[quote=“RSMBob”]I’ve been the de facto pitching coach for our LL team for a 3d year now…kids now 10-11…and here are my thoughts
Too many coaches say just play catch with the catcher. I think this advice is wrong…I want to get even a beginning pitcher throwing THROUGH the catcher’s mitt, not TO the catcher’s mitt. You shouldn’t get a kid to baby a pitch in there just to hit the catcher’s glove or else he will develop bad mechanics and the lack of follow-through. That being said, especially at the start, you want to avoid a kid trying to throw so hard that he is out of control.
Once a pitcher can throw 70%+ strikes, then you can start working on two things…location and changing speeds. I am in this area with 3 of my pitchers right now. I am trying to get them to own the inner half of the plate with fastballs, especially the upper inner part. When they are ahead in the count to good hitters I let them try a change-up, primarily just stuffing the ball with a 3 finger grip and not snapping their wrist. If they’ve established that inside part of the plate, a change-up low and outside can make a batter look pretty silly. The tough part is to get them not to baby the arm motion on a change-up…it weakens the follow-through. The arm motion should be close to what it is for a fastball…just the grip and snap of the wrist (or lack thereof) is different.
I am having trouble getting them to have enough confidence to throw the fastball inside right now, so it is a work in progress. Our #1 guy likes to go outside and low with everything, and while it worked last year, this year guys are stepping into it and hitting it. What is interesting is that we have one guy who is very mechanical with his delivery and throws strikes, albeit soft ones…I call it an “unintentional change-up”. Amazing how well it works, though…it has some of the best hitters completely off balance.[/quote]
I think this is very solid advice. At this age, it’s location, location, location. High velocity pitcher -even kids who have control- throw a lot of pitches and few innings. Add a decent change-up and mix it in with the fastball. I’m sure its been said many times before, but the only difference between a FB and a change up at this is the grip. Arm speed and pitching mechanics should be the same.