6yr old throwing a curve ball

My son is 6 almost 7. He throws a natural curve ball. He has always thrown this way. I played little league baseball but I guess I never new what a curve ball was. I thought it curved either left or right. My son is the youngest in his class. He is playing 6U tball this year. He turns 7 in July. My daughters softball coach always wanted to play catch with him last year after her practice. He told me he has a natural spin and that was awesome. OK, that’s cool. I didn’t know what that meant. We moved last summer and now are in a bigger town. I know know what he has is a natural curve ball and been told this is rare and at this age shouldn’t be able to throw a curve ball. He plays first base right now and after a game I wall talking to someone and they where telling me that he plays good first base. I thanked him and said he really wants to be pitcher someday. He said, he can pitch. Yea I replied.
Sorry for the long story…he threw some pitches and with some few pointers was doing good. I could see the twinkle in the guys eye. He then told me how special he was and that he will work with him. He will not be pitching for another 2 seasons. He was a pitcher in college and the minors. He made a phone call to his old coach and he said if he should be throwing a curve…He was told it was natural. He said he wanted to see him next year in camp. He said if he could throw at 25’ a 30mph curve that he was something special.
I guess this dad is excited. I am not sure how fast he throws but the guy is going to try to get a gun on him.
What does everyone think? I wasn’t great in baseball. Any suggestions will be great. Thanks for listening to my story…I just had to tell someone.

It is indeed unusual. I have heard of ten- or eleven-year-olds with a natural curveball, but six? That’s extremely rare, but if the kid can throw it with some degree of consistency, all right, let him do it. And now would be a good time to start teaching him some basic good mechanics. He wants to pitch, so start with the basics. 8)

Take your kid fishing…

Reddirt…what my associate was trying to say is that a curve for a young kid isn’t anything astonishing or rare or precious, it is a symptom of throwing the ball in a fundamentally incorrect manner.
The thing that happens is your son is getting his hand on the outside of the ball (Not behind it).
It is good that he is enjoying himself, he needs no personal trainer, just someone to work on fun and fundamentals with him (You). Search here or YouTube, plenty of drills for kids just getting started…
No matter what anyone says to you, a 6/7/8 year old needs to learn proper techniques/fundamentals so his skill set will build with his love for the art and the game.

Reddirt,
All good points made by JD.

  I would also be wary of anyone who is more interested in developing a "curve ball" in a 6 year old. At that age he needs to be taught to throw properly before he considers pitching. That's throwing not pitching. 
  
  Finally, what possible reason could there be for putting a 6 year old on the gun. At his age velocity numbers mean nothing. What does mean something is him learning to throw properly with intent to throw the ball hard.  

How hard doesn’t matter at this point, as long as the intent is there.

[quote=“jdfromfla”]Reddirt…what my associate was trying to say is that a curve for a young kid isn’t anything astonishing or rare or precious, it is a symptom of throwing the ball in a fundamentally incorrect manner.
The thing that happens is your son is getting his hand on the outside of the ball (Not behind it).[/quote]

My son did this all the time at age 6, 7 etc. IMO, a lot of this comes from having hands that are too small to get the thumb centered under the ball. I think you’ll find that the spin is really a slider spin, not a curveball. As my son’s hands grew, he grew out of this, and now (almost 10) throws a straight fastball with pure backspin. Still, some of his teammates do still get “around the ball” a lot, and get that slider spin on a lot of their pitches.

Now my younger son is learning to play and, you guessed it, he (age 7) is throwing everything as a slider.

thanks for all of the comments. We will be taking your advice. I never pitched so that is why I am asking the experts. We are having fun and love playing the game.

[quote=“bbrages”][quote=“jdfromfla”]Reddirt…what my associate was trying to say is that a curve for a young kid isn’t anything astonishing or rare or precious, it is a symptom of throwing the ball in a fundamentally incorrect manner.
The thing that happens is your son is getting his hand on the outside of the ball (Not behind it).[/quote]

My son did this all the time at age 6, 7 etc. IMO, a lot of this comes from having hands that are too small to get the thumb centered under the ball. I think you’ll find that the spin is really a slider spin, not a curveball. As my son’s hands grew, he grew out of this, and now (almost 10) throws a straight fastball with pure backspin. Still, some of his teammates do still get “around the ball” a lot, and get that slider spin on a lot of their pitches.

Now my younger son is learning to play and, you guessed it, he (age 7) is throwing everything as a slider.[/quote]

+1

When I start to detect a slider spin in my 7 year old we back up and spend time on a release drill to get him back behind the ball.

I hope you’re joking. You shouldn’t be dealing with a curveball at that age. Around high school is fine but the kid is still in elementary. If anything, he should learn a two-seam or a changeup. Be kind to his arm and get him away from the curveball until freshman year at least.

Just my opinion, but based on experience and what other well known doctors have proven…the curveball is no more injurious to the arm than any other pitch. The problem is kids love to throw it because it is a fun pitch to throw. And they just plain throw it too much. That’s reason to stay away from it until the kid is mature enough to use it sparingly.

I used to throw curves a lot about two years ago when I was 13 and it put a strain on my elbow, the ulnar obviously. I think the younger, the worse because your body is still developing.

IMHO, Dino’s post should read…

I encourage anyone involved with youth pitchers to listen to the 3 part interview in the link above, with Dr Kremcheck of the Cincinatti Reds.

The medical experts need to produce a medical study that shows the direct correlation between curveballs and youth pitcher injuries. To hear Dr. Kremchek talk about how obvious it is…you would think that it would be like proving that ice melts at a certain temperature. Case closed. Ban the curveball.

I have no love for Little League and their commercialization and profiting of the world series. If you want to see the world series, go to Williamsport. But to demonize Little League and youth coaches and parents without the definitive evidence in hand to prove that a certain single activity is dangerous to the health of kids arms…that’s irresponsible also. It is easy to make a generalization about these things but they happen one kid at a time, each with his own myriad of circumstances that caused the problem.

Once again, the fact is no study has been undertaken and completed that proves to a scientific certainty that the mere throwing of a curveball is injurious to a youth arm.

Overuse? Now that has been shown.

Let’s say we do ban the curveball…wouldn’t the next argument be well at what age is it safe? Because the last time I checked…tommy john is being done on high school age, college age and adult MLB pitchers. Maybe NOBODY should be allowed to throw a curveball EVER!

I mean it’s just crazy. The kids can tune into ESPN at any time and see pitcher’s throwing all kinds of cutters, sliders, curveballs…of course they are going to throw them. Maybe ESPN should be required to put a warning label on their telecasts. “Warning: Throwing breaking balls at a young age is dangerous and can cause arm injury that can lead to premature termination of an otherwise successful Major League or Collegiate career.”

These kids are completely incapable of handling the overuse and fatigue they are forced into with year round competitive baseball and pitching. The elbow and shoulder are the weak links in their bodies. They need a break from baseball. The three sport athlete is on the endangered species list. There are too many organized leagues and too much glorification of the college scholarship or “draft prospect”. Money and fame. Your money, their fame.

How about college winter camps…“fundraisers”. These kids do not have their arms in shape to throw all day long in mid winter but they got signed up and parents paid and they need to get seen early so they go. Showcase? Multiple showcases. Tournaments? Oh yeah…

It’s just craziness. If I wanted to develop a program to ruin a kids arm, I’d adopt the current youth baseball paradigm in the United States.

In my opinion, the curveball is just the scapegoat. It’s the Cubs fan’s “Bartman”. It’s easy to blame the evil curveball. Lay your hands on it…transfer all the sins of youth baseball on it…curse at it on the way out of town and throw it over a cliff. Kill the scapegoat. Ban the curveball. And then go on about your business just like you did before.

I said this on another forum;

My opinion is that most times the damage is done before puberty. We are learning but haven’t quite learned yet that if we condition children as adults, their bodies can not hold up to it…but we continue on knowing that “our kid is different” and can handle the load…all we really have to do is look at the Olympic athletes who compete in those disciplines where the kid is the prime mover (Gymnastics, figure skating)…every one of those little dynamos we grew up watching now have chronic joint and muscle injury…because they intensely trained and conditioned before and through puberty…and their bodies broke down.
Incorrectly throwing a pitch is a catalyst, poor mechs…a catalyst, training a child as intensely as an adult…a reason.
I do think those involved with travel ball are much more intelligent in their approach than even a decade ago…but in my opinion if we continue to think that an adult load is ok, our kids will develop adult injury which will be nearly impossible to overcome when it really does “mean” something (As in HS and achieving the upper reaches of the art).

Throwing in a fundamentally sound fashion, conditioning properly…flowing in the cycle of the activity (Multi-sport/endeavor) are all portions of what I call the theory of reasonability…throwing a hook occasionally and age appropriately…reasonable…throwing it regularly in a constant 100 game cycle from the time you are 8…not reasonable… :roll:

It’s been said many times before, but I don’t mind repeating it because it’s so pertinent: we’ve been putting the cart before the horse on this issue. Kids have to learn to throw the ball before they can even think about pitching. And I mean throw the ball—throw it with intent—throw the crap out of the ball. But too many coaches, parents, what have you, inundate the kids with mechanics this and mechanics that, tweak this and fine-tune that, when the kids haven’t even learned to throw the ball! So is it any wonder that so many 10, 11-year-olds are headed for Tommy John surgery, with the result that some of them will never pitch again? Reprehensible, is what it is. :x

I said this on another forum;

My opinion is that most times the damage is done before puberty. We are learning but haven’t quite learned yet that if we condition children as adults, their bodies can not hold up to it…but we continue on knowing that “our kid is different” and can handle the load…all we really have to do is look at the Olympic athletes who compete in those disciplines where the kid is the prime mover (Gymnastics, figure skating)…every one of those little dynamos we grew up watching now have chronic joint and muscle injury…because they intensely trained and conditioned before and through puberty…and their bodies broke down.
Incorrectly throwing a pitch is a catalyst, poor mechs…a catalyst, training a child as intensely as an adult…a reason.
I do think those involved with travel ball are much more intelligent in their approach than even a decade ago…but in my opinion if we continue to think that an adult load is ok, our kids will develop adult injury which will be nearly impossible to overcome when it really does “mean” something (As in HS and achieving the upper reaches of the art).

Throwing in a fundamentally sound fashion, conditioning properly…flowing in the cycle of the activity (Multi-sport/endeavor) are all portions of what I call the theory of reasonability…throwing a hook occasionally and age appropriately…reasonable…throwing it regularly in a constant 100 game cycle from the time you are 8…not reasonable… :roll:[/quote]

JD - as always well said and thought out. Aside from “potential” issues resulting ( at least in part ) from early use of the cb…I always ask parents - " do you think throwing a hook at 12u will make him a better pitcher in hs? Because it won’t…it may help he and his coach win some games, but that’s about it. Parents, be educated on overuse and pre mature use of breaking pitches…you need to be involved, don’tlet coaches bully you . ps - I am not an Dr or Ortho , just a dumb has been … but to dismiss the input from an expert like Dr. Kremchek is probably not a healthy approach.

All of this makes me wonder how many of these kids peak too soon. I’ve seen numerous kids play for multiple travel teams as 10 thru 14 year olds and dominate on the mound and/or in the field and plate.

When some of these kids get to HS at the Varsity level they just can’t compete or they disappear altogether, whether its from burn out, nagging injuries or whatever.

It seems like the days of kids playing for playing sake are fading fast. Too many times it seems like these kids have a job. That job is to play weekend baseball. Their pay? Pleasing their parents and daddy being allowed to brag to his friends and be the big man in the stands.

I really really doubt a six or seven year old can throw a natural curve. Really. Most likely gravity ball. I seen tons of natural sliders though. Some break, many dont, but spin slider like.

Will you be paying for these pitching lessons? $)

[quote]These kids are completely incapable of handling the overuse and fatigue they are forced into with year round competitive baseball and pitching. The elbow and shoulder are the weak links in their bodies. They need a break from baseball. The three sport athlete is on the endangered species list. There are too many organized leagues and too much glorification of the college scholarship or “draft prospect”. Money and fame. Your money, their fame.
[/quote]

I’ve seen it too many times. Parents sign their 11-12 year olds up for this or that showcase or “factory team” tryout. They come back from the local tryout with basically a $400.00 video and being told how Lil Johnny is Division I college material. And of course invites to future tryouts, all of which include various fees.
I am not saying all showcases and factory teams are bad but parents need to take off their blinders and see clearly which are which.
As long as these uninformed parents are told their kid is a potential signee or has draft potential, that’s all they need to hear. Johnny quickly goes from being a kid to being a meal ticket.
Let the kids be kids. Let them play other sports. The vast majority of these kids will never make it to college ball. Parents better be prepared to pick up the pieces from the monster disappointment they caused.