How you teach someone to pitch depends a lot on their age. At the age of 10, players are trying to understand and learn how to play the whole game. The way they see the game is fundamentally different than a high school senior who is going off to college. It is counterproductive to specialize a player into being only a pitcher at 12 years old. At younger ages, you have to focus on the basics and how pitching affects the entire game of baseball. In high school, you focus on how the game affects pitching.
Kids have to understand how to throw properly. The worst thing to see is a kid hurt his arm at 13 years old and not be able to be a pitcher again because he didn’t have the proper mechanics. The most important thing is to keep the kids safe so they can continue to learn and have fun with this awesome game. Give them a chance to keep playing by giving them the proper mechanics in a basic, simple way that they can understand.
Another way to give the players the best chance to succeed is teaching them how pitching fits into the entire game of baseball. They need to know the context of the situation they are put into for them to understand how to compete. Give them the knowledge they need to understand how to play; at young ages and skill levels, the kids will compete on their own if they understand how to play. Teach them the basics of the game and how to play and how to stand on the mound to lay the foundation for those players who are serious about pitching further on in their careers.
Moving on to the higher levels of youth baseball and high school baseball, pitching can be analyzed and studied and taught form a more competitive standpoint. Pitchers have to understand how to manage the consequences of the decisions they make. They need to be taught how to handle what the game throws at them, and how to control the game from the pitcher’s mound. They need to see how the decisions they make put them in the situations they find themselves in on the mound. The mental aspect of pitching is something that pitchers need to work on in high school to prepare them for college baseball, if they so desire to play at that level.
At some point, the player will have to decide the decisions he makes on the field. The way you as a coach teach pitching from an early age forms how he makes those decisions. Different age levels have different areas they need to learn, and a coach needs to be able to take a player where he needs to go. Kids need to understand how the game of baseball works before they can understand how to manage the game from the mound.
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