I want my kid to throw HARD!

After reading over a previous post I couldn’t help but share my opinion on kids throwing hard. I get the fact that pitching is not about throwing. But at that age I wouldn’t worry about throwing strikes or changing speeds. No way. My kid’s intent will be to throw the ball hard. There is something to be said about trying to throw the ball hard. He has all the time in the world to learn the art of pitching and the importance of changing speeds, etc… Teaching kids the finer points of pitching is much simpler than movement patterns (mechanics) and teaching kids the importance of learning how to throw hard. Give him the ball with a simple goal, throw it hard and he will begin to figure it out. The old saying goes, “you never forget how to throw hard” I disagree, I don’t think most kids learn to throw hard. It’s never a focus and so often are told to just throw strikes. “Don’t throw it as hard as you can, you will hurt your arm.” We treat kids to be fragile.

Trust me, I understand the importance of pitching. What I am saying is that at a younger age, the focus should be on throwing and teaching the kid it’s OK to throw the ball hard. Who cares if a kid can throw a change, curve ball, etc… He will learn that later. The one characteristic that I have found with guys in the big leagues and elite pitchers is that if you ask them or see them on a daily basis, they try to throw the ball hard and always have. It is tough to change or make a kid go out and throw the ball because of the information and mindset of “I don’t want to hurt my arm.” This has been engrained.

I have found that guys that like to throw find other guys that like to throw. Guys that don’t like to throw find other guys that don’t like to throw. Whether you like it or not, sooner or later you are going to be evaluated by the radar gun. Coaches and scouts are guilty of being “gun hounds” and that’s the nature of the beast.

We get ticked off at parents that just worry about throwing it hard. Why?

[quote=“Baseballthinktank.com”]After reading over a previous post I couldn’t help but share my opinion on kids throwing hard. I get the fact that pitching is not about throwing. But at that age I wouldn’t worry about throwing strikes or changing speeds. No way. My kid’s intent will be to throw the ball hard. There is something to be said about trying to throw the ball hard. He has all the time in the world to learn the art of pitching and the importance of changing speeds, etc… Teaching kids the finer points of pitching is much simpler than movement patterns (mechanics) and teaching kids the importance of learning how to throw hard. Give him the ball with a simple goal, throw it hard and he will begin to figure it out. The old saying goes, “you never forget how to throw hard” I disagree, I don’t think most kids learn to throw hard. It’s never a focus and so often are told to just throw strikes. “Don’t throw it as hard as you can, you will hurt your arm.” We treat kids to be fragile.

Trust me, I understand the importance of pitching. What I am saying is that at a younger age, the focus should be on throwing and teaching the kid it’s OK to throw the ball hard. Who cares if a kid can throw a change, curve ball, etc… He will learn that later. The one characteristic that I have found with guys in the big leagues and elite pitchers is that if you ask them or see them on a daily basis, they try to throw the ball hard and always have. It is tough to change or make a kid go out and throw the ball because of the information and mindset of “I don’t want to hurt my arm.” This has been engrained.

I have found that guys that like to throw find other guys that like to throw. Guys that don’t like to throw find other guys that don’t like to throw. Whether you like it or not, sooner or later you are going to be evaluated by the radar gun. Coaches and scouts are guilty of being “gun hounds” and that’s the nature of the beast.

We get ticked off at parents that just worry about throwing it hard. Why?[/quote]

My son’s favorite pitchers are Lincecum, Halladay, CC and Strasburg. He has the full size Lincecum Fathead on his bedroom wall, wears his Halladay Jersey all of the time, eats like CC, and his uniform number is 37. Why 37? 'Cause he throws a 92 MPH change up!

Paul has written thousands of words on this subject alone. But yes, I agree.

Coaches think you teach a kid how to throw strikes then you teach him to throw 90 MPH. If this worked, a lot of people would throw 90. But they don’t. It’s not that simple.

Throwing hard with decent command of your pitches is really, really hard. And trying to “simplify” only disgraces how hard it is to do.

[quote=“kyleb”]…Coaches think you teach a kid how to throw strikes then you teach him to throw 90 MPH. If this worked, a lot of people would throw 90. But they don’t. It’s not that simple.

Throwing hard with decent command of your pitches is really, really hard. And trying to “simplify” only disgraces how hard it is to do.[/quote]

You’re correct. Throwing hard with decent command is extremely difficult. But I think that unless you meant to say “many coaches” rather than implying “all coaches” think one specific way, you’re very much in error.

As far as I know, there’s no empirical study that proves the order the different functions of pitching are learned makes “better” pitchers. There are lots of opinions and theories about it, but nothing definitive that can be applied to every pitcher in every situation that I know of. The reason it won’t work for everyone, is because everyone matures at different rates, learns differently, and for sure are in different situations. IOW, one size don’t fit all, and there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

A lot depends on what the individual is looking for too. If an individual is hoping to be drafted out of HS as a pitcher, he dang sure better be able to throw a strawberry through the side of a battleship, or at least project to be able to do it in the future. But pitchers can have very successful HS and college careers by being able to throw the ball with a lot of movement, with great control, but only slightly better than aver velocity. So if a player doesn’t have the “gift” of velocity and his coach continues to spend most of his time trying to develop velocity, what he may well be doing is depriving that player of success.

In the end, I believe there are players who do best learning to throw hard, then hopefully learning control, but that’s never a guarantee. On the other hand, I believe there are players who do best learning control and movement, but there’s no guarantee they’ll ever learn to throw hard. The trick is to be able to ascertain which players would be able to benefit from which, not force everyone into the same mold.

It is our society’s increasing avoidance of risk. The fact is that each child’s arm is equipped with a maximum tolerance for torque where the ucl connects to the ulna and humerous. And there is no test to tell you when that will be exceeded . There are too many variables in radar setups in the baseball realm to establish a reliable number but the average elite pitcher seems to be able to run it up there at 95 mph + nowadays. That is I believe more of a factor of a larger pool of throwers than an improvement in understanding of mechanics. I could elaborate but suffice it to say that American kids are discouraged from taking any risks and therefore it has never been easier (in my opinion) for a dedicated - talented american youngster to succeed as a pitcher in high school and even college. The professional ranks are an entirely different ballgame because of the huge number of foreign players. Players who have no aversion to risk!

Ya know in all of the posts with all these guys exclaiming…“throw the crap out of the ball”, I don’t think I’ve seen a single word on this site disagreeing with that…
There are people who get worried when some parents…“who only worry about their kid throwing hard”…spend entire years running their kid through a gauntlet that if were defined as a “job”…the parents and coaches would go to jail for breaking child labor laws. 100+ games? Oh sure as a kid many got away with playing a billion hours, throwing a million innings a year :roll: whatever…
They didn’t throw their guts out for 7 or so innings and then have some ego-centric jerk of a coach want them to throw those same 7 the next day…and of course…the very next day on Sunday, the little guy has to come back for “the coach…or team…or some other bs”. Then turn around and say…“their kid loves it” or he is the “exception”…it’s horse sh*t, these kids I’m talking about haven’t even hit puberty…sure enough…the chances of them making the bigs and earning a living are slim…so why not let them have “fun” and do that 100 games??? Well…surgery hurts (And no kidding…can kill), it encumbers a person for the rest of their life…guys in our generation NEVER faced that… though honestly I do agree with Nyman that injury is a part of playing the game at it’s highest levels.
Instead of just this…or just that…how about we teach the whole avocation…as an avocation…throw fundementally correctly, develop efficient mechs, learn “how” to pitch, put effort into a pre-conditioned body…succeed…why is it that we all have to be…“Only do this”!!? How about teach the whole cookie…which includes fundementals and velocity development…and diet…and strategy…of course it does take patience…
I personally don’t care…who ruins their kid (Rhetorhically that is)…but they shouldn’t come preaching they are doing some decent thing…my kid would love coke…just like some monkey in a cage…if I let him…he would get addicted to s ex, he would do all sorts of damaging behavior if I didn’t act as a “grown up” and say no. IMO repetitive use injury in a pre-pubescent is “damaging behavior”…so it (From my value set) would be in my baliwick to moderate my child so as not to lead to that.
I think Some, that you really do care and this only directed to answer your particular question…but let us not say it is “just wanting to throw the crap out of the ball” oh no it ain’t…you CAN throw the crap out of the ball and not play 100 or more games a year…you can throw the crap out of the ball and be a rec league hero…you can do that and never play until hs…so I disagree with you…people get tic’d when parents try to live vicariously through their children, people get pissed when a 12 yr old has a friggen zipper on his elbow…it isn’t rec league that caused that…maybe rec league and Travel Team 1,2,3 and year over year of the same, for years on end.

I sure do understand each of us has individual circumstances which dictates our behaviors, we do the best we can for our children, based on what we have learned, been taught…experienced…the djin is out of the bottle…we can’t return to Norman Rockwell…we can be reasonable…I think Some you are reasonable…I think Roger Tomas is reasonable…I think way too stinkin many in Travel…Elite…“My kid is good” ball aren’t…they have some unreal view of what it is to play…their daggone kid PERFORMS…forget that play stuff…and they arrogently move forward as if no expert has ever said a word about this approach…or somehow anyone who criticizes is “unknowing” or “jealous” or “control freaks”.

Jdfromfl: agree with you for the most part. However, I see virtually on every post that a kid shouldnt worry about throwing hard. Only throw strikes, learn the change, etc… At 7 or 8 I don’t think that should be the focus. Your right about the parents that are doing it for themselves, living through their kid. I also agree that kids need to be made aware of other aspects about nutrition but at the end of the day, the parents are responsible for that. A’s a kid, don’t worry so much about success on the field and heaven for forbid the travel schedule these kids play. Go out and throw, not pitch, the best throwing program IMO is old school Burnout.

Well, there ya’ go again, JD, makin’ all kinds of sense and what not. :high5:

All things in perspective is a good way to go.

Unbalance the other way is non-sense also…they aren’t underhanding…
I don’t expect kids to do kindergarden rules for their stuff either :lol:
reasonable…
not extreme…
but I do love burn out… :stuck_out_tongue:
I stop when my son makes my hand numb…or skips one in on my shin :x …I got shins like a stinkin Thai kick boxer :shock: or I fake like I hear my wife calling :wink:

I hate pitching. I love throwing.

I hate dogma…but named my dog Maddux…
Pitching is an art…throwing is an athletic act. 8) 8)

Don’t be a hater Kyle… 8)
Lots of room at the table. :wink:

You see a post like JD just put up…you know there is passion and experience there. You know that those words are meant to change not only opinions but outcomes.

Me personally, I took the long term approach with my son. I admit, I wasn’t on him to throw the ball HARD. My biggest worry was that I would contribute to premature breakdown of his arm if I harped about his “intent”. And I believed then as I still do now that for the most part, velocity was determined long before he was old enough to pick up a ball. Sure, proper mechanics, training and nutrition are part of maximizing your potential but when I look out at the landscape of youth baseball, I see plenty of parents who are pretending. They are giving the farm away before the bank comes to repossess it. There will be no time for the kid to rest in college…they will have to fall back on something or for sure, they will break down trying to throw the ball HARD enough.

Parents are pretending that their son is headlining the local sports section of the paper, signing a letter of intent at a high profile DI, getting a fat signing bonus from a major league team and pretending to sit in the stadium to watch their first major league start. And so to chase their dreams, they make the kid perform, pressure situation after pressure situation after pressure… Get a gun on him from age 8… start a development program of tournaments and competition to prepare him for his destiny. And conveniently, they get a second crack at it if the kid’s arm happens to break. Dr. Andrews will fix it and it will be better than it was before it broke. All this IS a part of the “elite” team experience.

What about the kid’s life? His other pursuits? What will it take to fill that hole in his life when this is all over? So yeah, throwing the ball HARD will be important soon enough. It will eventually be almost THE ONLY THING important but as a child…keep a close eye on it, that’s all I’m saying. Do your research. Take a long term approach. Don’t over simplify it. What is your risk…what is your reward.

Good conversation. When selecting a travel ball team with my son one of the main things I really looked at was how they ran their teams in tournaments. In game rules like:
No pitcher can pitch twice in one day. No pitcher can throw more than 3 innings (or “xx” number of pitches, cant remember how many) day one of a tourney and pitch day 2. No pitcher can start a game (in otherwords get innings) and then catch or play infield (some exceptions for first base) in a game the same day. No catchers will catch back to back games if there is less than 1 hour between games.
Rules like these, that they do stick to without exception, told me they cared about the players more than how many wins get chaulked up in some random weekend tourney. They also follow strick pitch count rules for the younger teams. When my son was playing for a Babe Ruth 14U league team (in the summer, hot here in the desert) I arrived to a game in the 7th inning. Another dad said that my son was “laboring” but that it made sense, he stopped tracking his pitches at 128…by the time I got there he had thrown over 140!! In 90+ degree heat no less. The coach saw me and walked out and pulled him with 2 outs in the 7th. My son was not very pleased he didnt get to finish the game. The coach knew he wasnt handling that situation the right way. I learned that even good guys (I like the guy who was the coach on a personal level and remain friendly with him) use bad judgement because, whether they want to admit it or not, they want to win and you certainly cant trust kids to know what is best for them. As a parent it is tough to not get emotionally invested in the sports your kids play. The old cliche about sports teaching kids life lessons is true. But, learning to walk that line where you can advise, assist and protect without controlling, screaming and humiliating is the lesson the parents learn. Hopefully anyway.

[quote=“fearsomefour”]Good conversation.
Rules like these, that they do stick to without exception, told me they cared about the players more than how many wins get chaulked up in some random weekend tourney. They also follow strick pitch count rules for the younger teams. When my son was playing for a Babe Ruth 14U league team (in the summer, hot here in the desert) I arrived to a game in the 7th inning. Another dad said that my son was “laboring” but that it made sense, he stopped tracking his pitches at 128…by the time I got there he had thrown over 140!![/quote]

Pitch counts are thrown out after youth ball. Similar experience with my older son when he was 13. Through five innings he had 12 K’s, 10 BBs and 120 pitches. Somehow, he’d only given up only one run. The coach was sending him out for the 6th inning, saying he’s as strong as an ox and throwing harder than the 1st inning. I sternly looked at the coach, indicating you take him out or I will. After warming up for the inning, the coach makes the move. If I wasn’t there I’m sure he would have gone all 7 and have thrown more pitches in one game than he did in all of LL. I tracked several games that year where the starting pitcher threw in excess of 150 pitches.

Yep, pitch counts disappear after little league. That puts the responsibility on the coach. In both cases (your son and mine) the coaches knew they were not doing right by the kid. Your kids coach try to justify before coming to his senses. My kids coach saw me and pulled him with one out left to get in the game…too little too late. Just silly sometimes the positions they want to put these kids in.

I am an assistant coach on my sons 10U travel baseball team. We played on the same travel team last year (9U). Part of my job is to count every single pitch our pitchers throw. The absolute maximum we will let them to throw is 70 in a day. Most of the time they do not throw more than 50. It is extremely important to limit the amount of throwing in these kids! My son had some minor pain in his inner throwing elbow which fortunately just rest fixed. I chalked his pain up to an overuse injury because I initally had him throwing for about 9 months without a long term break. This was a learning experience for me and from now on he will be getting a solid 3 months off in the fall.

I would be interested in seeing the numbers on all the kids for pitching for the entire year. Do you have those and would you share them? Besides your own kid, what do you know about the participation on other teams throughout the year of your other players?[/quote]

Fantastic posts JD and Dino, some great discussion and valuable information being shared and talked about.

70 in one day is fine but what are your limits for a weekend/week?

Agree 70 in a day is fine. No way that kid should throw the next day.

Example: My kid threw 86 pitches in a HS V game Saturday night, he wont pitch again until Friday.