10YO with a hook

My team (9U) ran into our first experience with a kid throwing a breaking ball last weekend. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing as I was coaching third base. A couple of our kids actually fell down trying to avoid a pitch and then heard the umpire call “stirke”. All the while one of the parents for the other team kept yelling “let’s see the cheese!” Just another example of “win at all costs” in my opinion. I hope that kid stores up these memories of pitching a bunch of 8 and 9 year olds out of their jock or that the old guy looking for the “cheese” video tapes this because I would say we won’t see him playing come high school.

Eh. I started throwing a cutter when I was 10. You sure it was a true curveball and now a cutter?

you could be right about that. It was a ball heading high and inside on the right handed batter and breaking low and over the plate. Pitcher was a righty as well. That would make a lot more sense with the “cheese” comments wouldn’t it :oops:

It’s really hard to say. At that age, and at that pitching difference, with that velocity, the difference between a curve, slider, and cutter would be hard to tell from the movement of the pitch.

My personal belief is at that age, a properly thrown cut fastball is just as effective and much much safer than a curveball.

Now, at the advanced levels with 60’ pitching, the difference between a curve and cutter are obviously much greater. :smiley:

honestly, as an umpire, doing games for kids that are 8 and 9, the kids have such bad mechanics, that theyre actually throwing curveballs, and not realizing it yet. you may have ran into a pitcher like that.

also, you probably will see this kid in highschool, owning to the fact that he doesnt throw hard enough to do any damage to his arm.

This kid most definitely knew what he was throwing. He had an average velocity fastball, a change-up he threw maybe three times during the game and whatever the breaking ball was which he threw successfully maybe 4 or 5 times. I would say he probably threw it a lot more than that where it didn’t hit though. I guess if you only have to go through the batting order once in a game you can pretty much throw whatever you like without doing too much harm, eh?

Lots of people assume that breaking balls are harmful because they’ve heard it so often, but there are folks who have done a whole lot of research who think that overuse is more dangerous than any particular pitch, if that pitch is thrown properly. Check out LAFLIPPIN’s comments in the thread called “10-y-o Moving from Stretch to Windup” Pitching Mechanics and Analysis section of the forum.

OTOH, to be 9 and see a big hook heading your way - yep that’s pretty harsh, but they might as well get used to it, cause it’s going to be more of the same soon enough.

I agree with you here. Just after this tournament I started throwing a few breaking balls (best that I can that is :smiley: ) to my son in batting practice to get him used to seeing the different rotations and speeds. I wouldn’t have expected for him to have seen this so soon - but like you say - might as well get used to it. Harmful or not - we are going to start seeing it more and more.

I remember when I was eleven and I discovered that I had a natural sidearm delivery, and the funny thing was what came attached to it: a nice little curve ball. I figured, well, I’ve got one, I might as well work with it, and so I did, and I picked up a couple of other breaking pitches. Not having a fast ball to speak of—I was one of THOSE—I felt that I might as well become a snake-jazzer, and I became a good one. The way I see it, if a kid has a natural curve ball he (she) should use it—with discretion, not overworking it. He (she) should also work on developing a good changeup. 8)

oh heck its never too young to teach your child to look for curves. I have my son hit a few knuckleballs as well because there are kids that throw them. The truth is that if the kid has small hands the ball will look like a curve as well since they can only get their hand over half of the ball. This is what my son does, and he never knows what kind of break he will have, sometimes it sinks, sometimes curves and other times its straight. It really had hitters confused this last season. There are some kids that are 11 or 10 that have smaller hands and throw breaking stuff every time. It is difficult for the kids to hit, and not every small kid pitches with break like that.

My older son, who is 13 has a natural 3/4 arm slot, and has a ton of natural movement on his throws. Not blessed with a blazing fastball, he pitched exactly one inning last spring for his Majors team, and afterwards the umpire, who was a former coach of my younger son told me his pitches were breaking 8-10 inches on almost every pitch. It got to the point (after a nearly took a couple of throws in the face) when i played catch with him that i had to ask him to not throw it as hard as he could to me, and my younger son refuses to catch from him.