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Jan, 2023

Moving Beyond 'Just Throw Strikes'


“Just Throw Strikes!” It is one of the most frequently shouted instructions from coaches and parents at youth baseball games, including at McLean Little League. It is also one of the least helpful things anyone can say to a struggling 10-year-old kid who is already doing everything he can to get the ball over the plate. Pitching is really hard. The pitcher is alone in the middle of the field with everyone watching him trying to throw a 5 oz. ball 40+ feet over a 17-inch-wide plate against a 4-foot-tall batter that is waiting to hit whatever actually hits the target. Add on top of that the fact that Little Leaguers lack the strength and body control to successfully and consistently repeat a proper pitching motion (if they even know what it is) or manage the emotional ups and downs of pitching, and it is hard to believe that our kids throw any strikes.

Pitching is a skill set that takes years to develop. Even the world’s best pitchers are constantly working on their mechanics, physical and mental approach, and strength and mobility. The reality of Little League baseball is that pitching development is often lost in the shuffle. There just isn’t enough practice time available to sufficiently focus on pitching without disrupting team practices. In addition, the way that pitching (and throwing in general) is coached and developed has also changed considerably since most parents and coaches were youth baseball players, so if it is taught, it is often done incorrectly. Recognizing this need and learning from the success of pitching development in MLL softball, MLL started a Winter Baseball Pitching Clinic five years ago to help the league’s baseball pitchers build their pitching skills from the ground up. The clinic, which is led by Matt Austin, a former All-Big Ten pitcher at the University of Iowa and a MLL dad, takes a holistic approach to youth pitching development with a focus on the key movements of a pitcher (rather than strict point-to-point mechanics), strength and agility, arm care and mental approach, while making it fun and engaging along the way. With tryouts and the spring season fast approaching, the winter pitching clinic provides a great opportunity to get aspiring MLL pitchers (and their arms) ramped up and ready to go, so they will no longer hear “Just Throw Strikes!” again - or at least learn to ignore it.

The MLL Winter Baseball Pitching Clinic starts on Saturday, January 7th. There are only a few spots left so act now if you want to join!

Keep your eyes open on the MLL website for additional insights on pitching and arm care from Coach Austin as the season approaches.

Contact Us

McLean Little League

1836 Westmoreland St 
McLean, Virginia 22101

Email: [email protected]

McLean Little League

1836 Westmoreland St 
McLean, Virginia 22101

Email: [email protected]
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