My son is 9 years old and is a natural sidearm thrower. He throws very hard and is very accurate, until he faces a batter that crowds the plate. At that point he begins rolling his wrist over away from the batter and throwing all his pitches way down and away for balls. He says he is scared that he will hit them because they are so close to the plate. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
He is 9. Let him be 9. If he is still scared to hit a batter at 11 and then 12, then he will need to find another favorite place. It will all work itself out as he gains confidence.
Are you standing at the plate while he practice pitches? If not, you should. Let him throw and know that he is not going to hurt you. Have a catcher that wants the ball inside while you are standing over the plate. I suggest having a glove on your hand to catch those “real close calls.”
I’d say that dsteg has pretty much summed things up.
A nephew of mine had the same issue when he was very young. He had a howitzer of an arm and getting hit with the ole horsehide wasn’t fun. He developed this cautious demeanor which was admirable, but every other batter he faced soon crowded the plate.
My brother in law did exactly what dsteg suggested. The first time my brother in law got dinged, my brother in law hit the ground, started flopping around like a fish out of water, started to ball his head off, paddle his legs, rolled in the clay, and then got back up dusted himself off and with a deadpanned look told my nephew … " go ahead, hit me again…"
The kid started to get over the situation, and they both had a good laugh. Before the day was over, no more apprehension about hitting the batter.
However … I did got out of my lawn chair and asked my nephew not to hit his dad too hard … he still had my lawnmower!
Thanks for the replies! I will definitely get out there and stand at the plate with him pitching some to me. At 9, he is already 5 foot tall and 105 lbs, and he can throw HARD! He is very aware of his power and is scared of hurting anyone. It’s ironic though because when he tries to avoid the batter, he hits them. When he throws the ball hard, he is dead on the money. I just hope he can start trusting himself with his pitch. When he throws hard, the ball comes in and almost does like a corkscrew down and in towards a rhb, it’s crazy to see and they can’t touch it!
Wear your glove. I am a right handed thrower so having my glove on the left side so catch a ball coming at my head helps. Most kids have more trouble throwing to their throwing side (righty throwing to right handed batter).
My 10 year old is 5’ 3" and 108 lbs. He does Cross Fit and Kung Fu so his core is pretty strong for a 10 year old. He throws in the mid 50s and would get “game-itis” the last two years. He would throw “easier” (although still pretty hard for his age) during a game. During every Bull Pen we did I would let him throw his normal stuff and then I would make him get three “outs” with me standing at the plate.
I do this with all my pitching students. You have to have two people or you have to have them throw into a net. When I am by myself, I have a bucket set up where the catcher would be and I prop up a catcher mitt to they have a target. I put a toss net up behind that and I JUMP RIGHT IN THE BATTER BOX!
Good luck and don’t worry… if he loves to pitch it will work out.
dsteg made an excellent observation. "Most kids have more trouble throwing to their throwing side (righty throwing to right handed batter)."
Here’s something that you want to try to help your son with batters on his throwing side. Your son’s pivot foot can be slightly off the straight edge of the pitcher’s rubber, yet still within the rules.
Your son’s heel is in contact with the rubber (the best he can on some mounds) and his toe is slightly away from the rubber. This lower posture of his pivot foot actually has his body slightly committed to home plate, but his upper body dynamics will be relieved of going through the total pitching motion(s). Thus, his accuracy should be dramatically better, however, his velocity will be slightly lower than expected.
Give this suggestion a try and see if his ability to stay away from batters in the box, on the same side as his throwing side. Overall, regardless of what and where the batter is, your son’s accuracy should be noticeably better. This foot placement also relieves some stress on his pitching shoulders and arm .
How many batters does he actually hit during a game? If it’s a low number like 1 or 2 and they crowd the plate, that’s on them–literally.
If he hits 4-5 that could be a problem…if the league lets a pitcher hit that many. Most leagues do not. So if he’s removed due to hitting too many batters and he only pitches 1 or 2 innings, that’s a problem.
Often whatever your mind is on, that’s where the ball goes. Don’t worry about the hitter. Worry about the mitt
I must have missed this one months ago!
You could have the opposite problem, where if the situation is right 2 outs no one on and a kid crowding the plate and he is up 0-2 and the third pitch absolutely rib cages the kid and destroys him… Then you see your kid smirk and after the game when asked your 9 year old says “there is just something satisfying about the sound my fastball makes when it hits a ribcage, and he wont stand that close to the plate against me ever again”.