# How fast should an 8 year old pitch? Is my son too slow?

My son just tuend 8 in April… He topped out at 41mph, average is around 34-37…

I’m seeing many guys on here (& other sites) talking about their kids throwing pure heat at this age… Is my son too slow?

I wouldn’t say he’s too slow. I can’t imagine how slow I was throwing at 8 but i know it wasn’t heat. Between the time I was 11 and 12 I went from getting knocked all over the field to nobody being able to touch the ball. The difference was the growing I did. Any velocity he has before he hits puberty and starts to grow I would say doesn’t matter much. A better focus would be to make sure he can throw comfortably and consistantly for strikes, then when he has a growth spurt he’ll have the mechanics to manage the new velocity that he’ll naturally develop by growing taller and stronger.

cnykirk,

Welcome to the world of internet chatter, where no one would ever lie or exaggerate about their son’s sports abilities in order to make themselves feel superior…

Some time ago an orthopaedic doctor, Dr. Michael J. Axe, compiled an actuarial table of expected throwing velocities for 8 - 14 yos. Here are the average velocities:

8 yo: 40 mph
9 yo: 43 mph
10 yo: 46 mph
11 yo: 48 mph
12 yo: 50 mph
13 yo: 54 mph
14 yo: 60 mph

Dr. Axe also provides numbers for 1, 2, 3, 4, and even 5 standard deviations above the averages for each age group. (If you’re not sure what std. dev. refers to, think of it this way: A thrower who is 4 std. devs above the average velocity for his age group is a 1 in 100,000 level thrower. 5 std devs is a 1 in a million level thrower…

Here are the “1 in 100,000-level” velocities:

8 yo: 54 mph
9 yo: 59 mph
10 yo: 62 mph
11 yo: 64 mph
12 yo: 70 mph
13 yo: 74 mph
14 yo: 84 mph.

However, if you read the irresponsible b.s. posted by some people, you could only conclude that everybody but your child is far above average. This is really destructive stuff.

You should not be pushing an 8 yo child (or a 12 yo, for that matter) to achieve the highest possible velocity in his throws or pitches. Instead, you should play lots of low-stress catch with him and learn enough about pitching mechanics to guide him into a mechanically efficient delivery.

Expect that his delivery mechanics may change considerably over the years as he grows and then passes into puberty…steady practice and repetition of pitching skills over those years will help him much, much more than any advice like “throw harder, kid, you are below average according to what anonymous people are saying about their sons on the internet”.

There are some outstanding coaches at LTP who can help you understand this stuff better than I can, if you stick with it…

I don’t know…what La just said sounds like a “reasonable” primer for the new parent and person desirous of facillitating their kid getting the most of the best and the least of the worst out of this art. Really not much else to say…the early ages are the easiest because it’s so simple…let the kid have fun, learn the fundementals of the game…and discover his own special love of it…the treasure of the game. Once that is established…oh man…Disney never had such a ride 8) .

Eight years old is not the time to be worrying about velocity. What needs to be focused on is good mechanics and having fun in the process—the speed will come later. The kid has things to learn—about posture, balance, glove control, essential stuff like that. Let the other kids knock themselves out trying to out-fastball Justin Verlander or whoever—your kid will have the edge with those good solid mechanics and fundamentals. And when he does start to think about velocity—there are things he can do.

Thats not slow. I think thats about average. But hitting his spots is what matters.

Not to be cynical, but if you are already worrying about your sons velocity, and not just playing the game to have fun, your kid wont be playing the game into his high school years. He will be completely burnt out. Kids who stick with the game do so because they love it and have fun doing it, not because they were 8 years old and could throw 98 mph. I know a lot of very good players who quit just because they weren’t having fun anymore.

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^Here’s a thought that has apparently escaped many of the folks on here. Winning is fun. At the tender age of 8, my son loves it. I didn’t brainwash him into wanting to strike someone out… His own experience being struck out did that. If you think it makes more sense for me to sit back and let him wreck his arm trying to whip the ball, instead of guiding him, I question your intelligence.

I posted a video of his mechanics… (Or the lack thereof)… If you have any pointers, I’m eager to work with him… But after having my video posted for 3 days, I’ve heard nothing but “Have fun”… Gee thanks. But we knew that much. Will having fun protect my sons arm when he’s trying to throw terribly wrong? Will he be “playing the game into his high school years” as you put it… Or will his rotator cuff be wrecked because his dad got some hacks advice on a forum to “have fun” instead of instilling proper mechanics early on.

"But after having my video posted for 3 days, I’ve heard nothing but “Have fun”… Gee thanks. "

------C’mon, that’s not really true, cnykirk… look, IMO this specialty forum is the best one of its kind; however, that does not mean “satisfaction is 100% guaranteed”.

When you elicit advice here, you’ve got to expect a range of answers…from those that you intellectually “connect” with to those that may make no sense whatever to you.

IMO, you may glean more value out of sorting through the comments that make the best sense to you and acting on those, without spending time diss’ing advice that you find valueless.

Although I spent quite a bit of time trying to provide you with my own point of view, by posts and PMs, I happen to agree with Sunsetblud’s advice as well…it is about having fun.

There is no conflict between having fun and learning how to do something well… on the other hand, at 8 yo there are some unique challenges to learning pitching skills while keeping it fun. Sunsetblud may have a very good point, if only you’ll reconsider what he’s trying to say…for most 8 year olds the ratio of “fun” to “work” should be >1 in order to keep baseball a game.

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cnykirk,

What ever happened to common courtesy…

Here’s a thought…Zita, JD and laflippin all know about winning. We’re talking state championships, professional pitching coaches and tons of experience…

You are a fool if you think their advice sucks. My son started at age 7, now 19 he continues to pitch at the college level. I never…NEVER… had a radar gun on him until he was a junior in high school. That was at a Regional Perfectgame Showcase. That’s when it started to matter.

I watched your son’s video. You are right. He needs help. I don’t think it’s the kind of help we can provide via the internet. I don’t think you should work with him. You need someone on the ground in front of him with patience and a plan and a purpose. I don’t see you being able to absorb this information here and transfer it to your kid. Hire a coach. You can cut something out of your budget if it is important enough to you.

Not to be cynical, but your attitude sucks. :twisted:

My coaching approach with a new pitcher is this…1st things 1st. Whats wrong with that…if his fundementals aren’t good then “winning” won’t be much of an option. I could say this or that, is this or that but until he learns “how” to fundementally deliver the baseball, I’m wasting my (Albiet voluntary and free…it still used some bit of time and effort…that you ain’t payin me for chief) breath. In my experience, kids learn faster, how to be coordinated and more adept at picking up the athletic motions associated with the art of delivering a baseball…when having fun. Dusty Rhoads the now retiring HC at the University of North Florida (They named the field after the guy), one of the people who “taught” me, goes way out of his way to emphasize this…and you sarcastically act like “gee whiz” we all know that…well guess again…stressed out perfectionists permeate this area…they ruin kids by thinking the…well my kid can work as hard as anyone and get this right…not realizing that all they are really doing is making a condition where resentment and defiance are just around the corner…where if it is made into a fun and exciting thing…they move forward on their own, more quickly pick up the athletic nuances that make hi level pitchers what they are.
You may want the entire answer but I’d be lying to say I have it all. I see how ever many seconds of a vid. I try to see if I can see anything that glares for attention. I offer the experience of my years and knowledge so that someone may find what little benefit that provides on the net. I don’t want your money, I don’t really care if you post or not or care if you care for that matter…you threw out a question, I answered it with the very best intentions…you think it sucks…I will sleep tonight.

"He needs help. I don’t think it’s the kind of help we can provide via the internet. I don’t think you should work with him. You need someone on the ground in front of him with patience and a plan and a purpose. I don’t see you being able to absorb this information here and transfer it to your kid. Hire a coach. You can cut something out of your budget if it is important enough to you. "

------Hey, Dino…you precisely nailed where my son and I were at when he was 8 yo (7 1/2 years ago!!!–like jdfromfla said–it’s been a ride like Disney never thought of). At 8 yo he needed help, I couldn’t provide it from my own experience, I often couldn’t distinguish between good advice and bad advice from various internet forums (although I didn’t know about LTP then–I wish I had), and written advice is never perfectly translated into experience anyway…so I spent enough time and money to figure out what kind of coach I wanted to teach my kid and then I spent a bunch of money hiring that coach’s time…until the coaching advice sank in deeply (for both of us…me and the kid). In the end, I considered the outlay for real expert help by a great coach to be a bargain…like going to the best surgeon for brain surgery, or the best electrician for re-wiring the house.

Now the kid is 15 1/2 and pitching/playing this summer for a 19U American Legion team…he’s the youngest puppy on the team but he’s holding his own…got his first ‘save’ last Sunday against a tough out-of-state 19U travel team.

laflippin,

Thanks for the data from Dr. Axe. I am not overly stressed about my kids velocity. He throws very hard, so I was curious about how his velocity measures up against others his age. He is about to turn 9 next month and played for a 10U team this year that played in a few travel tournaments, and when he pitched he held his own. We clocked him higher than any of the 10 year olds on our team, and I wanted to know if he was particularly high or if they were low. I was pleased to see that my 10 year pitchers are on track and that he is above average. I have worked with him a lot on proper mechanics, and it has paid the most dividends in his ball to strike and walk to strikeout ratio. But I wanted to thank you for providing some hard data rather than the crazy numbers that dads float around on the Internet.

I also wanted to mention that success (or at least the prospect of success) creates excitement and desire in kids to do better. My son wants to throw every day, and the more success he experiences the more he wants to learn. Baseball should be fun, and we as coaches need to keep it that way. I have seen kid after kid that I have coached, that if you can get them to see that there is at least a hope for success, their eyes light up and they go after it.

Thanks,

I think we have to remember one thing here… The kid is EIGHT.

Nothing is too slow for eight. Let the kid play, have fun, and if he keeps enjoying pitching, play a lot of catch with him.

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8 is too early to be stressing about velocity, but a great time to be teaching proper mechanics. “Keep playing catch and have fun” is not going to help the kid. Practice makes permanent, and unfortunately having him continue to play catch while throwing the wrong way will only make it more difficult to teach him proper mechanics later. Make learning fun. Teach him proper mechanics. Be patient with him. And then practice throwing the right way with him a lot. Velocity may or may not come with age, but good mechanics will produce a healthy arm and success as well. Would you rather be Joel Zumaya or Greg Maddux?

I really don’t like this post much.

I’d like to be either of those guys. Would it be so bad to be Joel Zumaya? Pitching in the big leagues, pitched in a world series, made millions of dollars, and throwing the ball over 100 mph?? Doesn’t sound to bad to me. What in his delivery is so awful that causes all the arm trouble?? Moreover, what is so good about his delievery that he can throw 100 mph? Ofcourse I’d want to be Greg Maddux, who wouldn’t. The fact is, is that most everybody in here will never be close to that level, would be lucky enough to be half as good.

How do you know the kid throws the wrong way? Moreover, what is the right way to throw? What are these perfect mechanics that everybody is searching for? You think Greg Maddux had a great pitching coach when he was 8? doubt it.

Its all genetic. He either has a cannon or he don’t. A good pitching coach teaches repeatable efficient mechanics, proper pitching sequences, attitude control, personal pride and inspires kids to perform above their talent level. We can tweak it a little here and there but for the most part it was all done in the incubator.

So…if five more miles per hour gets you 17 hour bus trips, lousy food, saggy beds, miserable pay and no family life…maybe we ought to be thankful for being just average velocity Joe. Enjoy the game one game at a time. You will miss out on alot while stressing over velocity.

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[quote=“Hammer”]
I really don’t like this post much.

How do you know the kid throws the wrong way? Moreover, what is the right way to throw? What are these perfect mechanics that everybody is searching for? You think Greg Maddux had a great pitching coach when he was 8? doubt it.[/quote]

The point of the post was that it is better to teach a kid to throw properly so that he can enjoy success as an accurate pitcher, and avoid injury. It would be much better to focus on mechanics right now than to place too much emphasis on velocity. The kid may or may not develop velocity (based a lot on his genes), but he can control how accurate he becomes. I would definately choose to be Greg Maddux and enjoy a long successful career than flame out before signing a major league contract. Zumaya’s millions have not materialized, and may never do so since he is so injury prone.

As for how I know the kid throws wrong… I watched the video that his dad posted, which clearly shows that he is throwing wrong, so I made the point that just playing a lot of catch with him will not help, but rather further engrain his current mechanics. He should start fixing the mechanics now, while the kid is young. I also coach middle school, and am amazed at how many players at that age are still throwing wrong because no one ever corrected the problems when they were young. Now that the games mean a little more, the kids are much less likely to change things and risk failure, so they stick with what they already know/do.

no not at all. he should be throwing 40. next year 44. next year 48. and so on.

I saw Dr. Axe’s article. My son throws harder than the “SSD2” model. It sounds crazy but he turned eight this month and was touching 60 mph. He lived at 57-58 mph but was touching 60 multiple times out of 20 throws. He is probably just an early bloomer and his form is pretty clean and he is a big kid. Interesting read. Thanks.