Parents, coaches, anyone who thinks you know all there is to know about pitching, listen up.
As we constantly see more YouTube videos of an 8-year old pitching phenom and hear more and more about our neighbors and friends with their 12-year old kid’s travel team, baseball is ruining our kids.
Let me say that again – baseball is ruining your kid.
No, wait, baseball isn’t ruining them, we are.
Answer this, coach. It’s the bottom of the 7th, Johnny has an inning left this week. He just tossed a great game yesterday – 6 innings, 10 Ks, 0 BB, 3 hits, 0 runs. You know he’s the answer. You have to hold onto that one run lead to win the big game. Your kid on the mound is struggling. JOHNNY IS THE ANSWER. What do you do?
We all know the right answer but the problem is, most of us won’t choose it. There's pressure. You could WIN THE GAME! The game has now taken precedence over Johnny's arm.
Coaches, I STRONGLY urge you to learn everything you can about pitching. Because you pitched in 6th grade doesn’t mean you can teach pitching. I pitched from 7th grade all the way through college, under a GREAT coach, and I still research videos, attend coaching clinics, pitching clinics and try to learn all I can about MANAGING a pitcher.
It starts with mechanics and turns into the mental side of pitching, the time allotted for rest and proper recovery methods (which does NOT include pitching on Wednesday, playing SS on Thursday, practicing on Friday and playing CF on Saturday).
Here are the USA Baseball standards for pitch counts and required rest by age. Learn it. USE IT!
If you are a coach of a pitcher, especially a young one (age 9-14) you owe it to the kid to do EVERYTHING you can to learn how to manage him.
There’s a great article from Baseball Excellence here.