Tempo of "the pitch"


#1

So, my kid is pitching the other day. Coach yells “adjust your timing.” Its not the first time he has been asked to adjust his timing. Runners were on base each time. These are 12 yr olds. He tends to get in a rythmn: catch ball, windup and then throw the pitch. Like clock work. Do any of you have any suggestions for him to remember to adjust his execution of a pitch. There is a flip side to that because he is so regimental he is very good at pickoffs, when he goes to first it will get many of them. Because they think they are timed up on his throw to the plate. But I would think breaking up the timing would preferable to a consistently timed pitch. I am not talking about changing from leg kick to glide/slide he already does that as a means to mitigate the situation. I am talking about the timing of the release of the ball. Is there an acronym out there, or something a pitcher has come up with as to deal with runners.

Additionally I have some video on a phone, but I am unsure of how to load it.


#2

A pitcher’s timing with runners on is an issue for all pitcher not only 12 year olds.

The part of holding runners on is really a shared responsibility with the catcher, first baseman and the pitcher combined.

So here’s a suggestion that might help your son.
In the picture below I’ve made some assumptions based on competitive baserunners at the varsity level and beyond. And although this is a bit advanced for your son’s age, it’s worth trying with his club.

Assume that a batter can make it to first after making contact with the ball in about 4.5 seconds. This time by the way is a pretty good constant for varsity player with hustle. So, it goes to figure that if a batter runner can make it over 90 ft in 4.5 seconds, any lead off in feet from first to second will be less than 4.5 seconds.

In the picture below, I’ve made some assumptions for lead offs of 5 feet, 10 feet and 15 feet, with corresponding times to second base.

Now here’s where the catcher and the first baseman get into the act. That carved half circle in the infield is measured to be 13 feet from each base. So, using that as a benchmark of sorts, have the first baseman mark an X in the infield dirt at the 13 foot mark. Now, if the baserunner takes a 5 foot lead, there’s really no threat of stealing first. However, as the baserunner becomes more aggressive - with say a 10 foot and a 15 foot lead, now the pitcher has a problem. With those kinds of leads, the deliver to home plate and the catcher’s “pop” time, would be hard pressed to catch the runner at second.

When the first baseman sees the runner at that X mark in the infield dirt, a signal goes to the catcher which in turn alerts the pitcher to make his “pick off move.”

To see just how effective this strategy can be, setup a practice session with the fastest baserunners on the club, have only the pitcher, catcher and first baseman “in” on the move. Then tell the teammate to try and steal second. You’d be surprised at just how well this simple strategy works… .
.


#3

One major issue I immediately notice is that in the 12U division of travel baseball. The distance between bases is only 70 feet I believe. Your measurement to the grass will also be off. These are the largest kids still playing on a small field. 50 ft pitching mound. 13U is 55 ft mound and 14U goes to the 60.6 ft mound. This age seems to put an inordinate amount of stress on the pitcher regarding base runners. But on the flip side a 70 mph fastball only traveling 50 ft can be hard on a young batter. I guess there are trade offs in advantage. I was just curious if there is anything a pitcher does in his head that keeps the timing of his execution different.