If you have a son who wants to be a pitcher (regardless of whether he plays in high school, little league, or even tee-ball!), there are a lot of things he will have to learn to “do right” before he can be effective, but there is one thing that is more important than anything else, and that is easy for you to teach him yourself!
When a boy first starts pitching, one thing he will likely want to do is emulate his favorite pitchers – throwing curveballs and sliders and “cutters” and split finger fastballs – but most pitching instructors and pitching books will give you this important piece of advice: Never let your child pitch “breaking balls” (everything besides fastballs) until they are at least 14 years old (some even say 16 years old), as this can injure their arm. And your son might wonder how he is supposed to be effective when he cannot throw breaking balls.
There are two parts to the answer to this question, and they are both simple: learn how to pitch with control, and change the batter’s “eye level.”
In order to learn how to pitch with control, it takes a whole lot of practice, but you can help your son to gain this control by setting up a backstop in your backyard, with a strike zone drawn on it; encourage your son to practice pitching to the backstop, picking a spot to aim for and trying to hit that spot!
After your son has gained enough control that he can effectively direct his pitches where he wants them to go, train him in the importance of changing the batter’s “eye level” all throughout the at-bat; changing the batter’s “eye level,” of course, means varying where you pitch the ball – whether it is high or low, inside or outside, a ball or a strike.
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When your son is able to control where his pitches are going, and when he remembers to pitch the batter inside, outside, low, and up – always changing where the batter is looking – he will find that he can be extremely effective, even without those breaking balls!