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  • #31
    We had another game last night.
    My boy couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. I just don't get it. The game before last he pitched one of the best pitching games I have ever seen pitched at any level of baseball and last night he was...well he was just bad to be blunt. He couldn't throw a strike to save his life. I watched his mechanics and everything looked ok....I just don't get it.

    Just when you think you have everything figured out you learn you don't know a darn thing.

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    • #32
      I have 2 boys playing travel ball, 10 and 12. Last year I bought a Jugs gun, BIG MISTAKE. My kids got so caught up in how fast they could throw so I put it away for several months. I took it out a month ago just to see what they were throwing....Another Big Mistake. They get so fixated on the gun they forget everything else. They are both very good pitchers but when that gun comes out they try to overthrow and that will really screw up their motion.

      My boys are lucky, the 10 yo tops at 61 but stay around 58-59 consistantly, the 12 yo tops at 71 but stays at 68-69 consistantly. 2 years apart and exactly 10 mph difference. They best thing about the gun is working on speed differentiation between their fastball and changeup. When I use the gun now I don't tell them their speed just the difference in speed between fastball and changeup. They do not get caught up in how fast they throw anymore. The gun is a great tool for that at this age in my opinion.

      We work very hard on "selling" the changeup and the results have been great. While many, many 12 yo pitchers are throwing curveballs and on their way to ruining their arms my son is having great results with a very good changeup.

      Anyway, my novice advice is forget the gun as far as telling them how fast they can throw and use it as a tool in developing their changeup. Works better that way for us.

      Comment


      • #33
        Believe me, thinking about the radar gun isn't (or should I say wasn't) his problem last night. He was just off and he was off bad. I don't allow him to throw a curve either. He has a great great changeup and I don't see the need for a curve when you have a good off speed pitch...esp. at 10 years of age.

        He kept under throwing last night and for the life of me I can't figure out why. His pitches were hitting a foot in front of the plate.

        During the game he and I have three signals. I have a signal for a fast ball a change up and I also have a signal for his best fastball (one as hard as he can throw). So he doesn't worry about speed until I give him the "superfast".

        Anyway, maybe he just had an off night. I guess that happens...then again he is only 10 years old so I"m probably reading too much into all of it. He and I threw in the backyard today and after a few pitches he was pitching very good. We did play on the road last night so maybe his young mind wasn't used to throwing off of a different mound on a different field.

        What do you do if your kid isn't throwing well and you can't see anything in his mechanics? I honestly had no idea what to tell him last night. Of course I said get the ball up but heck, he knew he had to get the ball up but for some reason he couldn't.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Sparksdale
          What do you do if your kid isn't throwing well and you can't see anything in his mechanics? I honestly had no idea what to tell him last night. Of course I said get the ball up but heck, he knew he had to get the ball up but for some reason he couldn't.
          Beating?

          Some nights they just don't have it. Sometimes it's less mechanics, and more in the head. That doesn't mean you don't look for things, but just like one great game doesn't make him a future star, one bad game doesn't mean he won't be. Remember the age.

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          • #35
            throwing curves

            My son is 12 and for the first time he is reliably throwing 4 pitches, 4 seam, 2 seam, change up and curve. The 4 seam has good pop and the 2 seam has a little movement at the end that catches kids off guard. He finally got the change up right and it is devastating after setting them up with fb's. The curve drops off the table just before getting to the plate.

            War story alert:
            Last night we were playing a scrimmage game. A guy who has been around LL for years volunteered to ump. My son pitched the last inning. He threw a curve that was a little wide. The batter swung and the ump called a ball. Then he realized the kid swung and changed the call. We all got a good laugh. After the game he explained that he was so fascinated by the curve that he didn't see the swing.

            I've watched and studied kids' pitching for years and have come to some concusions. First, its true that kids need only fbs and change ups before HS, but it is also true that they will play around with all kinds of pitches if someone (coach or parent) isn't hovering over them all the time. I would rather they throw a curve correctly then play around with some kind of twisting motion that could result in injury.

            Further, I think the evidence shows that injuries to kids' arms comes from too much pitching rather than throwing curves. None of the kids in our LL have played in another league simultaneously in the 6 years I have been coaching. Kids being kids, those pitchers have thrown all kinds of pitches over the years. I am unaware of even a single injury attributable to pitching. The best pitchers play AS after the regular season and a few go on to play travel ball in the late summer and fall. Again, no injuries.

            I think it is important to limit the number of curves thrown, but recognize that it is effective if used sparingly. In the LL world series last year some kids were throwing 70% curves. That is way too much. With those numbers I'm sure there are way too many injuries, but if properly limited curves are no more problematic than other pitches.

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            • #36
              Don't forget you are talking about Little League here! It's not the same ball as select or club ball! Playing 60 ft. bases at 12 is a joke! Pitching from 46 ft. and playing tight bases it's more like girls softball than real baseball!

              Go play on 70 ft. bases and pitch from 50 ft. then see what they have!
              Elwood: I'm gonna quit work first thing in the morning.

              Jake: And how are you gonna get to work Mr Lead Foot, Mr Hot Rod, Mr Motor Head? Those cops took your license away. They got your name, your address.

              Elwood: No they don't got my address. I falsified my renewal. I put 1060 West Addison.

              Jake: 1060 West Addison? That's Wrigley Field.

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              • #37
                Pitching injuries in youth

                There is a good discussion of youth pitching injuries on the current LL online newsletter.

                http://www.littleleague.org/askll/06marsession.asp

                Comment


                • #38
                  Originally posted by CAV
                  Don't forget you are talking about Little League here! It's not the same ball as select or club ball! Playing 60 ft. bases at 12 is a joke! Pitching from 46 ft. and playing tight bases it's more like girls softball than real baseball!

                  Go play on 70 ft. bases and pitch from 50 ft. then see what they have!
                  No need to put down kids playing LL. A ballplayer is a ballplayer and not playing open bases till 13 won't doom his long term chances. I don't care for the field dimensions or the arrogance of the LL power structure either but there's no denying some very good kids come through their program.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Mark H
                    No need to put down kids playing LL. A ballplayer is a ballplayer and not playing open bases till 13 won't doom his long term chances. I don't care for the field dimensions or the arrogance of the LL power structure either but there's no denying some very good kids come through their program.
                    Way too much is made of the move up to the big field. My 12 yo son (less than 90 pounds at the time) played on a 14U fall ball team last year on 60/90 fields and had little trouble adjusting. The only significant adjustments are in pitching 60' instead of 46 and leading off. The latter takes one or two practices to master. Other than that it's easier to field on the big field and a decent batter can get base hits all day long.

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                    • #40
                      My boy tried out for a local road team a few months ago. To my amazement the team rejected him.....I still don't understand it. The coach invited my boy to a tryout and looked at him a total of 7 minutes. My boy threw the ball from deep right field to home plate (in the air and a strike). He had a quality at bat and threw about 10 pitches off the mound. That was it...the guy called a few days later and said sorry... I still don't get it. It is widely known that my boy is one of the best players in this area (in my opinion the best and if not he is most certainly the top two). It didn't bother me so much that the coach on the road team rejected him but what really bothered me was how it affected my boy. It really got to him and he took the news hard (very hard).

                      In the end I realize everything works out for a reason. I think my boy is better off not playing for that team. For me, baseball should be fun at 10 years old. This road team took all the fun out of baseball. We attended one practice that this road team had (the day my boy tried out) and the coach would yell and scream at the players. He was so serious that not a single kid was smiling or having fun on the field.

                      In my opinion that isn't what L.L. is about. 99.99999% of kids who play LL will never even make it to the college level....fewer make it in the pro's. Kids must have fun, they must love the game. Yes, work hard and do your best but if they don't have fun then they need to find another sport.

                      My boy is 10; of course I think he will be a great high school player. Will he have the talent for the college level? There is no way to know that this early. I say the chances are good but a lot can happen in the next few years. I think it is vital that he learns to love the game first; everything else is secondary (in my opinion).

                      My point is this; I think these road teams are vastly over rated. I believe they are for the gratification of the parents more than for the enjoyment of the kids.

                      BTW: Last year my boy was on the worst team in our area. We played a road team that was undefeated and considered the best team in this area.. My boy had the game of his life. The other coach put in their best pitcher because they had heard of my boy. My boy pitched two innings and struck out all six batters he faced. He also went 4 for 4 at the plate with a single, a double and his last at bat he hit a homerun. We lost the game 11 to 7. My boy had 6 RBI in that game. My boy had fun during the game; I didn't see a lot of smiles on the other team. I saw a coach yelling at his players telling them to play better.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by jojab
                        I'm not sure how knowing at what speed you throw at is going to hamper your development? That is like telling your 10 year old track star you are not going to time him in the 100 yard dash until he is 16.
                        Joe - respectfully disagree (Sort of). Knowing at what speed a player throws is not the problem. The problem lies with Little League coaches bringing guns to practice. The only purpose that serves is to make speed the priority. Even if that is not the coach's intention - that will be how the players will see it. At 11 and 12 this can cause far reaching damage as many players will either try to keep up with the best risking damage to their arms or they'll get discouraged and not want to pitch at all. The guns should stay at home and the emphasis should be form and function.
                        "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
                        - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Sparksdale
                          My boy tried out for a local road team a few months ago. To my amazement the team rejected him.....I still don't understand it. The coach invited my boy to a tryout and looked at him a total of 7 minutes. My boy threw the ball from deep right field to home plate (in the air and a strike). He had a quality at bat and threw about 10 pitches off the mound. That was it...the guy called a few days later and said sorry... I still don't get it. It is widely known that my boy is one of the best players in this area (in my opinion the best and if not he is most certainly the top two). It didn't bother me so much that the coach on the road team rejected him but what really bothered me was how it affected my boy. It really got to him and he took the news hard (very hard).

                          In the end I realize everything works out for a reason. I think my boy is better off not playing for that team. For me, baseball should be fun at 10 years old. This road team took all the fun out of baseball. We attended one practice that this road team had (the day my boy tried out) and the coach would yell and scream at the players. He was so serious that not a single kid was smiling or having fun on the field.

                          In my opinion that isn't what L.L. is about. 99.99999% of kids who play LL will never even make it to the college level....fewer make it in the pro's. Kids must have fun, they must love the game. Yes, work hard and do your best but if they don't have fun then they need to find another sport.

                          My boy is 10; of course I think he will be a great high school player. Will he have the talent for the college level? There is no way to know that this early. I say the chances are good but a lot can happen in the next few years. I think it is vital that he learns to love the game first; everything else is secondary (in my opinion).

                          My point is this; I think these road teams are vastly over rated. I believe they are for the gratification of the parents more than for the enjoyment of the kids.

                          BTW: Last year my boy was on the worst team in our area. We played a road team that was undefeated and considered the best team in this area.. My boy had the game of his life. The other coach put in their best pitcher because they had heard of my boy. My boy pitched two innings and struck out all six batters he faced. He also went 4 for 4 at the plate with a single, a double and his last at bat he hit a homerun. We lost the game 11 to 7. My boy had 6 RBI in that game. My boy had fun during the game; I didn't see a lot of smiles on the other team. I saw a coach yelling at his players telling them to play better.

                          At age 10 YOU have ZERO clue if your kid will make his HS team unless you are living in a small area with minimal kids.At age 10 nothing means anything but having fun and teaching him a good quality swing.their are great travel teams and teams that are sooooo bad they shouldnt travel.Kids will have a more enjoyable experience if they are winning.

                          Unfortunnately your boy has experienced rejection from baseball at age 10 but thats life.
                          you talk about how 99 percent of the kids dont make it and how nothing matters cause we are all gonna be plumbers someday..BUT you sit here and talk about how many kids he strikes out or how many hits he gets..Seems you are the one more disappointed in not making the travel team..GUESS WHAT it doesnt matter anyway.let the kid have fun,try to teach him what you can and see what happens.At age 10 stats and or wht you think of your kids talents mean nothing..I can say when HS comes he better know how to throw a ball,and hit.

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Sparksdale
                            My boy tried out for a local road team a few months ago. To my amazement the team rejected him.....I still don't understand it. The coach invited my boy to a tryout and looked at him a total of 7 minutes. My boy threw the ball from deep right field to home plate (in the air and a strike). He had a quality at bat and threw about 10 pitches off the mound. That was it...the guy called a few days later and said sorry... I still don't get it. It is widely known that my boy is one of the best players in this area (in my opinion the best and if not he is most certainly the top two). It didn't bother me so much that the coach on the road team rejected him but what really bothered me was how it affected my boy. It really got to him and he took the news hard (very hard).
                            You should ask him what he felt were your son's areas of strengths & weaknesses. It is great you have a very high opinion of your son but you should buffer that opinion with the knowledge that he is very young and still a lot to learn.


                            Originally posted by Sparksdale
                            In the end I realize everything works out for a reason. I think my boy is better off not playing for that team. For me, baseball should be fun at 10 years old. This road team took all the fun out of baseball. We attended one practice that this road team had (the day my boy tried out) and the coach would yell and scream at the players. He was so serious that not a single kid was smiling or having fun on the field.
                            10 is too young for travel ball in my opinion, but in a few years you should really look at getting him into a more competitive situation. You can look at several teams also. You can try-out the coaches so to speak and talk to people in your area who may be a good fit for your son. They all don't yell & scream at their kids.

                            Originally posted by Sparksdale
                            In my opinion that isn't what L.L. is about. 99.99999% of kids who play LL will never even make it to the college level....fewer make it in the pro's. Kids must have fun, they must love the game. Yes, work hard and do your best but if they don't have fun then they need to find another sport.
                            Have fun, but be realistic. A long time until HS even.

                            Originally posted by Sparksdale
                            My boy is 10; of course I think he will be a great high school player. Will he have the talent for the college level? There is no way to know that this early. I say the chances are good but a lot can happen in the next few years. I think it is vital that he learns to love the game first; everything else is secondary (in my opinion).
                            You need to really temper your expectations. We live in the D/FW area and there is a tremendous amount of talent. Some of the best 10yos never even made it on to their HS team. He is way too young to tell.

                            Originally posted by Sparksdale
                            My point is this; I think these road teams are vastly over rated. I believe they are for the gratification of the parents more than for the enjoyment of the kids.
                            Not over-rated but can be excessive, especially at 10. He will need at least 2years at a high level of competition before HS though.


                            Originally posted by Sparksdale
                            BTW: Last year my boy was on the worst team in our area. We played a road team that was undefeated and considered the best team in this area.. My boy had the game of his life. The other coach put in their best pitcher because they had heard of my boy. My boy pitched two innings and struck out all six batters he faced. He also went 4 for 4 at the plate with a single, a double and his last at bat he hit a homerun. We lost the game 11 to 7. My boy had 6 RBI in that game. My boy had fun during the game; I didn't see a lot of smiles on the other team. I saw a coach yelling at his players telling them to play better.
                            Good times and great memories! Good luck to you and your son!

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Originally posted by Sparksdale
                              My boy tried out for a local road team a few months ago. To my amazement the team rejected him.....I still don't understand it. .
                              Could have been anything. Could have been a numbers game. Could have been the way he wore his cap. Could have been the way they perceived you. Doesn't matter. There's always another select team around the next corner. Tell him to take it as a challenge and show them who's starting on the better team a year or two or more down the road. Good luck. The life lessons are more important than the baseball.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                I've played enough ball to know what it takes to play at the high school level. My boy will play high school. College on the other hand is much different..I haven't a clue how his body will grow nor do I know how is interest will change over the years.

                                At the tender age of ten he has been the star of every sport he has played. No kid his age (in our area) has ever out run him. He is a natural athelete. So yes I can say with confidence he will play at the high school level.

                                Was I disappointed that he didn't make the travel team? Did you read my post or did you just want to trash talk me? After we left that practice I did not want my boy to play for this particular manager. He was rude and I felt he was too hard on 9 and 10 year old kids.

                                You tell me I should make sure my boy has fun. Again, read my post before you slam talk me. I have said over and again my first priority is to make sure he has fun. I also give him more time than 99% of the fathers are able to give. My profession allows me to spend as much time with him as I want and believe me he gets all he wants and more. My back yard has a pitching mound and a hitting machine. I give my boy everything he needs to succede and that includes a good attitude about the game and making sure he has fun.

                                Your last statement you said I "better" (I didn't appreciate that word) make sure he knows how to throw a ball and hit. Again, I repeat, I give my boy all the time wants and more. I never "make" him practice and I never "Make" him do anything regarding sports. I do not agree with doing that. The only rule I have is if he signs up for a season he must finish it...regardless. I will not allow him to quit.

                                Let me tell you my most proud moment. A few games ago my boy pitched his worst game. For some reason he couldn't throw a strike to save his life. We lost the game and he gave up several runs (all of them on walks). When the game was over I had my arm around him and we were walking to the car. He told me he wants to get in the back yard the next day and figure out why he couldn't throw a strike. I've never been more proud of him. That is what seperates the good players from the bad. So far (and I stress so far) he has a better arm than any kid I've seen his age. Tomorrow is another day and anything can happen. He could lose interest in sports or his body may not grow to where he can keep up with other players. Regardless, it is his choice and always will be his choice. I am a writer and I"m also in the film industry. My hope is he becomes a writer and maybe works in movies on some level. I am not pushing my boy to play pro baseball or anything else. I just want him to do well at what ever he decides to do. So far he is the best around here and we will enjoy the fact that he is good - for now. Maybe next year the other kids will catch up to him....that's fine. As long as he loves to play the game.

                                Until then, everytime he ask me to get a glove and go in the back yard I'll gladly go. There is nothing on this earth I enjoy more than those moments. God help the day when he brings a girl home and the glove begins to gather dust.

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