How young is too young?


#1

My son is 7 yr. old and is playing in the 8-under div. in a Pony
League. He loves baseball and pitching too. He has a lot of natural talent that I never had growing up playing ball, but I want to help him enjoy it but not grow into bad habbits. I have seen a list of 7 false teachings and I have I have heard all of them coming from coaches and Dads
trying to be the pitching coach. They tell him to arch his back, adjust his release point, and things that only confuse a 7-yr-old. I know my son is a little young for formal pitching instruction so, for now I’m just making sure he doesn’t throw side-arm and is keeping balance. He has good control and throws in the mid 40’s. He likes me to catch for him and he looks to me for help. How should I approach this and still let him be a boy and enjoy the game?


#2

My son is 7 also learning to be a pitcher… no talent but lefty. It seems balance is the key at the young age… thats what im told. btw does your son hold the ball with 2 fingers or all? My son uses 2 but the ball seems to slip out somtomes…

Baseballl Dad


#3

He throws mostly with 2 fingers but he also throws with three. That’s kind of like his off-speed pitch. He’s kind of tall for 7-1/2. 4’ 4".


#4

Well, I coached that level for a while and the BS’ers seem to come out of the woodwork dont they? When I worked with my little brother, I always made sure to reinforce good habits without getting too technical. If some dad wants to spout stupid advice, you can just tell him nicely “I got it covered buddy, thanks anyway.”

As far as technique for a 7 year old, start small and work up. Go with a stretch and have him throw like he would making the throw to first base. After he gets the hang of that, you can work in a small leg kick.

Some people try to get way too advanced. It’s all about having fun, so dont take that away from him.


#5

When my son was pitching in his last game of the season last year he started pitching like several of his favorite pitchers’ styles. One pitch was Frankie Rodriguez, another was John Lackey, then Paul Byrd he’s an Angels fan). Another dad asked what he was doing. I told him. The he said strernly, “Aren’t you going to tell him to stop doing that?” I told him no. He looked shocked, and I said "he’s throwing strikes."
He threw another pitch that had a big wind up. Strike. I asked my son what that pitch was. He smiled, and said that it was from the movie we watched the other night. "For the Love of the Game."
He wasn’t doing anything that was hurting him and he was having a lot of fun doing it. Plus he was throwing strikes.
I know by copying others you develop your own style. I am watching to be sure he doesn’t pick up any bad habbits. I love his imagination and I’m sure that in is own mind he was pitching in a big-league stadium somewhere.


#6

Keith, great post … reminds me of when I was in the backyard pretending to be Vida Blue, Jim Palmer, Nolan Ryan or Catfish Hunter. The kids need to have a chance to develop the same love for the game that we did …


#7

Thank you for the encouragement. I need it. I am not a pitcher but I know that “everyone” is an expert and willing to tell me what I am doing wrong. I am here at this site to learn from you all here and pass it on to my son and to refute bad advise with knowlege.


#8

[quote=“Keith”]When my son was pitching in his last game of the season last year he started pitching like several of his favorite pitchers’ styles. One pitch was Frankie Rodriguez, another was John Lackey, then Paul Byrd he’s an Angels fan). Another dad asked what he was doing. I told him. The he said strernly, “Aren’t you going to tell him to stop doing that?” I told him no. He looked shocked, and I said "he’s throwing strikes."
He threw another pitch that had a big wind up. Strike. I asked my son what that pitch was. He smiled, and said that it was from the movie we watched the other night. "For the Love of the Game."
He wasn’t doing anything that was hurting him and he was having a lot of fun doing it. Plus he was throwing strikes.
I know by copying others you develop your own style. I am watching to be sure he doesn’t pick up any bad habbits. I love his imagination and I’m sure that in is own mind he was pitching in a big-league stadium somewhere.[/quote]

Great job of letting your kid have fun! More parents should be like that.


#9

At the youngest ages (say, under 10), balance is probably the main issue to work on. They need to learn to stride straight to their target and stay balanced. That’s pretty much it. The only other thing I’d bother with is their glove. The average glove weighs significantly more than a baseball and, for young kids, creates a source of imbalance. Try getting them to keep from dropping their glove.

That’s it.


#10

Agreed.

It’s just basic throwing but with more attention to detail since the margin of error is smaller (e.g. strike zone versus what the 1B can stretch to catch).


#11

But for those of you who are more into baseball… what age would u want your son to start pitching? At 7 I think my son is too young. To be on the safe side I’m thinking like age 9-10 before I want him to pitch in a game, and I think he would still get enough experiance for High School. That is of course the coach lets the kid pitch at age 9 without prior experiance. Of course I have minimal backround.


#12

I’m not sure at what age I’d want my kid to start pitching. But if you wait until your kid is 9 or 10, there is nothing wrong with that. That is what my kid did and he’s developed into a good pitcher and seems to be on pace to continue pitching into his high school years.


#13

This is my first post/reply to this site. I started reading this site and others when my son told me he wanted to pitch a year ago. I appreciate all that I have learned from Steve and the contributors to this site.

When my son was 8 and just starting to play baseball he informed me two weeks before the spring season started that he wanted to pitch, I asked him how important pitching truly was to him because it requires A LOT of work. It was very important to him and he was willing to put in time outside of practice. I felt that since the desire was there it was my responsibility to help my son as well as my obligation to protect him from injury. Most of the youth coaches are volunteers with limited baseball experience and similar knowledge of the game as me so I knew I was not willing to put my son’s arm under their care. Thanks to this site and others, the books and videos, I educated myself in proper mechanics so I could take an active role in helping my son do something he so strongly desired.

If you have concerns regarding when you should allow your child to start pitching first educate yourself. Use the tons of information out there to help draw your own conclusions. I did and realized since the desire was there I should not hold my son back. Many people thought eight was too young. With a lot of research and education, a determined focus on developing strong mechanics, and child who was determined to be a pitcher, my son started pitching and loves it! And most importantly, he has NEVER had a sore throwing arm.

The most important recommendation I can make to a parent of a young pitcher is lose the hang-up right away on velocity. Start slow and focus on mechanics, mechanics, and mechanics. As your child improves, so does the desire to learn more. Next, don’t forget the off-speed pitch. You want to get a young pitcher really jacked about pitching just have him throw a good off-speed pitch when he is ahead in the count. Even at 8-years old! Then focus on pitch placement, followed by movement. It is kind of hard to work on pitch placement when there are consistency issues due to poor mechanics. The velocity will come with improved mechanics but should never be stressed with your child. It’s okay to brag about your son’s pitch velocity with other parents, however.

I must continuously remind myself he is just a kid and not to push him. If he does not want to throw I can’t force him. Even if I know he should in order to keep “the edge” for an upcoming game. I must let him take it at his own pace. The last thing I want is to sour his love for the game. This happens way too often and the sad fact is too many kids quit because of the pressure us parents place upon them.