What age to specialize in pitching?

My son is 16 and is good hitter and good pitcher. He would like to play at the college level. He thinks he has more the mental make-up of a pitcher. At what age should you specialize in pitching and focus all of your training in that area.


Now… I started specializing at 14. Dropped basketball in the winter to long toss, throw bullpens and strength train. Stopped playing other positions on the field. Made the varsity team the next year as a freshman and was the No. 2 pitcher on a state final 4 team. College scholarships are essentially won a pitcher’s junior year.

There really is no hard and fast rule about when one should start specializing in pitching—some get into it sooner, others later. I recall when I was eleven years old and in fifth grade; one day during recess a bunch of us were playing catch and I discovered that I had a natural sidearm delivery—and what came attached to that delivery was a pretty nice little curve ball. And I thought, hey, I’ve got a curve ball, let me see what I can do with it. I worked on it, figured out how to change speeds, acquired a palm ball and a knuckle-curve, got into playing for real and won quite a few games with the stuff I had, and worked on my control. Then, at age sixteen, came the breakthrough—I learned to throw a good slider, and built up a very good arsenal of snake-jazz (I didn’t have a fast ball to speak of). I also found me a pitching coach who was absolutely incredible—Ed Lopat, a key member of the Yankees’ fabled Big Three rotation, who took me in hand, worked with me and helped me become a better pitcher than I had been.
And I never lost a game, which is something I continue to be very proud of. :slight_smile: 8)

As Steven said, sometimes athletes have to make the decision to focus more of their time to certain sports in high school to better prepare themselves for college opportunities.

Judging from your post though, it looks like your son is trying to make the decision between just pitching and hitting. In that case, you might be OK focusing on both because there are some similarities between the two.

For instance, the throwing you do on the mound will translate to more arm strength in the field. Pitchers PFP’s will help him be a better overall fielder. But the closest link I think is with conditioning. Both positions are primarily rotational activities using the core, so the muscles you train for pitching and hitting will often be the same.

Now, everything won’t correlate, of course, such as hitting and practicing pitching mechanics, but he might be able to hold on making a decision as many baseball players go into college not knowing which one they want to focus on.

Still, the number one thing is that your son should do which ever position it is that he truly loves more.

Good luck.


I say if he’s good with both he should continue with both, if he’s a better pitcher than hitter or if the college he goes to likes him as a pitcher better than they will figure it out, I think in a lot of cases that bridge can be crossed when he comes to it.

I don’t even have the choice to specialize, if I were just a position player our team would only have 3 starting pitchers and 1 reliever and if I only pitched we’d be short one big bat and a 1st baseman and due to our lack of depth we’d be short an outfielder as a result of the situation at 1st and be short a pitcher because one of the pitchers would have to play 1st full time.

Yeah, I thought we were talking about other sports. I think you’re talking about specializing in other positions. In that case, I’d keep playing all over through high school. There are so many benefits to learning how to play each position well, even if you eventually end up at just one in college or pro ball. It makes you a better well-rounder player. The skills def translate! Good luck!