(Typically 46-50’ Pitching Distance)
|Age||Daily Max (Pitches in Game)||4 Days Rest|
What pitches should a 12-year-old throw? 12-year-olds should stick to throwing fastballs and change-ups. Throwing other pitches, like curveballs or sliders, can place unnecessary pressure on a young pitcher’s shoulder. This pressure on the shoulder has the potential to cause shoulder issues in the future.
Generally, if a beginner/intermediate pitcher is throwing three days a week, that’s great. Four can be even better, provided that she’s gotten adequate rest and all four practices are quality practices.
James Andrews (renowned orthopaedic surgeon and medical director for the Andrews Institute) recommends that youth pitchers refrain from throwing curveballs until they have mastered the fastball and change-up and are at least 14 years old4.
Does throwing a sinker hurt your arm? No. The sinker has a similar arm slot and grip as the two-seam fastball. The sinker generally safe.
There is no professional consensus as to when exactly kids should start pitching in league games. A handful of online forums mention 9 or 10 as being the right age, but not as any sort of hard, fast rule; the official Little League site has kids pitching starting at age 9.
11 and 12 Year Olds
The average fastball is between 50-60 mph. However, at this age the players may start to hit puberty, therefore it is not uncommon to see a pitcher throwing near 70 mph. The changeup velocity at this age is typically between 40-50 mph.
The grip should be slightly off centered and the ball should be thrown like a fastball. Just don’t let your kids get their hand on the side of the ball. Stay behind it, and get your fingers on top. A cutter or cut-fastball should be perfectly fine for them to learn.
The league age pitch counts for Little League Baseball® are as follows: Ages 13-16 – 95 pitches per day. Ages 11-12 – 85 pitches per day. Ages 9-10 – 75 pitches per day.
Players at the age of 9 or 10 years old can start developing a changeup. The key is to be able to throw strikes with a two seam and four seam fastball before moving on to other pitches. Everybody wants to have a trick pitch, instead of mastering the most important pitch in baseball.
Two bullpens a week is sufficient for most pitchers. To make bullpens more exciting make a game out of it. Every time you hit your target add a point; when you miss your target take a point away.
Throw every day. Professional pitchers on both the minor and major league levels throw every single day for at least 10 quality minutes.
If your kid can consistently throw strikes with his fastball, utilize his change up or cutter effectively, has a solid set of mechanics and maturity, and is around 15 years old, then you can introduce a curveball. The curveball should be treated like a reward for youth players.
Pitches per game:
No more than 95 pitches per game for pitchers aged 15-16. No more than 105 pitches per game for pitchers aged 17-18. No more than 120 pitches per game for pitchers aged 19-22.
There is a difference between a cutter and a slider, for the record. Sliders have more downward and horizontal break. Cutters are harder and they break very late in a single direction. To the naked eye, though, they are similar pitches.
Sink pitching is not recommended for younger players, because the throw can stress arm muscles. To throw a sinker, hold the ball in a similar fashion as a fastball, with your index and middle finger parallel to the seams.