Commanding the strike zone with one pitch, the straight/fast ball, should be the teaching goal of every adult coaching youth pitchers ages 9 to 13. Coaches must communicate to all pitchers on their teams that they will learn to throw to 4 quadrants: up and in, up and away, down and in, and down and away. It is the youth baseball coach’s responsibility to know how to teach these basic pitching fundamentals.
Against a right-handed hitter, instead of aiming for the catcher’s glove that is usually situated in the middle of the plate, the pitcher will throw for the catcher’s left shoulder (up and in location), the right shoulder (up and away), inside the catcher’s left knee (down and in), and inside the right knee (down and away).
When you throw the 2-seam and 4-seam straight ball and vary the grips, you can have 5 or 6 different movements with one type of pitch, depending on the skill and mechanics of each pitcher.
It is imperative that coaches know how to teach these pitches because, not only will their pitchers’ performance improve, their chance of injury will decrease. There will be plenty of time to learn breaking balls and specialty pitches like the splitter and cutter when the kids are more physically developed.
If youth baseball coaches stick to this program the players will definitely benefit now and later by having healthy arms and by commanding their fastballs to any quadrant with velocity and movement.