Middle School Baseball

I coach Middle School (6th-8th grade)Baseball in Tn. When dealing with pitchers at this age is it best to work on mechanics and control rather than velocity and different types of pitches. We play using 60’ mound and 90’ bases. So this is a big change for some of the kids. My teams in the past have usually been fundamentally sound but we always struggle with pitching. Suggestions would be greatly appreciated, we start practice Monday.

Hi coach.

They kind of go together. You’re always going to be working on mechanics. Given that, though, I have to say that I have always tried to coach to the individual as much as possible. Those who are more developed get higher-level training, which usually means more tactics and rather less mechanics. Those at a lower skill or experience level get the basics to make sure they’re mechanically sound.

Few JH pitching staffs are going to have only experienced game-ready pitchers, right? There are going to be “project” kids who have potential but little training or experience. I know personal attention is hard to find time for, and if you only have one way you can coach given time constraints and lack of coaches, I’d go with tactics and learning to get outs.

Given the short JH season, you’re probably not going to get a chance to work with the kids in-depth very much or for very long. Get the outs, and learn to win or lose with dignity. If you can accomplish that, I’d say it was a successful season. Junior High School seasons are too short to do much more than manage talent and do what you can to develop potential.

And remember, if the boys are serious and have potential, there are good amateur and professional coaches who can work with them in the off season, maybe even you!