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Couple of questions for those of you who know a whole lot more than I do :-). Son is a catcher and has been playing travel ball year-round for 3 yrs. I've heard different opinions regarding playing travel ball Sept-Dec (fall) or taking this time to condition and rest arm. 


He has the option to :

1. Continue travel ball and play as well as continue lessons

2. Private lessons only (hitting/catching)

3. Rest arm no throwing. Just work on hitting. 

These are all the different things I've heard from parents/coaches on the circuit. 


My other question is pitching. The boy wants to pitch. Every coach has said he should pitch but I've felt that catching is hard enough on his young arm. Especially with how much catching he does. Now that he's getting older, I'm not sure how long I can hold him back from pitching and wonder if now is a good time to get him in some sound pitching lessons or if he has time to work into pitching later in HS should his HS coaches steer him that way. 


He's a flexable, quick catcher with a strong arm and the thought of screwing that up by pitching concerns me a bit (arm slot catcher/pitcher confusion) but I won't know if he's a better pitcher than catcher if he never learns to pitch. I should also note his build is much closer to that of pitcher than catcher. 


Thanks all for any advice on any of above. 

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My son is in a very similar position.  Just started freshman year, catches and pitches.  So my $0.02.  I let him take the entire month of August off.  No bats, no balls, no conditioning, nothing.  He was over caught during the summer and it took its toll.  He needed time to get healed up and his legs back.  This week they have started fall HS baseball workouts and will go two days a week.  Seems to be fairly laid back.  He will start in a local fall baseball league coming up - 2 games per week (where there are conflicts between HS and Fall ball he'll pick one).  He is also looking to get in some strength and conditioning one/two days per week, plus some basketball work.  Between that, school and friends he should be busy.  The basic idea is to keep him engaged but not worn out.  He'll start real hitting work, catching, pitching etc. in the winter. 


So I think the question comes down to how intense is the fall travel ball.  If it is intense with multiple games and tournaments, I would hesitate.


As for catching and pitching, my son does both.  He does pitching lessons to keep his mechanics fresh.  It doesn't seem to effect his throws as a catcher.  As a pitcher he has more time to think about his throw.  He normally doesn't pitch all that much.  Just make sure you are with a good coach and a team that can manage the workload.   

OK, I'll throw out some things to consider...  I'm going to assume that your son has expressed interest in playing at the next level (college) but we both may be getting ahead of ourselves a bit.


He is getting to that age where it's time to introduce him to Strength and Conditioning training along with Speed and Agility - mostly because you need more things to try to squeeze into his schedule .  Study up on those things as well - there are plenty of posts you can search here as resources.  You'll need to figure out where he is from a physical maturity standpoint.  Some 14-15 y.o.'s are further along than others.


There are two schools of thought regarding throwing year 'round.  I think the general consensus, as well as the expert Doc recommendation is to schedule a few months off each year.  If you choose that route, those few months are a good time to focus on conditioning, hitting and other interests.


Pitching and Catching - there are also plenty of posts to search on this topic here.  Some can pull it off but it is a very tough combination.  There are usually different throwing mechanics involved.  There is a much larger opportunity for the arm to get overused.  It is difficult to balance the workload required by the HS program.  As a P, you are asked to throw regular bullpens.  As a C, you are asked to catch regular bullpens plus go through all the defensive drills and throws.  Catching drains the legs, which makes it tough to then pitch.  On top of that, you may be trying to squeeze in private lessons for one or both and there are more throws involved for that.  In games, those are the two positions that require the most throwing and if you are asked to do both it can be very taxing.  Also, if he decides to pitch and wants to play at the next level, he is almost assuredly going to become a P only and give up hitting in college, if not in HS.  Is he OK with that direction?  Plenty of good position players with strong arms make that transition later so don't worry about rushing into that unless he really favors pitching to playing another position and hitting.


Regarding his build - If he is projected to be quite tall (6'3" +), this is certainly looked at favorably from a pitching standpoint.  However, the fact that he is lanky now is a non-factor.  He can certainly bulk up over the next few years if that becomes the goal.  Good catchers are desired, regardless of height.


Now, back to your list of options...


He has the option to :

1. Continue travel ball and play as well as continue lessons

2. Private lessons only (hitting/catching)

3. Rest arm no throwing. Just work on hitting.


Playing more competitive ball is always advantageous for young players but you have to weigh this with other interests and objectives.  Of course, grades/studying always must come first.  He may play other sports or have other interests and those are usually good things for a teenager to experience.  Then, after he takes care of other responsibilities at home, what is there time for and what is priority?  If you buy into the "couple months rest" for the arm, this may be the time.  Just make sure he leaves himself enough time and uses a good program to properly ramp back up prior to HS tryouts/practices.  Also, remember that catching and/or pitching lessons require throwing so maybe he uses Sept/Oct as time for lessons and then shut down the arm November and December.  Start mapping out a plan that covers everything.  It only gets harder later when you have to start juggling fall/winter showcases and college camps.


Last edited by cabbagedad

My 2016 was a primary catcher sometimes pitcher as he entered HS.  From his experience I would say it will be more and more difficult to do both.  IMO one will step to the forefront and likely soon.


For my son it became clear this time last fall (so fall of his sophomore year) which way he needed to head.  He lacks even average foot speed and while he doesn't light up the radar gun he can pitch and is unique enough to stand out.   Once he became a primary pitcher things started happening for him with college coaches.


If your son's goal is to just play HS then let his HS coach guide this process and he will likely settle where the HS coach sees him helping the program the most or the soonest.  


If his goal is to play in college and he plays on a good travel team get him on the field in both places and then listen to the signals that folks start giving you.  I think it will be fairly obvious which way he should pursue if you really listen to what is said or what attention he does or does not receive.  You might have to set aside how you see or have always seen your son.  If that is the goal it is how college folks see him.


FWIW from what I have seen the path to playing college baseball is not easy for anyone but there are certainly a lot more pitchers than catchers on a college roster.  My son's team has already had four 2016s commit.  All are pitchers.

I have a 2017.  LOVES baseball - spent a weekend this summer sulking in a Lazy Boy when his tournament was completely rained out.  


Since the beginning of December 2013 he worked out with his club team through February, played High School in the spring, summer league for his HS, played for a club team in June and July  and filled in for another team in a 6 game tournament in the beginning of August.  .


While he would not admit it he was physically and mentally due a baseball rest.  


My suggestion is to have your son play other sports over the fall & winter.  Take the fall off from baseball - play soccer, football, water polo or golf, run cross country, swim - anything but baseball.  The body and mind need a break from baseball for a few months.  The best baseball players are frequently those who play other sports. Good baseball players need to have experiences where they are not the best players on the field or court. Humbles them.


My son played football, basketball and baseball for his school this past year (school size is 1400 students).  He had the best baseball season of his life (hitting and pitching).  He is playing football this fall.  Basketball is out as there is no longer a "B" team.  But he most likely will play rec league and church league basketball this winter.


Let the boy rest and play something else.  My two cents.  Probably not worth one.

1. Let your son pitch. Nobody has enough pithcing, and if he excels good for him.


2. Don't assume he will catch in HS. HS coaches fill where they need players with the best possible player. Case in point, my 2016 entered frosh year not having caught in 3-4 years at all. After not making varsity on last cut, they moved him to JV, where he caught every inning of every game. Soph year he makes varsity as starting 1B. Junior year? There's a possibility he moves to OF. Point is you go where they need you. 


3. What is your son saying? He's getting old enough to make a decision I think. 


Good luck and welcome to site. 

Thanks all for your reply.  Here are a few answers to some of the questions.


HS does have a fall program which I'm told will be starting soon.  I don't know much about it other than a couple days a week conditioning in the gym.  Have not yet heard about outdoor practices or travel games.


On his travel team, he plays every other weekend.  3-4 games depending on how they place and he catches every game with the exception of maybe 2 innings in total between all the games.


If you ask him what position he would like to play - he would say pitcher.  Has been saying that since 5yrs old.  -but loves to hit.  I guess I need to remind him of the PO that comes along with pitching....probably hasn't given that much thought.


Thank you all for your responses.  Lots of good food for thought!

A position player should continue to work on his hitting year round, there is no break for the bat. 


Resting the arm is ok, however you don't want it to lose strength due to lack of use if its not in pain, so taking a month off of throwing might be to long. 


In terms of pitching, its all about velocity. if he throws 70 there's not much reason to put him on the mound and behind the plate.  If he throws 80, that's good for a HS pitcher and really good for a HS catcher......

My son is a catcher in college, and played fall ball all through high school. He did have weeks off between seasons. He missed his junior season because he took weeks off and then did not adequately condition his arm before the season started. 


His body prefers to work consistently. He needs weeks to get in condition, so staying conditioned has worked better for him. I do think different players respond differently to time off versus continuous work.



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