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At age 12, a kid has what it takes to properly grasp the fundamentals of baseball. This is why this age is quite critical for young baseball players. Pitching is one of the core areas of baseball. A 12-year-old who has decided to be a pitcher has so much to learn about pitching. One of the things they need to know at this age is the kind of pitches they should throw. Let us know “What Pitches Should A 12-Year-Old Throw?”
A 12-year-old should typically throw change-ups and fastballs pitches. Other pitches such as slider and curveball are not recommended for 12-year-olds. This is because such pitches may place unnecessary strain on a kid’s shoulder. And this may cause the kid to experience some issues on their shoulder later on. Read on if you’d like to know more about what pitches are suitable for a 12-year-old.
Pitches Suitable For A 12-Year-Old
A 12-year-old baseball pitcher should not throw certain pitches that will put too much pressure on their pitching arm. They should rather stick to other pitches that won’t exert their arms muscles that much. This is why pitches like a change-up, 4-seam fastball, and 2-seam fastball are more suitable for 12-year-olds.
The 4-seam fastball is a very common pitch in baseball. Young players tend to throw fastballs more than any other pitches; with fastballs making up about ninety percent of young players’ pitches. This in itself helps young players to increase strength and attain a high-velocity pitch. This is a win-win as it won’t just improve performance but would also help build the pitching arm enough to improve its safety moving forward.
How To Pitch A 4-Seam Fastball?
You can teach a 12-year-old to pitch a 4-seam fastball in the following steps:
- Grip the baseball and keep two of your fingers across the baseball horseshoe shape while placing your middle and index fingers across four seams. Your thumb should rest on the leather under the ball.
- Ensure that your grip is loose; a tight grip will affect the speed of the pitch.
- Once you have a good grip, throw a low pitch in the strike zone; keep it close to the corners. This way, the batter will have a hard time making powerful contact with the ball.
12-year-old pitchers can increase their performance by ensuring the batter is off-balance. Fastballs and change-ups are the best ways to achieve this. A well-delivered change-up will leave the batter swinging wildly at the ball. Or they may just make a weak connection with the ball.
How To Pitch a Change-up
You can teach a 12-year-old to pitch a change-up in the following steps:
- Hold the baseball using your ring, index, and middle fingers while the ball rests on the pinkie and thumb. Holding the ball this way will ensure that it easily slips off your fingers. If your grip is too tight on the baseball, it may hang and this will make it easier to hit.
- Now, throw the pitch the same way you’d throw a fastball.
A successful change-up will leave your hand the same way a fastball pitch would, however; its speed will be slower than that of a fastball.
A 12-year-old can spice up their pitching techniques by pitching a 2-seam fastball. Because of the way the ball is gripped for a 2-seam fastball, the pitch has some air resistance that may either make the ball tilt to the left or right depending on the hand used by the pitcher. A 2-seam fastball thrown by a right-handed player will tilt to the left while that thrown by a left-handed player will tilt to the right.
How to Pitch a 2-Seam Fastball
You can teach a 12-year-old to pitch a 2-seam fastball in the following steps:
- Hold the baseball on its laces using your middle and index finger.
- Just like the 4-seam, your grip on the ball for a 2-seam should also be loose.
- Now, throw the pitch using the same movement you use for a 4-seam.
Pitching Tips For 12-year-olds
Most articles and baseball blogs will tell you how detrimental it is for kids to throw certain pitches such as sliders and curveballs. But when you take out the curveball it becomes somewhat harder for a pitcher to keep the batter off-balance. Yet, baseball articles fail to give options that younger baseball players can use other than the curve to achieve the same result. However, there are certain change-up and fastball pitching tips that 12-year-old baseball players can use for any game. Here are some of these tips:
- Batters often watch the hands of pitchers to figure out the kind of pitch they are about to throw. Teach 12-year-olds to knock the batter off guard by not giving away the pitch they intend to throw. They can do this by substituting pitches with similar grips. For instance, change-up and fastball pitches have a similar grip.
- When pitching in the strike zone, ensure that the pitch stays low.
- Young players can use the fastball to prevent hitters from using power by keeping the fastball inside.
Change-up and fastballs are the recommended pitches for 12-year-olds. This is because it puts less strain on their pitching arms and reduces the chances of them injuring their pitching arm.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Should Young Pitchers Throw Curveballs?
It is recommended for 12-year-olds to avoid throwing curves. Although no research has conclusively shown a link between injuries and curveballs, young pitchers should grow older and understand the right pitching mechanics before they start throwing curveballs.
2. What Age Should a Boy Throw a Curveball?
Young pitchers should wait till they are at least 14 years old before they start throwing pitches.
3. Should Kids Throw Breaking Balls?
Young baseball pitchers should avoid throwing breaking balls until they are at least 13/14 years old.
4. What Pitches are Safe for Kids to throw?
Kids can throw pitches that do not exert too much pressure on their arms such as 4-seam fastballs, 2-seam fastballs, and change-up. However, older kids from age 14 can start throwing pitches like curveballs and sliders.