Wanted: A Better Strategy for Developing Young Pitchers

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Jan 5, 2018
371
63
PNW
It’s not that simple. You are coaching a team. You must have a pitcher. It’s time for problem solving. Your assignment is to develop pitchers so you can play a game. You can’t just drag the old blue pitching machine out to the mound and call it Suzy Pitcher.
I didn't say it was simple. I didn't say anything about a pitching machine either.

I offered a suggestion IF you had a pitcher or two already. And way to help get MORE girls on the field of play pitching with a goal of showing some level of ability or improvement to the coach. You don't have to run your number 1/2 all season in rec. Find a way to get 3/4/5 to improve and reward them with the playing time. That's what they are after and what their parents are after. Help them fall in love with the game.

I am a coach. I have coached teams. I have had lots of girls who wanted to pitch. We actually used what I suggested to help girls find an attainable goal and then reward them with the opportunity to pitch in the game-which is what they were after. Some girls did work outside of practice so they could get into the circle. They were more confident knowing they had done work and that they had a chance to prove that work/ability before the game. When struggles occur, and they do, it also allowed us to refer them back to that time when they pitched to the coach. It gave them a frame of reference and a reminder they can do the job.

If my assignment is solely to develop pitchers.....then the rec league needs to provide a winter clinics and a weekly P/C night during the season to do that development. The reality is in Rec league, for the most part with most coaches, they aren't going to get what they need to be effective or successful and then they walk away from the position and/or the sport. And that was the point of the article, correct?

Talk to any "successful" pitcher, pitcher parent, and coach and the success of the pitcher came from working many many long hours outside of practice. And that was what Ken was talking about...those kids who end up eating up innings because they are doing more work.

So how do you get 3/4/5 skills and subsequent experience so you have more pitchers?
 
Oct 14, 2019
744
93
5 pitchers on an 11 player or so rec ball roster? Not practical. You’re going to find your best 2 or 3 and try to make the best of it. It was all I could do to work with 3 pitchers and coach all the rest of the players. You also need catchers and first basemen and all the rest. Why in the world would a rec ball coach even be tasked with development of 5 pitchers? The coach’s immediate task is to field the best possible team while developing every player’s skills.

I obviously agree that the girls who work outside of practice will be the ones who have the best chance to improve.
 
Oct 14, 2019
744
93
5 pitchers on an 11 player or so rec ball roster? Not practical. You’re going to find your best 2 or 3 and try to make the best of it. It was all I could do to work with 3 pitchers and coach all the rest of the players. You also need catchers and first basemen and all the rest. Why in the world would a rec ball coach even be tasked with development of 5 pitchers? The coach’s immediate task is to field the best possible team while developing every player’s skills.

I obviously agree that the girls who work outside of practice will be the ones who have the best chance to improve.
I didn't say it was simple. I didn't say anything about a pitching machine either.

I offered a suggestion IF you had a pitcher or two already. And way to help get MORE girls on the field of play pitching with a goal of showing some level of ability or improvement to the coach. You don't have to run your number 1/2 all season in rec. Find a way to get 3/4/5 to improve and reward them with the playing time. That's what they are after and what their parents are after. Help them fall in love with the game.

I am a coach. I have coached teams. I have had lots of girls who wanted to pitch. We actually used what I suggested to help girls find an attainable goal and then reward them with the opportunity to pitch in the game-which is what they were after. Some girls did work outside of practice so they could get into the circle. They were more confident knowing they had done work and that they had a chance to prove that work/ability before the game. When struggles occur, and they do, it also allowed us to refer them back to that time when they pitched to the coach. It gave them a frame of reference and a reminder they can do the job.

If my assignment is solely to develop pitchers.....then the rec league needs to provide a winter clinics and a weekly P/C night during the season to do that development. The reality is in Rec league, for the most part with most coaches, they aren't going to get what they need to be effective or successful and then they walk away from the position and/or the sport. And that was the point of the article, correct?

Talk to any "successful" pitcher, pitcher parent, and coach and the success of the pitcher came from working many many long hours outside of practice. And that was what Ken was talking about...those kids who end up eating up innings because they are doing more work.

So how do you get 3/4/5 skills and subsequent experience so you have more pitchers?
Ken said that the kids taking lessons weren’t getting time because they were losing out to unskilled kids who could throw strikes.
 

Ken Krause

Administrator
Admin
May 7, 2008
3,788
113
Mundelein, IL
I had another idea today I thought I'd throw out. Instead of limiting an at bat to 4 balls (and maybe 2 strikes), why not expand the number of pitches before a batter could take a base? For example, expand it to 12. If you reach the limit then there's a walk. But if you don't reach the limit that means there was either a K or a W after 12 pitches.

This would take some of the immediate pressure off pitchers who are working on becoming real pitchers. Hopefully in 12 pitches they could find the plate 3 times. That's 25% accuracy, which should be achievable.
 
May 15, 2008
1,360
113
Cape Cod Mass.
There is a big difference between rec pitchers and travel pitchers. For rec just have them practice 'bowling' it over the plate, whether or not they do the phony wind mill arm circle is beside the point. For travel the development is different. It takes a year, sometimes more, for a pitcher to learn the mechanics and become a consistent strike thrower with some velocity. When I say a year I mean a lesson and at least one other practice session a week for 12 months.
 
Jun 21, 2019
4
3
The local rec program I am involved with switched leagues about 10 years ago because of this issue. League A would allow one pitcher to pitch the entire game. And in 10u, the only restriction was the pitcher could not walk in a run. What the result was in 10u, Walk, Walk, Walk, Walk (coach pitch - Base hit.

The league we moved to, and are still in today, limits the amount of innings a pitcher can pitch in a game. 5 for a 7 inning game and 4 for a 6 inning game. That is the only restriction at 12U and above. But at 10u, a pitcher can only walk 2 batters per inning. For the 3rd and subsequent walks, a coach comes in and throws three pitches to that batter. If none are hit fair, the batter is out. This moves the game along and forces teams to give innings to multiple pitchers.

I see less of an issue at the travel level because of the number of games and the time alloted for practice, etc. There are enough programs in this area that girls have the ability to get innings and progress if they need to.
 
Oct 14, 2019
744
93
There is a big difference between rec pitchers and travel pitchers. For rec just have them practice 'bowling' it over the plate, whether or not they do the phony wind mill arm circle is beside the point. For travel the development is different. It takes a year, sometimes more, for a pitcher to learn the mechanics and become a consistent strike thrower with some velocity. When I say a year I mean a lesson and at least one other practice session a week for 12 months.
Oftentimes, travel ball pitchers are simply rec ball pitchers with experience. Around here, I think almost all travel ball pitchers started in rec.
 
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