Comments on this approach to teaching pitching

Hi all. This my first post on this forum. I look forward to your comments.

My boy has been playing ball non stop since he was 6. We have always concentrated on hitting and fielding, never ever on pitching. My feeling was, play ball, be a ball player, and that he is.

He has recently turned 12 and wants to pitch more. I have always steered him away from that in fear of arm problems. Well now I am thinking about how to approach this and am thinking that lots of long toss is the key. I am stressing good mechanics, a short time limit, but cutting loose hard throwing. Then bringing those mechanics and arm speed to the mound.

Is this the way to go? BTW, he is not a physically mature kid for 12.
What can I say, nothing in kids baseball scares me except arm injuries!

Thanks for listening!

Its a good way but the thing is do YOU know enough about pitching so that he can pitch the correct way. Also try and get a video of him pitching so that other people can see other things from a different perspective.

Just have him copy this…

Thanks, that is a very informative set of clips.

First, you’ve got to make sure he is throwing correctly. I put together this article that describes how I teach my guys to throw…

Once you’re sure that he’s throwing properly, then I would suggest that you work on his pitching out of the Set position. At this point, you want to keep things very simple. I wrote this article to explain the first thing I teach my pitchers to do…

In terms of long toss, I don’t think that’s the right place to start.

Yes, long toss may improve his velocity and help to condition his arm, but pitching isn’t just about velocity. Instead, it’s about keeping the ball down, hitting the target, and changing speeds.

The problem with just focusing on velocity is that…

  1. He won’t learn how to really pitch.
  2. He may increase his risk of injuring himself.

I am taking a Greg Maddux type of approach with my 11 year-old son (who is very effective and has never had any arm problems). He doesn’t throw as hard as some of the other guys on the team, but he still strikes tons of guys out (or at worse gives up grounders) because he keeps the ball down and changes speeds.

Chris, you are so right!
You mentioned that there are two things wrong with this approach. One, the kid doesn’t really learn how to pitch. Two, there’s a greater risk of injury. Too many coaches, who really ought to know better, place too great an emphasis on velocity—as if it were the be-all and the end-all, when they should be focusing on good mechanics in all the various aspects.
I was lucky. I had been pitching for a couple of years and doing all right, winning some games and rescuing others. I had recognized that I would never be a rip-roarin’ fireballer, so I went in the other direction and became a very good finesse pitcher, figuring that if you can’t overpower the hitters you have to outthink and outfox them. At age 16, because of my overwhelming curiosity about the slider, I asked Yankee pitcher Eddie Lopat about it, and his response was to take me aside and instruct me in how to throw a good one. I quickly found out that he had a basic premise: every pitcher has a natural motion, and what he would do was to work with that pitcher and show him (or her) how to make the most of it. What I learned from him over the course of almost four years was nothing short of priceless; he helped me become a better pitcher than I had been, and no sore arms or other injuries!
Sometimes the best pitching coach is an active major leaguer who knows what he’s doing. So your idea of approaching the situation a la Greg Maddux is a good one. :slight_smile:

It’s great to see you back, Zita. Us guys have been worried about your absence:


Regardless how serious your youngster is, or will be, the training cycle that I’ve pictured below is a good plan to start with.

As you all progress just keep in mind that any lack of interest or distraction with any one discipline means a weak link in the total plan - that is, to give your son the oportunity to enjoy and benefit with his overall experience.

If he’s got baseball in his future, any baseball, every level will expect greater and greater demands on his ability to focus and produce. If he’s just in it for the park-n-rec experience, he’ll have a good time and be healthy at the same time. If he’s got a “program guy” kind of game, he’ll out shine the majority of prospects competing for a roster slot.

Why do I say out shine? Because so many players start out with 100% effort, but the body and mind start to lose %'s as time goes on when they haven’t address this basic training cycle as shown below.

Each discipline that I’ve shown below is a lenghthy topic all by itself and goes well beyond this posting - BUT, you’re off to a good start.

Find yourself a PROFESSIONAL pitching coach, tailored to your son’s age and personality. It’s money well spent and you’ll both have a great father and son experience.

Coach B.

Boys and girls this post is almost 6 years old, great info though!