Question about my 6 year old

Hi guys,

I’m a mom so I know next to nothing about little league and what not. My six year old has been playing tball for a few seasons now but has been practicing batting/throwing since he was really small (like 2) because he loves it. We have been told by several people that our kid is really talented so my husband bought a radar gun to see how fast he could actually throw. Yesterday he topped out at 44 mph with an average of about 39. He’s very accurate and throws hard so much so that the other kids on our tball team run when he throws it.

He also taught himself how to switch hit so be bats right and left equally well.

What I want to know is…is this good? And if it is, what can we do as parents to cultivate his skills? We are interested in private lessons or any other options but we don’t want to burn him out because he genuinely loves the game.

Thanks in advance!!

[quote=“scoutcobb”]

What I want to know is…is this good? And if it is, what can we do as parents to cultivate his skills? We are interested in private lessons or any other options but we don’t want to burn him out because he genuinely loves the game.

Thanks in advance!![/quote]

Play lots and lots of catch and enjoy childhood. Spend time with your son bonding so when he’s 10 or 12 or older he still wants to play catch with you. If he’s really talented at 6, he’ll be talented at 12, and 14, and 16 and so on and so on. But if he doesn’t love the game, at some time something else will be of more interest (girls, cars, hanging out, etc.) and he’ll drop the discipline needed to fulfill the talent.

I had a great time this weekend playing catch with my 12U son. He’s throwing upper 60’s to low 70’s right now (he doesn’t overthrow!), loves pitching more than anything else (except cookies and ice cream), throws with command of three pitches - fastball, knuckle curve and slider. And he wants me to catch his bullpen sessions and continue coaching him on pitching. And he wishes I could still coach his LL team. It’s awesome that he wants to hang with me, even though he’s far surpassed anything I could do with a ball and I’m his dad and not very cool. We’ve played hundreds to what feels like thousands of hours of catch, and skipping stones, and throwing rocks, etc. since he was old enough to walk.

Don’t worry about private lessons at this age, or even listen to what other say. And put the radar away. There’s no scout looking for a bonus-baby six-year old. If he’s got the heat, you’ll know without needing a radar.

[quote=“scoutcobb”]What I want to know is…is this good? And if it is, what can we do as parents to cultivate his skills? We are interested in private lessons or any other options but we don’t want to burn him out because he genuinely loves the game.

Thanks in advance!![/quote]

Yes, that’s really fast for that age. IMO, you don’t need to worry about cultivating his skills; he has a lot of natural ability and a great interest in playing. At this age, I think the critical things are to let him have fun and not to burn him out with: too much playing, too much practice, or playing “up” too far.

It sounds like he hasn’t played kid pitch yet…?

Let the kid progress, when he want’s to play catch then do it, if he want’s to hit then great do it. Play on a club team that he can have fun and progress by playing over the next couple of years. I would assume that he doesn’t get to kid pitch until he is 8 or so, depends on where you are. If he still has the interest then he might take a lesson or two over the year but it’s all gotta be fun and not so much of an effort. At that age you might want to look to a team to upgrade him onto with kids with similar skill sets as him.

I would however put the radar gun away till he is about 14, maybe even return it to the store, too much thought about velocity as the #1 factor.

That is above average velocity for his age. I would put away the radar gun(no need for those until he is at least 10) and just play catch. When he does practise pitching work on mechanics.

A radar gun for a 6 year old is pure insanity.

That said, my observation of my son’s Little League over the past 5 seasons - from ages 6 to 10 - is that at 6 years of age there will be kids who for varying reasons - early physical maturity, parental lessons, professional lessons, etc. - will be light years ahead of all the other kids, but by ages 9 and 10 the “gap” shrinks and may even disappear altogether. Thus, the kid who no one could hit at 7 may be just another good pitcher at 10, without the dominance he enjoyed at 7; and the kid who had no arm and didn’t pitch at 7 may be a dominating pitcher at 10.

In Little-League-age baseball, differences in biological age (physical maturity) can have more affect on performance than differences in calendar age. I remember kids on my son’s team when he was 7 who had “guns” for arms; today they have average velocity.

I hear this a lot but I personally disagree and here is why.

  1. I think the gun promotes the idea of throwing hard (encourages intent to throw hard). Maybe the single most important factor in developing velo.

  2. It allows measurable feedback instantly which can be tracked and creates awareness. Bridges the gap between perception/reality.

  3. Recruits more fast twitch muscle fibers with intent to throw harder.

  4. Eliminates the need for a pitching coach at that age. Gives father/son time and what’s better than that?

I am a firm believer in kids trying to throw hard and worrying about pitching later in their career. Young kids (most hitters at any level) struggle with velocity and movement. You have time to learn movement and shouldn’t be an issue for a kid your age. However, its learning that its OK to throw hard and finding a way to do it is a much tougher process than learning to change speeds and move the ball. Some kids never learn because of the limitations placed on them and the fear of God put int them that throwing hard hurts your arm. Check out the thread that Hired Guns started. http://www.letstalkpitching.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=16435&highlight=intent

If your on the side that a kid needs to learn how to pitch, let’s go with that.

  1. The most deceptive pitch (outside of something moving down in the same lane) is the plus/minus fastball. No way to measure and teach this without the radar gun.

  2. Develops the proper speed changes between FB/Changeup.

  3. Can aid in measuring fatigue.

  4. Makes it fun! Every kid loves the radar gun, parents do to, we just don’t admit it.

So get the radar gun, keep it, use it and forget about a pitching coach. Let the gun be the coach!!

:no:

Well Baseballthinktank, I believe some to many here including myself disagree with you on your comments. Kids don’t need a radar gun to test themselves until they start to physically mature. I do agree however that they don’t need a pitching coach at that age…but they do need to just play/throw and have fun.

A good pitching coach is essential. Learn good fundamentals and develop good pitching habits. Most kids under the age of 9 throw with their arms so speed means little at this age.

I took an active part in my son’s development, using information obtained from here as well as reading books and talking to knowledgable players. I’ve learned lot about the physics and anatomy of pitching these past six years. I’m not athletic, 50-ish, my knees and hips hurt after playing catch or catching a 40 pitch bullpen session, but from ages 6 thru 12 I’ve been his pitching coach and directed his development. We’ve checked out the professionals in our area, but my son prefers dad’s knowledge and ways than theirs.

A good, understanding coach is essential, but what qualifies as a good coach for youth development is the unknown. For my son, I became the good coach through necessity. For the most part I let him figure out how to pitch, gave him guidance and understanding on what his body was doing and how it perfoms, a few pointers here and there and sat behind the plate many, many evenings catching fastball after fastball.

Was it a good choice to be his coach and not send him to a professional? Saturday’s game was 3 innings, 10 K’s, 1 walk and 1 hit. He threw 71% strikes as well. He threw his heater once, and it hit the catcher square on the front of the helmat and knocked him down. I don’t know how fast it was, but it was fast enough that from 46’ the catcher didn’t have time to respond, and the hitter never loaded. The opposing coach, who has coached High School ball for the past 30 years (and last year they went undefeated) , stated not only does my son have D-1 talent (I was not expecting such a compliment), but also from a HS coaching perspective, he’s a once in a lifetime talent. He finished by stating that whoever his pitching coach is has done a great job, and he has peferct form. Wow! Never expected that. He further shocked me by stating he wants to see every game my son pitches, and find some way to recruit him to his school (we’re in different districts.)

My point is I let my son figure out how to pitch, using his God-given natural talent that he showed very early in life. I’ve guided his progression and given him pointers, but mostly I’ve been his catcher and friend. It doesn’t always take money. Sometimes it takes time and patience. Enjoy these days. They go by fast.