Copyright 2003
Coaching Pitchers
By Michael G. Marshall, Ph.D.

     Chapter Twelve:   Youth Baseball Programs

     The present rules of Little League Baseball, Inc. irreparably damage the pitching arms of the young adolescent participants.   The present rules of Little League Baseball, Inc. fail to teach the skills and strategies of baseball.   The present rules of Little League Baseball, Inc. fails to make appropriate rule adjustment for the wide variety of biological ages of its participants such that nine biological year old players compete against fourteen biological year old players.   It is not fair competition.   But worse, Little League Baseball, Inc. turns away the delayed biological maturers who would have developed into the highest quality players.   We must find a better way.

         a.   Follow the Research Findings

     Children rely on adults to teach them the skills and strategies of baseball.   Adults must be more than well intended; they must understand and incorporate the research.   Adults must remove the greater size, strength and speed advantages that accelerated biological maturers have under the present rules.   Adults must remove the lesser size, strength and speed disadvantages that delayed biological maturers have under the present rules.   Adults must eliminate irreparable pitching arm injuries.   Adults must eliminate epiphysial injuries throughout the adolescent skeleton.   Adults must teach the basic motor skills of baseball.   Adults must return to fun for all participants.

         b.   Listen to the Children

     Leaders of youth baseball programs must guarantee that all adolescent baseball players receive qualified leadership, quality instruction, play safely, participate equally, receive respect, equally succeed, master baseballís skills and strategies and have fun.   When Child Growth and Development researchers asked adolescent athletes whether they preferred to sit on the bench and win or play regularly and lose, ninety percent chose to play and lose.   Adults care about winning, kids want to play.

         c.   Youth Baseball Recommendations

     To benefit all participants equally and to teach baseballís skills and strategies, I recommend these general rules.

01.   Twelve players on teams, but teams can play with fewer.
02.   All players bat in every inning and wear helmets.
03.   Players play six full innings.
04.   Defensive players rotate positions after one-half of the batters bat.

             1.   Seven and Eight Chronological Year Olds

     Bases are thirty feet apart.   The outfield fence is 110 feet from home plates.   Batters hit off batting tees.   All hits are singles.   Baserunners stand on their bases and advance only one base per hit or non-force plays.   Baserunners may not slide, but they can run through all bases without penalty.

             2.   Nine and Ten Chronological Year Olds

     Bases are forty-five feet apart.   The outfield fence is 165 feet from home plate.   Umpires pitch to both teams, but they do not field batted balls.   Batters have two strikes in which to hit fair balls.   All hits are singles.   Baserunners stand on their bases and may advance only one base per hit or non-force plays.   Baserunners may not slide, but they can run through all bases without penalty.

             3.   Eleven and Twelve Biological Year Olds

     Bases are sixty feet apart.   Pitching rubbers are forty feet from home plateís back tips.   The outfield fence is 220 feet from home plate.   Pitchers pitch one inning to teammates.   A four-foot wide screen protects pitchers from batted balls.   Batted balls hitting this screen are outs.   Batters have three pitches in which to hit fair balls.   All hits are singles.   Baserunners stand on their bases and may advance only one base per hit or non-force plays.   Baserunners may not slide, but they can run through all bases without penalty.

             4.   Thirteen and Fourteen Biological Year Olds

     Bases are seventy-five feet apart.   Pitching rubbers are fifty-five feet from home plateís back tips.   The outfield fence 275 feet from home plate.   Pitchers pitch one inning to opponents.   Two strikes earn a strike out.   Three balls earn a base on balls.   However, batters do not walk.   Every ball three advances all baserunners one base.   If there are no baserunners, then every ball three advances batters an extra base should they reach base safely.   Adult baseball rules govern all remaining plays.



Free Coaching Baseball Pitchers Book!!!                          Chapter Thirteen