Speed for a 12 yr old

Anyone saying the even have a clue on how fast threw are full of crap and just talking up child hood dreams. Theres no way any LL coach is properly using an accurate radar gun let alone having one. 12yos throw 40s to low 50s, get real. The teams in the LL world series are stacked with kids barely age qualifying and are almost all 13yo, theres a big diff between 12 & 13, its called puberty. None of the kids pitching in the LL WS pitch when their older because they all threw their arms out.

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@Cutthebull

Lots of truth there!

Good point about velocity. I am amazed at how many kids claim to throw 80 mph, then I turn on the TV and watch an MLB game where the pitchers barely get it over 90 mph, only 10 mph above the kids who claim to hit 80 mph, and then I realize someone is full of crap.

Good point too about the early-developing Little League studs with May birthdays. I know one. He won our Little League Championship twice, when he was 11 and 12. Good fastball and hellacious curve, which he threw often. Tommy John surgery at 13. He is now 16. My son, 15, played against him this past season, and at 16 he is only 2 inches taller than he was at 12, a short, very average pitcher with a TJ scar on his inner elbow, no longer the dominant stud he was in Little League.

I agree. 12 yr old hitting 70 is strong. My son is 11yr old and throws 63mph on avg and dominates. Some kids throw harder, but what i dont read is how important it is to throw hard vs. Know how to pitch… as long as your velocity is avg. Knowing how to pitch, as oppposed to just throw is the most important aspect here

First, unless we know where you are measuring the speed these comparisons are meaningless. I use a radar device on my glove. Most of my 11s and young 12 are 47-52 at the plate. My fastest are 63-64 at the plate. We estimate a 7 mph drop from release. I hope that helps. Secondly, everyone who mentions control is absolutely correct but also remember this young pitchers… Pitching is about breaking rhythms. One of the greatest pitchers ever was Greg Maddux. He was not fast at all but he constantly changed speeds and locations. Learn that before you worry about speed.

I radar gunned many 12-year-olds at the AA travel ball level in the East Bay of CA this summer with a pocket ball coach radar gun. This captures the speed as it comes right out of the hand.

The majority of pitchers were between 54 to 58 MPH, and many more were slightly out of that range a little higher or lower. Three times I recorded a pitcher consistently able to achieve 65 MPH and in all three instances those players were above 5’ 6" tall. I also recorded several players below 50 MPH.

What I also noticed was that there was no relationship between velocity and effectiveness at this age, field size (50/70) and velocity range. Looking at the stats on our son’s team:

The player with the best WHIP and ERA is the only player on the team who throws very slow fastballs at 48-49 MPH. He also had a changeup at around 44 MPH. The coaches were afraid to pitch him and basically only pitched him when they ran out of other options. He only struck out one batter all season but the vast majority of balls in play were weak popups, massively towering flies to the outfield, or grounders. So mostly those were outs.

Among the three players who pitched the greatest number of innings, the one who had the best stats had the lowest velocity (started the summer around 53 MPH but has increased to 58 MPH in August). That was the player with the best command (he could hit corners at will) and the best secondary pitch, which was a variation of a “football curve” that came in much slower and moved a bit. He was a lefty who also had the best pickoff move on the team.

We had a player who threw 65 MPH who also achieved pretty good results but he throws sidearm and sometimes teams seem to have no problem hitting his fastball. His fastball was not his most effective pitch. His knuckle curve got better through the summer and when facing good batters it was far more effective than his fastball. I think his stats were not as good as the previous player I discussed because he sometimes tried to rely on his fastball and would get hit for a few batters in a row before he switched to trying to get them out with his knuckle curve.

I’ve recorded stats for many years and it always amuses me to see coaches believe so strongly in velocity, even when the stats say one of the slower pitchers gets better results.

I don’t have any stats on kids older than 12 so presumably velocity matters much more at the older levels, when the hitters have much more experience and can usually hit line drives off any type of slower pitcher, even ones with a lot of movement.

As they say down south… “You and I are singing out of the same hymnal.” A few responses, the slow kid with the ‘lolly pop’ fast ball is hard to hit bc he is adding a greater vertical drop component to his fastball than the other kids. The fast ball is by far the easiest pitch to hit except for the freak of nature pitchers. So, slower is better many times. The side arm pitchers throw flat much like the ear throwers or ‘pushers.’ If they don’t have location or junk they will get lit up once the batter gets the timing down. I totally agree about the lack of correlation between velocity and performance. Low and away control leads to weak ground balls off of the end of the bat. Pitching to contact works if you can define the contact from the mound. Also, once the MPH difference between Fastball and changeup is 7 MPH or greater you really have something. All we teach is the football curve and the circle change at 11 and 12. We don’t let our kids do any ‘breaking’ of the wrist or elbow. We also typically pull a pitcher after one time through the lineup. We want our kids to all pitch and not destroy their arms. To many travel ball coaches built their trophy cases on the arms of young boys and over eager dads…

I know this is an older thread, but there are a lot of variations in response.

  1. If you look at research, the average throwing speed for a 12 year old is 50.4 mph with an SD of 4.76. However, I do not know the pool of kids this was pulled from.
  2. I have clocked many 11yo and 12yo kids on what would be considered higher end youth baseball. Most parents who think their kid breaks 60mph are lucky to break 55.
  3. There is a very big difference between the start of the season and the end of the season for kids of this age. On my son’s 11u team, 3 kids broke 55 mph at the start of the season. At the very end of the season those 3 kids broke 60mph, one was in mid 60’s. That is definitely the high end of pitching speeds for that age with rare exceptions
  4. There are many comments about stats vs speed. It’s accurate, but in my eyes irrelevant. Pitching stats on say Game Changer can be misleading.
  5. Good mechanics produces good speed, they are linked. If it didn’t then it wouldn’t be good mechanics. However, there are definitely big kids in this age group that have poor mechanics but can hurl a ball.

chacereed7,

“5. Good mechanics produces good speed, they are linked. “

This has little to do with how speed works, you have been marketed your understanding…

Speed is a genetic component that has a particular chain of force be contracted with higher percentages of fast twitch type 2A and 2B muscle fiber compared to Slow twitch type 1.
Mechanical manipulation can improve them minimally. All mechanics and training the same and you still have levels of genetic ability from 60 mph to 100 mph.

“If it didn’t then it wouldn’t be good mechanics.”

Mechanics should first be vetted for injurious force applications.

“However, there are definitely big kids in this age group that have poor mechanics but can hurl a ball.”

lesser stature’d ones also, understand the science sports physiology and of biological age here for the best answers.

I can’t disagree with anything you posted. In my eyes, pitching mechanics is the process by which force is placed on the ball. Good mechanics produce more force, more accuracy, and less injury. Injury could be argued at the higher speeds though because there comes a point at which the body breaks down. What is interesting in my eyes is how the good players learn how to be natural in their good mechanics. A lot of kids get lost in their mechanics. Kids now are focusing a lot more on strength, speed, and explosiveness. I am really looking forward to see how this newer process translates into the younger kids as they get older. By newer processes I am referring to the rapsodo, hittrax, biomechanical analysis mixed with driveline type training. They all have feed back loops to mechanics and I believe will help kids find their “natural” in their mechanics. Will see :slight_smile: