Fun but Hard Night!

Been coaching Little League the last several years, and really enjoy it. My favorite part of the coaching end is working with the young pitchers. I’m from a area where most coaches preach to all of the 10-13 year old kids to just “throw the heat”. I know in theory this works out a lot of times with the younger small town teams we have in the area, but the trouble is it keeps a lot of the smaller kids around here from getting a chance to pitch and we all know that as the years go by it makes it harder for them to ever get the chance to one learn and then two to catch up.

Well, this year I am helping out a team in the town I am next to, and my 11 year old is playing with them. When I was asked to help out coach this team of 10 and 11 year old kids (playing in the 11-12 y/o div.) I jumped at the offer.

Well last night we faced the boys from my hometown team with many of the kids that I coached last year on it. They have mainly 12 y/o kids and are a very good team. What I enjoyed so much about last night was the fact that out of the total 11 runs scored from both teams only 2 were given up by the 2 pitchers with the slower fastballs of the whole group.

The eleven y/o who I have been working with on our new team is a joy for any coach. He listens, questions as to why we have changed his form (not to be smart but to learn and understand). He is tenacious as a little bulldog, will go right after them when told and knows how to paint the corners also. Right now he is throwing the fb, change, and cutter. My boy catches and moves him around the plate, the control this kid has is good enough to waste a pitch on a 2-2 count and get em for strike 3 with it full.

The boy from the other team I have worked with for the last couple years. Several coaches from my town told me 2 years ago that he just isn’t fast enough and would be done pitching shortly. This kid is 12 and has a average at best fastball, but again he moves it around throws the mix of 4 and 2 seam with the occasional cutter. But his strikeout pitch is a nifty little combo change up/screwball that when a kid can handle it is awesome.

Sorry for such a long first post. The only point I am trying to make here is for coaches to not give up on any young pitcher who shows promise just because of speed. It is our job to teach them that the legs and body give the power, and honestly during the early teen years some of the smaller thinner kids have growth spurts that catch or surpass their teammates. The eleven y/o spoke of earlier is gaining velocity it seems weekly.

Well you heard the fun, the hard was our 10 and 11 y/o’s lost 7-4 lol. But as many of the parents said last night in a game played as well as this one there were no losers.

take care,
d-man

Dman, you’re right on target!
A long time ago I learned something I call “The Secret”—the real key to a pitcher’s power—from watching the Yankees’ Big Three rotation and seeing how they did it. Those three guys—Allie Reynolds, Vic Raschi and Ed Lopat—were all doing the same thing; they were driving off the lower half of the body, using the legs, the hips and the torso in one continuous motion, so they were generating the power behind their pitches (even Lopat, who was not a fireballer), not to mention taking a lot of pressure off said arm and shoulder so they could throw harder with less effort. I picked up on that and worked with it on my own, and even though I was not particularly fast (low 80s, actually) I found that I too could throw harder with less effort—how not to get a sore arm or a sore elbow or a sore shoulder or a sore anything else! Apparently you too are thinking along those lines—good for you.
About those self-styled coaches who keep insisting that pitchers throw over the top and won’t countenance anything else—they remind me of ostriches with their heads in the sand, except that when ostriches do this they are looking for water. Not so with those speed maniacs. I had a wise and wonderful pitching coach for almost four years—the aforementioned Ed Lopat—who firmly believed that every pitcher has a natural motion, and what he did was work with that pitcher to maximize his or her capabilities. He knew that I wasn’t particularly fast; he also knew that I was a natural sidearmer, and so he focused on things like expanding my repertoire, refining the crossfire which I had picked up on my own, and teaching me things about strategic pitching and the mental and psychological aspects of the game. Unfortunately he’s no longer with us, but I’m willing to bet that if he were he would give those coaches a good resounding what-for!
So I say to you, stick to your guns and keep on doing what you’ve been doing all along, because you’re on the right track. 8) :slight_smile:

Thanks Zita for your response. I am loyal reader of your posts and applaud the help and advice you give not just for the parents and individual kids, but for coaches like myself who are trying to teach these kids the right way.

It is unbelievable to me how so many of the youth coaches in this area only care about winning.

I mean, come on, we all know you play the game to win but at 10 to 12 years of age shouldn’t our first and most important goal be to teach these youngsters how to pitch properly?

I have some questions to ask you when I get caught up a little around here. If I start to drive you nuts let me know ha ha.

thanks
dman