I have been reading the forum for several months and finally "joined" as an official poster! So much great information here with kids at all levels. So here's my issue...
My son is a Freshman in high school and has played travel ball year round while taking time off to shut his arm down once or twice a year. He a "young" freshman just turned 14 at end of October. He is a LHP and is in the low 70's. He hit the weight room for the first time in the Fall while playing Freshman football [mostly on the sidelines although he enjoyed it very much!] and was able to build core/arm and leg strength.
Any advice on the best way to build his velocity without hurting his arm? I have read about the Driveline program where they use weighted balls and have heard differing opinions. Any experience with any of your kids doing this and if so, at what age? Other ideas or ways you know pitchers have increased velocity? He loves baseball and is good at getting ground outs and has a great defense behind him so his stats looks good but his speed is lower than most at the tournaments we attend. He would like to play in college (although I am sure he will be changing a lot over the next 4 years) and did great on the PSAT with all A's first semester.
I know he compares himself with others when you look up statistics for your teammates and others on sites like Perfect Game and even though he made the All Tournament Team was disappointed due to his low velocity number. His abilities as a student may outrun his baseball skills which in my mind is fine but if there is a possibility of him going to a great college and playing ball that would be his dream.
It would help many of us to know his current physical specs (e.g. height, weight) along with some idea of what his gene pool is like . . .???
It's surprising how fast some kids mature physically over the next couple of year in HS. So, if he's a little on the light side as a freshman I wouldn't be too concerned about velocity. At this age there's such a large variance kids of this age, so your son shouldn't be too caught up in those who may be more mature with higher velocities.
The main thing right now is to be sure he's developing and using the proper mechanics to get to the higher end of velocities. This is a good time to develop the muscle memory for the proper mechanics. Along with that, he should be working on strength, conditioning and flexibility of his core, and leg strength is important for a pitcher too.
Weighted balls are ok to use as part of an overall strength and conditioning program, but they're better used as something to augment a strength and conditioning program and not as a primary function. When those male hormones really kick in, there can be some amazing changes.