.

I can tell you a cutter is a pitch which absolutely neutralize a hitter, for you can jam righties and get lefties to swing under a pitch away. Grip is slightly different than FB. Developing these third (or fourth) pitches will allow you to start hitters off with pitches that are not what they are expecting. As such, every time through the order the hitters have to worry about a different sequence.

You’ll like this last tip: Perhaps this is for next year, but you may ask your coach to let you pitch batting practice to the hitters to simulate game situations. This is your chance to make them look silly. Show your stuff. If they can’t hit you, your coach has to take notice. If you are not playing this year, go ask the coach if he needs a BP pitcher.

That said, I don’t want you to go out there and just throw 100-120 pitches in BP day after day. That’s obviously not good.


#6

Believe me, I’ve tried to throw cutters in the past, I just can’t get the grip down/get any movement on it. As a lefty, I think a cutter would be devastating if I could get it down (i.e. Madbum’s cutter is insane, but he also can pinpoint his fastball which also makes him extremely deadly). I’ve heard of pitchers having a curve, and then a slower curve or throwing a slider or something. I can throw the Circle Change alright. I don’t have good control but it runs away and down from a right-handed hitter so it has potential.

Interestingly enough my high school had a summer league tryout and the coach wanted me to come out so I did. I did pitch a little BP but they had me pitch on a turf mat that covers the mound. I was extremely uncomfortable and had a hard time locating pitches. I was cut being told that I need to work on my location. I wanted to say something about the mat but I felt that being cut two years in a row I was in no place to complain about something being unfair. To be honest I would prefer that I got cut so I could show up in February throwing possibly 80+ and being able to locate it showing a massive improvement.


#7

Hopefully you have played with the seams. It is a slight adjustment/offset to the fastball grip. Look how Bumgarner grips it, and then look at how Rivera grips his cutter.

The trick is to throw it with FB intent and “push/fly through”. As they say, just throw it. My son couldn’t get his to reliably cut, but when it did, it just ran…

The cutter is a nice pitch. But, if you can get your FB to move, well then, the cutter is less of a necessity. Maybe that’s the way to go. If you have good FB movement, you should stop trying to flirt with other pitches just because a thick headed coach can’t see the forest for the trees. Move your pitches up, down, in, and out in the zone…pitch!

You seem to have a tenacity which will serve you well. A bit of advice…don’t just throw and throw and throw trying to work on a pitch that just isn’t working on that day. Work slowly as you work on your new pitch. Save yourself, visualize yourself, and then go back to it. I would say warm up prior to a pen (armcare, stretching, loosening up), take your time working through 20 pitches on the pitch you are trying to develop, and see where you end up. If you are working on a change-up, mix FB in. Never try to work on two new pitches at a time. If you stay to 20 pitches, you can reliably and safely go back to a pen every other day. The hardest thing will be getting someone to catch you.