HELP

Steve, Zita, or anybody I need help. On my young team, 10 and 11 y/o in the 12y/o league, I have my one 11 y/o pitcher who I have been bragging about on this sight. He can get me through 3 innings of the game almost every time. My trouble is the other couple pitchers have went into a funk. In the bullpen before the game give me about 5 min. with each kid and they look good. But, when they hit the mound they have been struggling bad the last several games. The problem is they both change their form, footwork, everything during the game.

Kid #1- 10 yr. old lh throws very fast for his age. 4 seam and 2 seam does have a change-up. Pitches from stretch, when he keeps his feet shoulder distance apart, looks to the glove throughout the whole pitch, and controls his hand break he’s awesome. Trouble is he tries to reinvent the wheel now every outing. He will start hitching his hand every other pitch or so (reason is he knows he took it from the glove too soon), and the trouble here is on occasion it will work and he will burn one in there for a strike. Again, trouble is that is like one of 5 or 6 pitches lol. He will also get his feet spread too far apart, why I have no idea.

Kid #2 11 yr. old rh. 3/4 arm slot. Super nice natural movement on the 2 seam. Has a decent straight change. Pitched very well early on now also reinventing the wheel. Can’t keep him reaching out with the stride foot. Also changes arm slot between pitches. Also having trouble with mentally focusing (both boys).

This whole deal wouldn’t be so bad if the kids were on different teams but all my pitching coach woes lie on this young team. Of the 8 or so kids I am working with this year it is killing me with the troubles I am having on the team that needs it the most. I know I am really stretching it by asking for help in such a vague way here, but all ideas considered and appreciated. To put in perspective how bad this is bugging me, over the weekend 4 kids I work with pitched scoreless ball in their tournament games and one allowed one run. Take away my lil 11 year old ace on this team and I cant get a kid to hit a barn wall from inside the barn. It makes me feel like I am failing them miserably.

Thanks in advance
dman

Dman, there’s no getting away from it—you are going to have to go back to the basics with those kids. As I was reading this post I was visualizing what they were doing, and I got a mental picture of all the things they had been taught going in one ear and out the other at the characteristic speed of whoosh! I’ve seen this in the major leagues from time to time—a pitcher seemingly unable, or is it unwilling, to get the hang of things, with the result being “The pitcher had electric stuff but couldn’t find the plate” or a bunch of gopher balls being served to the opposing batters. And this just won’t do.
You are going to have to treat them like a bunch of newbies who can’t stand on the rubber without falling off—go all the way back to square one and teach them all over again. And you have to tell them that the time for experimentation is NOT during a game. I wish you luck.

Sounds a little like the players might be thinking way too much and not just pitching, this can happen because we try and educate “too” much as coaches, many players don’t need to know why they aren’t doing badly or well, they just need time doing the right mechanics over and over again in practice. Pitcher #1 doesn’t need to know that he tends to break his hands early, he needs to know nothing, go back to basic mechanical work from the beginning, step by step and not moving to the next step of the action till the previous is perfect. doesn’t really work well during the season.

Well guys last night was same 'ol same 'ol. We played by far the best team in this league. Got pounded as I expected because this team is their town all stars all 12 y/o practice year round etc. great coaches and really good players.

My 'lil 11 y/o ace wasn’t on at all last night, but he is getting good enough to still do well even when he doesn’t have his best stuff (to me the sign of really maturing as a pitcher). He did just fine considering the talent of the team we played and lack of gold gloves on ours to back him up.

A little bull pen session before the game had the other two boys throwing great but game time became the same scenario as the last few weeks.

We have 3 or so games left in our regular season then we have a couple tournaments. When our tournaments start we will gain a kid from another team that I have coached (kid who broke his arm in one of my other posts). So I think I’ll do as you guys suggest and start over with these two boys and a couple others who have practiced pitching on this team a bit. Maybe use these last few games to practice up some kids and give the 'lil ace a bit of rest.

One quick question for you guys. What do you guys think of letting a kid throw one or two innings, then bringing him back in for the last inning. Of course I am talking if his pitch count is very low. I have never been one to do this as I didn’t think it would be good for the arm number one, and number two I usually have 3 or 4 pitchers on a team good enough that it would never be necessary.

I just want to so badly figure out something for this young team to get us through these 2 tournaments. I can see it really hurts these kids when they see pitchers I work with on other teams throwing lights out and hearing about how well the kids I coach from the city are doing. Yet, this young team I just can’t seem to find the answer.

Thanks in advance
dman

Sorry Zita and Buwhite, I am definitely going to take your advice and start from the basics w/ these two!!!