I’m just a mom trying to better understand what people are telling me My son is 11 (sept birthday), he throws extremely hard. He is 5’4 about 115, and I’m told he has a 3/4 slot with a “whippy” arm. I honestly have no idea what that means. I have never let him be clocked, but he was doing a physics experiment and he was clocked flat ground at 53, throwing about 50-60% effort. Is that fast? Since it’s just me and him I end up with a lot of well intentioned dads and coaches talking to me about him, but I’d like to be able to respond somewhat knowledgeable. We live in a small community in Northern Ca, so the baseball community is pretty small - and outside of the coaches at our facility it’s hard to know who to trust. Help! PS his coaches have never clocked him, and I’m hesitant to have them do it because I don’t want my son to be slave to radar gun
“I’m just a mom trying to better understand what people are telling me. My son is 11 (sept birthday),”
This fully depends upon knowledge based in science, tested through experience for confirmations.
The past and current trend in coaching is based upon old traditional beliefs by some and evolving scientific theory by those that have little scientific exposure or methodology. This is important to know when discussing developing youth bodies and ballistic movements that effect Joints!
Your son is chronologically 11. What is his biological age ( the rate of bone development in time) He may be Equated, early or a late maturer? There is a 5 year spread in males. Equated maturers Elbow growth plates fully mature at Chron/Biol age 16 where there is no more growth from that joint. If he is one year Late, his elbow does not mature until he is chronologically 17, add another year for many. Loss of range of motion in extension and flexion range of motion can not be fixed. All go through this degrading process especially throwing fast twitchers!!! Equated 11 yo’s Epicondyle show up as still partially transluscent in an X-ray, what if he’s a late maturer? Red flag !
“he throws extremely hard.”
He is a genetically gifted “fast twitcher” He will never loose this unless he injures himself or perturbs the bone growth along the way. He should only pitch Adrenaline assisted competitively, 3 consecutive months a year or not at all `yet! When all the Growth plates in his Elbow solidify at Biological 16 yo, should he go year round! He can practice
“He is 5’4 about 115”
This has no bearing on how he performs at any time.
“I’m told he has a 3/4 slot with a “whippy” arm.”
This means he has a “traditional Centripedal intuitive delivery” where his arm centrifuges to the outside of his body forearm supinating his pitch types! This is a known pathomechanical approach where the Elbow Ballistically hyper extends and slams the end of the Ulna into the end of the Humerus over and over where inflammation first occurs then degradation of the bone and many more problems.
I honestly have no idea what that means.
The “whippy” part means because he “forearm bounces “ The The Humerus and forearm back to gain full length of the Humerus before he throws it looks like the rolling part of a whip when driving forwards. The problem with this is, it is also a pathomechanic because when the pitcher flexes his supinator muscles (extensors) to drive the ball it relaxes the pronator (Flexor’s) muscles that help protect the UCL ligament against that backwards bounce. They are all pretty much “whippy” Again especially with genetically gifted throwers.
“I have never let him be clocked,”
This is virtually useless in youth athletes and can cause problems.
“he was doing a physics experiment and he was clocked flat ground at 53, throwing about 50-60% effort.”
Science is commendable when it is done safely, Do no harm!
Is that fast?
Add say the 50 % with adrenaline, that would be 106! That’s of the charts.
Since it’s just me and him I end up with a lot of well intentioned dads and coaches talking to me about him
Try an actual expert, He has said “men have proven to be incapable of making a change, only when the mothers take over will injuries stop being produced”- Dr. Mike Marshall,. Read his work, it’s free
“I’d like to be able to respond somewhat knowledgeable.”
It’s all there to read for free
“We live in a small community in Northern Ca, so the baseball community is pretty small”
Nice, I schooled in the Redwoods, this is a perfect opportunity for you
“outside of the coaches at our facility it’s hard to know who to trust.”
I have a test questionnaire for parents to ask any coach to see if they have the right information to go by ?
1. Do they understand coach Newtons principles?
2. Do they understand Biological maturity and it’s use to time increasing training oppertunities?
3. Do they understand the difference between Forearm supinated pitch types and forearm pronated pitch types and which ones are pathomechanical (injurious) and which ones are not?
4. Do they understand the difference between the Lengthening Kinetic chain, the shortening Kinetic chain and the recovery Kinetic chain?
5. Are they aware and understand Dr. Marshall’s discovery and tenets?
If they do not, ask them to look in to it to give your child a chance to get through this healthy!
Do no harm.
You have some reading to do. Do not be intimidated, Knowledge is subliminal power.
Have an exit and re-entry strategy when reading, because the info is extensive but life changing for the better.
Don’t worry about having to learn Dr. Marshall full delivery, your son can still lift his leg uselessly to appease the demanding coaches he will run in to. Dr. Marshall will have to pass on before the full mechanic will be rediscovered, this seems to be the way science works, although the top half mechanics are gaining acceptance and used at the highest levels by some. Maybe they should name baseball retirement Hip replacement surgery after Tommy John also? He had that also.
Good luck! Any question just ask?
How did you enjoy trying to digest that quantum physics lesson when you asked a basic math question?
He is 11, let him play the game and have fun. Don’t let him be over coached. Most importantly, don’t let him be overused. Look up USA Baseball’s guidelines called “Pitch Smart”. These are limits on number of pitches thrown in an outing, number of days rest between pitching days, etc…As a mom, the best thing you can do is protect him from over use.
This is a whole lot of information for my brain to try and digest. I trust his main coach a lot, he is currently helping him rehab a broken collar bone and the none throwing side. I just feel like an idiot sometimes with all the questions I have. Reading through all the postings has been really helpful.
Your son is a good thrower if you only want to go by velocity. Not great.
Now, you are actually in an enviable position because the “baseball” know-it-alls are coming to you, not the other way around. The 50-60% quote should be taken with a grain of salt. If you want to know how fast he throws, get a radar gun and have him tested. See how he can light it up.
Velocity should not be the pursuit for your son. If he likes baseball, let him play. If we wants to be competitive, encourage him and support that as much as possible. His level of fun and enrichment will be determined by his success and his camaraderie with other kids playing with him, either in Little League or Travel Competitive baseball.
Let his own talent shine through. All good teams need pitching. The best teams have more pitching than the other teams they play. Don’t pigeon hole him into being just a pitcher. You want him to play as much as possible, and if he pitches, he will have rest days – technically meaning he shouldn’t be throwing too hard the day after a hard pitching effort.
AS a starter, if your son pitches, and since he is still a Little League (LL) aged player, you can go to the LL website and they will have the rules for the pitch counts for the various age levels and # of pitches thrown.
The longer you can resist the numbers game, the better off you will be. If your son can pitch and is successful, it doesn’t matter how hard he throws. Case in point: MLB now has numerous 100MPH throwers. The best relievers are the ones who can throw something other than a fastball at max speed. Right now the best relievers are the ones throwing between 93±96mph, not 98-100mph (with a range of velocity anywhere from 78-100mph) because they have multiple pitches. So, the trick is to learn multiple pitches without getting hurt by depending on some pitches too early in the child development (that’s a story for another time). Your son’s ability to vary pitch speed keeps hitters off balance… a hitters timing is everything, and a pitcher’s job is to mess with that timing.
You’ll know how good your son is by how mu ch other people ant him and by what YOU see on the field.
Keep it simple, enjoy the ride!
PS: If your son falls behind, don’t panic…just learn about how to properly train him physically (proper strength and conditioning) and balance between strength and flexibility, as well as technically on how to play the game (techniques in hitting/fielding/positioning/anticipation…)
Thank you to everyone for your replies. So much to learn! My son plays other positions as well - mostly short and catches with some third sprinkled in. The pitching is just the part that seems hardest to understand, and the hardest to know how to measure. He is working with a coach until the end of the month who seems really great, he’s got him working on things like hip rotation and placing the ball based on situations. As a mom of course I just don’t want him to be worn out - and he has been great about doing band work and teaching him about active recovery. The coach has been talking about his “whippy” arm lol so I’m glad I got a little understanding. I don’t have false expectations of greatness or unrealistic ideas about an 11 yr old (trust me he’s no crazy prodigy). But he loves baseball among other sports- and is highly competitive and has athletic gifts and talents I’ll probably never understand. I’ve really liked reading the different topics and all advice - as a single mom you guys have no idea how valuable all that info is. Thanks again!
Some young players learn they can develop velocity by really snapping throws off at the elbow. For a middle infielder, this can be useful. You’re able make a quick, hard throws without taking the time to load and coil your lower half.
Some kids come to rely on the elbow whip while neglecting other elements of their mechanics. For a starting pitcher throwing 75+ pitches, this puts a tremendous amount of stress on the elbow.
Our shortstop last year was perhaps the hardest throwing kid on a team of hard throwing kids. He would often catch the attention of the other team during infield warmups making hard, whippy, 3/4 to side arm throws across the diamond. They were always surprised to hear that he didn’t pitch much for our team.
We had a couple kids with very good mechanics that could get the same kind of velocity. They could cruise at that speed for innings with significantly less ‘exertion’ than the whippy kid. They also threw more strikes. And got more ground balls.
Fwiw - I have found the radar gun to be a very useful training tool. It demonstrated to my son that using my “suggested mechanics” he could achieve speeds 95% of his all-out maximum with significantly less effort and stress.