Pitching with a batter in the box

My son Zach just turned 10, 2 weeks ago.

He has been taking private pitching lessons for the past 2 years with a division 1 coach.

His mechanics are fantastic and during
lessons pitching to a coach, he is very accurate and has started to place pitches when directed by his coach.

The problem lies when he pitches in a game with a kid in the batters box.

He cheats himself out of his beautiful follow through and also tends to pitch outside much more so than in a lesson.

Finding a sacrificial kid to stand in the box during a lesson is not possible.

He pitched for a minor league pitcher last week who told him that he has great talent. I just hate to see him cheat himself out of his full potential when it comes to pitching in a game where it counts.

Any suggestions???

You need to explain to him that the inside part of the plate is his, he owns it not the hitter.

You also need to explain to him that hitting guys happens regardless of how good your control is so tell him not to be afraid to pitch inside.

Its purely a mental state that he needs to work on.

I’d bring it up with the instructor if its becoming that big of a problem.

Every kid goes through this problem at some point. So don’t get too worried, he’s young and it’ll pass.

In my experience I’ve noticed that usually all it takes is for a young pitcher to hit a kid and realize that the batter is ok and usually that brings the problem to an end.

So how bout it Dad ready to step in there during a lesson and take one for the team so to speak? :lol: Also be sure to alternate from both sides of the plate so your son gets used to throwing with guys on either side of the plate

Is there a reason he’s told you why he’s not following through during a game?

Well you have him with a guy that has been working with him for 2 years, “trust him”, he will get him there he is only 10 and probably only has a few games under his belt. Let him progress both physically and mentally to get there.

Pitching one way in the bullpen and another way on the mound is par for the course for young pitchers. The only way to get past it is to have him pitch on the mound to live batters, whether in practice or in games, again and again. There just is no substitute for it.

My son had the same problem, but his was due to him hitting me when he started pitching and I was standing in the box. I told him all the time that to hit a batter is part of the game and it is their responsibility to move. But he just did not get it. So, he would cut his velocity down big time and try and aim the ball more to the outside part of the plate. What the instructor that my son goes to does now is he will get a cone or a hitting tee. Put a glove on it and put it where the catcher would be. Then the coach will stand in the box and pretent to be the hitter. The facility my son goes to is never at a loss for high school age kids, so there is always somebody to stand in the box for him. Usually he goes on Sunday morning, so if there are no kids available, then one of the other coach’s will stand there. Either way, there has to be a way to get somebody in the box so your son can get comfortable with throwing to a batter.

Just my two cents worth, and that is about all it is worth. Good luck.

Funny, it never seemed to bother my son when he hit me![i]

:lol: [/i]

[quote=“bbrages”]Funny, it never seemed to bother my son when he hit me![i]

:lol: [/i][/quote]

LOL, maybe it was the smile on his face when he did it that bothered me.

Get yourself a catcher’s mitt, put it on and stand in the box in a batter’s stance. If the pitch comes at you, simply catch it. Your son will learn not to worry about pitching in if he knows you’ll just catch it.

My son was pitching last night. In the last inning, one of the smaller kids stood on the plate daring to be hit. 1st three pitches were way high. I walk out to the mound to see what’s going on - maybe his arm is sore or something, as the high pitches were unusual. He says the kid is on the plate and doesn’t want to hit him. OK. Standard stuff. Block the kid out and throw strikes. Don’t worry about hitting him. The next two pitches are down the middle. Full Count. Next pitch plucks the kid on the hand. Down he goes. That’s gotta hurt. Umpire calls it a foul, as it hits the bat before hitting the hand. Parents overrule him seeing the kid is in pain and crying. I talk to my son during the time out and all he says was, “it was a strike, dad. Not my fault.” He strikes the next kids out on three pitches and the inning is over.

The point of this is hitting batters is part of the game. The inside part of the plate belongs to the pitcher. When the hitter crowds the plate he takes the chance of getting hurt. The alternative is to stay away from the hitter and throw balls. Secondly, don’t crowd the plate against a hard throwing pitcher who controls the inside part of the plate. This could end the hitters season very quickly.

Same issue with my son. He’s 11, throws hard and well in practice, but tends to drift outside in games. I started measuring his ball:strike ratio in practice with his coach and in games to track the difference and show him.

I used the catcher’s glove trick in the batter’s box and it helped somewhat, but there’s really no substitute for getting past the first few times you plunk a kid I guess. The thing I’m trying to get into his head now is that there’s nothing better than throwing inside, making the kid back up like a grenade was about to go off, and having the ump call a strike. That makes batters crazy, and as a pitcher, it should be one of those ‘game-within-the game’ moments. I’ll let you all know how that works out.

West2East, how in the world do parents overrule an ump? Did he just cave to the pressure?

[quote=“SouthpawDad”]

West2East, how in the world do parents overrule an ump? Did he just cave to the pressure?[/quote]

Interestingly, my older son, who’s 14 but looks and acts 18, was the umpire who made the correct call. Seeing the anger rising up in the parents, I discreetly walked over to my son and asked him to overturn his call for the sake of peace. My boys understood the reasons behind over turning the call, and completely forgot about it by time they finished the ice cream. :slight_smile:

Southpaw - My son is now 12 and it’s not a big deal for him anymore when he hits a batter. It’s part of the growing experience. At first it seems like the end of the world, but there comes a moment when they understand the importance of throwing inside and commanding the inside part of the plate. Then, it’s just shake the pitch off and throw another pitch. The game continues and hit batsmen are part of the game. Pitching inside is a big part of the game, and not many youth players do it well. My son has hit two batters in 21 innings this year, the latest being tonight. He used to get shaken up - more so at 10 then at 11, but even at 11 he would get emotional. Today, it was just part of going to work. It wasn’t a big deal.

My son’s biggest issue to deal with is when the umpire shrinks the strike zone down to only a fastball down the middle of the plate, waist high. The hit batsmen tonight came after a beautiful circle change, which should have been strike 3 and the end of the game, was called a ball. The umpire was completely fooled by the pitch and missed the call. The next pitch, in frustration, slips a little and plucks the hitter in the shoulder.

Thanks West. I think it very well is an age/maturity thing and while it’s hard to predict when they’ll get over the hump, I think he’s close. Oddly, he hit one batter in his last outing, which was successful otherwise, and he didn’t seem bothered by it but you could see he was shying away from the batters a bit too much after that. Work in progress, definitely.

Something else I remember trying last year was to put a garbage can up against the outside of the strike zone while I stood in the batter’s box. The loud bang provides pretty good feedback when he throws too outside. Ricochets were definitely a concern. Any thoughts on drills like that, perhaps a bit safer for the old man, that can help?

Lot of growth and maturity happens between 11 and 12. Keep it fun for your son and he’ll want to play.

I just want to take a minute to thank everyone who offered suggestions for my son’s “former” problem!..

Time, does indeed, heal all!!..The more time that he got on the mound, the more confidant he became.

Last weekend he struck out 13 batters…,

…5 in a row with 19 pitches, closing out a game Thursday night and he then started a game Friday night and struck out the first 8 that came to the plate!

Thanks again for all of the replies!

Frank & Zach

Just a concern, I don’t like seeing a kid pitching in consecutive days…I know with smaller teams there is always the need for more pitches…however I do see he only pitched 19 pitches in the first day and maybe he only went 3 innings the next day but I just like to see a day off between appearances.

Congrats on getting him the confidence he needed!

I have noticed about batters crowding the plate and getting hit is the next time around, they stand farther back in the box. Then it is easier to strike them out since they have the fear that they might get hit again. Always look at the positive side!