Pitching Distance - LL


#1

When throwing BP to my son (11U, 5’7", 145 lbs), 46.5’ feels to close for safety. I feel like any pitch in the hitting zone will be driven back through the box (which happens all the time), smashes off my temple (happened once) and ricottes into the 1st base duugout, leaving me blanked out on the ground at the mound (doesn’t feel good, either). So, I land every pitch with my glove protecting my face. To me, it’s not safe pitching at LL distance.

Assuming his growth pattern remains constant for the next year, he’ll be 5’10" and 155/160 lbs hitting line drives back to the pitcher standing 46.5’ away.

My feeling is the mound for youth pitching should be moved back to 50’ for the pitcher’s safety. I know I have fear of being knocked out when I’m pitching at 46.5’.

Anyone else have these fears?


#2

Get a L screen. In throwing BP, you are still at risk even at 60 feet. With a L screen, you can still throw from 45 feet safely. At that distance, the kids reflexes still have to be quick. At 60 feet, there is no way I could throw hard enough to help my son with his hitting.


#3

[quote=“West2East”]When throwing BP to my son (11U, 5’7", 145 lbs), 46.5’ feels to close for safety. I feel like any pitch in the hitting zone will be driven back through the box (which happens all the time), smashes off my temple (happened once) and ricottes into the 1st base duugout, leaving me blanked out on the ground at the mound (doesn’t feel good, either). So, I land every pitch with my glove protecting my face. To me, it’s not safe pitching at LL distance.

Assuming his growth pattern remains constant for the next year, he’ll be 5’10" and 155/160 lbs hitting line drives back to the pitcher standing 46.5’ away.

My feeling is the mound for youth pitching should be moved back to 50’ for the pitcher’s safety. I know I have fear of being knocked out when I’m pitching at 46.5’.

Anyone else have these fears?[/quote]

My son’s coach (who was a college pitcher) never ever ever throws BP to our 11U team without an L screen. Ever.

Aside from that, assuming my math is right, a ball travelling off the bat at 90 MPH ( a number i pulled out of thin air…i have no idea how fast a “crushed” ball would be travelling off an 11 yr olds bat) would cover 46.5 feet in .352 seconds and 50 feet in .378 seconds. So im not sure that extra 4.5 feet and .026 seconds would make that much of a difference.


#4

I pitch to my Little League Minors team all the time from 46’ (it’s 46’ not 46.5’), with and without a screen, and have never had a problem (and our LL All Stars have won the state, so we have excellent players here).

Of course, age is a factor. Your reflexes at 40 or 50 are unlikely to be as good as the reflexes of the 11 and 12 year old pitchers.

In fact, the Little League World Series pitchers routinely throw 65 to 70 mph, which translates to 90 mph+ from 60.5’, and I don’t see anyone getting hurt in those games.

Yes, I’m sure some LL pitcher at some point in time has been hurt in some game, but people can get hurt doing anything.

Shoot, I think the most dangerous place in Little League is the dugout :lol:.


#5

I think that West2East is making a comment not on his own safety (L screen are a must when I pitch to my kids), but to the 11U pitchers that are in the way of a baseball hit from 46 feet. in a game

Here are the distances for USSSA, which is the same for most age groups as LL.
Age, pitching distance
7U 40’
8U 40’
9U 44’
10U 46’
11U 50’
12U 50’
13U 54’
14U 54’
14U (60/90) – 18U 60’ 6”

So the only difference is when the mound changes, my youngest son’s team (14U) plays some 60/90 and some 54/80, but with many of the 14u kids being really big and well built kids at the AAA and Major level, I would prefer them to play all 60’ 6" mounds. Funny this last weekend they played on regular high school fields and they put the rubber about 2-3 feet infront of the regular distance it definately didn’t make it to 54 though otherwise the rubber would have been on flat ground, made it hard to pick off too. So they pitched at about 57 feet instead.


#6

When I was pitching, even at age 12 or 13 I would pitch from the usual 60’6", and I would have my catcher set up behind the plate with the usual “tools of ignorance”. I was working on various pitches, and I didn’t want any screens or anything else getting in my way. When it came to pitching batting practice I would let someone else do it, because the whole purpose of batting practice is throwing meatballs at moderate speed so the guys could practice hitting all over the ball park, and my aim was to practice giving them stuff they couldn’t hit! Besides, I was using the crossfire a lot, and I wanted no interference!!! 8)


#7

People drive drunk without indecent all the time also, until…so whats your point…except like the former you’re an accident waiting to happen.

I have a 12 hitting the ball at 300’. This year in majors he would play with 11’s. That’s one reason we didn’t play. Would my son hit someone, as you point out most likely not, but if he did it could very well end in a kid dead or his life altered forever. What do you think the ramifications would be for my son and family?


#8

My point is right there in my words: that I (and my other coaches) do it and we “have never had a problem”.

Your comparison to drunk driving is off base. Using your own words, “people play sports without incident all the time also, until . . .” - so shall they stop?


#9

Yeah well, when you walk to the store you can walk down the middle of the road or on the side. Which you chose says a lot about you. Good luck.


#10

People drive drunk without indecent all the time also, until…so whats your point…except like the former you’re an accident waiting to happen.

I have a 12 hitting the ball at 300’. This year in majors he would play with 11’s. That’s one reason we didn’t play. Would my son hit someone, as you point out most likely not, but if he did it could very well end in a kid dead or his life altered forever. What do you think the ramifications would be for my son and family?[/quote]

I was hit last year throwing BP to my 12U son, who also could hit the ball 300". It brought a new awareness. This year, my 11U son hits the ball between left center and right center, and a good portion of those go right up the middle. He hits 'em hard. I’m taking protective measures in pitching further back and making sure I’m ending in a fielding position. But I’m concerned about LL kids pitching to him who who finish their motion with their gloves far from their face. If they’re short, I shot up the middle may go over their head and only scare the dickens out of ‘em. But if they’re average size, there’s not protecting their head and the reaction time in 46’ is insufficient. When I was hit last year, I never saw the ball. It came off the bat that quickly.

There’s also a difference in mechanics and athletic ability between the few LLWS pitching stars throwing heat and the average LL kid pitching.


#11

Suffice it to say that Little League has a healthy obsession with safety and, if 46’ was a danger, it would have banned that pitching distance long ago.


#12

I will have to disagree on Little League with the 46 ft mound being fine for 3 reasons. Pitcher safety, hitter safety and competiveness. ( a kid throwing above the hitting speed for 90% of the batters is not helping develop hitters or that pitcher and makes for a rather boring game, all K’s, walks and HBP. AT 46 ft with your hardest throwers many hitters do not have time to react to get out of the way of a pitch) The Cal Ripken league in my area has two 11-12 divisions. Non-competitive 46/60 mounds/bases and competitive 50/70 with lead-offs. (no big barrel bats in either) Much better set-up. There are 12 year olds that are huge these days. 50 ft gives a pitcher more reaction time and on the flip side there are few pitchers who just over power all the hitters at 50ft. The games are just better. No idea why LL clings to 46 ft. That may have been fine in the 1970’s but not with todays kids and todays bats. I understand there are inherent dangers in most sports but pitching from 50ft does not “change” the game and it makes transitioning to a full-sized field at 13 a little smoother. Even if someone convinced me safety is not an issue I’d still go with a 50 ft mound because the games are more competitve/fun from what I’ve seen.


#13

As usual, much is ignored by those attacking the safety of Little League’s 46’ mound.

First, Little League’s 46’ pitching distance is greater than the pitching distances that most other leagues use for 8, 9, and 10 year olds. Applying your logic that farther is safer, that means 8, 9, and 10 year olds are safer in Little League than in those other leagues.

Second, Little League - at all 12U levels - restricts bats to those with a narrow 2-1/4" barrel, which is much narrower than the larger barreled - and more powerful - bats allowed and used in most other leagues. In other words, pitching from a mound only 4 feet farther back than Little League’s 46’ mound may not necessarily be “safer”, and may be more dangerous, if the batters are then using more powerful bats, such as the 2-5/8" barreled bats used in Pony League and most youth travel teams. That is, the additional 4 feet in distance one gets on a 50’ mound may be more than offset by the more powerful (2-5/8") bigger barreled bats allowed and used in those other leagues. I’ve seen little kids use those 2-5/8" barreled bats, and there is no question that they definitely hit the ball a lot harder and farther than the 2-1/4" barreled bats required in Little League. In short, 46’ feet facing 2-1/4" bats may be safer than 50’ facing 2-5/8" bats.

Third, Little League does in fact allow local leagues to change the Majors program to a 50-70 field restricted to 11 and 12 years olds. Look it up. Our league is probably going to make the change next season. So it’s simply false that Little League is “clinging” to the 46’ mound.

Clearly, the full story is not so simplistic as presented in this thread.


#14

Trying to see where we disagree. I would agree with a minimum distance of 46 ft. Been around leagues that put the mounds closer for younger kids, and not a fan.

Big barrel bats - not a fan and would agree 50ft with big barrel probably not much different 46ft with smaller barrels.

If some leagues are switching to 50ft. like yours may what is the reason? Just curious. And why doesn’t little league make it uniform? Again just curious.


#15

[quote=“RJ35”]Trying to see where we disagree. I would agree with a minimum distance of 46 ft. Been around leagues that put the mounds closer for younger kids, and not a fan.

Big barrel bats - not a fan and would agree 50ft with big barrel probably not much different 46ft with smaller barrels.

If some leagues are switching to 50ft. like yours may what is the reason? Just curious. And why doesn’t little league make it uniform? Again just curious.[/quote]
Looks like we’re on the same page.

The reasoning behind Little League allowing local leagues to change the Majors Division to 50-70 for 11 and 12 year olds has to do only with transitioning the players to the 60-90 fields they will play on when they’re 13 and older. Little League reasons that it’s difficult going instantly from 46-60 to 60-90, and reasons that 50-70 is a good transition field for 11 and 12 year olds. It’s a purely transition issue, not a safety issue.


#16

[quote=“RJ35”]
If some leagues are switching to 50ft. like yours may what is the reason? Just curious. And why doesn’t little league make it uniform? Again just curious.[/quote]

LL allows it as an option. Reason local leagues do not change the dimensions probably has more to do with cost than desire. Our local LL desires to change the Major fields to 50/70, while keeping the Minors at 46/60, and move the fences for the Majors out to 230’ (Minors stay at 210’) to make the game more competitive and as an easier adjustment to the next level. Budget just isn’t there to make these changes.


#17

The problem with LL is it’s mom ball. The kids aren’t taught anything. Sure the kids in the LL WS look good, but most of those are travel ball kids. At most leagues it’s a back patting contest.

The other problem is that the kids play together by age. When you get to the 11/12/and some 13 there’s a really big discrepancy there. You get some really small lacking kids playing with studs…not good.

We have played a lot of ball at this point. The hottest bat we’ve seen, by far, is an Anderson Techzilla, a 2 1/4" bat. My son used it to hit his first ball out at 8, a bunch at 9. Sr league bats are, for the most part, made to be hit by older kids. Therefor they are more durable. Durable and “pop” don’t go together. It’s just common sense.

This thread is kinda like a Sunday drive through a different dimension.

Answer me this, do you want this kid, seen here as an 11, hitting to your kid 46’ away.


#18

You’re full of crap. Just another Little League hater driveling at the mouth. What happened? Sat on the bench in Little League when you were a kid? Got $ucked in by that travel ba$eball coach and now feel you need to justify all the $$$ you $pend?

Wrong.

First, 13 year olds can’t play Little League; too old. Shows how little you know.

Second, our Little League’s divisions are all determined by a combination of age and talent. There is no more talent discrepancy among players than there is in your travel ba$eball teams where daddies like you “pay to play”.

Yeah, sure, that’s why every single non-Little-League team I’ve seen uses 2-5/8" inch barrels - because they’re weaker. Uh huh.

Man, what is it with the Little League haters? Sounds like a good topic for a PhD dissertation in Sports Psychology.


#19

While i for the most part agree with you, in the interest of fairness, depending when a kid’s birthday is, there could be a kid who has turned 13 and is still considered a league age 12. I think the date they use is May1, so its conceivable that a kid could be 13 for the entire month of May and whatever AS tournaments he qualifies for (if any)

That said, what a kid learns from whatever league they play in is solely dependent on the coaches in that league. There are great LL coaches, and horrible travel coaches. Our LL has 4 coaches who have played major league ball, and numerous others who played Minors and college. Its never ceases to amaze me the number of opposing parents that look down on our 11U team because we schedule our Travel tournaments around our rec league, at least until we beat them. So far this season, we are ranked as the #3 AAA team in SC, and our team has wins over the #9 AAA team in Georgia and #2 AAA team in SC, as well as two 1 run losses to the #1 ranked AAA team in SC (ranked #15 nationally) and a one run loss to the #1 ranked Majors team in SC. And we have yet to play a tournament with our full roster. Not too shabby for a bunch of kids who play “mom-ball”

*all rankings USSSA Power Rating


#20

Mellow out, man…