Thursday Throwing Tips
The Keys to Youth Baseball Pitching Strategy
In some ways, youth baseball pitching strategy should not be a whole lot different from pitching at the higher levels of baseball, even at the major league level. In other ways, youth baseball pitching strategy is different. Of course, the major difference lies with the amount of off-speed pitches that youth pitchers throw compared to their big league counter parts. Major league pitchers throw up to forty to fifty percent off speed pitches when youth pitchers should throw many less off speed pitches. Youth baseball pitching strategy should be about learning to throw fastballs with location and movement, without fear that batters will hit the pitches. The object of pitching is challenging batters and not about how many players they can strike out, which is an added bonus, of course.
The best baseball pitching strategy at any level revolves around a few things. Throwing first pitch strikes, working ahead in the count and challenging hitters is the first objective. Additionally, understanding that the most reliable pitch in baseball is a well-placed fastball is also important, as many youth baseball pitchers think that learning to throw off speed pitches is the most important thing.
Youth Baseball Pitching Strategy to Avoid
- Getting behind in the count – as mentioned, having the ability to throw first pitch strikes is usually necessary for pitching success
- Falling in love with off speed pitches and not trusting the fastball – because youth pitchers realize batters have trouble hitting off speed pitches, especially curve balls, they fall in love and throw too many of them
- Having the same pitch selection pattern to every batter
- Throwing back to back changeups – once eyes see a speed the next pitch of the same speed is generally easier to hit
- Being afraid to throw inside – fearing they will hit batters should not be a consideration for pitchers
Additional Youth Baseball Pitching Strategy Tips
- Being afraid to bounce balls – sometimes bounced pitches are necessary and pitchers must learn to trust catchers ability to block them
- Not using an 0 and 2 count wisely – most kids throw a total waste pitch with an 0 and 2 count with no effect. Learning to tease batters with slightly off the plate pitches is a pitching strategy to learn
- Using change ups on bad hitters – changeups are generally for good hitters, who will time the fastball, when that is all they see. Bad hitters get a chance with a change of pace. However, experimenting on the change with bad hitters is OK, until confidence grows to use it with better hitters.
- Aiming the ball or easing up a lot, just to throw strikes
- Throwing split fingered fastballs – youth arms are not ready for this pitch
The health of a pitcher’s arm and long-term mental growth as a pitcher is always necessary, when thinking of youth baseball pitching strategy, and that is another reason fastballs should be their major pitch.