A primer for a new dad in the sport

Coach Baker just posted this…it’s so profound and complete that I’m asking Steven to make it a sticky on the Youth Pitching Forum…
We are blessed to have such wisdom freely given…thank you Coach;

[i][b]I really appreciate the info coach… Though it’s a bit discouraging because I just don’t know where to start with fixing his mechanics.

Somehow, you were told that at eight years old your son has bad mechanics. Ain’t gonna happen. He’s eight, physically he’s forming and changing every day of his life. The biggest mistake that any parent can make is to assume, or have someone assume for you, that your son - athletically, is off the beaten path and just not cutting it.

Your son has a long, no make that a very long way to go, before he has the what-for-ever to control his motion in a way that signals any kind of baseline, by which you or anyone else can pass judgement on. Trust me on this one.

On the other hand … I do know of a product called “good times”. And it works like this:
Get the youngster out there, without the pressure to perform and let him enjoy the time he has as a youngster. Laugh with him, ice cream all around for everyone, dad’s a super guy!!

Competitive instruction at eight is an adults way of preening and clipping a bush even before the roots have taken hold, in my opinion. Again, I’m not a youth coach, so my views are a bit slanted. So, as far as a pitching coach is concerned, I only suggested that so as to give you an alternate approach if you were all that serious about directing your son in the demands of pitching. A professional YOUTH pitching coach knows things that’ll avoid harmful elections in movement and performance on the field, that would go unnoticed by others less skilled in the profession.

… I was hoping I found something that would help him nail down at least one important aspect…

The only aspect that he has to nail down is the fun side of this equation that you’re trying to calculate. When your boy is having a whopping good time, believe me, everything will fall into place at its proper time and place. In that regard, he’ll be more receptive to coaching - if that’s his thing, and he’ll have a learning curve that’ll have baselines that he can associate and draw some conclusions from.

How many pitches is ok for 8yrs old?

I am not a youth coach, never have been, nor do I pretend to have the professional skills to qualify in that regard. But, I do know that every human being has “days” when he or she has peaks and valleys of strength and endurance, a focus that’s with-it that day, better some days then others, and so on.

Pitch counts are vital, in my opinion, to every pitcher at every level. I’m not going to elaborate on that from the competitive side, but rather from the physical side. Take a gander at a web site that shows the detail makeup of the human arm. Notice how frail it is. Also, consider the other parts of the human body with muscles that are much larger and specifically designed to carry loads of stress. Legs, pelvic, abdominal, back muscles and so on. Concentrate on solid eating habits, reasonable “fun” exercises for a youngster that age and you’ll do wonders for your son and his growth and development. As he grows and gets stronger, so will his acceptance of formal training methods.

With respect to addressing your question directly - at eight years old I would suggest the following when he is rested, well nourished, without injury: 50 pitches max, tempered up or down based on the youngster’s frailty and tolerance for physical activity. I would also suggest
four days of non-pitching activity, again, tempered up or down based on the youngster’s frailty and tolerance for physical activity.

Let’s go back to my using the word “pitching”. If you and your son are tossing the ball then I wouldn’t be so detailed with a number count. Tossing the ball around and asking your son to hit the glove can be just as functional and deliberate. The key to developing a good arm is using it. Toss out in the backyard often, after dinner, anytime. Nice and easy does it will work well at that age.

He’s couple times early this spring he told me his arm hurt (it was after long toss one time), and we called it quits when he did.

Congratulations dad! You are your son’s biggest advocate. Keep that kind of concern going and your son will have a baseball experience that he’ll thank you for later on.

Are you familiar with strikeout strips?
Are you referring to Strikeout Strippz? This is a product with a video that compliments the device and its use. I am not familiar with it nor do I know a coach(s) or player in the upper ranks of this sport that has used it. Perhaps someone else on this web site or others can help you in your fact-finding.

Any products or videos you can suggest?

The products and videos that I have been accustomed to have been either promotional endorsements and similar “sales” type ventures. However, I would like to suggest going to the top of this web site and “clicking” on ORDER . There you will find an outstanding collection of professional publications that I recommend highly. For his improvement and enjoyment as he gets older - definitely.
Also, I’d like to add that I have no financial or business interest in this or any other web site, publication house, printed or video for sale, player endorsements, etc. I don’t swing that way - frankly, I have no use for such promotions.[/b][/i]

Let me add something to this excellent post—something that is extremely pertinent to the subject.
In the 2001 issue of SABR’s “Baseball Research Journal” there’s an article by Paul McCary titled “SANDLOT BASEBALL: THE WAY THE KIDS LIKE IT”, Or Who’s the game for, anyway? He begins the article with this statement, and I quote: “Sandlot baseball has given way to the organized variety nearly everywhere. And that’s a shame.” He goes on to tear into what has happened to the game since the adults took it over, how it has become a real step backward. He describes, in a most uncomplimentary fashion, how the adults have commandeered Little League teams, engineer tryouts and generally manipulated the structure of the sandlot game to fit their own dreams of glory. He talks about scheduling, disputed calls, playing in front of often disapproving adults who point out the mistakes and other aspects of how this adult takeover has put on pressures that no kid should have to contend with. Is in any wonder that a lot of kids have given up on the game and turned to other pursuits?
As I see it, this particular form of coaching, long before a kid is ready for it, is yet another aspect of this takeover. Imagine!—a kid of seven or eight being forced to undergo inappropriate coaching long before s/he has sufficiently matured physically, just to keep up with the Joneses or the Hosselplotzes or because some misguided coach says they have to do this or that? Where has the fun gone? The way of the penny seltzer, is my answer. I remember when I was a kid and we learned to play the game by playing the game, by choosing up sides (usually so that the players on each side were of equal ability) and just going to a playing field of one kind or another with bat and ball and having fun doing it, with no rules except the existing rules of the game, no interference from adults who, in my opinion, had long ago forgotten what this was all about. Have you noted, by the way, that a lot of major leaguers have not forgotten that baseball is indeed a kids’ game and it’s supposed to be fun, even though the objective is for one team to beat the c.r.a.p. out of the other team?
Sure, it’s important to know the fundamentals, the basics of good mechanics and all that, but that can come later, when the kid is ten or eleven and can understand at least some of these basics. Why rush, just for the sake of bragging rights? To do this is grossly unfair…unfair to the kids and to intelligent adults alike.Mr. McCary is right on target. 8)

The winning question is how…how to get the pendulum to swing the other way??
So many agree that this is the right approach…I posted this on other sites also and such people as the director of the American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI), Dr. Glenn Fleisig endorsed this approach.
My personal opinion is that steady reasonable pressure in opportune moments can “turn back the clock” a bit…Something I intend to continue to work for where I can…what a worthy cause 8)
Zita that was an excellent amplification.

I agree 100% with the post coach! And really appreciate the time you took to write it all! We threw the ball around tonight a bit and had a lot of fun. We pitched to each other and took some swings… and then made up a game where we tried to launch the ball at alien flying saucers and caught the pop flys… :slight_smile: Anyway, I do appreciate it. If I might be open here… Here is my ultimate reasoning for wanting to get my boy “ramped up” and maybe (ok definitely) getting ahead of myself a bit… Many or most of my sons friends play soccer… And if he doesn’t go into fall ball or next season with a little more confidence in his ability, he’s going to want to kick a polka dotted ball around instead. Am I a bad dad for wanting to avoid that at all costs? Maybe so, but I don’t have a “soccer card” collection to pass down to him some day… In case you haven’t heard the recent news: http://tinyurl.com/Breaking-Soccer-Headline

Anyway, my misguided approach was definitely counter productive… We had a lot of fun tonight, and he even knocked one over the fence and well into the neighbors yard (The bleacher creatures!)… :wink:

I have to laugh a little…I was attending a retirement party last night for a guy I see in the mirror every morning. I probably stayed out too late and kissed the baby one too many times then got up early and played 18 holes. At the party one of my former co-workers was talking about his son attending a prep high school and the money he’s spending on him. He’s divorced and doesn’t get to see his son much. During one talk he asked his son what he might want to study in college. The response, “An artist.” “No son, the correct answer would be doctor, lawyer, scientist…NOT ARTIST!”

The point is…you got no control of it so just let it work itself out. I know that’s easy for me to say…having two sons and a daughter that love the game of baseball. You have to trust that your kids will make their own way through life and be influenced by your constant example. Some will be and some won’t. I have a good friend, also former co-worker who’s youngest son is currently doing a few years in the state correctional facility. YOU GOT NO CONTROL!!!

Now if I may, the crisis in youth baseball IMHO is in part a result of my generation’s financial success. As kids we didn’t have the money to travel, to buy fancy uniforms, to join organizations…and our parents still remembered the great depression. In addition, we now live in a predatory society where our kids are deemed fair game for all sorts of pathetic twisted perverts. It seems necessary to have a controlled environment for our kids where everyone that comes in contact with them is known and documented. This has caused it’s own set of problems, mainly coaching children to make false reports against some former spouses both father and mother. The concept of the family unit is weakened, government social organizations are enpowered to protect the children. Baseball as a game for children can not survive under these pressures. Children can not meet together without parental or adult supervision. Dare I say it…organizations like Little League, have chosen to use children for financial gain.

These are just some of the challenges we face. Sandlot baseball is a an endangered species. It sounds strange to say but poverty can bring it back…if you have ever visited the Dominican Republic… the children know this.


lol… Control? I don’t desire control… I’d actually prefer to instill an appreciation in him. Lets not pretend we can’t influence our kids, either positively or negatively…

Wanting your kid to be a doctor, who has no interest in it… Is a world away from a kid who wants to be a pitcher, but cant quite get his wind up right, and a dad who wants to see him nail it before he loses interest.

You know what…I tried.

You can lead a horse to water…but a pencil must be led. Good Luck. :?:

Hey thanks for trying anyway… I just think your analogy of the kid wanting to be an artist didn’t fit the situation. … Since my kid wants to pitch… And you may be right about baseballs slow decline… But what I’d also say is, divorce doesn’t help. So many kids are raised by single moms, who have no problem with their kids playing soccer, which in my book is a girl’s sport.


I left you a PM.

Coach B.

I do apologize for not hitting the nail on the head so to speak… you are headed in the right direction and everything will work out for your son as long as your heart stays focused on his dreams. But keep a soccer ball nearby just in case. :roll: