New to the forum and have read lots of interesting and informative advice on pitching. As the subject says, I have an 8 yr old who will be playing his first year of kid pitch and is interested in pitching. I have read that from the stretch seems to be the consensus, and is my plan. My questions for now are, how to properly warm up, how often to practice pitching (from the hill and/or flat), any suggestions on drills to keep it fun and simple. We went to the field and let him try it and he was really excited and just wanted to keep going even though he probably only threw a small percentage around the plate. Which is promising since (from my experience) not a lot of kids this age will try something demanding and difficult, have little success and still want to try. Like I said he is 8 and will be 9 in June, he’s left handed, and small for his age, 50lbs 3’11". Any suggestions/advice would be greatly appreciated. thanks in advance for your help.
I view the warmup as preparing the muscles to be stretched. I like a routine of form running, calisthenics, and isometrics to heat up the muscles and joints in preparation to throw. In general once they’ve developed a light sweat they’re ready to throw. With 8 yo’s you may not keep their attention long enough for a 10-15 minute warmup but IMO they should be doing something other than throwing cold.
As far as frequency of practice I’d tend to leave it up to the kid and then err on the side of caution. Make sure he has time to recover between throwing sessions. Let him build strength gradually and watch for signs of fatigue and discomfort and react accordingly.
Other than that:
Learn from the stretch- less to go wrong with balance, posture, etc.
Get him a glove appropriate for his size and strength- the smaller and lighter the better.
Learn about and pay attention to glove side management (chest to glove) and posture (minimal lateral tilt, head upright and straight to home plate until release).
An overwhelming majority of kids I see have gloves too big for their size, let the glove side arm flail all over the place, and tilt their head off to the glove side. Between their heavy glove, heavy head and lack of strength it’s a wonder they can throw a strike at all.
I wouldn’t go much farther than those basic things.
Thanks JP for the insight. I will definitely keep an eye on those issues. When you refer to the lateral tilt, are you meaning of the body or the head, meaning that the body/head leans toward the plate or second base rather than maintaining an imaginary center line perpendicular to the ground?
I’m referring to the upper body/head tilting or leaning toward 3rd base (for a lefty) as the pitcher rotates toward the plate. With young kids the head weighs so much that tilting it to the glove side as most do can affect balance and cause unnecessary tilt. Add in the weight of a poorly managed large glove and they can begin falling off to third pretty quick. This is believed in turn to cause additional stress on the arm.
Until they learn otherwise many kids try to recruit energy from the upper body, primarily the shoulders and arm. Since the head weighs so much it feels natural to get it involved as well by jerking it or otherwise trying to get that mass involved in the action. By focusing on keeping the head upright and moving toward the target until release many of these posture issues can be avoided.