Flat Ground vs Mound

My 12 year old son has been going to see a pitching coach for 8-10 weeks now and he has him throwing the ball much better than when he started.

When he works with the coach he is pitching off of a mound but during our summer league they do not use a mound.

He throws great off the mound but when he moves to flat ground his arm drops down and he looks like a complete diffrent kid.

Does anyone have any advice on how to adjust for this?

why on earth isn’t there a mound? he isn’t playng softball.

I know.

Most of the towns we play only have one field so the mound is built for the high school teams.

A few teams have started using portable mounds.

First of all, 12 year olds don’t use mounds. They throw from 50 feet, not 60’6". I’m actually not sure why your son is pitching off a mound with his pitching coach right now. He should be throwing off flatground, which is what he’ll use during the season.

:?: Huh? :?:

Not sure what Little League you played for but I have been using a mound since I was 9. I have always used a mound. I have never played softball…

I grew up in the midwest, and still live there, and 13 and under pitch from flat ground. You guys have full blown mounds for 12 year olds?

not full blown, but they are a few inches tall. but they are never flat.

I didn’t pitch off a mound until I was 14. Depends where you live I suppose.

Same here offset. I guess it’s different in the south. 12 year olds really pitch of a 10 inch full mound? ?? !!

This discussion has definitely taken an interesting side-street.

LL’ers and PONY players in California definitely pitch from mounds. I think the standard for <13 yo is less than 10"–it’s probably more like 6", if there is an actual standard.

But, the question of whether here is a standard mound height for kids under 13 yo couldn’t possibly be resolved by looking at the various mounds my son used when he was in LL. They ranged from portables to permanent dirt mounds–the dirt mounds were usually in abysmal shape, having been eroded by weather and use, and only sometimes repaired. Basically the dirt mounds for LL in my part of California can most delicately be described as “variable”.

The portables have their issues too–but absolute height is usually not the problem for those. For the cheapest portables–and most leagues are cost-conscious, sometimes to a fault–the big issues are the length and slope of the approach to home plate and the slope of the sides and back. For some of the cheapest (and most portable) of those mounds, taking a small rocker step in the wind-up can be like stepping off of a ledge.

Back to the OP’s original discussion–in my experience, many youth coaches don’t generally make much of an attempt to teach good throwing mechanics to all of their players, all of whom nevertheless do long-toss warmups from flat-ground very routinely. This may lead to the perception by many kids that flat-ground “throwing mechanics” just don’t matter and/or they are not related to pitching mechanics.

On the other hand, pitching coaches do focus on throwing mechanics and they usually use a mound for instruction, which makes 'em “pitching mechanics”.

Personally, I think the distinction between “flat-ground” throwing mechanics and “mound-based” throwing mechanics is greatly over-rated. In most important respects, throwing mechanics from flat-ground and a mound should be the same.

The slope of the mound should increase the velocity of a throw, and increase the biokinetic forces (i.e., stresses) on the thrower’s body. However, I really think the adjustments that a thrower needs to make for maintaining release-point and accuracy between mound and flat-ground are very minor.

Essentially, good flat-ground throwing mechanics can be performed “as is” on a flat plane that is properly sloped (only 1" drop for every foot of distance).

FWIW, here in the Phoenix area where I live…

Little League Minors and Majors pitch off mounds at 46’.

Travel ballers ages 10-12 pitch off mounds at 50’.

Middle School 7th graders and 13yo travel ballers pitch off mounds at 54’.

Little League Juniors and Seniors, travel ballers ages 14+, middle school 8th graders, K-8 school 7th and 8th graders, and high schoolers all pitch off mounds at 60’.

Little League minors/majors mounds are, as laflippin said, “variable”. So are K-8 and middle school field mounds. Travel ballers under age 14 usually pitch off of portable mounds. Travel ballers age 14+ usually pitch off real dirt mounds as do high schoolers.

I am from Illinois, so Midwest as well. Yeah we use mounds as soon as they begin “kid pitching” at 9 years old. Now this is little league I am referring to…maybe it is different in Pony or Babe Ruth.

So do you guys think that not having the slope of the mound would cause timing issues?

It seems to me your foot would be landing sooner without the mound.

i know it does. my schools mound is awesome and i pitch great off of it, but our rec park’s mound is very flat and might even have an upward slope. i get nou use out of my body when i pitch on it. i basically have to throw all arm.

Yes, I think there is something to that, munster7, but I’m guessing that it’s more of theoretical concern than an actual problem.

Pitchers play long toss on flat ground all the time, and the timing differences between long-toss and pitching delivery don’t seem to cause problems on the mound in any kind of obvious way.

Even on a mound, pitchers often alter their timing between “bullpen speed” or “75% effort” versus “game speed”, “100% effort” and such.

If there were large mechanical differences between flat-ground throwing and mound throwing, that would be cause for real concern.

Hammer, I grew up not too far from Munster (A little town near Joliet called Romeoville) and I remember throwing off of flat ground even up til Jr High…then I moved south (Ky) and we had mounds from then on. In Fla. we had mounds for 12u, heck even had to set up our pitching machine for the 8-10 instructional league on a mound.

Munster he shouldn’t be much different as La has pointed out, he may be getting more stride on the mound…I suspect his altering slot like that is timing related compensating.

I pitch low when I am on the mound, and yesterday when I was practising pitching on flat ground, I kept throwing high. It wasn’t my fault I was pitching high when I was on flat ground, I guess if I was on a mound, the high pitches turn into strikes on a mound.

The slight feeling of falling forward one gets from the slope of the mound can be a mental cue to shift weight and keep momentum going forward. Absence of that, he may not be “getting out in front” with “good follow through”. If looks like is staying back on the throw and finishing with a lot of arm, that is the likely culprit.

If you pick up your handy LL Green Book and turn to page 43, you’ll see that the “compulsory dimension” for LL (12 and below) pitching mounds requires the pitcher’s plate to be 6" above the level of home plate, and that the mound is to be a 10’ circle.