9u pitcher -- what next?

Hello I am the mom of a 9u pitcher who is playing select/travel ball this spring. I am completely new to the world of baseball, so bear with me. My son is one of the go-to pitchers on his team. He has done several private pitching lessons and the instructor says his mechanics are outstanding. His strike percentage is out of this world. Yesterday he was throwing close to 80%. From what I understand his speed is decent at 45mph. We were scrimmaging against an older team and I think because of the relatively slower pitch speed they were able to hit a lot of his throws which I think he found to be frustrating. Anyway, what next? Do we just hang tight and wait for him to get taller and stronger or should we be doing something else?? Pitching instructor doesn’t think there is much more he can do for him at this point. (Of course he can use some help on his batting, but that’s a whole 'nother story! :D)

At this age, I always recommend camps and clinics, preferrably college camps but hs camps can be ok too. The idea is to associate with players who have great mechanics, so your kid can be exposed to how they move athletically. Its also a lot of fun which focuses on teaching fundementals. Your pitching coach was right, there isn’t a ton more to it for a little guy, after puberty, IF he has the passion, then I’d say its time to return to the pitching coach. It will save you a lot of money and as long as you keep going to camps and clinics, his skills will not be negatively impacted (as long as he keeps playing).

Just wait. Being a strike thrower means he is going to get hit. Most kids on travel teams can hit strikes. (It is why they look so good in bp when the coaches throw :smiley: )

His job is to throw strikes and thank his defense between innings for their help.

Enjoy the games!

Enjoy these days and have fun.

Yesterday, in a 14U tournament, I watched my son (13U) give up 9 runs in 5 innings on (5 walks and 5 infield singles). From my son’s perspective, his FB wasn’t working, and the umpire took away the corners, knees and letters. The only strike he could get was a pitch down the middle, and that wasn’t happening because his FB moved right to left and the slider moved left to right. Immediately, the question was, “What can I do?” I looked at the stats, 17 induced ground balls in 5 innings, only two balls in the outfield (both fly outs) for the game, an umpire who only called a strike if the pitch was down the middle, and said, “It’s your 1st game. Relax. Do nothing different the next time you pitch. Your pitching was fine. The ball had great movement, which was why there were all of the ground balls and pass balls, and you were on the corners the whole game. Your infielders were busy and into the game. You played the best team in the county, and they managed only five infield singles for the whole game. The only happiness they had the whole game was when you left because of pitch count. Next time you play, the catcher will be a little more aware of how your pitches move, the infield will make fewer mistakes, and some of those borderline calls will go your way. Baseball is a game of inches, and next time the odds it will sway back in your way.”

Baseball is a good teacher for some of life’s hard lessons. No matter how good your son becomes, there will be days when the opposing team hits the ball and gets runs. Maybe it’s only 5 infield singles to the best team in the county, but those nine runs look really big, and can make a kid feel bad. Chalk up the positives (80% strikes!), it’s a team sport, his attitude, etc., and keep a positive attitude. Since his coach says there is nothing to do, trust his opinion. Enjoy the game as well.

Good points all! The other thing I told him was think of how many potential runs were stopped by not having any wild pitches. I think the catcher caught nearly every one of his throws.

He is definitely having a blast this year and my husband and I are really enjoying learning the sport. We are still active athletes but have no background at all in baseball. So I’m sure I’ll be back with more questions… And we have some great camps down here in TX, we will have to investigate.

I remember when my son was 9 (first year of kid pitch for us), the catchers would usually spend more time at the backstop than they would behind the plate - and not just because the pitchers were bad. We had some catchers that would find a way to take a thigh-high pitch right down the middle of the plate that hit them square in the middle of their mitt and still have it end up at the back stop! Ah, the joys of youth baseball.

Is this your sons first year of baseball or first year moving from league to travel? If he’s moving to travel & competition is better just give it some time. My son moved from league to travel in the fall shortly after turning 11. He was a dominant league player but really struggled initially with better competition. In the long run your son will play up to the competition; it’ll make him a better player. It’s a little difficult on the ego (probably mine more than my sons) to see him struggle. Keep throwing strikes and he’ll get there.

This is his first year playing select, two years of LL prior to this year. He did do All Stars at the end of last season which was fairly intense.

It is an adjustment. I’m sure he’s pitching as well as always just tougher competition. As the competition improves he will do likewise; will make him a better player in the long run.

Has the instructor videotaped your son? If not then he does no know whether his mechanics are perfect.

No, he has not been videotaped. I don’t think the word he used was that my son was perfect, what I thought I heard was he’s right on track and there wasn’t much more he could do at this point to improve his mechanics. I’m not sure I’m interested in any intense video analysis at this young age. Is that generally recommended?

I have two young boys who pitch. There is no way to accurately see all the faults a pitcher has unless they are filmed. Does not have to be “intense”. Take him back to the instructor and film your son during the first part of the lesson, then spend 10 minutes going over it. Your son will like the visual feedback. My kids learn much faster watching their own film. If the instructor does not see any faults then your son has grown out of him. All young pitchers have room for improvement. When you determine his mechanical faults then only correct one at a time.