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!