Just turned 13, getting gangly with no end in sight...frustrated help?


#1

So my son starting playing baseball about 3 years ago. Was the worst player on the team, batted last, occasionally sniffed a hit and rotated in right field. Not only that but he is a March 23rd birthday so needless to say he was the smallest and youngest player usually on the team. We actually had to seek out less competitive leagues in surrounding towns to find ways for him to get more playing time with less talented players.

With more playing time and on field reps, and many more pitching and bp sessions with me that I can count (outside of team practices) he slowly but surely started getting better and just about caught up to the others. Started to build confidence and felt like he belonged. Enjoyed and looked forward to playing…

About a year ago in league ball (50/70) after growing and getting stronger combined with all the reps he was getting he was usually one of the teams top pitchers and top 3 hitters, and then we decided to go the travel ball route…

More competition on the big field (60/90), but he seemed to be able to hang in there. Not the best on the team, but not the worst. Explained to him that he’s playing with kids now who might have a moustache. lol. He was up for the challenge. Struggles somewhat at fielding/hitting. Mid level player I would say…but really seemed to take a liking and excel at pitching. Not huge velocity, but could locate and throw strikes. The team counted on him to pitch. Doesn’t even care if he hits. He was a Sunday pitcher. Mostly 4 seam, 2 seam and occasionally throwing a 12-6 curve and change.

Well about four months ago puberty kicked in overload and he went from 5’6" to his current 5’10" 118lbs (he turned 13 this past March 23rd)… I mean the kid is all arms and legs. Seems like he growing everyday. Probably now the tallest/thinnest, and weakest kid on team filled with teammates almost a year older. I would describe him as Gangly. lol. Size 11 foot, hands as big a mine. Big long limbs. Slow runner. Slow swing…Not a very strong kid overall…

The problem lately has been… his pitching velocity seems to have decreased and he sometimes struggles with location. Seems like his arm action has slowed. Not alot of wrist snap to his throws. More of just a big long arm moving the ball upon release.

He is getting frustrated with this. I am getting frustrated…

Feels like he regressing…

When he was throwing well…he was feeling good about himself and confident. But now says it’s not fun anymore and not sure he was meant to be a baseball player.

I keep telling him to move forward, hang in there, forget about the last game and we’'ll get thru this. Don’t quit on me and I won’t quit on you…all the positive things I can think of to say…

Last night was not one of his best games. Kid on opposing team was about 7" shorter and was throwing harder then him. Went home after game and he went straight to bed. 1st time he’s done this. Didn’t want to talk much…

I am looking for advice and thoughts from others who have experience with this growth issue. Actually, I’m not even sure his struggles are a growth issue, but to me that seems to be the case.

Really wanting to keep him from quitting baseball but he’s 2nd guessing his ability now…and I am having doubts…

Thoughts?

Thanks for reading…


#2

Well after a game last night and discussions with other Dads…a couple said it does not look like hes throwing with “intent” or effort!

It does look like there is no snap to his throws and he’s trying to guide the ball in there…

Could this possibly be an issue?


#3

BostonErik,

         As I read your post I thought I could be writing it myself. My boy started growing right before Cooperstown this past year. He has grown almost 8 inches in the past year. In addition to not being able to throw strikes we have had a few injuries:

Strained Shoulder(Labrum)
Strained Elbow
Hip Flexor Tendon popped out of place?

With all of the above he saw Ortho’s, x-rays, MRI’s, physical therapy…and of course I shut him down until he was healthy again. So his development suffered a lot!

I have worked with Tom House a bunch and he says for every 1 inch of growth it takes 3 months for your body to sync up. That is why my boy looks like a giraffe on skates. I hope your boy keeps working and stays with it.

#youcantteachsize


#4

BostonErik your missing the part of life that is as individual as life itself. He’s experiencing things that he has no control of, nor do you. He will stumble, be awkward, make mistakes, wakeup every morning clueless of what’s ahead of him, self doubt galore, emotional peaks and valleys, a hero one day - damned the next.

This is life BostonErik - cruel, thankless, without pity one minute, then smack-dap-in your face with a smile the next … and all with no reason.

Emotions are very personal, very personal. Thus, your son, because of what and who he is, has to understand that others have gone this route , and have survived. You can’t survive for him.

As much as you want to be there, here, there and so on… it’s good to a point. That “point” is all up to you… but somewhere along the line you must feel some sort of hands-off now. So, unless your son is going to shut himself in his room and burry his head in a pillow… give him the option of deciding where to fail - fall, how and when to pick himself up, and why… it’s that why part that is his domain… no one else.

I’m ready to received a “I know my son better than you.” And I respect that. Just take a few moments to think over what I mentioned here. Also, I am not criticizing, only looking from the outside in, In that regard, I probably overstepped my bounds here, but then I’m ready and willing to be told to mind my own business.

I’ve scouted and coached a few ball players in my career… none really turned out to be stellar… but then that’s another story. But while going from here to there, I’ve seen lots of amateurs at various levels and I could always spot the youngster that had a parent in his corner … a corner that the youngster felt more boxed in with, rather that open ended.

I sincerely wish I had advice, from a coach’s vantage point, but I have little to no experience with amateur youth baseball.


#5

I am not really a fan of the whole throwing with intent idea but I have not seen him throw. While it may seem like a detriment now this growth spurt will definitely pay dividends down the road.
For me the best advice I can give is to do some cross training/light strength training. I went through an extreme growth spurt as well 5’6-6’2 in about 18 months and what really helped me out was just working on my athletism and becoming more familiar/fluid with my body. A good place to start would be doing some jumping plyometrics and bodyweight squats/lunges to work on balance and explosiveness. Just throwing the football and practicing running routes/catching the ball will help out as well for cordination as well as building arm strength. To be honest you just have to ride it out a bit.
Once he is more familiar with his new body velocity and control will return.


#6

Thanks for the thoughts and insight fellas. @Trebeck @mihood622 yes, ironically he has recently proactively asked to start working out with me. I do think this will help and I do think he is struggling with the growth. @Coach_Baker I understand exactly what you mean. You are not overstepping. I value your advice. Do I feel like I am coddling him to a point sometimes? Yes and No. I think he has talent, as I did when I was young. Without a father to guide me and “advise” on getting through the tough times, I quit baseball in my Middle School years, never played again and always wonder what if? I just don’t want him to throw it all away like I did because of things beyond his control, that he views as regressing in baseball. It’s a tough age to be a father and try to be a mentor. Thank you all again…


#7

Lets see some pitching mechanics of your son, sometimes just a little something can refresh a whole motion and make way more fluid.


#8

There are a couple videos I posted in previous threads a few months ago. I’ll see if I can get an updated one…


#9

It happens. Your kid is young. Put it in propective & let him know his future is not determined on how well he’s doing playing baseball. Give it his best effort & that’s all he can do. Bodies change & things can change; be patient. Encourage him to take the pressure of himself & do your part and take the pressure off him. Encourage him to enjoy the game. That’s all.


#10

I will second the strength training recommendation, with light and body weight… will do wonders… My son is going through a similar transition as a 12 year old… was a 5’6" 125 pounder last spring… is 5’10" and a very solid 155 now… slow steady growth… much stronger, and doing air squats, burpees, box jumps, kettle bells, band work, light dead lifts, cleans (awesome for explosion if taught proper form)… All that, and be patient, it’s going to take some time to catch up to his body size… it’s going to be a process that may continue through the next 3 or 4 years…


#11

Dude honestly, your kid just needs time to grow into his body. It’ll take 1-2 years, but once he does, he’ll probably be a force on the hill. He’s still got 4+ years to go, don’t doubt the process.


#12

Sorry it took so long to post a video between vacations and other life stuff. But we were out playing catch tonight and I thought let me grab my phone for a quick video to post. Not the greatest but the best I can do on the fly. Does his coordination look ok? With his growth spurt, anything we should pay attention to? Does his arm slot look ok? Thanks.


#13

If you want to gain weight and fill out and have access to a gym, you may want to try the Starting Strength program. It works extremely well but takes commitment!


#14

He does look lanky. But, as others have said, don’t give up. A growth spurt is a period of time when bone growth exceeds muscle development. This imbalance often creates mental/emotional issues in addition to the physical issues. Eventually, bone growth will slow giving muscle development a chance to catch up and mental/emotional issues to be resolved.

Note that during a growth spurt the rapid bone growth makes the softer growth plates even more vulnerable to injury than normal. So it is important to monitor and limit pitching workload during the growth spurt as well as maintain good mechanics/timing.


#15

Good Advice. Makes Sense. TY Roger!


#16

He needs time to grow into this new body. Find some ways to slowly build strength and still have fun with baseball. You might seek advice from a sports Ortho to get suggestions on strength building and finding out what his growth plates are really like right now. He may also be able to help you identify movement deficits.

He is not really throwing with enough intensity to tell much about sequencing.

That slot has been very good for a number of guys. If he can generate could velocity, location and movement it is a good slot. I wouldn’t sweat it too much right now.

Good luck,
Ted


#17

You think you have a Gangly teen/pre-teen, mine hasn’t hit puberty yet but has always dealt with tall and skinny,
a recent growth spurt 90% height and 10% weight put him at 5’5" and a whopping 90lbs.
Most kids outweigh him by 30-50 lbs his age. His velocity has dropped and control got out of whack.
Getting back the latter has caused the former to suffer as he’s not yet ready to cut loose, but it too will come back.
Next year he moves to the big field, which he actually throws harder from 60 than 46.
He’s had some tough times adjusting as well and I try to tell him to just hang in there (believe me we also get
frustrated both for ourselves and at each other at times)… I try to tell him that he just needs to work through
it and learn as much as he can while doing so, but he can be an emotional kid. We will start Tuff Cuff program in
August when his Tourney season is done. I’ll work out with him (I could use it too being a desk jockey).
Just remember any frustration you have, he’s probably taking it out on himself much more so, so sometimes less
baseball talk and just being there without saying anything can be enough… We are approaching the tuff cuff as
an overall body healthy thing and not gearing it towards the magic pill for becoming a great pitcher. Anyway, good luck,
and remember this age is a transition period for your son, it usually always gets worse before it gets better.


#18

I won’t repeat the great comments you have received to this point.

I would add–Work on core strength and flexibiity range of motion. Get him to follow through and not cut off his delivery. His trunk is adding nothing. He’s all arm. Gotta use the trunk like an energy multiplier.


#19

Well,I have been associated with some youngsters as you describe.
as being gangly does he have any joint pain? does he have any problems with body movement? Have you had him checked over/examined by a sports bone etc specialist? There are times when youngsters, boy’s in particular during their puberty ages even sometimes up to {15 OR 16YRS OLD} who grow very fast and their bone structure does not mature at the same growing rate as their body’s do consequently they as you say become gangly, even lack body control possibly become sore, I strongly suggest that you if you have not already have him checked out and thoroughly examined by an experienced
sports growth specialist as soon as possible.
Best of luck.
Don Ervin
ame392002@yahoo.com