Youth baseball pitching.
This is a very hard subject to write about. So much of teaching pitchers is visual so I am going to keep this short.
Physically throwing a baseball and pitching share a lot of the same principles. However pitching is a lot more demanding. You have got to make sure that your pitchers are physically capable of repeating their delivery however many times you are going to ask them to do it. Some players can throw all day and never get tired it seems but when they get on the mound they lose steam after in inning or so. Other players seem to be able to go forever and never lose anything. Once you know what kind of pitchers you have long term or short term you can figure out how to best use them.
Pitching mechanics are complicated and should be taught by someone who is experienced if a child wants to be a pitcher. If you have a player that is going to pitch for you once in a while the basics are fine.
Pitching is similar to hitting in the respect that the pitcher is going to start from a stance. Load / prepare onto their back leg and then drive with that back leg using it to rotate the hips and upper body toward home plate. The front leg will raise up off the ground how high depends on the pitcher. For a general rule somewhere near the point where the thigh of the front leg is parallel to the ground. Allow the front foot to dangle loosely. We will call this “high balance“. In high balance the hands should be centered on the chest. Then the front leg will drop straight down until it is almost touching the ground. This will be called “low balance”. During this phase the hands will remain centered on the chest. At this point the pitcher will drive with the back leg and rotate the upper body. While doing this the hands will “Break” the glove hand will push forward toward home plate with the front elbow bent at a 90 degree angle the palm of the glove hand pointed toward home plate. The throwing arm will reach back slightly bent with the ball pointing toward center field. As the pitchers upper body rotates this puts the arm in a position to deliver the ball to home plate. The delivery will occur when the front foot reaches the ground the pitchers arm will extend forward while his hand pulls down on the baseball (imagine pulling a shade down). the throwing arm should finish near the calf of the opposite leg while the back leg raises up and follows to square the pitcher to home plate putting them in a good fielding position. Throughout the process the pitchers head should be centered and focuses on his target (Some part of the catcher).
Summary of mechanics
- High Balance
- Low Balance
- Drive / Break hand
Physical elements of youth baseball pitching
A lot of controversy surrounds pitching with younger players. All I have to say on the matter is there is only one way I know of to strengthen your arm for baseball. You have to throw. Players today don’t know how much they have to throw. We didn’t kow when we were kids. We just knew throwing a baseball around with our friends was fun and we did it. Youth baseball is hard because a lot of kids don’t have enough opportunity to throw before it starts. Other sports, weather, video games, and location have a lot to do with that. As a coach I try to preach to my players to throw as much as they can without it hurting. Sore is O. K. hurting is another thing. watch their faces you can tell when it hurts. Have your players throw a lot. Warm up should not be a 2 minute toss. Have the whole team throw for at least 10 to 15 minutes before you do anything else as far as throwing drills or team defense and definetly more before having them practice pitching.
Keep your kids safe and throwing accurately.
I would like to give you the opportunity to check out a couple of other resources that will help you teach pitching to young players.