Question for the board, my son Will

Discussion in 'Around the Horn - Baseball & Men's Gator Sports!' started by dadx4, Aug 4, 2013.

  1. dadx4
    Offline

    dadx4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Messages:
    28,272
    Likes Received:
    390
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Greenville SC
    Ratings Received:
    +755
    The time is here, he starts high school this fall. He is about 5' 10" now and still has not hit his growth spurt. He weighs about 145. He's the lefty that I have asked questions about before because I always played football and baseball was new to me. He is the one that can throw 5 pitches for strikes (2/4 seams, slider, changeup, curve). He will be an incoming freshman at Riverside High School this fall. Any advice? The coaches don't have him throwing much "junk" because he hasn't hit his growth spurt and he doesn't have hair on his chest. He has never taken baseball seriously, he's always done it for fun, playing with kids he's known through travel ball on different teams since he was 9 years old. I have given him a LOT of time off between seasons because I didn't want him to burn out which he hasn't.

    He did do basketball last year but didn't like it so I don't see him doing it this year. He seems to be glued to baseball now. It's always been a "game" to him. My question is at what point does he need to get serious about it? He has been told by more than one travel coach that his future will be as a pitcher and I have seen a change in him though in the last year in that he's gone from, "we will see how I do" to "this is my game bitch" when he goes to the mound. He hasn't done that in the past. It was more of "I will see how I do", now he expects to shut the other team down and in 9 out of 10 games he does. He has more confidence now than he's ever had and it shows on the mound.

    He doesn't throw gas even though he could. He is more concerned with throwing strikes. He reminds me of a Lefty Roth that went to USC, who also went to Riverside High School here in SC. He can change speeds and he hits his spots.

    Again, I am here asking for advice. Is it time for me to hand him off to the high school coaches and just go to the games and back off of being the "dad" and just enjoy the games. I have always asked questions to the coaches mainly because I don't know baseball, I have learned a lot over the years but they all knew me well and they didn't mind. Sorry, but when my kid is on the mound I can't sit down and be still. I root for my kid.

    I haven't ridden him into the ground and I haven't busted his balls when he has had bad games in the past. It would blow your mind what I have seen out there. I have always told him to have fun. We had a kid last year on the team that at 13 could throw high 70's and shut teams down and hit homeruns like it's popcorn but with one mistake his dad was up his butt and the kid would cry. That's not me. I would joke with my kid if he gave up a homerun or struck out and he knew I was joking around. I have always told my kid since he was 8 years old that after a bad game I would say "Hey, that game is over we have at least 3 more to go, go have fun." The last two years after a bad game from him, he would say "I don't want to talk about it" and I would say "that's fine."

    So here I am again asking what should I do now. You guys have been invaluable to me in the past 6 years and you have no idea how much I appreciate it. He wants to go to UF and yes there are people out there comparing him to Roth but as a lefty. I am all ears. Hopefully he will be in Gainesville, pitching for Sulley in 4 years. That's his dream is to pitch for UF.
  2. apkgator
    Offline

    apkgator Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Messages:
    6,278
    Likes Received:
    170
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Ratings Received:
    +576
    Sounds like he will eventually end up a PO, but I'm betting he will want to play a position as long as he can. Most kids do. That of course will depend on his coaches, and most high schools need a strong lefty bat in the lineup and will at least allow him to DH as long as he swings it well. I suggest he stay active at the plate as long as possible.
    My son's best friend was a highly ranked lefty who was dominant, then had to have labrum surgery fall of soph season. Hasn't been able to reach his old velocity but his bat and first base skills have kept him in the lineup and on recruiters maps.
    Find a great strength program. For many this is where they become "sport specific" because you train differently. Our guys go to a a baseball guy who even breaks them out by position for specific training. And of course long toss is vital IMO.
    Now is the time to start figuring out the right travel program as well....one that plays the big events (perfect game) and where he fits in to the roster. Much more likely that they will want him as a PO if it is a high level team as they will have a larger roster and plenty of guys for each slot. Don't get frustrated by that, it's a business and it can also be to your benefit as well if the team is a quality program that wins.
    I'm not going to judge what pitches he throws or doesn't throw. Seen enough studies that can prove just about any opinion you want to have. Ultimately I think every arm is different and can handle different things. Just look out for arm pain and let him know to never pitch thru pain if something is wrong....tell the coach. Being a bulldog on the mound can end a career at that age.
  3. stingbb
    Online

    stingbb Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Messages:
    2,886
    Likes Received:
    45
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings Received:
    +259
    A kid entering the 9th grade throwing a slider?

    Nothing personal, but that is exactly what is wrong with youth baseball.
  4. orangeblueorangeblue
    Online

    orangeblueorangeblue Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    56,430
    Likes Received:
    555
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Ratings Received:
    +2,477
    A slider isn't particularly hard on the arm, in the grand scheme of things.

    I through a 12-6 entering high school and I sure wasn't alone. Simply throwing the pitch is not going to put a kid in danger, throwing it incorrectly will.

    As for the main question all I can say is back off, let him enjoy it. The odds of becoming a MLB pitcher are so exceptionally, exceedingly low that there's no need to even think about it until the kid starts getting scholarship offers or you get approached by some scouts.
  5. Jyork
    Offline

    Jyork New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2011
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings Received:
    +1
    We must be neighbors. My kid is only 3 but if we stay in the same house he will go to Riverside.
  6. dadx4
    Offline

    dadx4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Messages:
    28,272
    Likes Received:
    390
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Greenville SC
    Ratings Received:
    +755
    That's cool, we live off of hwy 14. We have done the Woodland, Riverside Middle and now Riverside High route.
  7. dadx4
    Offline

    dadx4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Messages:
    28,272
    Likes Received:
    390
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Greenville SC
    Ratings Received:
    +755
    Call me crazy but this past summer the high school kids were working out with free weights and they weren't position specific and considering Will hasn't hit his growth spurt I didn't take him to those. I am shopping for a travel team now. He has mainly played at the "Majors" level or high "3A." He's had good coaches so far, if he's sore they won't even put him on the mound. Maybe if he makes the team this spring I will take a video and post on here so you guys can critique him. He does hit very well, he's a switch hitter too, he did this on his own by accident, funny story. He hasn't struck out in over a year, so he's either getting walked or he's getting a hit.
  8. dadx4
    Offline

    dadx4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Messages:
    28,272
    Likes Received:
    390
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Greenville SC
    Ratings Received:
    +755

    He only throws a slider with his trainer about 5 per month. In live pitching he has only thrown about 10 in the last year.
  9. dadx4
    Offline

    dadx4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Messages:
    28,272
    Likes Received:
    390
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Greenville SC
    Ratings Received:
    +755
    Speaking of 12-6, when he was 9 we went to Atlanta for a Majors tournament for the Southeast. Invite only. There were 9 year olds from the Atlanta teams throwing curve balls and a lot of them. Our coach refused to let our kids throw curve balls until they were 12 years old and even then it was no more than 10 per game.
  10. keefer
    Offline

    keefer Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    Messages:
    7,004
    Likes Received:
    821
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Gator City
    Ratings Received:
    +1,696
    Work on the legs. Strong legs for a pitcher takes a lot of the burden off of other areas. Teach him to drop his ass and drive with the legs. Watch video of guys like Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens, Tom Seaver and the like. They all threw extremely hard but looked effortless doing it and had long careers with no arm problems.
  11. MatsideObserver
    Offline

    MatsideObserver Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2008
    Messages:
    753
    Likes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings Received:
    +32
    My .02

    There is a difference between a travel ball team and a showcase team.

    You would probably be wise to stay away from travel ball if your kid is a pitcher and isn't fully developed. You might be better off to invest your time and money in individual coaching and training from highly qualified trainers/coaches.

    When he finishes his freshman year (and each summer thereafter), he can play for a showcase team which basically takes the kids to the tournaments in East Cobb and Jupiter and Fort Myers where they can be seen by college coaches.
  12. orangeblueorangeblue
    Online

    orangeblueorangeblue Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    56,430
    Likes Received:
    555
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Ratings Received:
    +2,477
    This is largely a holdover of a wives' tail. Throwing a curveball is not detrimental. Throwing it incorrectly is.
  13. stingbb
    Online

    stingbb Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Messages:
    2,886
    Likes Received:
    45
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings Received:
    +259
    Throwing a breaking ball, especially a slider, is not good at a young age.

    To see a young kid throwing a breaking ball 50% of the time is almost criminal. Kids 13-14 and younger should be throwing FBs and change ups only. Curve balls should be taught once a kid gets near his HS years and a slider should be taught even later.

    It is not a wives tale that more and more young kids are having more arm surgeries now than ever before. That is because of over-use (young kids playing year round baseball and playing over 100 games a year) and kids throwing too many breaking pitches.
  14. orangeblueorangeblue
    Online

    orangeblueorangeblue Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    56,430
    Likes Received:
    555
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Ratings Received:
    +2,477
    Overuse, I'll buy.

    Breaking balls? Nah.
  15. gatornation850
    Offline

    gatornation850 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    645
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Panama City Florida
    Ratings Received:
    +15
    Agreed breaking balls are only bad if they are thrown wrong or thrown too much.
  16. apkgator
    Offline

    apkgator Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Messages:
    6,278
    Likes Received:
    170
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Ratings Received:
    +576
    See dad, there was a reason I said I wasn't getting into what pitches he should or shouldn't throw,lol
  17. dadx4
    Offline

    dadx4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Messages:
    28,272
    Likes Received:
    390
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Greenville SC
    Ratings Received:
    +755
    This is what we have been doing over the last year. I will make sure I check out the showcase teams. I think the high school that he will be going to, puts together a couple of summer showcase teams as well.
  18. dadx4
    Offline

    dadx4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Messages:
    28,272
    Likes Received:
    390
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Greenville SC
    Ratings Received:
    +755
    lol, it's rare for Will to throw "junk"...very rare. He has mainly relied on his fastball/changeup. Out of 50 pitches, he might throw 2-3 that are "junk." He has a trainer at the strike zone that actually pitched for Florida back in the day. He tells Will that he would show him how to throw a slider and a curveball the correct way only after he could throw his fast ball and change up and hit his spots which he did about a year ago. Sorry for all of the question but all of this is still new to me when it comes to baseball, if he played football I wouldn't have to ask as much. I just don't want to do anything to burn him out or screw anything up. He loves the game more now than he ever has. He was going through a bad burnout two years ago and I asked him if he wanted to take the season off and he did. He's having fun again, he wasn't two years ago.
  19. TheBoss
    Offline

    TheBoss New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    Messages:
    67
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Gainesville
    Ratings Received:
    +0
    I suggest that you focus on two areas: first, academics, then all-around fitness and athleticism. Your dream that the kid will become a successful pitcher is wonderful, but there's a lot to be said for giving the kid the greatest number of options for as long as possible. Even if he plays baseball in college and beyond, he may be a position player.

    IMHO, the one baseball skill to work on constantly is batting- the ability to see pitches and time his swing. Pitching technique can wait until his body matures and good teachers are available. Regardless of the sport he plays, he will be more likely to succeed if he has flexibility, endurance and strength in his entire body. Sports such as cross country, soccer, lacrosse, swimming, basketball and others will prepare him for baseball. In addition, he won't burn out on baseball and he may discover that his heart and body are more suited for one of the other sports.

    Baseball is my favorite sport, by far, and my kid was a promising CF, but he discovered better opportunities in another sport. The taxpayers of Georgia chipped in to pay for a partial scholly in his sport for his first two years of college, until he decided to finish at UF. His fitness was a critical factor in his athletic success- including all-state as a senior in HS- and his academics got him a degree with honors at UF.

    It will be great if your kid becomes a good pitcher over the next several years, but there's a lot to be said for preserving as many choices as possible for as long as possible.
  20. dadx4
    Offline

    dadx4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Messages:
    28,272
    Likes Received:
    390
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Greenville SC
    Ratings Received:
    +755
    He tried the basketball and didn't like it, will try again. He is a switch hitter and he hasn't struck out over a year now. He does have a bad habit in that he drops his hands a bit when he swings so we do need to fix that. I brought up soccer too...lol. That was met with a thud. I still ask him when the seasons roll around if he wants to try it. He hasn't played football in a while but he has talked about trying out for the high school team..Yea!!!

Share This Page