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James Walker

Help with plate mechanics for 10u

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Normally I do 12u and 14u games, but recently I have been getting a lot of 10u games. In the older age groups, I have no trouble with my strike zone whatsoever. But in the 10u games, when I set up in the slot on the smaller kids, I have trouble with low and outside pitches. Are there any ways I could modify my setup to maybe get a better look? I have tried just about everything I can think of...

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That is the toughest pitch to see. Chances are, your catchers aren't helping you much either. Be aggressive on the pitch, the kids are 10, they should be swinging the bat anyway. Are you missing them b/c you're calling them too low? Are you balling pitches that could be strikes?

At 10U, if it's close, meaning not over his head and not in the dirt, get that pitch. Does that help??

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That is the toughest pitch to see. Chances are, your catchers aren't helping you much either. Be aggressive on the pitch, the kids are 10, they should be swinging the bat anyway. Are you missing them b/c you're calling them too low? Are you balling pitches that could be strikes?

At 10U, if it's close, meaning not over his head and not in the dirt, get that pitch. Does that help??

I agree! Some of these kids just want to wait for a walk. If you call strikes they will start swinging!

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That is the toughest pitch to see. Chances are, your catchers aren't helping you much either. Be aggressive on the pitch, the kids are 10, they should be swinging the bat anyway. Are you missing them b/c you're calling them too low? Are you balling pitches that could be strikes?

At 10U, if it's close, meaning not over his head and not in the dirt, get that pitch. Does that help??

I agree! Some of these kids just want to wait for a walk. If you call strikes they will start swinging!

So then what do you say to the coaches and parents that start yelling, "That's not a strike!!" Usually my wife is one of those moms.

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That is the toughest pitch to see. Chances are, your catchers aren't helping you much either. Be aggressive on the pitch, the kids are 10, they should be swinging the bat anyway. Are you missing them b/c you're calling them too low? Are you balling pitches that could be strikes?

At 10U, if it's close, meaning not over his head and not in the dirt, get that pitch. Does that help??

I agree! Some of these kids just want to wait for a walk. If you call strikes they will start swinging!

So then what do you say to the coaches and parents that start yelling, "That's not a strike!!" Usually my wife is one of those moms.

Nothing.

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That is the toughest pitch to see. Chances are, your catchers aren't helping you much either. Be aggressive on the pitch, the kids are 10, they should be swinging the bat anyway. Are you missing them b/c you're calling them too low? Are you balling pitches that could be strikes?

At 10U, if it's close, meaning not over his head and not in the dirt, get that pitch. Does that help??

I agree! Some of these kids just want to wait for a walk. If you call strikes they will start swinging!

So then what do you say to the coaches and parents that start yelling, "That's not a strike!!" Usually my wife is one of those moms.

As said.

No response needed.

Balls and Strikes are my judgement and are not questionable :meditation:

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It's usually a strike for me, I just was having some trouble in the game I had last night. Guess I was just off a bit. All the coaches know me and my strike zone, and all I ever get is compliments. Even the coach that lost last night said I did outstanding. He said he really likes when I do his games because I'm fair and consistent. As for parents, I do what I can to ignore them, unless a four letter word comes out. And then a stern look usually does the trick. Thanks for the advice guys.

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The catcher probably wasn't helping you any, usually they are all over the place. I agree with everyone else for this age, if it's anywhere near the zone it's a strike. They will start to swing the bats and it will give the young pitchers some confidence. You will hear some chirping but IMO offense is just half the game and any decent coach will realize that and be happy you are calling strikes. If he doesn't then he's an idiot and who cares what he thinks.

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That is the toughest pitch to see. Chances are, your catchers aren't helping you much either. Be aggressive on the pitch, the kids are 10, they should be swinging the bat anyway. Are you missing them b/c you're calling them too low? Are you balling pitches that could be strikes?

At 10U, if it's close, meaning not over his head and not in the dirt, get that pitch. Does that help??

I agree! Some of these kids just want to wait for a walk. If you call strikes they will start swinging!

So then what do you say to the coaches and parents that start yelling, "That's not a strike!!" Usually my wife is one of those moms.

As said.

No response needed.

Balls and Strikes are my judgement and are not questionable :meditation:

Right on. Let the strike zone widen.. :nod:

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The catcher probably wasn't helping you any, usually they are all over the place. I agree with everyone else for this age, if it's anywhere near the zone it's a strike. They will start to swing the bats and it will give the young pitchers some confidence. You will hear some chirping but IMO offense is just half the game and any decent coach will realize that and be happy you are calling strikes. If he doesn't then he's an idiot and who cares what he thinks.

I do quite a few 10U-12U Tournaments and Leagues and you are correct, the Catchers are usually half the problem.... Bouncing all around and jumping as the pitch is coming in....

Call it what it is at this level - A Hitting Zone!

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Only do this level on a rare occasion but when I do, I don't look to the catchers AT ALL. Most are more excited about putting on the gear than understanding the position and most coaches either ignore or don't teach catchers fundamentals. My rule of thumb here is 1-1.5 balls inside/outside and shoulders to the hollow of the knee. I'll tighten up depending on the pitcher of course.

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Only do this level on a rare occasion but when I do, I don't look to the catchers AT ALL. Most are more excited about putting on the gear than understanding the position and most coaches either ignore or don't teach catchers fundamentals. My rule of thumb here is 1-1.5 balls inside/outside and shoulders to the hollow of the knee. I'll tighten up depending on the pitcher of course.

Does that mean different zones for different pitchers in the same game?

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Only do this level on a rare occasion but when I do, I don't look to the catchers AT ALL. Most are more excited about putting on the gear than understanding the position and most coaches either ignore or don't teach catchers fundamentals. My rule of thumb here is 1-1.5 balls inside/outside and shoulders to the hollow of the knee. I'll tighten up depending on the pitcher of course.

Does that mean different zones for different pitchers in the same game?

No...My comment was in relation to the starting pitcher for each game. Once I establish my zone it remains the same for the remainder of the game regardless of the relievers/closer. What you have to keep in mind is that although we aim for consistency, pitchers at this level vary widely. If a pitcher is fundamentally sound during warm-ups (which you should watch), and they are able to nail the zone the majority of the time, my zone might start out at 1 ball inside/outside. If not, I'll widen it to 1.5 balls. The goal here is to find the balance between a consistent strike zone and creating a "walk" fest.You want them to swing as much as possible at this level.

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It can also be tough at this level because a lot of the pitchers are throwing rainbows and the catchers are sitting back 4 feet further than they should. Some of the best (most accurate) pitches are in the dirt before they catcher gloves them. And when a catcher catches one around the TOP of the zone, it probably came in awfully high. You can't listen to the fans because they are too stupid to understand that.

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I called 2 9U games last night and had a coach try to tell me that he thought a called 3rd strike to his batter (his son I presume) looked outside according to his view from the 3rd base coaches box. This based on his observation/opinion that the catcher moved excessively. I could have told him the truth - that both catchers were moving a mile on every pitch regardless of where it came in, but instead he was notified politely that there was not going to be discussion about balls and strikes. He then got a warning when he tried to backpedal by saying he was only letting me know so that I could be sure to give his pitcher that pitch too. Idiot, he is already on probation for conduct and we were told that we need to submit reports on warnings this year so he will likely get suspended now.

Where I work Cal Ripken minors we either get coaches who don't know the rules and/or really anything about baseball, or they try to apply the machine pitch rules that the 7's and 8's use. My biggest issue this season are first-time coaches who believe they are in charge of everything because their team is on the field, including trying to instruct umpires how to call games. I work at this level as a mentor for our high school apprentice umpires and I have been amazed at how many of the coaches try to walk all over these guys - and we have a discussion at every plate meeting notifying the coaches that these are apprentice umpires and 16-18 year old kids so they need to keep that in mind. I've given more warnings and have seen more disciplinary action against coaches this year than in the last 3 combined.

I have offered to our board to run a rules clinic for the coaches before next season, maybe that will help the rules understanding, but that won't improve the attitude of some of the coaches (and I coached in this association before I umpired so it's not like I am picking on these guys).

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I track that low outside pitch as far as I can see it, then it simply becomes an excercise of mentally extending the trajectory it had, to make the call. Another option is to get up higher so you can see over F2 (however, can lead to lots of bruises with these young ones).

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