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For those who work with very young pitchers

Jan 24, 2009
There is a reason that 9-10 yo's use an 11" ball from 35 feet, right?

Now, let's shrink the hands by 2 years and talk 7-8 yo's. Our local league has them pitch 1-2 innings and then moves to coach pitched. What I have seen in our league is that across the board, 7-8 yo hands are too small to handle the 11" ball especially from 12-6 and thru the snap. I am an advocate of 'form first' and I believe the 11 inch ball is simply too big for this age. It is detrimental to good form because the kids all have to compensate somehow to throw the thing. I liken it to handing a 33" bat to a nine year old 60 pounder who is developing good mechanics--they will struggle and cheat their mechanics because of improper equipment.

Similarly, I believe that 35 feet is a bit far for the vast majority of 7-8 yo's to try and pitch from. It simply won't allow/encourage correct form.

I am searching for some insight into the radical idea of asking our league to switch to a 10" ball and 30' distance at 7-8 yo. The 11"/35' at 9-10 and then 12"/40' at 11-up seems to be a logical progression. I am unsure why they hold the teeny boppers to 10yo criteria when NONE of them are 'there' yet developmentally. My own DD is the top dog in this division, so I am not looking to level the playing field here...would just like to see it more age appropriate so bad habits don't get started early.

But what do I know--that's why I need your opinions.
Jan 22, 2009
South Jersey
I am surprised

that your league has 7/8 pitching. That has to be the first that I have heard of it. I am an 8U coach, but we are a "coach pitch" league. I would agree with you however that an 11" ball is too big. We do use an 11" and some of the girls hands are still small to handle the size. My daughter played two seasons of tee ball (progressing to coach pitch) where they used a 10" soft touch ball. How quickly do the games move, I would imagine that 7/8's pitching means a lot of walks.


May 7, 2008
"I am searching for some insight into the radical idea of asking our league to switch to a 10" ball and 30' distance at 7-8 yo."

Do not do it. Player safety is also a concern and a well hit ball even at that age, is going to come back too fast for those very young reactions to handle.

35 ft is fine. The national associations have had many many years to study what you are talking about. Player safety is always a priority and to move the distance up to 30 ft is just not safe and can open you up to major libility problems in the event of an injury.
Jan 24, 2009
I should have mentioned that they use a safety ball in 8u. The first 1-2 innings the girls pitch and then the remainder of the game is coach pitched.

When the coach pitches, the girl in the circle generally sets up in the front of the circle anyway, plus the batters are 7 and 8 yrs old too...not really any screaming shots with those safety balls at that age. It may be wise to require a gameface for the P if that is a concern. MOst pitchers in the 10u division wear them.

Jul 17, 2008
Southern California
We have 8U pitching in our rec league at 30 feet with the 10 inch incredi-ball.
Been doing it for at least 5 years that I know of and works fine.

The balls do not get hammered at 8U and the pitchers are able to control the ball a little bit better.
Dec 12, 2008
Albany NY
in our league we currently have 7-8 at 30'/11" Incrediball, and 9-10 at 35'/11" real softball. You've got me thinking about the 10" size though. We also don't allow walks in either age group - we've found it teaches the girls to swing more - they have to earn their way on base by hitting the ball...

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