Why do so many coaches want to overcomplicate youth pitching?

The reality of success at the youth (9-13) level is simple: throw with above-average velocity and above-average command for your age to take advantage of hitters who have extremely inefficient mechanics and loading sequences.

Over-complication allows the youth coach or independent trainer to distinguish themselves into what is becoming a multi-million-dollar business.

“Johnny needs a big, power curveball if he’s going to succeed at 11U.” No. 

“Timmy has to get guys off that fastball with a great changeup to succeed here at 12U.” No.

Simply put, young pitchers focus too much on getting hitters out at the current level and not enough on developing the arm fitness and skills to perform at the next one.

Here is how we train youth pitchers:

  • Have fun: the game at this level is a game. Adults make it not fun.
  • Learn to throw: efficient mechanics with a variety of heavy weighted balls promote both velocity and safety
  • Learn to compete: baseball is a great lesson in competing with yourself and competing against others. We track our kids’ progress so they can watch themselves get better.

If they still love the game at 14+ and want to try and take their careers as far as they can, then the real work begins.

Can Parents Improve Their Son’s Experience?

Absolutely. The best role for a parent to play in their son’s development is advocate and role model.

Pitching is a complex adaptive system. Parents who seek coaches that try to “simplify” the game inherently are missing key markers that will lead to either injury risk or performance decay. The goal of simplification is to make pitching simple for the athlete but complex for the parent .

Be rigorous about how your son’s coach uses him in games.

Learn how to spot good trainers—what works and what doesn’t .

If you want to get started learning more about Driveline’s research and training protocols, download our free Coaches Starter Kit below.

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