What to look for pitching in 8-10 years old kids?


My friend is coaching a rep baseball team age 8-10 years old and I was wondering if you could help him out. He doesn’t have a computer so he can’t email questions so I doing it for him. I will pass on all information to him. He would like to know what should he be looking for in the kids for pitching? Like what are the 5 phases he should work on? He says he has looked at 9 different pitchers and it varies from always high, or no control or bad mechanics and just totally wild. All information would be great. He will take any drills as well.

Thank You

I decide who is ready to get an inning in a real game based on whether they possess each of what I call the four essentials…

  1. The ability to throw strikes with a batter in the box. Don’t judge guys based on how well they can throw when it’s just them and a catcher.

  2. The ability to get out of a simulated inning. This will give you a sense of whether they will hold up under pressure.

  3. The ability keep the ball down consistently.

  4. Velocity.

I have learned from experience that Essential Number 4 is entirely useless if a pitcher doesn’t have Essential Number 1 and Essential Number 2. Essential Number 4 is also mostly useless if a pitcher doesn’t have Essential Number 3.

The ability to have fun should be #1!

At this age my son was always placed in RF and always had a smile on his face. HE just loved being with other kids and had a blast. Wasn’t the greatest player but worked hard at 11-12 to become one of the better players in the area.

I’d say at 8-10 if he is hitting the glove consistently then that would be another good sign. Walks and errors are probably the #1 stat for this age group that drives in runs. Good luck and have fun!

I coach a 9-year old team. Chris’ four essentials are a great starting point. The most important thing you can teach kids of this age is “cause and effect” relationships. I first teach my new pitchers the most common reasons for throwing high (always a problem), throwing outside, throwing inside, etc…

So, why do kids throw high? Usually they pull up short. They do not decelerate effectively. I look to see if the pitcher decelerates over their stride foot or do they “hold back” and finish the throw in an upright postiion. Nine times out of ten, they are holding back and standing almost straight up at the end of the pitch. Stress finishing the pitch over the stride foot-- let their momentum carry them over the stride foot. This usually will drop the release point and the resulting height of the pitch. The added benefit is an increase in contol and velocity.

Why do kids throw consistently inside and outside the strike zone? Most often, these pitchers are throwing “across the body” and not “over the top.” One way to show that the pitcher is throwing across his body is to look at the location where the stride foot lands. It will usually land towards the first base line for a righty and the third base line for a lefty – not towards the batter. Normal body compensation then requires that the arm go across the body to compensate for the lower half. Work on the stride towards the batter (finishing the pitch).

These little modifications make a world of difference and they are easy to teach. The kids’ confidence increases with their success. They will be begging for more!

Good Post and some good advise. The minor league my son plays in is live pitching 7-9 year olds. It is an experience for the kids but I think it is a good one. My son(8) pitched his first game last week and I was pleasantly surprised. He pitched 3 innings with 8 K’s and 4 walks. The walks were a little high, but not bad for his age. He throws hard for his age. I thought he did and was told by others he does as well. All I am interested in is for him to throw strikes. At his age, I am happy with straight down the middle.