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My son is a pitcher, and this past fall he was asked to throw quite a bit of batting practice.  The affects was a loss in velocity, and he started short arming the ball.  Should youth pitchers throw batting practice?  If so, what routine should they follow so that they don't throw batting practice during a game.

 

Kevin

Tags: Youth, pitching

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Very interesting topic Kevin. My replies are usually not long but this will challenge that. It makes no sense to leave it in the rehearsal hall! If your son is being overused in BP that's absurd. If it's done properly, it should keep your son sharp. POSSIBLY, he can throw at 60 or 60%. Now it can become tricky. I'm old but 2 years ago I pitched BP to two college players that I know who wanted to get in some swings. In no time at all, MY COMPETITIVE spirit came through. One was a lefty and I'm a RHP. Would you believe that I was trying my best to jam him by cutting the fastball? And I mixed in some changeups. I did not have the curve ball that I had back in my youth because the flexibility in my arm simply isn't there any longer. This can possibly happen to your son just like it happened to me. (When you get on the mound, you try to get hitters out.) I guess if it's done properly, it is okay but proceed with caution. I would strive to keep the pitching mechanics identical to pitching in a live game. And as far as short arming the ball, I would try to stop that as of yesterday. I like extension of the throwing arm and NO abrupt starts or stops.

That's why I don't believe in the slide step to discourage runners from stealing. That's just my opinion but I think the slide step makes it tougher to make a quality pitch and increases the chance of injury to a pitcher. (You're doing something the same all the time and now all of a sudden you're asking your arm to absorb all the workload and no longer share the work load with the rest of the body.Not on my watch.) If the batter hits a seed and knocks in 2, that will hurt much more than any stolen base ever will. Oh shoot, I'm getting off task again, going from BP to slide step.

If your son is 12 or 13, I would have no prob with him throwing 25 or 30 pitches a couple of days after he pitched. Or a couple of days before his next outing. And I would let him use his normal mechanics so he doesn't take his BP mechanics out to a live game. (If that's what you meant by "they don't throw batting practice during a game.) Talk soon!
coaches should throw bp not players
Like PW said coaches should be throwing BP not players. I throw BP for a high school in San Diego along with some of the other coaches and I have never seen any kids throw unless they are hitting in the cage by them selves before or after practice. I think it does build arm strength but its a different motion and delivery then a pitcher would do while actually pitching in a game. From mid December through may I throw BP 5 days a week and throw about 200-300 balls a day. I throw for the high school and also to a bunch of MLB and minor league guys before they head off to spring training.
Hey guys, thanks for your comments.
I once saw a 12 year old throw 100 +pitches in batting practice on a thursday and then pitch a complete game 130 pitches on a saturday. Would that be wrong?
Why would a 12 year old throw BP anyways. Do MLB players throw BP 2 days before they pitch
He shouldnt be throwing 100 pitches period at 12 years old.
Thanks everyone, It's seems necessary to have kids throw BP at times as help is getting harder and harder to find. It seems that so many parents think that practice is nothing more than a baby sitter. Quite a few don't even bother to get out of the car; check permission, as on practice details anymore. They drive up open the door for the kid, and head out the parking lot and return in 90 minutes. If you are stuck with two coaches, and you need to work with kids on hitting or something else nobody is left to throw BP. In some cases, you have parents who want to help, but then its a matter of can they.
Kevin, the short and sweet of it is this, pitchers should not throw BP unless it is an emergency. For the past 10 years I have coached middle school ball. My pitchers do not under any circumstances throw BP. If a coach is not available, then take a position player (preferably an OF) to throw BP. Don't get pitchers in the habit of trying to short arm, aim, throw 60% or any like that. Pitchers are taught to hit locations, nibble the corners, strike batters out or get weak grounders. BP is for working on hitters' mechanics and confidence. I'm not sure this is the case for your team or not, but a lot of coaches think BP is live hitting on the field. I can attest to the advice I was given years ago. An older coach I knew and respected allowed me to attend his practice sessions with his team. I noticed that they never hit on the field during the entire week of practice. He told me that his teams had not hit "live" on the field in over 15 years. Since he was consistently one of the best programs in the state I took his advice. Our teams hit live on the field maybe 1 or 2 times during our entire season from the end of Jan. to the end of April. We do drill work including tee work, soft toss, point to point, wiffle balls and cage work (35' cages). We don't waste time hitting on the field. Our guys can get more hitting done in 45 minutes our way than in 2 hours of "live" hitting on the field. It works for us.
I was working with American Baseball Institute in Florida a couple of weeks ago and was talking to a pitcher who was on the verge of being drafted. He was throwing 94 to 93. He was throwing BP and took one off the shoulder. Now he's throwing 81 tops trying to get his velocity back. I think pitchers and BP are a bad idea.
One of the hardest thing to learn how to do while throwing BP is being behind the L screen and being able to throw around it for strikes and stay safe. I have watched so many coaches and other people try to throw behind an L screen and heave seen them get hit. Everyone thinks they can get out of the way in time but they dont realize how quick the ball gets on you. At least the older the players get.
The simple fact is no pitchers should be throwing BP. Your pitchers can get hurt. Although I use an L screen, I have been hit a few times. Ricoquets off the screen. Why would I put my players in this position?

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