Pitch Speed Ranges for 10, 11, 12's


#1

I know location and mechanics are more important, but I’d also like an unbiased round of opinions on pitching speed ranges for 10, 11 and 12 YO’s so I can monitor growth from a different perspective (beyond location and mechanics) in addition to the more important things.

My son is a league age 10 for 2012 and hitting about 55 so far in February. Suspecting that will go up a tad as the season goes on and the arm gets stronger. Is this an appropriate speed for him? What should his mark be for 11 and 12 based on where he’s at now?

Again, I know speed is not the end all be all for youth. I just want to track his speed now, so when it is important on the big diamond, I’ll have a good sense of where he’s at and where he came from.

Thanks!


#2

[quote=“gdmiller5”]I know location and mechanics are more important, but I’d also like an unbiased round of opinions on pitching speed ranges for 10, 11 and 12 YO’s so I can monitor growth from a different perspective (beyond location and mechanics) in addition to the more important things.

My son is a league age 10 for 2012 and hitting about 55 so far in February. Suspecting that will go up a tad as the season goes on and the arm gets stronger. Is this an appropriate speed for him? What should his mark be for 11 and 12 based on where he’s at now?

Again, I know speed is not the end all be all for youth. I just want to track his speed now, so when it is important on the big diamond, I’ll have a good sense of where he’s at and where he came from.

Thanks![/quote]

55 is excellent for 10U.

That being said, I wouldn’t get too caught up with velocity in youth ball. Consider two 18 year old seniors, both are 6’ and each throwing 85 MPH. When they were 12U age, pitcher A stood 5’10" and threw 75. Everybody was in awe of his talent. Pitcher B also was an All-Star at 12U, but standing only 5’-0", he topped out at 58 MPH, and was always in Pitcher A’s shadow. Now as HS Seniors, they’re equals. Pitcher A topped out when he was 14. Pitcher B is still growing and colleges project him to be a 90+ type pitcher. Which player do you think the college chose with their last scholarship?


#3

I agree. I’m not one of those parents. Know that speed is tertiary compared to other things. Not something we are focusing on at all. Just wanted opinion from this group (as its something that Dad wants to monitor) because it seems like I can trust the forum. Every place else I have gone to for free sound advice kinda sucks.

My son takes off August - December from pitching after going reasonably hard from May-July. It’s all about him and taking care of him. Just wanted to state that as I plan on hanging out here for a while. Now that I’ve found you.

:lol:


#4

At age 10 55 mph is elite. Just be careful about assuming consistent increases in speed. Kids can get bad habits, injuries, lose confidence etc… It happens. In each of the aforementioned kids lose speed. My son is 10(nearly 11) and averages 52, only 2mph faster than 1 year ago. That year included an elbow injury and a reinvention of his mechanics.


#5

My son began pitching at age 9 and he is 21 now. He was 16 before I knew what speed he was throwing. I had people asking me all the time, “Hey, how hard’s he throwing?” It was the most satisfying and simple reply when I honestly told them, “I have no clue.” End of conversation. Now if they’d asked me about his preparation, mechanics, location, effectiveness, or any other variable in the pitching mix, or how about his grades…I would have probably had a nice conversation with them. But all I mostly got was, “Hey…” You get the picture.

Those numbers can cause more grief than they are worth. The human eye is a wonderfully calibrated instrument. With it you can tell if your son is improving speedwise just as easily as using a gun. I mean, you don’t need a scale to tell if a person has lost or gained weight, do you?

So, even though you aren’t making it a priority…believe me others will and it is nice to honestly reply, “I dunno.” It’s also nice to take the pressure off the kid and not feed him his progress or lack thereof in hard round numbers. By the way, numbers which come from machines that sometimes aren’t top of the line and aren’t calibrated recently. I mean, just one number up or down the scale can make a difference in the perception of whether or not you are making progress. It’s kinda like an inaccurate bathroom scale. Are you kiddin me!

Just my opinion.


#6

I hear you. You are 100% correct. Every year should be a gradual improvement over the prior without destroying the kid in the process. My son improves every year. Speed. Mechanics. Confidence. And he’s a damn good kid to boot. Humble as they come.

But he doesn’t play 100 games a year to prove it. Just nuts. He plays what he needs to play and then we’re done. As long as we see the improvements that we should be seeing, that’s good enough for me…and him. All that considered…he’ll still be Top 10 in his league this year (New England) at the age of 10.


#7

He’s 10, he plays 100 games a year, games are usually May - July like you said so 12 weeks total, maybe 16 weeks total, 100 games/16 weeks = 6.25 games per week? Even if you started in March 100 games/20 weeks=5 games/we, and your question is all about pitch speed? Even if I commented on this I am sure you wouldn’t understand or choose to understand my comments. You say you aren’t one of those parents If you want to have an idea of the right mentallity then read Dino’s post otherwise there is a recent thread here that might make the point about speed concerns and the like, might want to read through the whole thread.

http://www.letstalkpitching.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=16378

Your comment was, “I’m not one of those parents”, well I don’t know. Glad you 10 yr old is top 10…hope he will be able to do it at 18.


#8

I was just exaggerating a point Mr. White with the 100 games. Never said we played “100 games.” Come on now.

No need to jump all over me as a first time poster and add your math to a seemingly simple question. I took extra effort in explaining my reasoning behind the question.

For what it’s worth in not “understanding” you.

Dad is a former D2 pitcher, current President of local Little League and regional advocate for positive coaching and youth sports equality. I understand plenty. My question was innocent. Don’t be so jaded and lump “everyone” who asks a question like this with the other neophyte parents living vicariously through their children.

Maybe I was wrong about this site.


#9

[quote=“Dino”]even though you aren’t making it a priority…believe me others will and it is nice to honestly reply, “I dunno.”

[/quote]

And the mystery of not knowing is fun to watch. I hear my son compared to kids throwing 72, 75, 76, etc. and the news goes out that he’s throwing this fast or that fast, and it’s very intimidating to the hitter. Honestly, I don’t know how fast he throws, but it’s fun to listen and hear what people think.

Everybody wants to know how fast a kid pitches. One year in Fall ball, just after he turned 10, an opposing District played the two teams from our league. Team A was made up of all of the All Stars, and they crushed this other team 30-2 (or something like that.) Then my son’s team played them, and won like 5-0. The next day I’m at a coffee shop near the other District, and I hear some fathers talking about this LL Minors game. They talked on and on about the kid who threw smoke and shut them down, who was he, how fast was he throwing, and on and on. They didn’t talk about the 30-2 game or any players on that team. I listened quietly, finished my coffee and walked out without saying a word. Inside, smiling. Of all the 10U kids, the only one they talked about was the fire-baller who nobody knew about. We played this league again this past fall in 14U (my son played up for the fall.) After the game, in which my son pitched 3 innings, 8Ks and a walk, a dad from the other team comes up and asks about a game two years previous in which a kid from our LL Minors shut them out. Same kid? Same kid! His next question was "how fast does he throw? I don’t know? Never checked!

Enjoy the moments. :slight_smile:


#10

If he stays that way, he’ll have no limit to what he can achieve. You are right to be proud of your son. It’s great to be able to master the art and science of pitching. But that’s not the pinnacle in my mind. The top of the heap, the pot at the end of the rainbow is using the game as a tool to mold a young man of character, having discipline and dedication tempered with humility. It sounds like you have a decade of celebrating to do with him. Keep it simple and enjoy.


#11

OK, sorry for my tone, as I read you post, saying that “But he doesn’t play 100 games a year to prove it.” it read as though he plays 100 games…I could read it the other way too but every time I hear of a parent wanting to know about velocity it ends up being some kid that plays too much, or for 2 or 3 teams, and all Dad focuses is on how hard my kid throws or how many games my kid plays.

So if you are a former D2 player and little league advocate you must know that the focus of velocity at 10 isn’t a defining factor of being a pitcher, is your question based on your own want to find out if your sons velocity is going to stack up against other players? Or is it to know what your son needs to do to be at the top of 10u pitchers? So what are you looking for?

One of your questions was “what should his mark be for 11 and 12”, his mark should be whatever his body can handle with good solid mechanics. Like Dino said his son was 16 before he ever know what speed his son was throwing and unless it’s something special the kid shouldn’t be gunned until like 15 or 16. I have said this again and again when I see a video of a kid pitching and every pitch is being gunned by someone behind him, the focus changes from pitching to just throwing hard.

I would assume that as a former pitcher the focus of velocity started around the high school years, in my day we didn’t have anyone gun us until near the end of high school and we were looking for schools to make impressions on. I like West2East’s comment, “I don’t know? Never checked!”

You wanted an unbiased opinion and there it is, sorry again for having a crappy tone earlier I just have seen it so many times that it’s all about velocity. I hope you stick around and you and your son grow with this site.


#12

Thank you Mr. White.

Yes. I realize velocity means zip at this age. Nothing. Nadda. I really tried to make that clear, but I guess not clear enough.

My question comes more from where not to go, then where to go. Too many parents focus on the wrong things with the hopes of their kids being some sort of superstar. We all know this and I have no stomach for it. I am trying very hard to be the antithesis of that. Holding back more. Probably to an extreme in some cases.

I simply want to know what I asked originally. What are the pitching speed ranges for those ages? Look at it differently than you are. I DON’T want my kid throwing 70 at 12. Not good. I am not about that. I don’t want his mechanics taking him places he should not be. Tell me 55 is too hard for 10!!! I’ll pull him back. That’s what I am looking for. The question comes from a place of restraint, not advancement. I refuse to watch my child’s love of the game go up in smoke because he throws too hard. I was not afforded such luxury’s growing up. Two shoulder surgeries by my college soph year…done.

My first sentence…

“I know location and mechanics are more important, but I’d also like an unbiased round of opinions on pitching speed ranges for 10, 11 and 12 YO’s so I can monitor growth from a different perspective (beyond location and mechanics) in addition to the more important things.”

I want to know his mark in a rational way. Not a blow your arm out by 13 way. There is a difference. I guess the former is rarely discussed.

See where I’m going with this? The different perspective is what I speak of above. The perspective of restraint. Holding back. Limits. I am looking to this expert group for their opinions as opposed to what I would find on Yahoo Answers. Apologize for not being more specific, but didn’t think I’d need to specify my question to such a degree.


#13

A rule of thumb I came across once is “5 x Age = High Velocity.”

It’s not set in stone, but it’s a pretty good guide, I think.

Take the Little League World Series. Each summer the fastest pitchers throw 65 to 70. Most of these kids are late-12 or already-turned-13. Taking 13 as a their chronological (and almost certainly biological) age, 5 x 13 = 65. It works here.

Applying this rule of thumb to high school, it gives us: 15 x 5 = 75, 16 x 5 = 80, 17 x 5 = 85, 18 x 5 = 90. It works here too.

Of course, all this assumes accurate velocity measurements, which is rarely the case in youth sports. In fact youth baseball is famous for false claims of velocity (check out YouTube some time for a good laugh). If you’re “gunning” from an inexpensive gun that is “off,” or misusing the gun, or heaven forbid using an iPhone “radar” app, you really don’t know what a kid is throwing.

By the way, I don’t believe a 10 year old should be gunned. I don’t allow my 10 year old to be. In fact I have warned family members - who sit in the stands and “gun” him with their very inaccurate iPhone “radar” app (which is nothing but a stopwatch) - to keep their mouths shut and not even let him know what they’re doing.

As an aside, these smartphone “radar” apps, while fun, are a joke. They have no “radar” whatsoever. They are nothing more than a glorified stopwatch that requires the user to press “START” and “STOP.” They measure the amount of time a pitch takes to travel from release to the plate, which of course gives you only the average velocity (distance divided by time) and not peak velocity at release point. You input the pitching distance (such as 46’ for Little League), and if you are timing to the plate you can allow it to adjust for the stride length/release point (or you can simply time to the catcher’s mitt which basically offsets the stride). They’re fun, but very inaccurate.


#14

Let him throw as hard as he likes, but not as often as others would like.

We’ve kept it simple. Bullpen sessions and rec ball, with a few TB games thrown in at 10U. We’ve monitored pitch count. 1000 @ 10U, 1100 @ 11U (actually threw less than 500 due to a broken arm), and about the same this year @ 12U. My son likes playing outside during the summer with neighbor kids, and doesn’t want to chase a baseball at 12. He doesn’t eat or sleep sports; in fact, he doesn’t even think about sports unless he’s playing. He works harder as a student and spends more time studying than he does playing sports. And his preference this summer is to go to a writer’s camp, not a baseball academy.

The point of all of this is that at 12 there is life besides baseball. He’s still fairly raw in development, in comparison to kids who play ball 24/7. Yet, eventhough his other interests far outweighs his compassion for sports, he’s considered by coaches and fathers who sons play at a very high level in travel ball to be on par with the best in the Mid-Atlantic. I’m sure these well intentioned parents/coaches are exaggerating as they try to understand him and his choices.

His one sport’s compassion is throwing the cover off the ball, and seeing how far he can throw a baseball. Last year at 11 he would throw the ball from homeplate over the 210’ centerfield fence. To him, that is fun. This year, he has a bucket of balls to throw. I’m not throwing back to him. :slight_smile:


#15

I’m thankful nobody has yet come up with a specific answer to your question. Kids are all unique. You can’t come up with a simple rule that works in all situations. That’s what parenting is about, being with your kid, watching him develop and keeping him from self destructing along the way. You have to take certain risks. There is a part of risk that is good. It’s called consequence. Learning what the consequences are forces adaptation and a discovery of new ways to exceed your limitations.

If I were to start over with a nine year old there are a few things I would do:

  1. I would not keep pitch speed records from radar guns. If you want to do that, make sure you do it with your gun, a high quality one and have it calibrated. Don’t take readings from other guns. Don’t have radar gun competitions.

  2. I would Coach my son’s team. Making sure to develop as many pitchers as possible.

  3. All pitchers including my son would pitch when rested, would maintain proper mechanics, and come off the mound while he is still effective and looking good. I wouldn’t wait for obvious signs of tiring.

  4. Pitchers would play a position in the field that would minimize his exposure to long maximum type throws during game competition. I wouldn’t discourage the extended throwing or long toss activity but I wouldn’t let the kids compete to see who can throw the ball over centerfield fence the farthest either.

  5. I would play seasonal baseball and take at least three months off every year to participate in a non throwing type sport. The younger they are the longer I’d like to see them get away from the game.

  6. I would constantly be evaluating his desire to be a pitcher. If he showed signs of being disinterested, I would allow him the time off he wanted.

  7. I would not let him become a “pitcher only” on any team. Hitting is important for eye hand coordination and it amazes me how quickly some kids get pidgeonholed as a “pitcher only” who can’t hit.

  8. I would follow a scientifically developed program for “prehabilitative” arm exercises to strengthen the muscles and tendons that get stress during the pitching delivery.

  9. I would not use a “negative” to describe any pitching performance. Pitching is high pressure for some kids. They need all the encouragement possible.

  10. I would never assume he is going to pitch at the next level, whatever that may represent. When it comes to an end, and it always does, I would want him to know how proud I was of his accomplishments even if he only pitched one inning of one game.


#16

Not sure about overall age averages, but can tell you about my son who just recently turned 12.
He hasn’t be “gunned” a lot over the last couple years, but enough to let me know how he’s progressing.
At the beginning of his 10u season, he was around 52mph. 11u: 57mph. Now at 12, his coach pulled out a speed gun at yesterday’s practice; he topped out at 63mph, and was averaging 61mph with his fastball. His change up was around 53mph. All these speeds were taken with the same gun, so progress seems to be around 5mph a year…at least for my boy.

FYI, the coach checked the speeds for 8 other pitchers on our 12u team. Their fastballs averaged from low-high 50’s. Only one other pitcher hit 60mph.


#17

Every kid is different.

I truly believe you’ll never get an accurate marking to use, either your sample size will be too small or the sample size will be large but there will be too many outliers in the sample that it would throw an average or even a mean reading out of whack.


#18

I forgot to mention also the inaccuraices of radar guns. Not every gun is the same and that right there would compromise any average.


#19

Lots of good advice here, especially around controlling the amount of innings your son pitches, getting involved in coaching and making sure he gets rest.

Unlike some, I’ve been keeping track of my son’s speed for a while (along with other highlights of games/events in his youth baseball “career” as well as from other sports…and academics), mostly like a scrapbook, just because I find it interesting developmentally, and I think some day he’ll look back on it and want to know how he was doing (and maybe show his kids that he was pretty good “back in the day”). Generally, he only has been “gunned” at most 3 or 4 times at practice in a year–it’s not something we regularly do at practices, and we never do it in games, it’s too distracting.

I posted a video of him pitching on another thread on this board (11u Pitcher).

As far as peak velocity over the years:
5U 41mph (at a stadium “pitching booth”)
6U 44 mph
7U 49mph (mid year)
8U 53 mph (mid year)
9U [nothing, no readings for the year]
10U 62 mph
11U 68 mph (end year) [Stalker Sport II]
He’s just turned 12.

Note that we are very careful not to overpitch (we count pitches every game, and I’m the coach who works with our pitchers), and always take a few months off between seasons. He also plays hoops when not playing baseball. Additionally, we play travel ball and only play in tournaments once every two weeks, this insures that our pitchers, and parents(!) get a good bit of rest between starts–something to consider.


#20

Thanks all. This is the kind of round-table advice I was looking for. Appreciate it.