It’s all about proper form and laying off those breaking balls.
At some point, nearly every kid that plays baseball will want to step on the mound. But it’s not easy ⏤ the skill and calm under pressure it takes to fire a ball 60 feet past a swinging batter takes practice and talent that plenty of great ballplayers don’t have. But when your kid is ready to step up, there are some specific things you can do to help them learn the ropes.
To help, we chatted with Mike Belmont, camp director at The Baseball Center NYC, a full-field camp, rec center, and Little League organization. Belmont specializes in pitching and fielding, so he knows his way around the mound. Here are his five biggest tips.
By the time players hit kid-pitch leagues, typically around the age of 8, they’ve got the basics of throwing and catching down. If you’re working with a kid with a good arm, put them on the mound and have them start tossing. Belmont says he never teaches a new pitcher a full windup. Rather, he has them start from the stretch, taking a small leg kick and step with their lead leg and pushing off from the back.
“Slow it down, control the mechanics, look for good arm slots,” he said. “Focus on their landing and follow through.”
Keep an Eye on Posture
There are few common mistakes all coaches see in young pitchers. Chief among them: pitching posture. Often, per Belmont, new pitchers don’t bend their body in the follow through, which means the ball often goes way high. He suggests getting them to stress a natural arm motion and full follow through, which will help keep the ball…