The third pitching for 12U?

My son is number one pitcher in his travel ball team. He has solid fast ball and change up. But yesterday he was hammered by a 12U major travel team, which is not happened before. Almost every player in other team could hit his fastball (high 60s close to 70). He was pretty frustrated. He is thinking the third effective pitching. I told him curve ball and splider are defenitely not a choice. But I don’t what is good for. He tried cut fastball before. It was not working. 7 of 10 were not cut.

Thanks for any input.

Tje first thing that occurs to me is that this kid is leaving all his pitches up in the zone, in the batters’ collective “wheelhouse” where they can really hit it. He needs to get the ball down, and it doesn’t matter what pitch he’s throwing; he needs to get it down in the strike zone, well below the waist. What this means is that if he’s pitching off the mound he has to throw on a downhill plane, and that might entail a change in his delivery in order to accomplish this.
Next, he needs to check his release point—I can’t emphasize this strongly enough. If he releases the ball too late in his delivery, of course the pitch is going to be high, and that’s what batters are always looking for. Again, this means getting the ball down, and adjusting the release point so that the pitch will come in there lower than what has been happening.
As to his repertoire—I think that what he needs to do is work on a good changeup. I strongly recommend the palm ball, which is a very nice pitch, easy to pick up and to throw, and because you throw it with the same arm motion and the same arm speed as you do the fast ball you don’t have to worry about things like pronation or supination or chicken noodle soup. It’s all in the grip—you grip the ball with all four fingers on top and the thumb underneath for support, way back in the palm of the hand (hence the name)—just be sure not to grip the ball too tightly because you do NOT want to squeeze the juice out of the ball! As I said, you throw it just like a fast ball, without having to concern yourself with other things. The kid can do just fine with those two pitches for now, and a little later on he can think about adding a curve ball or a slider (the latter is much easier on the arm, by the way), or even that splitter he was talking about.
But the first thing is to get that ball down in the strike zone so the batters cannot hit it. :slight_smile: 8)

My guess would be that his changeup is perhaps suspect, especially if he is used to kids not catching up with his fastball. He should be able to do fine with a 2 seam, 4 seam and changeup as long as the changeup is actually a changeup.

Do you know the velocity differential between his fastball and changeup? A 10mph difference is a good goal. If it’s not in the range of 8-10mph less then a changeup anywhere other than low, low in the zone is just a bad fastball.

Is he throwing the changeup with fastball mechanics and arm speed? Even 12u hitters can read it if he’s not.

Does he have good command of his changeup? Good teams will just sit fastball until he proves he can throw it for a strike, especially when they figure out he doesn’t have a breaking pitch.

Finally I would suggest learning about effective velocity and pitch sequencing. This is basically the effects of location and velocity and how they combine to impact a hitter’s reaction time. A simple example of poor use of effective velocity would be a low and away fastball followed by a changeup that stays up and perhaps drifts a little in. Although the gun may read two different velocities the hitter’s reaction time for both pitches is very similar thus negating the effectiveness of the changeup.

If the sequence is FB in CU away- or CU down FB up- the effective velocity differential is actually magnified and creates real problems for hitters. This is a simple example but is a concept that can be utilized even at the 12u level.

Excellent post by JP. The only thing I would add is that if the differential between fastball and changeup isn’t enough, fiddle with the grip some more and add some pronation. But do not slow down the throwing arm - maintain fastball arm speed as much as possible.

Zita, JP and Roger:

Thank you very much for your comments and advice.

Zita is right. Most of fastball got hit is high, which is not his normal delievery. He told me he had a hard time to control strike zone because it was a extreme cold and windy night( about 35 degreee plus 20-25mil wind). We really need do more practice on this.

JP and Roger: He throws circle change up and speed is 8-10 mile down. His change up generally drops a lot and he strikes out many hitters by that. But agian on that night, his change up was not drop for some reason(I still don’t kown why). They could touch his change up to ball instead. As for arm speed to throw change up, his team coach always asks their pitcher to try to keep the same. JP: I don’t know too much about my son pitching sequenece. His coach called every pitch in the game. Your input about pitching sequence is a definitely must learn for us.

Again, Thank you all!

As JP mentioned, the topic of Effective Velocity is worth learning. Go to
to check it out.

But briefly, a change-up thrown inside and a fastball thrown outside can have about the same effective velocity. After seeing the first pitch go by, the batter figures out the timing to hit that pitch. Then, if the next pitch requires the same timing, his chances go up. So, sequencing pitches - which pitches to which locations - can make a difference. Granted, this is a rather advanced topic that isn’t well known at the youth baseball levels.

But briefly, a change-up thrown inside and a fastball thrown outside can have about the same effective velocity. After seeing the first pitch go by, the batter figures out the timing to hit that pitch. Then, if the next pitch requires the same timing, his chances go up. So, sequencing pitches - which pitches to which locations - can make a difference. Granted, this is a rather advanced topic that isn’t well known at the youth baseball levels.[/quote]

I work with my son to mix it up going inside, outside, rising fast balls and fast balls at the knees so the hitter doesn’t concentrate on one location. He doesn’t need great velocity if he’s hitting his locations. The high, inside fastball is the key. If he spots it early in the game, it opens up the entire outside portion of the plate. There’s some good articles on the net about batting stances and pitching to a location according to how the hitter stands at the plate. Hitting stances have weaknesses, and if a kid recognizes them it can give him an advantage. For example, my 12 YO has a high batting stance away from the plate that hurts him on low pitches and leaves the outside exposed. During BP, I’ll throw exclusively low and or outside so he can adjust his stance and get some hits. My 10 YO crowds the plate. As a pitcher, he’s difficult to pitch to since he doesn’t give up much of the plate. Slightly off of the plate on the inside and it’s a hits batsman. If I leave the ball on the outside, he rips it. This is where control is vital. As a pitcher, if the hitter crowds the plate he needs to get the ball up and in and back the hitter away from the plate. But, throw a ball up and in to my 12 YO and he’ll rip the ball over the LF fence. If my 10 YO can spot the ball on the outside of the plate to my 12 YO, he can get an easy strike. He doesn’t have to throw it hard. On the other hand, if my 12 YO can hit the inside corner of the plate to my 10 YO (which he can’t!), then it’s an easy strike.

It also helps in a game situation if the catcher understands the weaknesses and strengths of the hitters batting stance. :slight_smile:

My pitching coach spent a lot of time talking with me about the ins and outs of strategic pitching, and one of the most important elements of this was knowing the batters’ weaknesses as well as their strengths. When I was going to start a game, he would sit down with me and go over the opposing team’s lineup—he wanted to know about the proclivities of the leadoff hitter, whether he was righthanded, lefthanded or a switch-hitter, how he stood at the plate, whether he might try to bunt or hit to the opposing field, did he hit with his foot in the bucket or crowd the plate, did he have a short compact swing or a long slow one, all sorts of things like that, and he said that this would tell me how I should pitch to the guy. He went through the whole lineup that way, just as he would do when he was going to start for the Yankees in a game (he was one of their Big Three rotation).
He also reiterated one of the key principles: Move the ball around, high, low, inside, outside, AND CHANGE SPEEDS. And, of course, stay away from the middle of the plate—most batters are looking for a pitch in that area. He told me, work the corners. Most important, figure out what the batter is looking for—and don’t give it to him!
I was one of those exasperating, infuriating sidearmers who used the crossfire extensively. I had picked up on it early on, and I had fallen crazy in love with it, and he showed me how I could make the most of it—I’ll never forget the day he was helping me with my circle change, and he said to me, “I know you’re going to crossfire it. You use that move with everything you throw.” Batters never knew whether or not I was going to use it, and that really threw their timing off.
Yes, you mentioned that this sort of thing was one of the more advanced aspects of pitching, and I say that it’s not too soon to start teaching the kids about it—about deception on the mound, outthinking the batters (and it doesn’t matter whether one has a fast ball or not; if they start hitting it you have to use your noodle in such situations). A kid who does this is way ahead of the game. And yes, keep the ball down! :slight_smile: 8)

I don’t think you can get better advice from anywhere. The posters above have all raised valid points. One other thing to consider is that he was pitching against a 12 Major team. I take it that he is AAA or AA.

It is also possible that he was leaving the ball up due to nerves and overthrowing his pitches. It is possible that perhaps he was sqeezing his FB and overthrowing the change.

I’ve seen my own son do the same thing, only to come back the next outing and everything works.

On another note, maybe it’s time to introduce a 2 seamer to his arsenal if he doesn’t have it already.