Measuring speed

What is a good inexpensive device to measure speed? Is Glove Radar okay? Seems like the most inexpensive item I can find.

Thanks

How about don’t worry about speed, that is for the amusement park, work on location, location, location!

A stop watch and google “Baseball Pitching Speed Calculator” for the math.

Feedback is very important. If you know the pitchers base speed, you can monitor fatigue, off speed pitches, etc…

A lot of information can be pulled out of monitoring speed. The more I study pitching the more I realize I don’t know. Many aspects create an affective pitcher. You don’t need all the aspects but the more the better.

  1. Location
  2. Velocity Mix
  3. Movement
  4. The ability to keep the batter off balance

[quote]1. Location
2. Velocity Mix
3. Movement
4. The ability to keep the batter off balance[/quote]

Ok, the only advantage that I can see in knowing the speed of a particular pitch or pitches is 2. Velocity Mix, making sure that off speed pitches pitches are slower, up to 10-15 mph off a fastball. Honestly, I take my kids to workout 2-3 times a week at a facility in my city and I see a dads there every week using the radar guns saying “How fast can the pitchers throw”, that is the only reason, teams use them on all their pitchers and I see teams that wont pitch certain pitchers because their fastball isn’t “fast” enough, the kids seem to throw lots of strikes but for them their speed just isn’t enough. I see them at games, tracking the kids fastball velocity and even gunning the other team.

I don’t know but velocity seems to have become the only benchmark as to if a pitcher is good or not. Is the pitcher a flamethrower or snake jazzer, or is he a pitcher that fills up the mitt, moving the ball around inside, outside, up and down, fast and slow. Which pitcher do you want, I want them all, I know that a pitcher can be just as effective (sometimes more so) if he doesn’t throw a blazing fastball but can hit his spots. Honestly when I played we hit the flamethrowers so much better than the others.

Buwhite, I’m with you!
I agree 110% that far too much emphasis has been placed on “how fast can the pitcher throw”, to the exclusion of just about everything else, and that is a crying shame. As I see it, the pitchers who have a blazing fast ball—and practically nothing else—are the ones who are headed for the disabled list, at the very least, and at the most they will end up having to have Tommy John or similar surgery. Meanwhile, the snake-jazzers—the finesse pitchers—are like the Energizer bunny; they just keep going and going and going, and their arms never seem to give out. So are the sensible pitchers who have a good assortment of breaking stuff and offspeed pitches which they mix in with the fast ball—they too will last a long time.
Have you ever noticed—there’s the pitcher who almost never even uses a changeup. He’ll just keep firing it in there and firing it in there, and it doesn’t take long for an observant batter to get a good read on that fast ball and just sit on it and wait for one down the middle or middle in, and that batter will give it a ride out of the ballpark and across the street and into Aunt Minnie’s kitchen window.
And then there’s the guy who has everything but a fast ball—like Ed Lopat, who threw everything but the kitchen sink (and sometimes I think he had one too, but he kept it out of sight like Macheath’s knife in “The Three Penny Opera”). He never had a sore arm—the one time he was on the disabled list was when he had tendinitis in his left shoulder, but that was probably weather-related, that miserable cold rainy weather during the 1951 World Series. He just kept mixing them up—high, low, inside, outside, changing speeds constantly and staying away from the middle of the plate. And he told me about changing speeds and other aspects of strategic pitching.
Yes, those kids who have more than just a fast ball—a good changeup and maybe one good breaking pitch—are ahead of the game. In fact, that applies to everybody (except, perhaps, Mariano Rivera who has just one pitch and gets away with it). :slight_smile: 8) :baseballpitcher:

[quote=“wbbank”]What is a good inexpensive device to measure speed? Is Glove Radar okay? Seems like the most inexpensive item I can find.

Thanks[/quote]

You can pick up a radar gun from Ebay, Craigslist etc for about what you’d pay for the “hokey” tools. But, I agree with everyone else that said why? If this is for a kid don’t get caught up on speed. It’s just good talk by parents about “that kid” or “this kid”. Keep the ball at the knees, move it around and keep hitters guessing. I don’t think many teach the mental side of pitching and I can tell you without those 3 things I don’t care how fast anyone throws…it’s all about timing for the hitter and timing comes…read the Ted Williams Science of Hitting.

Speed isn’t everything and I can only make observations from the age group my son plays in (9u) but if you’re not throwing hard, the good teams will eat you for dinner. Throwing strikes that aren’t hard will lead to you being mercied in the 4th. And you’re not fooling these kids on balls if the pitch isn’t thrown with some velocity behind it, so now your walking batters and they’re stealing left and right.
The most effective pitch at this age is the change up, but that only works if you have a fast pitch to fool them with. If not the change up is a meatball flying over the outfields heads.

That said I would never use a radar gun. Either a kid throws hard or he doesn’t. It’s painfully obvious without a radar gun… The team only breaks it out once every season (3 seasons in a year) during a practice to monitor progression. I’ve never even seen a person here in the NE with a radar gun at the game.

Warren Spahn was not the first one to observe that hitting is all about timing and pitching is all about upsetting timing. I think the first one was Bob Feller, who was way ahead of everybody else.
You are so right when you say that very few coaches, et al., teach the mental side of pitching. I remember how my pitching coach was heavily into the mental and psychological aspects of pitching; we would spend hours discussing things like getting inside the batters’ heads, and from time to time he would get inside my head to explore my mental processes on the mound. He once told me that there was more to pitching than just throwing the ball and daring the batter to hit it—if he could—and I, a confirmed snake-jazzer, picked up on that immediately. 8)

[quote=“themaker75”]Speed isn’t everything and I can only make observations from the age group my son plays in (9u) but if you’re not throwing hard, the good teams will eat you for dinner. Throwing strikes that aren’t hard will lead to you being mercied in the 4th. And you’re not fooling these kids on balls if the pitch isn’t thrown with some velocity behind it, so now your walking batters and they’re stealing left and right.
The most effective pitch at this age is the change up, but that only works if you have a fast pitch to fool them with. If not the change up is a meatball flying over the outfields heads.[/quote]

I agree 100% but if your pitchers keep the ball at the knees and not up a lot of those bombs won’t happen. Can’t do much about umpires but any speed at the knees is a good pitch.

Unfortunately at 9U even the best pitchers don’t have the precision to hit spots over and over. I’m thinking and I’m just thinking, but I think that would come about 2 years from now.
And some umps will give you that call and others won’t. If he’s not you’re looking at a long day. Against the good teams I’ve noticed inside pitches are the way to go. They don’t have to aim low which gets scary for a young pitcher with a man on base. (Wild pitch and steal)
If the control is great then yes I’d go for knee height all the time. Let the infield make the out. Some speed is a nice thing to have in your back pocket though. Because when it goes to the mental aspect, now you’re really messing with the batters head. His timing is off especially at a young age when things are coming at him from different speeds.

[quote=“themaker75”]Speed isn’t everything and I can only make observations from the age group my son plays in (9u) but if you’re not throwing hard, the good teams will eat you for dinner. Throwing strikes that aren’t hard will lead to you being mercied in the 4th. And you’re not fooling these kids on balls if the pitch isn’t thrown with some velocity behind it, so now your walking batters and they’re stealing left and right.
The most effective pitch at this age is the change up, but that only works if you have a fast pitch to fool them with. If not the change up is a meatball flying over the outfields heads.[/quote]

I am in the same boat and agree with you. If the kid dosen’t have any pop at this age than he is getting hit hard. I don’t care where it’s placed.

I also agree you don’t need a radar gun to know who has a little pop to his pitches.

One of our pitchers has barely enough pop to be effective. We can get two innings out of him and avoid letting batters see him twice. He is a big kid but throws strikes that barely hold a straight line to the plate. His size affects the batters timeing. Must kids swing way ahead of his pitches simply because he looks like he can throw harder.

We have a tiny kid that pitches almost identical speed and location to the bigger kid that gets rocked and has not completed an inning yet.

You will find that the littler a pitcher the less he can throw down through the zone and therefore the pitch is flatter and easier to hit. Smaller kids seem also to use the advantage (even though smaller) less to their advantage.

The idea of being flat makes a lot of sense.

“Smaller kids seem also to use the advantage (even though smaller) less to their advantage”

Please explain?

Thanks,

Radar guns? How fast does a 9 year old throw? Aren’t we a overdoing this a bit? I mean you’re talking about 9 year old kids?

What round do you think this kid might get drafted in? :?

I will tell you what, after having 5 boys go from tee ball to high school and 2 in college playing the only thing I have to remember those 8 - 9 year old days are the videos and pictures and the sheer joy and comedy in it. Nobody ever has mentioned when my boys hit jr. high or beyond how fast they threw, how many hits they gave up, how many home runs.

It’s just fun…enjoy it before it’s too late!!!

[quote]“Smaller kids seem also to use the advantage (even though smaller) less to their advantage”

Please explain? [/quote]

Smaller kids seem to be the ones that drop way down in their knees to generate the power required to pitch at their max velocity, bigger/taller pitchers work on staying tall and driving down through the zone, throwing the ball at a higher angle and therefore the pitches aren’t as flat to the ground and ultimately the hitting zone.

Two of my kids would pitch (tall and fall), one was (drop and drive), they developed their techniques from their pitching coaches and their styles worked for them. When you would catch them, you would notice that my drop and drive kid definately had a flatter fastball and change-up than my kids that are tall and fall. Ultimately the drop and drive pitcher became more of a off speed pitcher, 3 different curve balls, 2 different chage ups (slider and cutter) and a fastball to keep them honest.

[quote=“BJones”]Radar guns? How fast does a 9 year old throw? Aren’t we a overdoing this a bit? I mean you’re talking about 9 year old kids?

What round do you think this kid might get drafted in? :?

I will tell you what, after having 5 boys go from tee ball to high school and 2 in college playing the only thing I have to remember those 8 - 9 year old days are the videos and pictures and the sheer joy and comedy in it. Nobody ever has mentioned when my boys hit jr. high or beyond how fast they threw, how many hits they gave up, how many home runs.

It’s just fun…enjoy it before it’s too late!!![/quote]

It’s funny how often I have to remind myself that this is LL. The reality is we live in a very competitive area. If your kid enjoys playing and would like to play as long as possible than they need to be on the coaches radar before junior high. Guess what, you get on that radar by performing in our LL.

Last I heard 8 of last yrs LL All Star team was starting for our Junior High Team. Most of the kids have played together through LL and TT.

We have 12 Major LL Teams of 12 players. So you are going against 124 kids for 9 starting spots. Yes these kids are being looked at by 9 and 10 yrs old and need to be standing out by 11 and 12 to make the local High School team.

Sure there is exceptions to the rule. By the way, I don’t like it! The politics involved is nuts. Sure you may have 2 or 3 kids that are just better than the rest. Than you have 15 kids that are a coin flip. All great players with strengths and problems. It comes down to who knows who! A lot of leveraging to get, the right team, playing time, mound time, All Stars, and the invite to play on the travel team, etc…

All to make the High School team- (If the kid still wants to play). These kids are good. Most have the ability to play at some level in college. Distractions (drugs-drinking-girls), injury, and burnout keep these kids from moving into college ball.

So it’s my job to provide the resources to keep my kid moving forward in this environment. Teach him how to be mentally healthy, physically healthy, and diversed in other activities to maintain his desire.

[quote]
All to make the High School team- (If the kid still wants to play). These kids are good. Most have the ability to play at some level in college. Distractions (drugs-drinking-girls), injury, and burnout keep these kids from moving into college ball.

So it’s my job to provide the resources to keep my kid moving forward in this environment. Teach him how to be mentally healthy, physically healthy, and diversed in other activities to maintain his desire.[/quote]

Agree, agree, agree. I don’t know where you live but I live in Southern California and I can guarantee that our high school coaches could give a flying flip what a kid is doing in USSSA ball. Quote from our high school coach who coached all 5 of my boys…“I don’t give a S**T what those kids are doing in youth baseball. It’s my job to break em down and start em all over and teach them how baseball is supposed to be played”. Now he is drastic and I can tell you it’s not like basic training but I will tell you how it was for my boys when they were little. The 2 who went on to college sucked from tee ball until about 13 when they started to grow. The other 3 were the studs of their teams until about junior year of high school. It just caught up with them. The other 2 I just knew were going to go on and get their education paid for to play…but I didn’t know it until their sophomore year in HS.

As for the girls, booze, drugs…I told all of my kids there are only 3 things that drag you down and take your goals no matter what they are.[/quote]

You are absolutely right, there isn’t a high school coach in the country that gives 2 cents what “your team record” was or “how many trophies” you have. What he cares about is how you fit, or don’t fit, onto his team, his ideas, his philosophies. Well little Johnny may have played on the #1 ranked team in the nation and won state, well high school is brand new team and a brand new game and a coach will quickly cut a player that can’t be coached or a player that is living in the past and not trying to be better for the future.