[quote=“Bandit”]I found my 10 year old pitchers were “throwing BB’s” during bullpen work and even warm-ups between innings. They hit their target every time with ease, but when a batter stepped into the box their accuracy declined. We began standing in the box everytime they practiced, changing from leftside to rightside, etc.
What other ways have others used to get young pitchers comfortable throwing with a batter in the box?[/quote]
This topic is timely. Just yesterday I got a sales letter from a baseball company that sells inflatable batters that coaches can put in the batter’s box to help pitchers focus on the glove. If you hit the blow-up doll, which is essentially what it is, it just bounces off and nobody gets hurt. It’s called something like Bullpen Buddy, or Pitcher’s Buddy (you’d likely find it if you Googled it).
I’m not sure if something like that would be useful for older pitchers, so I opted not to sell it on my Web site, but it may be fun and effective for young kids.
With that said, I personally never liked to pitch bullpens with hitters standing in. So I didn’t ask guys to do it. Most of my teammates at the higher levels of the game didn’t like it, either. However, at that point in our careers, the mentality was such that none of us were afraid of hitting batters, which is why standing in – or inflatable batters – may be good for youth pitchers.
(If you do use one, let us know how it was.)