46ft to 60ft 6in: Making The Transition

Written By: Dave Shinskie

"My son is going to be moving back to 60'6" and I am worried about his arm health. What is the best thing we can do?" 

This question has come up many times from parents of kids I work with. It is a big jump in distance for kids as young as 12, especially those who are still waiting for a growth spurt. I have pitchers of all different sizes, some are making the move to the bigger field who physically may be a little behind the curve. However, the answer to all players in this situation is the same. A healthy and more efficient delivery will help the transition be smoother and less stressful on the arm. The same goes for position players. Proper footwork and rhythm with upper body movements promote stronger more accurate throws. In this article, I will express my opinion on the topic of youth field regulations and give a few pointers for coaches, kids, and parents who are asking these same questions.

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Field Regulations:

There are many distance regulations regarding youth baseball fields. In my opinion, TOO MANY.

Generally, the distance between base paths on fields for 12-year-olds and below in baseball is 60 feet. A local Little League board of directors may opt to use a 50-foot diamond in the Tee Ball divisions. The distance in all divisions of baseball for 13-year-olds, is up to 90 feet, with a local league option to shorten the distance to 75 feet for Junior League Baseball and 70 feet for Intermediate (50/70) Baseball Division for regular season play.

The pitching distance for divisions of baseball for the Major Division and below is 46 feet. Pitching distance for divisions of baseball for Junior and Senior League Divisions is 60 feet, 6 inches, with a local league option to shorten the distance to 54 feet for Junior League Baseball and 50 feet for Intermediate (50/70) Baseball Division for regular season play.

Distance from the back of home plate to the outfield fence is a local league option, but the following distances are recommended,  Major Division and below is 200 feet. Intermediate (50/70) Baseball is 200 feet while Junior and Senior League Divisions is 300 feet.

I think there should be 3 field models at most.
  1. 46/60 - Tee Ball and 8-10U Divisions
  2. 50/70 - Major/Intermediate Divisions (11-14)
  3. 60'6"/90 - Junior and Senior League Divisions (High School)

Fewer regulations would mean not having to use portable mounds, that are not realistic and sometimes dangerous to throw off of. Just like hitters, youth pitchers wouldn't have to worry about changing distances at different fields and leagues. Having 11 tp14-year-old kids play on 50/70 fields would not only be an easier and safer transition to the bigger field, but the quality of performance is also higher. It fits the age group perfectly and makes for better baseball.

Transitioning:

Have a Plan

If you are a parent or player that is going from a Little League to MLB size field, there are a few areas you should work on and improve. Whether a player is making the transition of pitching from 46 ft or 50 ft to 60 ft 6 in, a throwing progression plan is necessary, as well as a strength and conditioning program. Combining the two will increase strength, which is a huge positive in promoting smooth and healthy movements that protect your body and the throwing arm.  A proper throwing specific warmup, throwing progression, and training day drills for offseason and in-season practice plans are a must. Baseball Rebellion tailors to all throwers with specific drills and practice plans as you progress through the program.

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Create A Strong Delivery:

The videos below are a before and after of 12-year-old Nathan G. It is easy to see the difference between the two clips. Notice in the second video, the similarity in his delivery at both distances. He creates momentum toward the target with his lower half, relaxed arms, and uses core strength to stay connected to the ground through a strong finish. Nathan has been in the Baseball Rebellion pitching program for 2 years and has worked extremely hard to get his mechanics where they are now. His transition to 60'6" has been smooth, moving into longer warm-up throws and strengthening the follow through has enhanced all of his pitches.

I hope this article helped answer some of the questions you have on your son's transition to a bigger field, as well as inform you on the work needed to make that jump. Thank you for reading, if you have any question please don't hesitate to ask.

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