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This might be too early in my son’s HS career, but I don’t have big eyes for a college career or even MLB, so maybe this will help a 9-14u parent someday sooner than later.  

I can’t even count how many times either I or my son (LHP SOPH now) have thought about velocity over the years.  It was mostly him through 13, with him as a younger kid in his grade, wondering how he would keep up. But I listened to this board. I almost did crazy this year (2@now 2023) but @adbono set me straight.  It was all I needed because sometimes you just need a sanity check.  

My son was way behind RHPs in terms of velo and most of the LHPs through youth (10-14 in his case).  What he had/has is an amazing pitching coach that knows what he’s doing and has taught him to land 5 pitches for strikes anywhere he wants to put them plus a 6th pitch he’s developing   For you LHPs, the arsenal started in this order: 4seam (10u), 2seam (11u), changeup (11u), sinker (12u),  curveball (11u but mostly 12u), and now cutter (14u).  

Over the past few years my son has sometimes tried to throw harder, especially with a gun involved   The result was always arm fatigue early in the pen or game and also lower velo.  He didn’t know how to throw harder.

so here’s the advice.  Until 15/16u, stop thinking about chasing velo as it will come with good mechanics.  Focus on command and control.  It’s freaking hard for them when there are kids they face throwing 82+ at 14/15u (we had kids hitting 72+ at 12u!).  Most of the pre-puberty kids are just mechanically blessed for that arm action that results in high velo.  Sure, there are a couple of kids in our area that were those phenoms and are now getting close or hitting 90.  But now they are the big outliers.  The vast majority are max 80-86 and most of them are FB throwers. Focus on getting outs.  Weak ground balls and pop flies because of pitch movement will serve them better than Ks in the long run.

At 15u, my son started doing sprinting and working out and focusing on diet.  At 16u, he started to see some gains mainly because we took the advice of many on here and put more emphasis on getting bigger, stronger, faster.  And at this very moment, he’s starting to catch all those kids that were throwing 10+ mph than him years ago. But the best part is he can land all his pitches for strikes. He pitches with so much more confidence on the mound because he can locate his pitches most of the time, which is a big difference than what we see now that the bats have caught up to the velo - you’re not blowing an 82-85 mph middle/middle fastball past good 16u hitters anymore.  

I don’t know if he will make a college roster.  It’s a few years off.  What I do know is that his pitching coach is crazy about his command and movement. and he still doesn’t care about his Velo because it’s respectable and improving through a natural progression.  We are now in the fall of my son’s sophomore HS year and he advises to not chase any velo, stay the course, outlive those that do and get injured, and set yourself up to play big time ball.  

My general advice: Listen to the folks on this board. Ask questions even if privately because we all have those moments when we want to push our kids to something we ultimately shouldn’t.  Not everyone will have success. But don’t rush it, because as parents, we tend to do just that.  

I’ll leave with a fun fact.  My son’s pitching coach played D1 and won a national championship.  He also played in the MLB for almost a decade.   The man is a great guy. I wish he was on this board.  It’s crazy that a guy like that enjoys baseball so much that he finds so much enjoyment in continuing to coach young kids.  

Special thanks to @Adbono who I’ve DM’d in weakness and he speaks nothing but truth.  

hope this helps someone who is/was like me now or down the road.  Thanks.

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I wholeheartedly endorse the above post by @TexasLefty. He has served his son well by trusting the process and staying the course. More people should follow that blueprint. Over the past decade or so pitchability has been sacrificed to chase velocity. Much to the chagrin of people like me. And it’s not an isolated phenomenon. It seems to have infected baseball at all age groups. So how has this happened? And why?? I have some thoughts about it. IMO, like so many other things, it starts with money. The monetization of youth sports (especially baseball) has poured gasoline on the fire of “my kid can’t get left behind.” At an early age parents believe that they have to spend money on lessons, travel extensively, and focus on one sport - because that’s what they are told by people that are trying to make a living off of them. And every bit of that is wrong. What people fail to realize is that anything a kid does on a baseball field (in terms of projecting future ability) before HS Varsity is meaningless. Pitching instructors (most of which are not very good) that push velocity before puberty are abusing kids. But it’s an easy hook to make money. Youth coaches that don’t adhere to pitch counts are abusing kids too. Kids need to throw more and pitch less. Gains are made in practice and training sessions. Not in games. All of this stands in opposition to the travel ball/showcase business model. They key word in that sentence is business. The travel ball/showcase model is, above all, designed to make money. It is not designed to make your son a better player. The sooner you realize that the better off you (and your kids) will be. Do your research and don’t be afraid to go against the grain.

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