Pitching is a difficult position to master in the game of baseball, and probably the most difficult says John Herrholz. There are many elements and layers that need to be comprehended so it makes the process slow. When teaching the skill to young players it is especially important to remain patient, according to John Herrholz, because the stress can cause them to want to give up. Here are John Herrholz’s tips for coaching pitching to young ball players.
- Help the child balance: When first learning how to pitch, many pitchers do not understand that their legs are a crucial part of helping them stay centered so that they are able to use their force to get the ball over the plate. John Herrholz suggests starting at this point because it is the foundation of good pitching.
- Do not worry about speed: In our culture, speed seems to be the most important factor in anything and pitching is no different. John Herrholz says that at this young an age speed should not even be thought of, though that can be difficult because when these children watch a professional game; all they hear about is the speed of the pitches. Focus on accuracy, getting the ball where it needs to go, then it can be hit or missed but at least it reached its destination.
- Stress the importance of stretching: John Herrholz worries about the amount of injuries that occur because a pitcher did not properly stretch. Throwing a few practice pitches isn’t stretching, just to clarify. Stretching is necessary to make the muscles limber and protect them from injury. Stretching can even be made into a game for younger pitchers, increasing the chances that they will stretch before playing in a game or practice.
- The timing of release: When pitching you must know at what point the pitcher lets go of the ball, and it must be consistent John Herrholz stresses. If the pitcher releases too soon, then ball can soar into the air and never make it to home plate, and if the pitcher releases too late all that happens in the ball is driven into the ground. But when the timing is right the ball glides directly over the plate and the pitcher has done him job well.
When working with younger pitchers keep these guidelines in mind, and it will help your pitchers succeed and keep themselves as injury free as possible, according to John Herrholz.