10-Month Throwing Program For Youth Pitchers

Here's a year-round throwing schedule for pitchers that includes bullpen plans, long toss drills and an optional weighted baseball program

By Steven Ellis, former pro pitcher
Updated May 30, 2017


Youth pitching program
ATTENTION PARENTS: While there aren't many pitching programs that are age-appropriate and safe for kids 7-14, there is one that provides youth pitchers with effective guidelines for strength training, pitching mechanics, and how to pitch faster in baseball.

Click here to learn more about my youth pitching program.

Weekly throwing program for youth pitchers banner

If you're looking for baseball throwing programs and throwing schedules for pitchers, you're going to love this article.

Youth baseball pitchers can really benefit from a year-round throwing program. Studies show that throwing on a regular basis reduces a player's risk of unwarranted elbow and shoulder injuries.

From Little League to high school baseball, when pitchers make the effort to play catch consistently 8 to 10 months out of the year, their pitching performance increases while their risk of injury decreases.

This article lays out a game plan for creating a year-round throwing schedule for the youth pitcher, showing what time of year to throw, how much throwing is appropriate and how often.

But first, here are definitions to key components of the training charts:

6 different types of throwing for pitchers

This throwing program for pitchers encompasses several types of throwing activities for developing good command of pitches, pitch movement, and arm strength:

1. FLAT GROUD THROWING – A basic type of catch used primarily to warm up the arm and get loose. Generally performed in the outfield during practice or prior to a game. Excellent for maintaining arm health and learning to throw with perfect mechanics.

Bartolo Colon long toss image MLB pitcher Bartolo Colon long tosses in the outfield before a game. Long tossing is an extened form of throwing that can be incorporated into a pitcher's throwing routines. (Photo by Paul Gorbould)

2. LONG TOSS THROWING – An extended type of flat-ground throwing but at longer distances up to 250-300+ feet using a crow hop. You have moved back too far when you or your throwing partner breaks down mechanically. The key is to maintain parallel shoulders. Long toss is excellent for developing arm strength, stamina and "velocity endurance" or the ability to maintain first inning velocity in the later innings of a game.

LONG TOSS PROGRAM
Distance # of throws
45 ft 3-5 throws at 75% effort
60-75 ft 3-5 throws at 75% effort
90-135 ft 3-5 throws at 80-90% effort
150+ ft 30+ throws at 100% max effort (move back 5 feet every throw to your max goal distance)
60-75 ft 5 throws at 100% max effort

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3. SKILL WORK – Designated time for developing your pitches and improving your command. Throw with perfect mechanics always having a specific goal with each pitch. Goals include: 1) Movement, 2) Location, and 3) Movement with location. And it's done at the same distance as Flat Ground Throwing previously mentioned.

David Price throwing a bullpen image MLB pitcher David Price throws a bullpen in Spring Training. Bullpen throwing is a regular part of a pitcher's practice routines.

4. BULLPENS – 32 pitch and 56 pitch bullpen plans thrown at 60-90% max effort. Excellent for learning to throw all of your pitches with command and perfect mechanics in simulated game scenarios.

Remember, the purpose of throwing a bullpen is to get comfortable with your mechanics, your release point, the feel of your pitches and your mental approach. So every time a pitcher goes into a bullpen, he should do it with a specific goal in mind.

For example:

  • Working on your fastball command of the outside part of the plate keeping the ball down.
  • Working on getting to a good balance position, chin over your belt and weight on the ball of your foot.
  • Keeping the eyes and head level and everything going right at the plate.
  • Working on getting to a consistent landing position.

Challenge yourself to keep all pitches, and especially fastballs, from mid-thigh to the knees. 

OPTION 1: 32-PITCH BULLPEN PLAN
Delivery # of throws Pitch/location
Stretch 4 FB In
  4 FB Out
Stretch 3 CH In
  3 CH Out
Stretch 3 CV/SL In
  3 CV/SL Out
Additional notes: Finish bullpen set with 12 game pitches (3 imaginary batters). Catcher calls pitches; catcher sets location. End on a "Strike!"

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OPTION 2: 56-PITCH BULLPEN PLAN
Delivery # of throws Pitch/location
Stretch 5 FB In
  5 FB Out
Full Windup 5 FB In
  5 FB Out
Stretch 3 CH In
  3 CH Out
Full Windup 3 CH In
  3 CH Out
Stretch 3 CV/SL In
  3 CV/SL Out
Full Windup 3 CV/SL In
  3 CV/SL Out
Additional notes: Finish bullpen set with 12 game pitches (3 imaginary batters). Catcher calls pitches; catcher sets location. End on a "Strike!"

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Pitching drills image Pitching drills for baseball pitchers are a great way to isolate specific areas of the pitching delivery to make mechanical adjustments and improvements.

5. DRILL WORK – Isolated repetitions for helping you learn to rotate late, sequence properly, and throw with good balance and posture. It takes about 2,000+ repetitions to change a habit. Drill Work = Hard Work.

Here are 33 videos of my best youth pitching drills.

Weighted baseballs image Studies have shown that pitchers who've done a weighted baseball program have been able to increase velocity.

6. WEIGHTED BASEBALLS – Here's an optional weighted ball throwing program that older pitchers may wish to consider using in the off-season 1-3 times per week for 6-8 weeks.

You'll need a lighter 4 oz baseball, a standard 5 oz baseball, and a heavier 6 oz baseball. Decker, Markwart and Driveline Baseball all offer quality weighted baseballs.

WEIGHTED BASEBALL PROGRAM
Weight Distance # of throws
5 oz 35-90+ ft
  • Warm up your arm for 5-8 minutes or 12-15+ throws at about 75% effort.
6 oz 70 ft
  • 20 throws at 100% max effort (overload phase).
4 oz 70 ft
  • 20 throws at 100% max effort (underload phase).
5 oz 70 ft
  • 20 throws at 100% max effort.
Additional notes: Crow-hop using 2 shuffle steps to close off the hips and promote good hip rotation. Keep the shoulders level and throw on a line. Aim at your throwing partner's chest.

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3 interval throwing phases for pitchers

Your off-season throwing routine should be separated into training phases or intervals relative to the upcoming baseball season:

1. Building Phase: Training phase following 1-2 months of active rest away from baseball. Focus on developing rock solid mechanics & gaining strength in key areas, i.e., core, throwing arm/elbow, lower body.

2. Skill Development Phase: Training phase prior to the start of the new season. The focus is to improve your pitch-ability, which includes your ability to throw hard & throw strikes, and, to consistently locate your pitches in and around the strike zone.

3. Maintenance Phase: Training phase during the baseball season. The average major leaguer loses 20% of his strength base by the end of the season. The goal is to maintain the strength & mechanical efficiency developed from the previous two training phases. Your throwing routine here will help you recover from outing to outing. Drill work will help you stay mechanically efficient.

These charts are based on a weekly training schedule. Use at your own discretion.

Pitcher throwing schedules for year-round baseball training

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Ages 16-19
Training Phase Time Frame Flat Ground Long Toss Skill Work Bullpens Drill Work
Active Rest Oct-Nov 0x 0x 0x 0x 0x
Building Dec-Jan 1-2x 1-2x 1-2x 0x 4-5x
Skill Development Feb-Mar 3-4x 3-4x 2-3x 1-2x 3-4x
Maintenance (In-Season) Apr-Aug 4-5x 4-5x 3-4x 2x 2-3x
Ages 13-15
Training Phase Time Frame Flat Ground Long Toss Skill Work Bullpens Drill Work
Active Rest Oct-Nov 0x 0x 0x 0x 0x
Building Dec-Jan 1-2x 1-2x 1x 0x 3-4x
Skill Development Feb-Mar 3-4x 3-4x 2-3x 1-2x 2-3x
Maintenance (In-Season) Apr-Aug 4-5x 4-5x 2-3x 2x 2-3x
Ages 10-12
Training Phase Time Frame Flat Ground Long Toss Skill Work Bullpens Drill Work
Active Rest Oct-Nov 0x 0x 0x 0x 0x
Building Dec-Jan 1-2x 1-2x 0x 0x 3x
Skill Development Feb-Mar 2-3x 2-3x 1-2x 1-2x 2-3x
Maintenance (In-Season) Apr-Aug 3-4x 3-4x 2-3x 1-2x 2x
Ages 7-9
Training Phase Time Frame Flat Ground Long Toss Skill Work Bullpens Drill Work
Active Rest Oct-Nov 0x 0x 0x 0x 0x
Building Dec-Jan 1-2x 1-2x 0x 0x 2x
Skill Development Feb-Mar 2x 2x 1-2x 1x 2x
Maintenance (In-Season) Apr-Aug 2-3x 2-3x 1-2x 1x 1x

Get my youth pitching program

Youth pitching program
If your son is a pitcher, you're going to love this guide...

While there aren't many pitching programs that are age-appropriate and safe for kids 7-14, there is one that provides youth pitchers with effective guidelines for strength training, pitching mechanics, and how to pitch faster in baseball.

Click here to learn more about my youth pitching program.

What do you think?

Now it's time to hear from you:

Are there any elements to these pitchers' throwing programs that I missed?

Or maybe you have an idea of how I can make this list even better.

Either way, leave a comment and let me know.

Before you do, make sure to grab your free PDF version of this guide that contains this 7 day throwing program for youth pitchers. And it also includes a bonus pre-game pitching routine not found in this article that you can print out and use as a reference.