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What ages/levels advanced pitches

May 9, 2008
Hartford, CT
My daughter just turned 12. We hit corners well...still working on increasing speed & enurance.
Working on a change up ...50/50 strikes in games.

At what age, or what speed, or ???? does a pitcher work on the next pitch?

In what order should you work ...

Thinking of what our summer goals should include....


May 7, 2008
Change of speed kills

I am assuming you have a decent fastball (or fast pitch) and now working on a slow change up. My advice is real simple; You have a fast pitch, you seem to have a slow pitch. The next one I had my beginning students work on was an off-speed, something in the middle of fast and slow.

Mix those speeds up constantly and she will quickly learn how constant changes of speeds takes the hitter's timing away.

While she is working on her next whatever movement pitch, she will build alot of success and confidence with constant changes in speed.

You have to also realize that when you do learn a new movement pitch, you have to try and practice it at all three speeds. Get it to work at all three speeds and you just added three new pitches to your arsenal.

If your fast pitch is not a drop ball, I would work on that next.
May 7, 2008
My DD is 12 also. She throws a peel drop as her fastball...so that was the first movement pitch she learned after the change up.

The peel is really easy to learn as it doesn't vary much from her fastball. She throws hers using a 4-seam grip while releasing the ball at her belly button.

Next, she learned the screw. This pitch came very natural to her so it was easy to incorporate.

She just steps left of the powerline and throws inside. She adds extra pressure with her index finger. She gets a lot of very defensive swings when she throws this pitch up and in.

We will also incorporate Hal's suggestion about changing speeds on her drop and screw. At this point she only throws one speed (of course her pitches vary a few mph) beside her change up which is about 12mph slower than her hard stuff.


How much difference in speed is necessary between her fast drop and an off-speed drop to fool the hitters?



May 7, 2008
Speed changes

Hey Keith. There is really no set rule except one; Try your best to make the wind up always look like the fastball, make that look the same.

If you have a gun, gun her fast and slow and then work on hitting something in between.

If the windup always looks like a fastball, but more than two different release speeds are seen by the batters, what do they have to do to determine exactly how fast the ball is coming THIS pitch???

THEY HAVE TO WATCH THE BALL TRAVEL FROM HER HAND TO SEE HOW FAST IT IS COMING. And, that takes time they DO NOT HAVE. They will only have around 35% of the normal time they are used to. They will perform badly, your daughter will be labeled a junk baller and seldom will she have a ball hit out of the infield :)

One more little thing, when using three or more speeds against the batters, do not set patterns. It is easy to fall into patterns when doing this so always be aware of it.

Tell her to practice that and I expect to see a whole buck of booties leaving the park with her shoe print on them. :D
May 7, 2008

She ALREADY knows the importance of making each pitch look the same. Her change is very deceptive! I guess we'll have to experiment with changing speeds.

What are some of the ways to take a little off a pitch? Grip the ball deeper? Grip it harder? Stiffen the wrist a little?

May 7, 2008
I do not teach anything other than fast ball, change up and hitting the spots, effectively, until the pitcher is 14ish and throwing 55 consistently.

My own DD was done with pitching by age 16 due to stress on the shoulder, partly from throwing these pitches too early in her career.

I am getting my advice from Mike Candrea, as to when to introduce the curve ball, etc. I wish I had known this 5 years ago.

I suggest that girls continue to work on control and not try to throw the pitches that the older teens are throwing. You would be surprised how many 12s come to lessons that "say" they have a whole bag of pitches and they can't hit the strike zone with the change up.

Also, time after time they say they are throwing 50, when in reality they can't average 45.


Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
Dallas, Texas
Amy: sounds like you are learning the ways of softball pitching. (Tip: Tell your pitchers to check their speed at a baseball academy. At baseball academies, they don't screw around with the speed guns because they know if they do the major league scouts will cross them off their list.)

I've never quite understood how people buy into the "my kid knows 10 pitches" BS. Professional baseball pitchers, making millions of dollars, have the best coaches and equipment in the world, and almost unlimited time to practice only have two or three pitches. On the other hand, Suzy Q, the 12 year old soccer-softball-basketball playing pianist has ten pitches.

May 7, 2008
Hi Amy,

First I'd like to say that I hold you in high regard. I have enjoyed and learned from your posts on many sites.

On this issue, I tend to disagree a little.

The PEEL DROP is EXACTLY like the fastball with a slightly earlier release. So, no more stress than a fastball.

Also, the CHANGE UP can be very damaging because most young pitchers throw the back hand change. This is a very different mechanic than the fastball.

To me, the MOST damaging thing done to young pitchers is OVERUSING them. They throw FAR too many pitches FAR too early. I believe this is the culprit for more arm trouble/burnout than anything else!

May 9, 2008
What age?

My daughter started pitching at 9. We had her start taking lessons at 10. She started by learning the proper pitching mechanics and was timed at 43 mph her first year. She started with the fastball, then learned the change up, and the slingshot (off speed quick pitch with no windmill motion), after she was above 45 mph she learned the rise, now she is 12 and throws 52 mph and is learning the drop.

Every pitcher is different. There is no cookie cutter formula. The best path is slow and steady. Let them learn at their own pace and what suits them the best. Find the best coach in your area and work on fundamentals, conditioning, and proper mechanics. Learning one new pitch per off season is a reasonable goal. Let them perfect each pitch before they learn a new one. Make sure they are having fun.

Here's some information about Jennie Finch that was originally published on her website by her dad.

"So many of you want to know how fast Jennie pitched at a certain age that we have created the table below. Remember, there's a lot more to pitching than speed so don't get caught up in pitching fast."

Age Top Speed
8 49
9 51
10 53
11 55
12 59
13 62
14 63
15 66
16 68
17 68
18 67
19 67
20 69
21 70
22 71
23 71

Have fun with your daughter and enjoy the time you spend with her. Make sure that the goals that she sets are the ones that are important to her just remember she's a kid that wants to please you and wants to have fun.

May 9, 2008
Hartford, CT
At what age

Thanks the info...
...we aren't planning on any new pitches yet.

Still need to work on pushing off better, stride, speed ... inching along.
Accuracy is pretty good ... doing more long (45-50 feet) pitches....walk through pitches....

She started at 9 .. first year was sketchy .... didn't pitch much from 9-10.5....kind of just played around...
really caught her fever during an All Star game last July ... she was 11 (LL10).
We practiced for 3-4 weeks and the scheduled pitcher didn't show for the game .... DD struck out 11 in 5 innings .... lots of hits with no infield (infield grounders misplayed...young team)
...but it really gave her that spark.

Looking at a Nike camp for July ... going to devise a summer conditioning plan for her for the summer (I'm going to do it with her as after 5 kids, I could use it and it would be fun to do it together).

Our goal is for her to make the middle school team next spring ... will look for a Travel team too.
Seems like a long time for her ... but all this takes time and doing it right is the priority.

Thanks for all ...