Please Help?

My son is a 12 year old non-travelling player. My son’s Coach has told him that when he pitches to never throw anything other than a 4SFB. My son is an advanced pitcher who can throw 4 pitches for strikes and is developing a 5th. Does anyone agree with this? Also how do I bring it up with the coach without looking like the overbearing Dad?

If you are wondering, Aidan throws a 4SFB, 2SFB, OKChange, Knuckleball and is working on a KnuckleCurve or SpikedCurve.

Have you talked to him? Stories sometimes get lost in translation, particularly at this age.

Thanks jdfromfla,
You are absolutely right, 12 year olds tend to over exaggerate a little. LOL
No, I haven’t talked to him, but how should I bring it up? I have been known in the past to be a little too involved and I am trying to turn over a new leaf, so how do I bring it up and not be THAT guy?

I’ll second that. From the perspective of a youth coach, you always want parents to contact you with their problems before they snowball into hardfeelings and confrontation. You do that first and then if you still have problems you can go to the board of directors if necessary.

Unless this is a top level competetive league, I’d say you don’t need that many pitches. On the other hand, limiting it to just the 4 seam might be a tad bit too conservative given your description of your son’s development.

Dino,
I totally agree with you that at my sons age and the competitiveness of the league he DOES NOT need 4 or 5 pitches. He really just picked up the Knuckleball and 2SFB. He saw Adam Wainright last year throwing a pitch with one knuckle on the ball and asked me about it, and then he began throwing the knucklecurve. The next thing I knew he was throwing that to me in the yard with some really good movement. It was even a surpise to me. I discouraged it at first but you know kids.

He mainly throws the 4 seamer and change, but he was super discouraged when coach told him to only use the 4 seamer. I was going to email the coach, but the more I think about it, the more I think just a quick "hey Aidan said’ is the best way to go and then go from there depending on his response. I don’t want to just override Coach’s rule, but I think it may hinder Aidan’s growth as a “thinking pitcher”.

I encourage Aidan to learn the position and the stratagies that go along with it. I.E. pitching inside, outside, up, down, pitching to hitters weakness and avoiding strengths…and so on.

Just always remember that you are the one in control of your boy and his health/development. Just because this guy may not allow it doesn’t mean your son can’t continue to grow. Plenty of time and games. Perfecting location and learning the ability to take a little off, put a little on will certainly help him later so it’s not necessarily detrimental depending on how you look at it. Usually a dad who has a clue and is not afraid to talk to the coach won’t have many issues…unless the coach is just the worst kind of demigod…then who cares. You sound like you have the right idea. I guess I’m just trying to say not to make this too huge a deal. You do have an opportunity to explain to your son that there will be times that he won’t need to or be able to use all of his pitches…and to just keep on keepin on and having fun…those other pitches will have their time and then continue to work with him on the side, if the need be.

Maybe the kid doesn’t need all those pitches all the time—but to be restricted to throwing just a four-seam fast ball, that’s an invitation to disaster, because the opposing batters are sure to get a good read on that pitch. The kid, after all, is NOT Mariano Rivera who throws a cutter and nothing else and makes the batters look stupid because of how he throws it—and where.
The kid should at the very least use that changeup more—you say it’s good, but it could be absolutely devastating if he works it up. Babe Ruth, who knew a thing or two about pitching, once said that a good change will cause batters more grief than anything else. I for one would recommend a palm ball, which is a very nice change, easy to pick up and to throw and very tough on the batters. And, by the way, you’re absolutely right about knowing the hitters, their strengths and weaknesses and all that—it’s an essential part of strategic pitching!
I speak from experience, because at that age I already knew I would never be an overpowering fireballer, so I picked up and worked on several breaking pitches in addition to the curve ball I already had. Later on, at age 16, I learned how to throw a good slider, and from then on I built up quite an arsenal around it and a very good knuckle-curve. So I would say that what this coach says should be taken with, not a grain of salt, but a half-teaspoonful, and if it turns out that he is one of THOSE coaches who insist on “my way or the highway”, take the highway and find one who can and will assist in a young pitcher’s development.
Just my fifty cents’ worth (inflation, you know). 8) :baseballpitcher:

[quote=“AidansDad”]My son is a 12 year old non-travelling player. My son’s Coach has told him that when he pitches to never throw anything other than a 4SFB. My son is an advanced pitcher who can throw 4 pitches for strikes and is developing a 5th. Does anyone agree with this? Also how do I bring it up with the coach without looking like the overbearing Dad?

If you are wondering, Aidan throws a 4SFB, 2SFB, OKChange, Knuckleball and is working on a KnuckleCurve or SpikedCurve.[/quote]

What I’ve done to shred the overbearing dad tag is to help out the coach in any little way he needs, and be the team’s pitching coach.

Regarding the coaches stance on only 4SFB, could it be his concern revolves more around throwing strikes and limiting the number of walks than anything else. Maybe from his experience he hasn’t had much luck with kids throwing strikes and being a pitcher. Only way to find out what the foundational issue is would be to talk with the coach.

I also recommended each of our returning pitchers to focus on the 4SFB and 2SFB and forget the other pitches. Why? None of these 12 YO had command of any pitch, and the velocity difference between their 4SFB and the off-speed pitches was non-existent. They are talented athletes, but they’re not yet pitchers. But, I would never say never pitch anything but a 4SFB. A good change up is needed to make the 4SFB effective. The problem I’ve seen with only 4SFB is it’s too easy to tee off on if it’s the only pitch and is thrown straight without any movement. The 2SFB is a good balance at his age, but seems harder for most to control.

On the other hand, this is the 1st year in the Majors for my two sons, and both will have the chance to pitch. It is also the 1st year for my 12 YO to be a pitcher. We’ve worked quite a bit in the back yard this spring on mechanics and having a pitcher’s attitude. In this short time he has gained command of an average 4SFB, 2SFB, palm ball and a nasty sinker. For him, the sinker is the strike-out pitch that came easily for him and the palm ball keeps the hitter honest. The four pitches work well together keeping the hitter off-balance. His 4SFB isn’t good enough to get the best hitters out, but when he mixes it in with the off-speed palm and the sinker, he can keep the hitters off-balance and is very effective. And it was the unexpected command of the sinker that put him in the rotation. My 10 YO has the leagues best 4SFB, and an excellent 2SFB. He’s getting more comfortable with the knuckle-curve, but doesn’t use it yet. Since he’s only 10, he goes straight at the hitters with the 4SFB and nothing else. His 1st game this year he struck out all the hitters he faced, including a couple of the best TT hitters in the area.

Does your team have a good catcher? Perhaps your coach doesn’t have confidence in his catcher’s ability to handle anything outside of a 4 seamer. As we all know - if the catcher isn’t catching - baseball games turn into track meets pretty quick. Best thing to do is just like you said. Strike up a conversation after practice.