Wanted: A Better Strategy for Developing Young Pitchers

Welcome to Discuss Fastpitch

Your FREE Account is waiting to the Best Softball Community on the Web.

Oct 9, 2018
125
28
Texas
With the goal of trying to grow more pitchers here is an idea. This is just a 10u/8u rec level idea.

  1. Before the actual game have pitchers and catchers try and throw strikes to a prop batter.
  2. For every strike out a pitcher gets give that team a run on the score board.
  3. Give each team a set amount of fake batters to face.
  4. While this is going on you could keep the team in the outfield warming up or on the bench depending on how long it takes.
  5. Then start the real game with coach pitch or off a tee.
 
Aug 1, 2019
309
63
If you made me softball commissioner for a day every rec league player would be instructed on how to throw a slingshot pitch.

Step out, palm up, sling, palm down.

Every practice would a lot for "X" amount of slingshot pitching practice time. Its's dead simple, less moving parts, and anyone can do it (with little practice).
My first reaction to Ken's article is alongside Gunner's comments. At this age level and rec skill level, why should these kids be expected to pitch like you see on ESPN? When I teach kids to pitch, we start with very basic movements and back-chain from there. As they get better, the distance to target and percentage of a complete arm circle increases. Making the jump from a K position to a full arm circle is a big transition for a youngster, and even bigger is going full motion. In these early rec games, why not pitch from where the pitcher is comfortable with her motion? If she's good from a 10 o'clock position with a small stride, have her pitch that way, as long as she's developing the proper mechanics that lead into full motion pitching. WHEN SHE'S READY, she can add more to her arm circle....progress to a full circle...and finally add the full motion when she's ready. Your pitcher wouldn't have to do a windmill pitch the entire season. She just has to be able to throw the 35 or 40 feet depending on her age.
Seems to me this will cut down a lot of frustration for players and parents, and keep more pitchers interested.
 
Jul 14, 2018
714
93
Your pitcher wouldn't have to do a windmill pitch the entire season. She just has to be able to throw the 35 or 40 feet depending on her age.

If every rec league could invest in a quality pitcher screen that’s made for softball, why not shorten the distance as well? The single thing that improved DD’s accuracy the most was a steady program of playing catch underhand. If you can remove the danger of pitching from 20 feet away, and let kids focus on hitting the catcher’s glove with an underhand throw, you’d go a long way towards developing a pitcher who can throw strikes. And more balls get put in play, everyone wins!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
May 15, 2008
1,250
113
Cape Cod Mass.
I should add that on the two teams on which I had some influence the pitchers 'bowled', but even that didn't help a lot. One of the problems was that since it was rec parents wanted kids to play multiple positions. At the first practice they asked who wants to pitch, and almost every kid raised their hand so each team had 6-7 pitchers. Each team had only a couple kids who reach 1st base on the fly from 3rd and SS. In tennis they have foam balls and very small racquets for beginners. But smaller bats, balls and fields still doesn't solve the problem of developing youth pitchers and the issue that goes with it; the walkfest. Kids walk away from softball because it's boring at the youth levels. Since I have been working with these three 9 year olds the question that comes up for me is; at what age can a kid learn softball pitching? I am about a half dozen lessons in with these girls and they still can't reliably IR from a slingshot position. To keep practice from getting boring we do full circles and full motion and it gets even worse. So the question is, are these girls not developed enough to learn pitching?
 
Jan 6, 2018
118
28
It's an interesting conversation for sure...so tough when they are just starting unless they really work a lot. Our rec league had winter pitching clinics that were free for all players.(there was pressure to donate occasionally) That way when the draft came around we knew who the pitchers and catchers were for the most part and we'd make sure teams got one of each. (or more - they were graded)

10U still sucked with the walks. We did the 4 balls and the coach takes over at 8U with the bouncy ball - I'd suggest to do the same at 10U with the hard ball and the longer distance. By 12U the girls are usually "strong" enough to have fun regardless of mechanics. Little Suzy rocket arm leaves for travel anyway, and Sally slow pitch has plenty of fun with her friends in rec. It just goes from a walk fest to an error fest anyway LOL.
 
May 18, 2019
70
18
I'll share an idea I had for our league. Every league with kids 10 and under should incorporate a 4 week pitching clinic into their budget supplemented by at least 15 minutes (ideally 30) of practice time on pitching for each team weekly. Then two small group or individual lessons should be offered each interested participant at no cost. Ideally staffed by a pitching coach but if not, the best available. If money is an issue, ask for donations from parents at registration or a donation by the PC at hope of future business.

Guarantee this will pay for itself in future competitiveness and present game quality leading to higher retention. Also tap older pitchers to help the younger ones.
 
Aug 21, 2008
1,803
113
Just two observations.

1. If you can't throw strikes you shouldn't be able to pitch (in rec league). Walkfests aren't doing anyone any favors. It's boring, it teaches hitters bad habits, and does nothing for fielders. You can only have as many teams in rec league as you have pitchers. Don't put 10 players on 6 teams with 4 pitchers.
I'm glad you weren't commissioner when I was learning to pitch. I may never have been allowed to pitch game #2 after a bad game #1. :)
 
May 15, 2008
1,250
113
Cape Cod Mass.
I'll share an idea I had for our league. Every league with kids 10 and under should incorporate a 4 week pitching clinic into their budget supplemented by at least 15 minutes (ideally 30) of practice time on pitching for each team weekly. Then two small group or individual lessons should be offered each interested participant at no cost. Ideally staffed by a pitching coach but if not, the best available. If money is an issue, ask for donations from parents at registration or a donation by the PC at hope of future business.

Guarantee this will pay for itself in future competitiveness and present game quality leading to higher retention. Also tap older pitchers to help the younger ones.

Beginning pitchers can throw more strikes with a straight arm bowling/push motion. Some of them who are self taught or poorly coached can throw the ball this way with decent velocity and control at the 10U level, and can also be effective up through 12U. But then they hit a 'speed limit' and they will need better technique (IR) to progress any further. For the long term a pitcher needs to be taught IR, but it typically takes a year (or more) to be able to reliably throw 3 strikes before 4 balls. Thus a girl learning to pitch the right way will often not be used in games because of her walks. And a pitcher who develops as a bowler will have a difficult time changing her ingrained mechanics later on. If rec is as far as girl wants to go then bowl away, but if she wants more she needs to learn the right way.

Many years ago, shortly after I had established myself as a pitching instructor I attended a Little League meeting. The directors were talking about the pitching/walk problem when the prez pointed to me and said "Mikes a pitching coach"! Problem solved, NOT.
 
Last edited:
May 18, 2019
70
18
Beginning pitchers can throw more strikes with a straight arm bowling/push motion. Some of them who are self taught or poorly coached can throw the ball this way with decent velocity and control at the 10U level, and can also be effective up through 12U. But then they hit a 'speed limit' and they will need better technique (IR) to progress any further. For the long term a pitcher needs to be taught IR, but it typically takes a year (or more) to be able to reliably throw 3 strikes before 4 balls. Thus a girl learning to pitch the right way will often not be used in games because of her walks. And a pitcher who develops as a bowler will have a difficult time changing her ingrained mechanics later on. If rec is as far as girl wants to go then bowl away, but if she wants more she needs to learn the right way.

Many years ago, shortly after I had established myself as a pitching instructor I attended a Little League meeting. The directors were talking about the pitching/walk problem when the prez pointed to me and said "Mikes a pitching coach"! Problem solved, NOT.
Well, it may not fix every leagues problem but it sure will help a lot.
 
Feb 15, 2017
452
43
In the younger leagues around me after 4 balls the coach pitches and you get two swings to put the ball in play. After that you're out and there is a five run limit per inning

Sent from my SM-N986U using Tapatalk
 

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Threads
39,722
Messages
614,714
Members
19,164
Latest member
bperry
Top