Coach pitch debate

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July 1, 2004 10:25 PM

I have coached 17-18 yr. olds for 15 years. My son is getting close to T-ball age, so I have been thinking about coach pitch lately. In this area, coach pitch is usually for 7-8 yr. olds. I'm hoping for a debate on the merits of pitching styles (ie. standing overhand, kneeling overhand, standing underhand).

I see pros and cons to all 3 styles.

1. Standing overhand - Pros...gets kids used to seeing the ball from the overhand release point. Cons...difficulty for some coaches to control the pitches, would seem to develop uppercuts in many of the players.

2. Kneeling overhand - Pros...gets kids used to seeing the ball from the overhand release point at a height similar to what they will see at 9-10 level. Cons...safety risk for the coach, would require being closer to players to control the pitches, coaches developing sore arms.

3. Standing underhand - Pros...control, control, control. Players will hit the ball more often, fielders will get more chances to field the ball and play situations, very unlikely kids will get hit...therefore, they can develop more confidence standing in and taking some hacks. Release point will be closer to what they would see at the 9-10 level. Ball will have less of a 2-plane (horizontal, vertical) then overhand standing. Cons...release point totally different then what they will see at 9-10.

Played some fastpitch softball a few years ago as a sub. Found myself looking for the ball above the pitchers shoulder. Had a heck of a time, and I could rip back in the day.

Would appreciate opinions!
 
 
 
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July 2, 2004 9:32 AM

larry,

To me, underhand is not an option. When i threw coach pitch, I threw standing and just threw strikes. I did not lob the ball to hit Jr.'s bat. I threw strikes and the kids had to learn to hit.
 
 
 
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July 2, 2004 12:20 PM

Redbird,
If you had kept the speed under 80mph they would have hit a few more! Smile
 
 
 
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July 2, 2004 12:54 PM

First of all, I have had 3 boys go through that age group and would recommend machine pitch over coach pitch if that is a possibility. In CP, coach has to much impact on the outcome of the game. If it has to be coach pitch, get down on one knee to pitch the ball. I highly recommend a knee pad and cat like reflexes.
 
 
 
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July 2, 2004 9:27 PM

redbird...and a little chin music now and then to keep them on their toes... kidding

joedaddy... agree( from the knees) , we used incrediballs at that age. The kids arn't as scared of them, and everybody gets a good laugh when some kid drills the coach with a come backer... laugh
 
 
 
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July 6, 2004 9:10 AM

Nah...no chin music but I threw strikes in the middle of the zone. I just don't subscribe to the school of thought that the coach is responsible to hit a kid's bat.
 
 
 
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July 6, 2004 1:16 PM

Regular overhand, throw strikes, especially in practice. In games, though, we tended to cheat just a little towards the hitters tendencies.

I prefer human pitch over machine pitch. Seeing the arm motion and delivery is important for developing hitters.

In the PONY "Pinto" division that we played in for ages 7-8, coach pitchers can't communicate with the hitter and have to exit the field of play on the certain side, etc.

It is neat that the coach pitcher is more like a team member than a coach.
 
 
 
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July 6, 2004 3:27 PM

Overhand.

Just be sure that whoever is pitching will throw strikes. I beaned so many kids that I was permanently banned.

There was also a marked increase in new s****r players after that season!!
 
 
 
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SBK SBK is offline. Click for Member Snapshot.
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July 6, 2004 4:24 PM

Without a doubt, kneeling and throw over hand with as little arc as you can that still allows for the kids to get their bat around.

It's painful to watch adults throw overhand standin up to young kids. If they stand too far away they can't throw strikes and most of the kids have timing issues.

Stand too close and the pitch comes from such an incline that most pitches are too high and the kids need to uppercut to match the plane of the ball.

Machine pitch for kids even older is preferable to watching kids not throw stikes. It's not fun for the hitters getting hit and it's certainly not fun for the fielders.

Who cares about the outcome at this age. Emphasis should be on having the kids hit the ball so the fielders can spend more time playing and less time watching.
 
 
 
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July 6, 2004 9:41 PM

Good post SBK...and I'm no bleeding heart liberal who thinks the kids don't keep score!
 
 
 
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SBK SBK is offline. Click for Member Snapshot.
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July 8, 2004 2:28 PM

Thanks Larry,

No liberal here either.

Clearification: My point with not worrying about the outcome in coach pitch is that I'd prefer to see the other team hit the ball and run the bases so my team can have lots of opportunities to make plays and learn the game.

Best regards
 
 
 
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