What ages does a kid start throwing different pitches?


#1

I have an 8 year old who is a becoming a very good pitcher. I’ve talked with some other parents and coaches and I’m surprised how many of them are telling their 8 year old kids to throw 3 or 4 different kinds of pitches. It seems ridiculous to be adding complexity to pitching when kids are struggling to find the strike zone at this age. I think sticking to a standard fastball would be best because:

  1. Small kids have small hands - can’t effectively grip the baseball for most kinds of pitches.
  2. Low velocity - slow pitches don’t break.
  3. Too close to the plate - Even a great MLB curve isn’t breaking much 38 feet from the mound

I could see adding a change up at a young age but at lower velocities is it really a deceptive enough pitch? Most young hitters just seem to watch the ball anyway so a change up may only just give them a little more time rather than getting them too swing early.

So at what age should a kid start to throw change ups and breaking balls in games? Or maybe a better question is what kind of command of their fastball should a kid have before trying new pitches?


#2

I would really suggest working on his fastball at this age, making sure that he can find the strike zone at will every time. Only after he can do that should he work on changeups. Mastering the changeup at this age is actually an advantage as the changeup is the bread and butter pitch for most pitchers. Since kids that age don’t throw fast, the changeup shouldn’t be thrown much but always knowing how to throw a change up will help him when he’s older. he really shouldn’t learn anyother pitches until he’s like 14 or 15.


#3

Sounds like you have a good grasp on things. As you mentioned, hand size plays a significant part in the equation. At young ages the effectiveness of changing speeds is questionable. It will start to become effective against the better hitters first at about age 10-11 and tends only to help the weaker hitters. There’s no single correct answer for all pitchers. Rather it is a judgement call on an individual basis.