Offseason bull pen frequency and number of pitches for a 12 year old


As a refresher: My son is left-handed and is now 12. He hasn’t gotten to play much the last 3 years, the last two he had a broken bone in his foot and then a bruise/sprain on the same bone. before that he had gallbladder problems that ended up being caused by his reflux medicine.

He finally got to pitch a complete season and did very well. For the rest of the summer and fall, how often should he do a bullpen and how many pitches? Should we do one every Monday and Friday, which would give him 4 days and 3 days between pens or should we do one every 4th day or every 5th day? Also what days between should he be doing long toss and weights? when to work cardio in there?

He is now 12, 5’8" and 175 pounds. He also has a wing span 4" longer than his height.

Is there anyone on here close to Jackson, MS that could work with him or can someone on here recommend someone?



Is he playing in the fall or is he taking the fall season off?
How many innings did he pitch over how many weeks?
When will he have his first tryout or practice for the Spring season?


He just played rec ball this spring since he has had so many issues for the last 3 years. I wanted make sure he wasnt overwelmed. We were supposed to have 12 games but only got to play 5 of them due to all of the rain. He pitched in three of them and had 2 great outings and 1 bad one. the most he pitched was one batter into his third inning.but never more than 57 pitches. And never more than once in a week. He hasnt decided yet if he wants to pitch this fall or sit out and just work on getting better and getting in shape. His body is really flabby due to not being able to do anything for most of the last 3 years. He is very self-conscious about his body and its lack of muscle tone. We are going to the gym and working on light weights and keep increasing the reps. we are also working stretching, I am thinking that even if he doesnt play this fall, he will keep throwing until around October, that’s one benefit of living in the south. Then pick it again in February. That will give him 4 months of no throwing.


I would try to set up a consultation with a sports medicine doctor and see what he might recommend for a good resistance/cardio training regimen for your son’s specific case. He or someone he recommends can help you identify what deficits he has and how to best prepare him for pitching and athletic movement in general. Increasing the weight and lowering the reps will in general result in quicker tone and a muscle type better suited for pitching. However, you need somebody who can really assess his condition and circumstance to make worthwhile recommendations.

For throwing, I would keep it at two pens per week with a max of 60 pitches. He can start out lower and work up to that count. I would throw very lightly the day after the pens and more the other days. He can reduce the pens or throwing if he becomes bored with it or has any discomfort. Just keep him happy and wanting more if you can.

I would really try not to reduce the workouts unless it was a trade off for vigorous athletic activity. He needs to build that body both for his body’s sake and also to protect his self esteem. Pulling off a body type change can charge a young man up like nothing else.

Best of luck to you and your son,



His arm is basically in unused factory condition but will need to be brought up to strength through a throwing regimen.
His weight leads me to believe he’s significantly overweight since most 12-13 year olds I have worked with are in the 100-140 pound range of various heights. His height is above average for his age and he should still have some growing to do. Adding muscle will help him burn away the “flab” that much quicker. Controlling his diet and only slightly increasing his exercise will get 10-15 pounds off him by Spring. He needs to get that discipline from his parents to start with. Once he sees the results, he will buy in to the plan. His confidence and self-image will improve and those are both big take aways that he’ll need to possess by spring time.

As for having his imbalances assessed. That certainly can’t hurt, and if he is serious about maximizing his baseball potential, it’s something to strongly consider.

As for the arm, you have plenty of time. I’d try to gradually build him up to 80-85 pitches over a 7-8 week time span and then sustain him at that level throwing every 5th day at that upper number until you shut him down in October. At the beginning, he may get warm, get his arm up to game speed then throw two sets of 10-15 pitches. Then every 3 days add 5 pitches to the total provided he can easily accomplish the increased workload to a max of 45 pitches. If he can’t reach a goal, then hold at whatever level he’s on for one or two sessions (remember, you are in no hurry) then try again to add to the workload. Once you get over 45 pitches now you are resting 3 days and throwing on the 4th. Once you get up >60 you are resting 4 days and throwing on the 5th from then on. Halfway through each rest period, be sure to play catch and get the arm warm to keep it loose and help it heal properly between bullpens.

Keep the bullpens as game-like as possible. Keep the pace between pitches to a game pace. Many people rush through their bullpens and are done in 5-10 mins. There should be no less than 10 seconds between pitches and no less than 5 minutes between sets. In a game it will be probably closer to 10 minutes between coming off the mound and going back out. A pace of 3-4 innings per hour is average, so there is no need or benefit of rushing through your pen. Each set should have a focus. That is the only significant way that the pen should differ from the game. In a pen, you may throw 10-15 consecutive down and away fastballs. Then you might come back with 10-15 down and in fastballs. Bullpens allow you the opportunity to refine your pitches so that you may call upon them when you need them in game situations. The worst type of bullpen is throwing random pitches to random locations. To me, you may as well not throw that bullpen, if you are going to flush it down the toilet.


ok. thanks. Should have mentioned that we are already throwing bullpens of 55 pitches every 5 days. Just wanted confirmation that it was the correct thing or someone to tell me what we should be doing instead. We weren’t doing any long toss yet or any in between bullpen throwing, . He is not fat. His stomach is relatively flat, just that his chest and stomach have no muscle tone and are flabby. He wears an adult medium or large shirt for his shoulders. His arms and legs are toned just not his torso but we are working on that. Everybody that looks at him thinks he weighs 130-140. He also carries a lot of weight in his feet because he wears a 13 EEEE shoe, haha. And he just informed me this morning that his shoes are too small. So I guess we will go this afternoon and get him new bigger ones. We are still working on refining his pitching enough to locate, right now we are just working on consistently throwing strikes. I do put the mitt in one location for a few pitches and then move it to another once he has hit it a couple of times. attached is a picture of him from last Thursday. not sure why it is sideways.