Dad's and Radar Guns


#1

I got a JUGS Gun for Xmas this year and with my son down with a injury I didn’t have anything to measure so I took it to a local HS JV scrimmage. I gunned one of the pitchers from 66 to 68 on his fastball with most at 66 and then one wild pitch at 69. When he got tired in his final inning of 3 speeds dropped into the low 60s. The Dad asked me what the readings were. I told him. He then said “Well we’ve gunned him at 75 but he doesn’t throw harder than he has to.”

Where have I heard that story before?

The reality is that a kid throwing 66 to 68 probably maxes out at 70 to 72 (with no control) and 75, especially in the past is highly unlikely except for an errant reading.

Before we realized he was injured, a couple months ago, mine was throwing 68-70 with most pitches at 69 and maxed out at 71, although 8 of 10 going for max velocity were at 71. I think that may have been due to the injury and his body was just placing a limit on the amount of effort he could put into a pitch. Even so, I’d say he was probably overthrowing at 68-70 and should have been down around 67-68 for optimal control. He did have one reading of 73 in the previous session a couple weeks earlier when he only hit 71 a couple time in 10 pitches. My guess is that the kid holding the gun moved it a bit on that one.


#2

Good post!

Definately heard that, especially as a player, way to many people PRETEND to have been put on a radar gun or more commonly compare to someone that has had velocity reading taken.

I’ve seen JV pitching and there’s not that many young guys going over low 70’s (with good control)

The eye can be deceiving, and the University of Kentucky coach pointed that out when he talked about recruiting, "I get a call from a coach telling me to check out his player, who’s throwing mid 80’s. Go out and put a gun on his pitches, and he tops out at 79.

BTW, how’s CASon recovering?


#3

It really doesn’t matter how fast someone is throwing, if you step in to the batters box and it looks fast that’s half the battle. If you look like you know what you’re doing and you look like you could be a hard thrower then alot of hitters will gear up for it


#4

I don’t know much about radar gun technology but I do know that there used to be “fast” guns and “slow” guns. One measured speed when the ball was just released and the other measured speed as the pitch reached the plate. In addition, some pitchers can hump up and throw significantly harder for one or two pitches then they normally throw in a game. Rather then just looking at max velocity a more effective use of the gun might be figuring out what is a pitchers most effective range for various pitches. Also, “Saving The Pitcher” suggests that a drop off in velocity late in the game can tell you when a pitcher should be removed.


#5

3rdgen,
The JUGS is a fast gun. The Stalker is also a fast gun but has typically read 1 or 2 mph slower than the JUGS. The older guns used to come up with a velocity that was close to the average velocity and typically read about 3 or 4 mph slower than a JUGS does because they had a slower sampling rate. I believe that most scouts use Stalkers as the Stalkers can also give you the speed at the plate as well as the speed near release. I’ve heard that the very latest Stalker guns read as fast as the JUGS guns now, but I don’t know if that’s true.

I agree that working velocity is more important than max velocity but it is useful to know both. I like to know that a pitcher has the option of bringing a little bit extra on an 0-2 high fastball or following a low change and I like to see pitchers throwing most of their pitches about 4 mph less than their max velocity. If a pitcher is throwing most of his pitches within a couple mph of his max velocity then he’s probably overthrowing a bit. During the offseason I like to finish bullpens with about 10 pitches with the pitcher trying to reach max velocity with the goal of being somewhere around the strike zone. It helps them get a feel for what they need to do when they’re going for the high hard one, it builds up their arm and it teaches them that they can’t locate at max velocity.

cf2150,
Thanks for asking. He’s recovering albeit a bit slowly. He went to the doctor for a checkup about a week ago hoping to be allowed to start limited sports activities in the brace but still had some tenderness around his spine so the doctor isn’t going to let him do any sports activities for another month. They’re having freshman tryouts today and although the coach told him that he and another player on the “DL” didn’t have to tryout because they already had enough information to evaluate them I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t recover in time to get any playing time with the freshmen as even after he’s allowed some sports activities it is going to be a gradual rehabilitation. It is a big deal to him to be able to play this season but in the long run it really doesn’t make much difference and certainly isn’t worth risking a chronic injury.


#6

CAdad. I have found much of what you said to be true. There’s always lots of talk about gun speed. I had some parents recently ask me what their son was throwing during a game I was watching at an aau tournament. They were considering having me train him. I could pretty much see a 76-78 fastball. An educated guess as I’ve seen many. They were appalled as they knew he was clocked at 86. I was polite and told them I would try to get him checked during the game. I looked around and found a scout that I know who had a stalker. He kindly came over and clocked the kid at 75-77. One pitch did hit 79. After a friendly discussion, these folks decided to get their son some help with his mechanics. I was happy to oblige. I am helping with his mechanics, working on his spots and change of speeds, which are very important aspects of learning to pitch. I think he’s looking better. Speed guns can have a bad effect on kids as they think thats all they need.

Coachric


#7

Just wait until HS or big showcases :slight_smile: Everyone’s son CONSISTANTLY hits 90+ :roll:

Makes you laugh sometimes…


#8

CADAD, very interesting thread.

I personally can say I have seen kids overthrow and hurt themselves when a gun is around. They obviously overthrow and in the process forget about sound mechanics. I saw it once from a dad last year who was gunning his son during practices. The next thing you know the kid wasn’t throwing and didnt pitch for half the season. I didn’t approach the dad but I already knew what happened.

I also have a gun, a BUSHNELL and I usually get readings every 3-4 months. Personally the BUSHNELL is not as accurate but I have heard you need to add 1-2 mph a reading compared to the higher end guns. I know this is true because last year my 12 yr old was hitting 69 on it two weeks before a tourney in Steamboat. A few weeks later in STEAMBOAT a parent for the opposing team was taking readings from my son right behind homeplate. At first I didn’t want him to be there, since it was gametime and I didn’t want my son dialing it up in the first innings or even risk injuring himself, but I did approach the person and asked what the readings were. He was cruising at 66-69 the first inning and topping at 71 by the 3rd inning. I was really suprised since he hit 69 back home and 71 here. Well he also had a more accurate gun and I remembered what someone told me about the BUSHNELL readings.

If you are on a weighted ball throwing program or a long toss program I think they can be beneficial to gauge your son’s progress and use it for good use. One recommendation is to not bring it during practice or get a bunch a kids trying to beat each other out on readings, they will hurt themselves!!! Intent to throw hard and overthrowing is a fine line and many do not know the difference.

Also , CADAD thanks for your long toss program , we have stuck by if for over 2 months and it has been great. :lol:

Good luck to your son for a speedy recovery!!!


#9

baseballbum,
I agree that they tend to overthrow. If you look at the result from the Diamond King showcases where they post both max velocity and working velocity, the working velocities are often very close to the max velocity. My guess is that the players are overthrowing a bit for the gun resulting in higher working velocities than they would have in a game with no scouts or guns.

We’ve had the same experience with the Bushnell although the biggest problem with the Bushnell was getting readings on more than about 1 out of 5 pitches even from a few feet behind the catcher. This is one case where you get what you pay for.

Thanks for the good wishes. I’d be more than happy with a full recovery however long it takes.


#10

[quote=“baseballbum”]CADAD, very interesting thread.

I personally can say I have seen kids overthrow and hurt themselves when a gun is around. They obviously overthrow and in the process forget about sound mechanics. I saw it once from a dad last year who was gunning his son during practices. The next thing you know the kid wasn’t throwing and didnt pitch for half the season. I didn’t approach the dad but I already knew what happened.

I also have a gun, a BUSHNELL and I usually get readings every 3-4 months. Personally the BUSHNELL is not as accurate but I have heard you need to add 1-2 mph a reading compared to the higher end guns. I know this is true because last year my 12 yr old was hitting 69 on it two weeks before a tourney in Steamboat. A few weeks later in STEAMBOAT a parent for the opposing team was taking readings from my son right behind homeplate. At first I didn’t want him to be there, since it was gametime and I didn’t want my son dialing it up in the first innings or even risk injuring himself, but I did approach the person and asked what the readings were. He was cruising at 66-69 the first inning and topping at 71 by the 3rd inning. I was really suprised since he hit 69 back home and 71 here. Well he also had a more accurate gun and I remembered what someone told me about the BUSHNELL readings.

If you are on a weighted ball throwing program or a long toss program I think they can be beneficial to gauge your son’s progress and use it for good use. One recommendation is to not bring it during practice or get a bunch a kids trying to beat each other out on readings, they will hurt themselves!!! Intent to throw hard and overthrowing is a fine line and many do not know the difference.

Also , CADAD thanks for your long toss program , we have stuck by if for over 2 months and it has been great. :lol:

Good luck to your son for a speedy recovery!!![/quote]

Couldn’t the altitude at Steamboat have an effect as well (8,000+ feet above sea level)? I have the Bushnell and find it very accurate compared to a friends Jugs gun. For the cost difference, I’ll stick to the Bushnell. I only pull it out 3 times a season anyway; Pre-season, mid-season and end of season.


#11

I also have a radar gun that we use from time to time and its always laughable when parents brag about their son throwing in the eigthties and only go mid sixties when I pull our gun out. But seriously, the gun can be a very productive tool. For instance my son was consistently throwing 70-73 last year as a freshman when his mechanics were excellent. One day I was at his game and I could see his mechanics were off, he was struggling with control and his speed was down. Inbetween innings I talked to my son about his mechanics and he disagreed that he had a problem-he was indeed getting outs. So I went to the car pulled out the gun and measured his fastball at 60-62 mph.I let him know of his speed after the game he said “Radar guns don’t lie” and that night we got right to work on mechanics. Within a week he was bach in the 70’s.


#12

we use our gun to measure difference in speeds from fastball to changeup and fastball to breaking ball. thats about it. we never tell our kids their fastball times, we talk to them about differences between pitches.


#13

Nice post Raider. What good is it for a young pitcher to know his pitching speed. Scouts will be checking it soon enough. I believe its like weight lifting, I can bench 200, I can do 225 and so on. Many parents and players like to talk about velocity, but it must be used effectively in a game in order to have a purpose. There is so much more to pitching than throwing.

Coachric


#14

CADAD-Please don’t take my comment wrong, I did not mean to say that their aren’t indeed young kids that can throw in the eigthies at a relatively young age, their just few and far between. I have seen one thirteen year old throwing in the eigthies and he was absolutely dominant.


#15

I agree completely. A 13yo throwing in the 80s is going to tend to be dominant and they are few and far between. 1 or two in the country would be the norm each year. I was shocked when I watched a PONY13 allstar game this past season and a mid to high 70s pitcher who was throwing strikes and throwing a fairly nice breaking ball got rocked. (He had dominated the same team earlier in the tournament.)

Our 14u team ran into the same kid in the finals of a Thanksgiving tournament at 54’. He was throwing high 70s but wasn’t getting the curve over much. We managed a couple earned runs in 5 innings and threatened a bit but he was too much for us.


#16

I have an old Tribar police gun which I had converted for sports (picks up smaller objects). I mostly use this for my pitchers developing thier change-up.

This gun reads 8 times per second with the trigger held down. I get 3-5 readings on each pitch. It’s nice to see the speed from the hand and the speed at the plate. It’s a great tool for demonstrating what grips effect the ball better.

So many players and parents are obsessed with velocity. Give me a pitcher with average velocity and late sharp movement anyday of the week.


#17

Guns are tools, if used correctly they can provide useful information. Just my opinion but the arbitrary use by a parent may not be as helpful as say using it in a controlled setting with folks that have experience. One example I would site is at various camps that colleges use in order to recruit. My son attends as many of these camps as my wallet can stand! It not only gets him in books where it counts (Every school in the NAIA and NCAA has to by rules record all prospects that throw at their camps…a prospect is any kid 14 or older), these guys also know HOW to gun a kid, they are always stretched, loose and warmed up. The gun is never the main focus.


#18

Some miss the point that radar guns can be used to avoid or detect injuries as well and could save a young pitchers future if a problem is detected early enough. Many young throwers do not know the difference between a little discomfort and an injury. Many will try to throw through pain they should not throw through because of a “big” game or end of the season coming. If a pitcher just has a little “dead arm”, it can be detected and he can be rested and the rest of his season salvaged.
Also, last year I convinced a local high school coach to get a radar gun. Here’s why: He was looking for a better way to show kids how they stacked up against others during tryout situations. He not only used the gun for pitchers, but for outfielders throwing from position, infielders throwing across the diamond, and even for hitters bat speed off a T. It was easier for him to explain to kids who would not make the team, and to let them know through numbers what they need to improve on. He didn’t have to tell kids “you’re not good enough”, but "here’s why and here’s what to work on."
P.S.—The radar gun is only one aspect of judging pitchers during tryouts. It also includes location, movement, change of speeds among other things.