Pitching Effort

Does anyone believe it takes more effort to throw a ball at 65mph out of hand at 60’6”, than it does at 46’? By out of hand, I mean the velocity of the ball as its released.

no

no

The reason I asked the question is because on another forum, a poster insists that it does. I’ve tried to get him to understand that if a pitcher wants to get the ball from release to the plate in the same amount of time, then yes, it would take a lot more effort because the ball would have to be thrown a lot harder. But out of hand, a velocity like say 65, is the same no matter what the distance is.

More effort? Not necessarily. In fact, a pitcher who has learned how to drive off the lower half of the body, using the legs, the hips and the torso in one continuous motion, generates more power behind his pitches and can throw harder—and faster—with less effort, taking a lot of pressure off the arm and the shoulder in the process. I used to do that, having learned this from watching how the Yankees’ Big Three pitching rotation did it, and although I wasn’t very fast I could indeed throw harder with less effort. 8)

I understand that two people with different mechanics and style can expend different levels of effort. But let’s say that on the same day, you throw a ball from 46’ that’s going 80 when it crosses the front edge of the plate. Now move back to 60’. Will it take the same amount of effort to make the ball hit 80 at the mitt?

On the other hand, if at 46’ the velocity of the ball at release is 80, when you move back to 60 and expend the same effort, the velocity at release will be 80 again.

Its all in the expectations of the individual. Personally, I don’t expect a kid who just moved to the big field to have the same mitt velocity as he did on the small field. That’s what causes problems because the player has to throw the ball harder which means some kind of mechanics change.

If a kid moved directly from 46’ to 60’6" I’m pretty sure his mechanics may change, after all we’re talking about a 14’ change. However, incremental distance changes should, and usually do, alleviate any need for kids to ovethrow just to reach the plate.

I’m pretty sure they would too, but they don’t have too, and that’s the problem. All that’s necessary is to alter the release point, and the added mound height will mitigate that adjustment some. But other than that, there’s nothing about the mound that’s different, other than the width of the rubber.

What I’m seeing with a lot of folks is a confusion between the concept of out of hand velocity, and mitt velocity. Distance has absolutely no effect on one, but a huge effect on the other. Its really nothing but a simple ballistics problem that anyone familiar with shooting understands. If they hit dead center at 10 yards, they dang sure better adjust the sights to hit dead center at 1,000 yards. The muzzle velocity is exactly the same, but gravity has longer to work on it, and friction slows it down. That can be mitigated by using a more powerful load to increase the muzzle velocity, which equates to a pitcher using more effort.

I believe the effect of gradual increases is blown way out of proportion to what really takes place. Its not as though it takes a year for pitchers to figure it out. Given a few practices without someone pressuring them to use a magnum load in their air rifle arm will in most cases take care of any problems.

It isn’t the players who need the gradual increase, it’s the parents and the coaches who don’t deal well with the perceived drop in performance who need it. :wink:

I definitely agree that hand velo can be compared to muzzle velo. I think it is a good comparison. I also agree that kids can definitely learn to move from 46 to 60 without increments.
That being said, I also think that if a kid with velo of 65 mph moves from 46 to 60’ the hitters reaction times just increased greatly, making it alot harder for that pitcher to be competitive. I saw it in JV ball last year. Take a kid with a lack of velo and he has much less margin for error. A mistake left over the middle has good potential of being hammered.
I know, any pitch left over the middle has the same potential, but with the lack of velo the percentages have to go up.

[quote=“Turn 22”]I definitely agree that hand velo can be compared to muzzle velo. I think it is a good comparison. I also agree that kids can definitely learn to move from 46 to 60 without increments.
That being said, I also think that if a kid with velo of 65 mph moves from 46 to 60’ the hitters reaction times just increased greatly, making it alot harder for that pitcher to be competitive. I saw it in JV ball last year. Take a kid with a lack of velo and he has much less margin for error. A mistake left over the middle has good potential of being hammered.
I know, any pitch left over the middle has the same potential, but with the lack of velo the percentages have to go up.[/quote]

That’s true to at least some degree, but the situation I was talking about was very specific. If a kid is on the JV team he’s certainly been playing on the big field longer than a few days. :wink:

And in that window of perhaps a month to 6 weeks, the pitchers are at a disadvantage because the velocity has dropped, but it isn’t as though the batters are just yelling “WHOPEE”, and pounding balls all over the place. When you take most players who’ve just finished playing and using drop 7-13 high tech bats and suddenly are faced with drop 3 bats with virtually the same performance as wood, chances are they need that velocity drop in order to even make contact.

And when they do, the ball isn’t gonna go nearly as far because they can’t generate the bat speed, and the much longer base paths limit how far they’re run even if they do manage to get the ball to drop in. What I’m trying to get at is this. Moving to the big field doesn’t just negatively affect the pitchers. Everyone will experience some negatives and some positives, but the kids have to be given the opportunity to fail in order to learn.

That’s why to me, the best thing anyone can do when their kid is finished with his spring 12YO season, is to immediately sign up for a late summer-fall league that has nothing but other kids just like himself. I know the temptation is to continue having him play in lots of tournaments all over the country, winning lots of trophies, but those things are really meaningless. By spending the summer and fall getting over the shell shock of the big field, in the spring they can move seamlessly into a “normal” league against more experienced 13-14YOs and at least compete with them. And what’s best is, it will give the kids with the late birthdays a full year of experience on the big field before they have to try for the HS team.

As I’ve said though, I’ve never been one who was wooed by the success of kiddieball. I think it’s a wonderful way to be introduced into the more sophisticated game played in HS and above, but for a kid that’s 13, to me he’s much better off taking the plunge early and getting over the change early. But to each his own. :wink:

I have to admit your arguments make sense. I see the logic behind it and I do agree that the more advanced 12 and 13U kids can move directly to the big field.
I also believe that there is a place for gradual distance changes for others such as rec and lower skill levels.

[quote=“Turn 22”]I have to admit your arguments make sense. I see the logic behind it and I do agree that the more advanced 12 and 13U kids can move directly to the big field.
I also believe that there is a place for gradual distance changes for others such as rec and lower skill levels.[/quote]

Of you’re correct that there’s room for all ideas about this topic, and for sure there are those who would really benefit from gradual increases. Unfortunately though, few want to even try to distinguish those who need or would benefit a lot from it, and those that don’t. It seems to be much easier to say, “All kids need or would benefit from it”, and be done with it.

To me its like the big to-do about LLI’s short fences and small fields for the hulking giants one sees since the age limits where changed. Should those kids be playing on a much bigger field? Of course they should, but every 13YO, and certainly every kid eligible to play in the LLI majors division which I believe is still league age 9 thru 12, doesn’t need those bigger fields.

I’d love to see another division, something like Jr Minors, where the smaller less skilled 13YO’s and the bigger more skilled 12YOs could play on the same teams. The trouble is, in most places there aren’t enough kids of that age to make up enough teams to form a league.

In the end, what makes things so difficult, is that the “divisions” have always been age based, not skills based, and for good reason. Basing the breaks on age is very objective and simple to do, while basing it on skills is not only very difficult, it takes a high degree of knowledge and experience which isn’t generally available at the level, hence there’s not a lot of push to change things. Instead, travel/tournament ball has filled the void and exploded. Trouble is, one team can be very good and the next very bad because there’s no standard to base it on.

    I've always believed that a somewhat simple fix would be for all major division travel teams to play on the next sized field up. At 13u and 14U they would definitely play high school dimensions. That would include LL, Babe Ruth, USSSA etc.

Not more effort but the idea as to if a player moves to a bigger field isn’t always about velocity and the ability to make the plate but about the ability to locate a pitch. In addition there is a huge difference as to the defense being able to play at that distance and the other players being big enough and strong enough to play at the longer distance.

I honestly think that the longer basepaths are the true equalizer. Even more so than the pitching distance or bigger outfield. That’s true on both sides of the ball.

Actually, its everything that’s bigger. If you think about it, the bigger field requires a higher degree of all skills. Thee plate size doesn’t change, so the further away the pitcher gets, the more skill it takes to throw a ball in the strike zone. The bigger the fields get, the longer away the fences get, and that means not only more skill to hit the ball better, but more bat speed as well. The length between the bases requires more speed to outrun throws, and the throws require more velocity and more accuracy to get runners.

What would really separate the wheat from the chaff, is to have the field bigger still. Take the mound to 70’, the base lengths to 110’, and the fences to 400’ down the lines and 475’ in center, and see who gets to that level. The skill and ability profile of the players would alter immediately. :wink: