youth pitches | Talk Pitches | TopVelocity Baseball Forum
i’m the pitching coach for our local rec ball team of 14-15 year olds, and i have been teaching three pitches with very specific reasons and i thought i would share it here. the example i’ll give is based on the average of the 9 pitchers i’m working with.
the pitcher has a 68mph fastball on average, with enough control to hit the corners. i have him concentrate on hitting high inside and low outside for his bread and butter pitches.
i find that most of these guys can’t slow down their change up enough to be effective (3mph drop with little to no break), so here is what i teach:
slider; grip like 4 seam fastball, throw like a football. aim at the high inside corner and let it break down and across the plate. i have them pre-set the wrist and try to throw it like a spiral football. the result is a drop in speed to 54mph and a 2-3 foot break from inside to out. many of our boys will throw it directly at a batter’s butt and watch them move out of the way as the ball breaks in for a strike.
next is the curveball; i have them grip the ball using the normal curveball grip, but pre-set the wrist before throwing. the delivery is like the fastball, but the thumb let’s go of the ball at release, causing the ball to have over spin. they still allow their arm to follow through after delivery, which tends to impart a little side action that causes the ball to not only break down, but also left. the real key is that i have them practice keeping the ball speed under 50mph. i have found that 46-48mph curveballs break huge, plus the change in speed from the 68mph fastball leaves the batter way off balance. at this age group, not many will swing at a curveball that breaks this much, so it has to be thrown for a strike to count for anything besides shock value.
the two finger curveball is what i teach to anybody who can’t throw a fastball with any control. that pitch served my son well last year, and he is now in a better position to work the other pitches.
but true to 3X pitching….velocity is king! we try not to use an junk pitches unless batters are starting to hit off a pitcher. speed and location go a long ways.
my son Nicolas pitched 3 innings tonight, and here is what he threw:
and the rest was all gas! if the coach would not have called for breaking balls, Nic probably could have gotten away with not throwing any breakers at all. like i said, in the end it’s all about power….you either pitch 3X or you throw junk…..one has a future, and one does not!
April 27, 2008
Ross, good advice! My favorite pitcher to watch growing up was Nola Ryan. He would throw gas until the hitters showed him that they could hit his fastball. Once they started proving to him that they could hit it then he would introduce his 12-6 curveball and devastate them. The lesson here is you should never give all of your best stuff away to early in the game.
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