Too old to start?

Hello. Let me start by saying that I am 15 years old have never played baseball before in my life, and up until last year, I held an extreme distaste for it (boy, has that changed). I always identified with baseball fans as a Mets fan, but I never really followed the Mets. Strangely enough it was their terrible season last year that got me so interested in baseball.

Moving on from the background, I been become more and more interested in pitching to the point where my mind is set on trying this out. The only problem, as stated before, I have never pitched a day in my life, never even played any position in little league. Now I don’t have these ambitious goals of playing professionally or even for my High School this year or next (though that would be nice). All I want is to be able to control my pitches so I don’t end up hitting the people standing behind me. Is it too late to start? I am only 5’9" and am not the most athletic in the world. If it isn’t, what do you recommend I health-wise and skill-wise to get into pitching? Should I seek outside assistance or just stick to trying to train myself, though I heard that may lead to bad habits and potentially increase the risk of injury.

Of course this season would be an unrealistic goal to hope to join the JV team, with it starting in March, but I wonder, would next year be unrealistic as well?

You’re not too old to start. And if pitching is your desire, go for it!

If you can afford a private instructor, that would probably be the best way to get yourself going down the right path and develop the fastest. Look here
to see if there is an NPA-certified instructor near you. The NPA website also has books and videos that would also serve you well.

(Note: I am an NPA-certified instructor but I don’t benefit in any way by recommending their stuff.)

By all means, go for it. There’s no such thing as “too old to start”. And Roger’s suggestion is a good one—try to find a good pitching coach who really knows his stuff and who can get you on the right track. And at 5’9" you’re not too small—look at Bobby Shantz, one of the great pitchers in the American League; he was 5’6" if he was an inch. Best of luck! :slight_smile:

This is all good advice.

I would be very careful in your selection in a pitching instructor. I believe that the NPA has alot of good to offer and would be a farely safe route. Be weary that just because somebody has professional playing experience it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be a great coach for you.

A few years ago I did a presentation for one of the SABR chapters on pitching coaches, and I divided them into several specific groups. I spoke of the ones who not only could pitch but also could coach and teach; the ones who couldn’t do but who could coach; the ones who could pitch but but who as coaches stank on hot ice; and finally the ones who couldn’t do either. And I gave specific examples. Yes, you need to watch your step there and be sure you find someone who not only can pitch but who also can teach you what you need to know. 8)

Thanks for the advice. Besides finding the right coach for me (there is conveniently a fairly close NPA-certified instructor nearby, thank you Roger) is there any thing else you suggest?

Yes. At your first meeting with the pitching coach, do some throwing and have him watch you carefully. He will most likely take note of some things you’re doing that would be the first things you would want to work on, and he will make some good suggestions as to where to start, what would be the first matters to address.
Let me tell you about how I found my pitching coach. I had gone to a Yankees-Indians game, back in September of 1951, and I had seen Ed Lopat beat Bob Lemon, and I knew—without knowing just how I knew—that Lopat was the one I would need to ask about the slider. I asked him, and without a word he drew me aside and showed me how to throw a good one, and while I was familiarizing myself with the grip and the easier wrist action he watched me—and he made some mental notes, about my delivery (I was a natural sidearmer), my release point and various other things. What he was doing was forming in his mind a jumping-off point from which he could work with me. THe fact was that the moment I told him I just wanted to ask him something about the slider he knew immediately where I was coming from; he knew that I was interested, wanted to know, and was willing to work at it, and so he had no hesitation about working with me and teaching me a whole lot of advanced stuff he felt I needed to know. Thus began a wonderful pitching relationship that lasted almost four years, and he took me in hand, worked with me and helped me become a better pitcher than I had been.
Ed Lopat was a pitcher who could coach and teach as well as beat the Indians to a pulp (not to mention a few other teams), and I felt extremely fortunate to have found someone like that. Let me tell you, if you can latch on to somebody like that you can consider yourself very lucky indeed. So—go to it, and happy pitching. 8) :slight_smile: :baseballpitcher: