Monday, May 21, 2018

Baseball Glove Options for Switch Pitchers

Custom made
 Mizuno ambidextrous glove
Looking for a glove for a switch pitcher?

Before spending hundreds of dollars on a custom glove, please think about age of the player and how much time they will spend pitching.

Here are glove options for ambidextrous pitchers, based on age:

Age 3-5

Kids don't pitch at this age. They should be learning the proper way to throw.

Young kids should try catching the ball with two hands. Use tennis balls or foam balls for throwing. Forget about the low quality plastic glove - it's in the landfill within a year. Gloves are awkward for young kids. If they learn two hand catch when they are young and continue with the skill, they will do well fielding balls when they are older.

Learning to throw with both arms is easy at this stage. If a child can throw with either hand when they are three-years-old, it doesn't mean that they are talented or ambidextrous - it just means that they are a typical kid.

Gloves: Buy a small leather glove for the player when they are around five-years-old. You might find a nice used glove at a local thrift shop or second-hand sports store that will work.


Age 5-7

Most of these kids play in tee ball or coach pitch. My son started pitching as a 7-year-old, but most kids don't have good throwing mechanics at this age and have trouble throwing strikes. The catchers having trouble catching and can't block balls in the dirt.

Hitting Tip: This is a good age to teach kids how to switch hit. Many of the switch pitchers started out as switch hitters. Switch hitting helps with balance and learning the strike zone, which will come in handy when pitching.

Pitching Tip: Please don't force the your child to pitch -- even if they are left-handed. Not all kids want to be a pitcher. Pitching can be very stressful to kids. They really have to enjoy pitching to become good.

Gloves: Two gloves work fine for an ambidextrous thrower. 9-10 inch size. It's better to use a small infield glove than a large outfield glove.

No ambidextrous glove is available for this age.

Have fun learning to throw a baseball.

Throw hard daily to a target.

Watch a 6-year-old practice throwing with both arms


Age 8-10
Switch pitcher using two gloves

Ambidextrous throwers in this group can use two separate gloves since there is rarely a situation where having an ambi glove on the mound will help at this age. Have the kid pitch one inning with each arm and see how well they do facing hitters.

In a game, if the ambidextrous pitcher needs to switch gloves, then the coach can call time and get the other glove from the dugout. Using two gloves worked well for the best ambidextrous pitchers. There is no need to switch gloves for one hitter. Winning just isn't that important at this age. Remember the game should be fun.

Gloves: Use two separate gloves for switch pitching. Different color gloves make in easy to gab the correct one. 10-11.5 inch size

Don't think about ordering a custom ambidextrous glove until your child can throw well with boths arms or else you are waisting money.

Training glove: Valle Baseball makes a nice ambidextrous pancake glove. This flat training glove does not have a pocket, so it forces you to use two hands.  My son loves his pancake glove and his teammates find it challenging to use. Cost is around $40 for the Valle Flat Ambi Pancake Glove  www.vallebaseball.com


Age 10-12

Players this age should really work on throwing hard and developing a smooth throwing motion.

Switch Pitchers can use two separate gloves without a problem. Pitch lefty one inning, then switch to righty the next. Or pitch two innings left, then the third inning right. Lefties are valuable in games since they have an advantage over most hitters. Make sure to spend extra time throwing left-handed.

The exception might be in tournament play where pitchers mainly throw with the dominant arm.

Let the umpire know before the game that the player is planning to use both arms for pitching. Check to make sure the umpires know the rules regarding switch pitching. Note that the pitch count is still the same for one player - they don't count each arm separately.

Most umpires really enjoy calling games with a switch pitcher. It's something they can share with their buddies.


Gloves:

Most switch pitchers will use two separate gloves that are different styles or colors. 11.5" size is common (range 11" - 12").

If the kid has adult-sized hands, and is a solid pitcher from both sides, then you can order the ambidextrous glove from Akadema (see below). This is the only "stock" ambidextrous glove available and it is ready for delivery from Amazon from around $100.

Custom made gloves are $200-$600+ and it takes 4 to 6 weeks for delivery. That's just too much money to spend on a glove at this age. There are only a few manufacturers that will make a custom ambidextrous glove.



Switch pitcher Henry Knight using an

Akadema ABX-00 Ambidextrous Glove


Age 13-14

If the player really can pitch well in games with both arms, then you might consider using an ambidextrous glove. Kids are playing more games at this age and owning a quality glove is a good idea. Many of the utility players own multiple gloves for different positions - pitcher, first base, catcher, infield or outfield. It's amazing the money parents shell out for sports equipment (but it won't make the kid a better player). One ambidextrous glove could cost less that two quality right- and left-handed gloves.

Gloves: 
Many switch pitchers use two separate gloves that are different styles or colors. 11.5"-12" size

Six-finger Glove:
A quality ambidextrous glove is available from Akadema (ABX-00: Ambidextrous, 12" model $135 list; Amazon $100 with free shipping).

Note that the Akadema ambidextrous glove is in high demand and might be out-of-stock following the debut of MLB switch pitcher Pat Venditte.

My son uses the 12" model - which is the only option available. This is a stock glove, but you will not find these in any stores. Order online from Akadema or Amazon. Akadema only produces about 100 ambi gloves per year (made in China). You can have a smaller custom glove made by Akadema for around $200. Visit www.akademapro.com



This six-finger ambidextrous glove is from the Akadema Pro Soft Series. The leather glove features four finger slots, plus two adjustable thumb loops (using velcro tabs). Like most quality gloves, this ambi glove is very stiff at first. If you follow the old-time break-in process, with glove oil and playing catch daily, then the glove works fine after a couple of weeks. Learn about Breaking in Your Glove

The Akadema ambi glove is a bit too large for an 11 or 12-year old player since it is an adult size glove. The glove is symetrical with no webbing, so it looks different and a lot larger than the 11.5" style of infield glove. Be prepared to use two hands on every catch until the pocket is formed since the ambi glove does not have the conventional webbing. Young fielders should try to use two hands to catch the ball, since they often have trouble squeezing a glove with one hand. So this turns out to be a good training glove.

The Akadema Ambidextrous Glove in Action

Switch pitcher Henry Knight using an Akadema ambidextrous glove


After about two weeks of regular use, the pocket breaks-in and the ambidextrous glove works really well in practice. It might take a month of regular use to make the Akadema ambi glove game-ready. The glove spreads out nicely for scooping up grounders. It's large enough to use in the outfield.


Custom Crafted Ambidextrous Glove


This cool looking ambidextrous glove, crafted by Carpenter Trade, uses state-of-the-art synthetic materials making it stronger and lighter than conventional gloves. The ambi glove was designed by Scott Carpenter after consulting with Pat Venditte the famous switch pitcher with the NY Yankees organization. All Carpenter Gloves are custom made to fit each individual. The glove maker is based near Copperstown, N.Y.


Carpenter Trade on Twitter @CarpenterTrade


Carpenter gloves are unrivaled in craftsmanship, performance, and customization. If you dare to be different, visit  CarpenterTrade.com


High School

Using two separate gloves is still a good option for games. There just aren't that many left-handed hitters playing baseball, so most of the pitching will be done right-handed against righties. The advantage of switching sides at this stage is to rest the dominant arm.

Two Pitching Gloves

The top high school player in Washington state, Drew Vettleson, was a switch-pitcher. Vettleson used two gloves and his strategy worked well for switch pitching.

"Drew Vettleson would take two baseball gloves with him out to the mound when he pitched for Central Kitsap High School in Washington. If he was pitching with his left arm, he tossed his left-handed glove to the back of the mound. Pitching as a righty, Vettleson would switch gloves and toss the other to the back of the mound". (source: milb.com)

Vettleson, a power hitter, was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays as an outfielder. The Tampa Rays named Drew Vettleson the MVP of the Princeton (W.Va.) Rays, their rookie league team in the Appalachain League.

Ambidextrous Pitcher Glove

Ryan Perez, a dominant switch pitcher in college, used an inexpensive six-finger glove from Akadema. His fastball tops out at 92 mph from the right side and up to 94 mph left-handed. Perez was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in 2015. Now, he uses a custom Mizuno glove in the minor leagues. Watch Ryan pitching.

According to a report in the Chicago Sun Times, Perez threw a complete game no-hitter left-handed, then came back later in the day and threw four innings of two-hit, shutout relief right-handed.


College switch pitcher Aubrey McCarty uses a custom Mizuno ambidextrous glove. McCarty signed a letter of intent to pitch for Vanderbilt University in 2014, and threw in relief in 2015. Aubrey McCarty was drafted in 2013 by the SF Giants, but he decided to get a good education and is playing in college. Vandy won the College World Series in 2014.


College

If you pitch in college, then it's time to buy a custom ambidextrous glove with your name on it.  The custom six-finger glove could bring you some extra attention in the press.

New Glove Option
44 Pro Ambidextrous Custom Glove $230

Pat Vindette used a custom Louisville Slugger TPX Ambidextrous glove at Creighton University. The  leather glove has 6-fingers, with 4-finger holes plus two thumb loops. It looks cool and was easy to change from one hand to the other.

You can custom order the Louisville Slugger ambidextrous glove for $399.99 by calling 1-800-282-2287 and a representative would be happy to assist you. (updated June 2012)

The Mizuno GMP1A ambidextrous glove is $450 and it takes 4-6 weeks to deliver.  

Carpenter Trade crafts custom gloves to fit each individual. Gloves range in price from $500 for a conventional style to $600 for an ambidextrous glove. Learn more at CarpenterTrade.com



Big League

Pat Vindette, a major league pitcher, uses a custom six finger glove made by Mizuno. Ryan Perez who plays in the minors with the Cleveland Indians also has a custom Mizuno glove. (Contact Mizuno by phone or email).

A big leaguer can arrange a sponsorship deal with the glove manufacturer.




Good luck.
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Friday, May 4, 2018

Pat Venditte News 2018

Ambidextrous Pat Venditte pitches in the MLB!


Pat Venditte - LA Dodgers
  • Patrick Michael Venditte
  • Pronunciation: ven-det-ee
  • Born: 6/30/1985 in Omaha, NE
  • Draft: 2008, New York Yankees, 20th rd. (620th overall)
  • College: Creighton
  • Debut: June 5, 2015

  • Sidearm pitcher from both sides
  • 3.36 ERA in 52 games (2017)


Pat Venditte (PatVenditte) on Twitter

https://twitter.com/PatVenditte

2018 Dodgers



2018 OKC Dodgers


Dodgers call up Pat Venditte, option Brock Stewart 

By 



Dodgers to send Pat Venditte to Triple-A Oklahoma City

18

PHOENIX — The Dodgers have told relief pitcher Pat Venditte that he will start the season in Triple-A Oklahoma City, as the club nears finalizing its opening day roster.
Venditte was the last non-roster invitee remaining in Dodgers camp and impressed from both sides, posting a 1.74 ERA in nine appearances, with 13 strikeouts and three walks in 10⅓ innings.
“The thing that stands out most about Patrick is the ability to get a bad swing,” manager Dave Roberts said. “That translates into guys being uncomfortable and not seeing him well, there’s a little funk in there, and soft contact.”

A Look at Where Baseball's Former Bluejays Will Open the 2018 ...

GoCreighton.com-Apr 4, 2018

Pat Venditte (2005-08): Traded to the Philadelphia Phillies organization last winter, Pat appeared in 52 games for the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs in 2017. Pat signed a free agent contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers in late November. Venditte is applying his trade for their AAA affiliate, the Oklahoma City

Dodgers to send Pat Venditte to Triple-A Oklahoma City

True Blue LA-Mar 23, 2018

PHOENIX — The Dodgers have told relief pitcher Pat Venditte that he will start the season in Triple-A Oklahoma City, as the club nears finalizing its opening day roster. Venditte was the last non-roster invitee remaining in Dodgers camp and impressed from both sides, posting a 1.74 ERA

Dodgers Spring Training Standouts: Clayton Kershaw, Pat Venditte ...

Dodger Blue (blog)-Mar 14, 2018
In a world of small sample sizes, Spring Training numbers are almost impossible to decipher — and when it comes to pitchers, this is even truer. As it stands at this point, only five Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers have seen seven-plus innings thus far.

Dodgers: Is a Switch Pitcher Going to Make the Opening Day Roster?

Dodgers Way-Mar 17, 2018
The Dodgers are always finding ways to add more weapons to their arsenal and in 2018, they might have a brand new weapon. A switch pitcher. When the Dodgers invited Pat Venditte to spring training this season, they probably figured he would give them an interesting weapon to stash in the minor 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

How Henry Knight learned to throw with both hands

Henry Knight - Ambidextrous Pitcher

Switch pitcher Henry Knight - Columbia City Reds, Seattle


Switch pitcher Henry Knight was a starter on varsity for four years in high school. He threw six different pitches, for strikes with both arms, and posted a league best
12:1 Strikeout-to-Walk ratio.

Coaches and umpires couldn't tell if he was a natural righty or lefty.

This post is about Henry's experience learning to throw with both arms since he was 9 years-old.


Reason for Switch Pitching: Just for fun

How he got started:

A natural righty, Henry Knight started throwing left-handed when he turned 9-years-old. As a Seattle Mariners fan, he was inspired by LHP Jamie Moyer, who kept batters off-balance by changing speed and location. He threw a slow "Bugs Bunny changeup" that made the best hitters look silly. Moyer was  fun to watch.

Henry thought that it would be fun to face batters as a left-handed pitcher – like Moyer, so he asked for a lefty baseball glove for his birthday and that's when it all started.

Note: Most ambidextrous throwers start when they are three to five years old, not by choice, but are  encouraged to throw with both arms by their dad. Some natural left-handers start throwing right handed so they can play shortstop or catcher. A few players start throwing with their non-dominant arm after an injury to their natural throwing arm. Billy Wagner, a natural righty, broke his arm twice when young, then started throwing left-handed.

Knight pitching lefty
Making practice fun

Initially, Henry practiced throwing balls left-handed into a large bucket at home – trying to hit the bucket in 8 out of 10 throws. He also made a game of knocking down water bottles lined up by a fence. The  target practice made a game of learning to throw lefty and helped Henry to develop accurate throws.

Switch hitting made ambidextrous throwing easier to learn

He was already a natural switch hitter, since 5-years-old, so throwing from both sides was not that difficult to learn. Henry started throwing left-handed two or three times a week in the off-season. This allowed him to rest his dominant right arm for several months, which is recommended by physical therapists.


Pitching Lessons

Once Henry could throw well with both hands, he thought that it was time to take lessons, so he signed up for a pitching clinic at Bellevue College.

Coach Mark Yoshino, a former lefty pitcher, taught Henry proper throwing mechanics, pitching grips, throwing drills, plus how to change speeds and location. Several college players worked with the pitchers on throwing drills, including how to throw long toss.

Henry participated in the clinic as a left-handed pitcher and the coaches said that he looked like a  natural lefty. The pitching clinic motivated Henry to work hard on throwing with both hands.


Proper Warmup is Very Important!

Pitchers learned dynamic warmups and arm exercises to get ready to throw. Coaches stressed the importance of proper warmup before throwing a baseball. Warmup to throw – not throw to warmup.

Knight pitching right-handed

Practice, Practice, Practice

After six months of regular practice, Henry became proficient at pitching with both arms (70% strikes). On flat-ground, he practiced throwing his four-seam fastball, 2-seamer, and change-up with the same arm speed.

He also threw long-toss twice a week – using all three grips.

Advanced Pitching Lessons

In the offseason, Henry was ready to learn how to throw a breaking ball. His dad wanted him to learn a safe way to throw a curveball, so he would not strain his arm like other kids in the league. After researching options, he decided to take a class from Pete Wilkinson - a local pitching expert. Pete taught Henry how to safely throw a curveball and locate a changeup.

More importantly, Henry learned how to make adjustments on the mound, so that he could be his own pitching coach.

Throwing a Breaking Ball

Although Henry learned to throw a curveball when he was 13, he didn't start using the curve in games until his junior year in high school. A college coach encouraged Henry to work on developing his fastball & changeup from both sides, and wait until high school to throw the curveball.  Tyler Davis, an All-American college pitcher, said it would be better to focus on throwing hard, and work on developing a changeup using the same arm speed.

Throwing Hard Daily

In the offseason, Henry focused on throwing hard every day and using the same arm speed with different pitching grips. Playing "burn out" was one of his favorite activities.

Controlling the Glove Side

One important lesson was how to control the glove-side in order to make accurate throws. Many young players yank the glove sideways or way behind their back, causing the shoulder to rotate early which can lead to inconsistent throws or wild pitches. By controlling the glove arm, a pitcher can really improve their pitch location.


Be Your Own Pitching Coach  

   Throw strikes!  Just play catch!  Relax! 

In Little League, I often hear parents and fans yelling instructions to the struggling pitcher. This sideline coaching is distracting and doesn't help the pitcher to throw strikes. 

A better strategy is to learn to be your own pitching coach. Learning how to make simple adjustments on the mound helps a pitcher to consistently throw strikes. 

By using self coaching techniques, Henry was able to throw 75% strikes and consistently locate pitches in the strike zone.


Two Pitchers in One

I would suggest to develop two slightly different pitching styles from each side. Henry would try to emulate Jamie Moyer from the left side, and Greg Maddox from the right. His overall strategy was to throw first-pitch-strikes and put the ball in play (weak contact) to keep the count down. Find out for yourself what pitching style and arm slot works best. 


Throwing BP

During the regular season, Henry helps to throw batting practice (BP) from both sides. This experience gives him confidence facing some good right- and left-handed hitters.


Pitching in Games

First Start as a Switch Pitcher

Henry got his first start as a lefty pitcher, in Pony League, when he was 10-years-old and retired the first three batters. The next inning, he switched gloves to throw right-handed and did not give up any runs. Players where yelling "Watch the new pitcher!" when Henry was warming up in the second inning. 

Gloves and Pitching Strategy

Six-finger ambidextrous glove
Until recently, Henry used two separate gloves for pitching left- and right-handed. The first inning of a game he would use his left hand to pitch, then the following inning he would switch to throw right-handed. The league only allowed 10 year-old players to throw up to two innings per game (no pitch count rule).

If he struggled throwing left-handed, then his coach would call time and bring the other glove to the mound so that Henry could pitch right-handed. Being his own reliever was a great way to get out of a jam and build confidence.

During his second season of pitching left-handed, he worked on hitting the corners and started striking out more batters. The low inside change-up was very effective against right-handed batters. His approach is to locate the ball low in the strikezone, change speeds, and use movement to keep hitters off-balance.


Pitching in High School

Henry Knight made the varsity baseball team as a freshman and pitches against the best players in the state. As a sophomore he only gave up one earned run throwing left-handed and posted 22 strikeouts in 22 innings pitched.

As a relief pitcher on varsity, he tallied a 2-0 record.

In the off-season, Henry worked out regularly with high-velocity pitchers at Driveline Baseball in Puyallup. Kyle Boddy worked with Henry to develop a custom throwing and arm care routine for an ambidextrous pitcher. The program included a long warmup routine, workouts with weighted implements, long toss,  focused bullpens, video analysis and post throwing arm care. Henry also threw hard daily, on flat ground, alternating days throwing right- and left-handed. This throwing program kept him in shape and healthy throughout the season.

Over four years on varsity, Henry posted a 12:1 Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio
Now that's having command of his pitches.


Pitching Highlight

In the summer league, he threw 11 innings in a game as a switch pitcher, allowing only one earned run while throwing 94 strikes.


Knight threw nine scoreless innings with 87% first pitch strikes.




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Switch Pitcher
In baseball, a switch-pitcher is an ambidextrous pitcher who is able to pitch with both the right and left hand from the pitcher's mound. (Wikipedia)
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