Every kid wants pitching velocity, the ability to throw a fast ball that gets batters out of the game.
You can easily help your kid, or a kid on your baseball team, learn how to throw faster balls.
Once they’re doing that regularly, they should keep practicing to improve their skills.
The bonus of doing baseball drills to help kids throw faster is that this will also teach them other important parts of pitching, such as being more accurate and having greater control of how they move their body.
Remember, pitching doesn’t just involve important hand movements – it’s a whole-body exercise.
These five drills will help kids learn how to increase their throwing speed, even if they feel that they’re not naturally skilled with having pitch velocity.
How Fast Can A Kid Throw?
The average pitch speed for a 10-year-old is between 40 and 50mph, while a teen who’s 13- years-old will be able to pitch between 55 and 75mph.
Here are other average speeds, depending on a kid’s age:
Although those are interesting stats, the numbers shouldn’t make any kid who doesn’t pitch that fast feel like they’re not good enough.
While pitching can be a skill that someone is born with, the truth is that practicing and doing baseball drills for kids can really improve one’s ability to throw faster balls.
It’s all about practice and hard work! With that in mind, let’s look at five important pitching drills.
The Fence Push Drill
One of the mistakes beginner pitchers make is not having the right form.
They don’t lead into the ball throw with their hip, which means that they don’t bring enough power into their throw.
This drill is therefore important as it will teach kids that moving in with their hip will help to increase their ball-throwing speed.
What you’ll need:
- A fence or wall
How to do the drill:
- Let your kid stand in front of a fence at a distance that enables them to have enough room to fall against it.
- They should have their hands in a pitching position.
- Then, they must bring their front foot upwards, bend their knee, and lead with their hip so that they push against the fence.
- This exercise helps kids to practice leading into the throw with their hip first, so that they can take that good form onto the field when they don’t have a fence in front of them.
Reverse Toe Tap Drill
You can’t have pitching velocity without first ensuring you have good balance!
This baseball drill for kids will teach them to improve their balance so that they’re more in control of the ball.
How to do this drill:
- The child should stand in position with their feet close together and raise their front knee upwards as though they were getting ready to pitch.
- Instead of pitching a ball, however, you want the child to move their raised foot over their other foot that’s planted firmly on the ground. Make sure that they raise their knee so that it’s bent completely before they lower their foot.
- Now, they should bring the same leg up again and reverse the movement, bringing their leg back to the starting position with both feet next to each other on the ground.
- They should keep doing this movement over and over to work on their balance.
While this drill seems pretty simple, it teaches kids to learn to stabilize their legs and they’ll feel the muscles in their legs start to twitch and flutter. That’s a good thing – strong legs mean better balance and flexibility when pitching.
The Explosive Knee Drill
While you want your kids to learn controlled movements when pitching so that they have greater control over the ball and how fast it can go, you should also let them know that they should throw in an explosive way.
That’s what this drill will teach them to be able to do.
How to do it:
- They should get into position and then raise their knee so that they can balance on one leg, as though they are getting ready to throw a ball.
- Then, with the leg that’s planted on the ground, they should hop to the side three times. Now, doing this requires good balance, so this drill is also great for working on that skill.
- On the third jump, they’re going to take a bigger leap – this is the explosive move that you want them to practice so that they can increase the energy of their ball throwing.
- Make sure that they move forward with their hip first when they do the jumps, especially with that last jump, to really bring the energy into the ball with their body.
The Hip-To-Shoulder Separation Drill
This drill is important for velocity because the more hip-to-shoulder separation that you can achieve, the faster and harder you’ll be able to throw the baseball.
What hip-to-shoulder separation means is that there’s greater distance between your hips and shoulders when you throw.
For example, you’ll be standing with your hips turned towards the batter (target) and then you’ll move your shoulders away from your hips, so that your arms are basically pointed away from them.
The following drill helps you to work on your hip-to-shoulder separation, making the concept easy for young kids to understand – showing is always better than telling.
It’s also a great warm-up drill kids can do before they play baseball.
What you’ll need:
- A baseball glove
How to do this drill:
- To work on their hip-to-shoulder separation, the kids will need to get into position on the ground. They should lie down on their left side so that they’re resting on their elbow and their legs are extended.
- They should place something on the ground in front of them, such as a glove or book, and make sure it’s placed in front of their hip.
- Then, they should raise their right knee and move it in front of them so that it can rest on this book or glove.
- They must also move their shoulder back.
- They should keep the arm that’s on the ground straight, but move their other shoulder in this way: stretch the arm all the way over to the ground near their head, then move it back up and stretch it all the way over to the other side.
- This will move their upper body but keep their lower body and knees in place on the ground, teaching them to have better hip-to-shoulder separation.
The Delivery Throw
Sometimes it helps to practice your throwing by isolating parts of the pitching process. This drill helps kids learn to focus on the delivery of the ball. By slowing it down and focusing on their technique for all the steps, they can improve their speed and accuracy.
What you’ll need:
How to do this drill:
- You want the kid to start in the middle of their pitch delivery. This means that their standing position should be like this: their front foot should be at a 45-degree angle in front of them and their back foot should be turned and pushing off the ground a bit as if they were getting ready to run a race. Their toes should still be on the ground.
- It’s important for them to keep their hips open, but move their shoulders back and away from the target (the batter). This is also extra practice for the hip-to-shoulder separation.
- To get ready to throw the ball, the kid should flex their throwing arm so that it’s about halfway from 0 to 90 degrees. What this means is that they should aim to have their arm propped in the air so that the ball they’re holding is in line with their eyes.
- They should hold the glove with their other hand, which should be in a pronated position. What this means is that the palm of that hand should be facing downwards.
- Then, they must lift their front leg and throw as they normally would.
The High-Five Drill
This is one of the baseball drills for kids that’s really useful for beginners because it teaches them how to throw through the ball (instead of around it) as well as improves their muscle memory. This drill does require a partner, however, whether that’s a coach or parent.
How to do this drill:
- The kid should stand with one leg in front of the other and keep the knee of that forward leg bent.
- Their throwing arm that’s holding the ball should be bent so it forms an “L” shape.
- Make sure that the kid’s elbow is in line with their shoulder.
- The other person should put their hand on the kid’s throwing hand, covering the baseball with it and placing a bit of resistance on it.
- The kid should throw the ball straight through the other person’s hand. What this basically means is that the child’s hand should push against the other person’s hand as though they’re throwing the ball through it.
- At the bottom of the movement, the kid should continue to push with his/her hand until their hand has moved down and out of the person’s hand.
- The kid’s hand should end up being over his/her front foot.
Extra Tips For Improving Pitch Velocity
The baseball drills for kids that we’ve outlined above aren’t enough to teach kids how to throw faster balls. They work hand-in-hand with the right pitching tips that will enhance their game and overall technique.
These are the most essential pitching tips to teach young kids, and by adding them to your kids’ pitching drills you will also add variety to them.
Have The Right Posture
As mentioned on Fatherly, one of the most common mistakes that young pitchers make on the baseball field is having the wrong posture. When pitching, it’s important not to stand up too straight.
Usually, kids are told to stand up straight, but not when pitching! Instead, the right posture involves bending the body when following through with the ball, so that the ball doesn’t go too high.
Keep The Stride Straight
When pitching, you want to create explosive energy to maximize speed, but it’s important to have controlled movements.
This is a delicate balance that can be difficult for kids to master, especially if they’re very young, which is why it’s important to teach them to focus on having a straight stride.
To explain this in a way young kids can understand, they should imagine that there’s a line running from their back foot all the way to the home plate, as Better Pitching advises. This is known as the drive line.
They need to try to keep their body over the line when they throw the ball. You could even draw a line in the ground so that they get into the habit of staying over it.
Focus On The Catcher’s Mitt
Baseball drills for kids are not just important for teaching velocity and accuracy.
They are also vital for helping kids gain better confidence when they step out on the baseball field. Sometimes what happens is that when there’s a batter in front of them, the pitcher will become nervous.
One of the easiest ways to help kids gain greater confidence is to teach them to focus on the catcher’s mitt and pretend the batter isn’t there.
Doing this during practice drills will help kids to overcome their nerves when pitching to a real person.
You could even prop a baseball glove on a pole to stand in for a catcher so that they learn to focus on the glove instead of the batter.
Improve The Pitcher’s Grip
How a pitcher holds the ball is important and this is something a child should learn from the moment they first hold a baseball and express interest in learning how to pitch.
A good grip not only helps the pitcher learn the correct way to throw a ball, but it ensures that they will have better control of it so that they can improve their pitching speed.
Which grip is best for kids?
Using the four-fingered fastball grip is comfortable and easy to remember, so it’s useful to let kids start with this one.
How to hold the ball with a four-fingered fastball grip: Simply place the fingertips of your middle and index fingers across the seams of the baseball that are at a 90-degree angle.
Your thumb should go directly underneath the baseball, with the tip of your thumb resting on the leather instead of a seam. The child should grip the ball with their fingers instead of holding it in the palm of the hand.
Remind Them To Tuck In Their Elbow
One of the most important baseball mantras children should learn early on is, “Tuck your front side elbow!”
This is such popular advice and for good reason. It’s so crucial for the pitcher to keep their front arm as close to their body as possible, otherwise this can cause a spinning effect that pulls the pitcher to the side instead of towards the catcher.
It results in the pitcher being unbalanced, which is what they want to avoid.
How Many Times Should Kids Pitch?
Pitching requires lots of practice, but there is such a thing as too much pitching. You want to prevent the child from overusing or injuring their arm. To ensure these things don’t happen, they should avoid doing pitching practice more than once every few days.
In addition, during a practice session or baseball game, it’s important to follow this guideline: make your child pitch six times their age.
That means, an eight-year-old should pitch 48 or less pitches every game, as Fatherly reports. A 10-year-old, on the other hand, should pitch 60 times or less during every game or practice session.
Recommended reading: We’ve a post on the best baseball swing trainers here!
What are the physics behind throwing a baseball?
A baseball is influenced by three things when it’s pitched: gravity, the Magnus force, and drag.
Gravity will pull the ball down and drag will make it slow down. The Magnus force is what puts a force on the ball, but it changes depending on how the pitcher has spun it.
What pitching grips create the most velocity?
The four-seam grip is the best way to throw a ball if you want to create velocity.
When you throw a fastball in this grip, the ball achieves balance because of the finger pressure being placed on it. This enables it to move straighter to the plate, giving the pitcher greater accuracy.