Beginners Curveball

How do you feel about a 13 year old throwing a beginner Curveball? I threw a few today and I really get a big 1-6 break on it. I grip it with my thumb and middle finger and I have my index finger pointing. I have my hand so that my palm is facing first (I’m a righty).I throw it with the same arm motion and arm slot as my fastball. What are your thoughts on this?

Do you have good control of your change-up? If not, continue working on that. Otherwise, chances are that your change-up will stagnate.

alright thanks i will try and master my changeup

No curveball. No.

Sounds good then

Personal experiance, curveball= suiside. If you you need something do what everyone says and go changeup. If you need something desperitly circle change is the way to go.

There are so many schools of thought, so many different opinions, about when and whether to throw a curve ball, that one could get dizzy trying to sort them all out. I agree that thirteen is kind of young to start messing around with that pitch, but there are exceptions, and I was one such. When I discovered that I was a natural sidearmer I was surprised to find that a good little curve ball had attached itself to that delivery, and I figured, well, I’ve got it, let me work around with it for a bit. So I did, and I figured out how to change speeds on it, and at the same time I acquired a palm ball (which, by the way, makes an excellent changeup) and a bit later a knuckle-curve. The fact that I was a sidearmer helped immensely, because I could throw that curve with no stress or strain in the least; the sidearm delivery is really the easiest and most natural of all pitching motions. Then, at the age of sixteen, I welcomed the slider to my arsenal, and that became my strikeout pitch; I nicknamed it “Filthy McNasty” after a character in a W.C. Fields movie because that was exactly what it was…
And I never had a sore arm or any other trouble. Being a finesse pitcher, with not much in the way of speed, I had to become a snake-jazz pitcher, and I was a very good one. 8) :baseballpitcher:

honestly, throwing [size=24]ONE[/size] curveball a game wont kill you. if you progress to throwing it consistently, itll kill you. go and see a professional pitching coach to help you throw it with propper mechanics, so you dont do additional damage to your arm.

begin to throw it consistently when you start shaving, or when your about 15.

the beginners curveball is great so when your older youll be comfortable with an actual one. make sure your hrowing it right thouh or you could be hurting your arm.

Check out this link: This is a football change-up. My son has used this and has over 350 strikeouts in his two-year career, and a large majority of them is due to either this pitch or the uncertainty it causes. The pitch is safe when executed correctly. Make sure to throw it with a “V” that faces the batter, and throw it 12 to 6, and don’t throw it across your body. If you have questions, let me know. This pitch was taught by a AAA pitcher who used it up to the college level.


I differ a bit from most, and its because of the situation. You’re 13. At 13 my son started throwing Fr Fall ball. It wasn’t his fault he has a Aug 21 birthday. Looking at it that way, when you’re 13-14, there’s a good chance you’ll be throwing to HS players, and depending on a lot of things, you’re gonna need to at least show that you can throw a ball that breaks pretty good.

Also, if you read what ASMI has to say about it, they find a CB exerts no more stress than a FB. Of course that’s got the caveat of the CB having to be thrown with the correct mechanics. Otherwise it can be an extremely dangerous pitch for a young and undeveloped arm.

The easiest way to find out for sure, is to spend the time and money to get evaluated by someone who has good credentials. That’s seldom your dad or Little League coach, and most HS coaches aren’t pitching coaches either, so you need to be very careful about who you look to for advice.

But even if you take great care and are cleared, here’s some things to think about. There’s a good reason every ML, MiL, College, and HS pitcher doesn’t throw a killer CB. It isn’t that everyone can’t put enough spin on a ball to make it break. Heck, a 6YO can be shown how to do that. Its that the dang thing is most difficult pitch to control, even more than a KB!

Why is that? It because its so difficult to throw it with the same velocity and speed consistently. And why is that? Well, if that was the only pitch a pitcher threw, he’d get pretty consistent, and therefore accurate with it, but how many pitchers throw nothing but a CB?

Most pitchers throw a 4seam FB as a primary pitch, a 2 seamer as a secondary pitch, and a CU as an OS pitch, then work in other pitches from there. Well, a 2 and 4 seamer, and a CU all use pretty much the same mechanics and timing. But that’s not true for a CB. The mechanics are different because the arm action and timing are different. That changes everything, and that makes it difficult to be very accurate with it.

On top of that, look at the “track” of a FB or CU. depending on how its gripped, it can move horizontally to some degree, but as far as vertically, the FBs are fairly flat, dropping mostly because of gravity, and the CU will drop more or less depending on its velocity. But let’s look at what most people call the Uncle Charlie, or pure 12/6 hook. Its almost always thrown at a lower velocity than even a CU, plus it has varying RPM, up to about 1,700 for a good ML CB.

Scientists have computed that a baseball at about 75MPH will break about 17” because of the rotation alone. Add that to the natural drop of a 75MPH pitch, and the track has a very large “hump” in it, especially compared to any other pitcher. That hump means it has to travel further, and that means it will be harder to put it very close to where you want it.

But, there’s a saving grace about the CB that lures pitchers into throwing it. The more angle a ball has on it, the harder it is to hit! So while it’s the hardest pitch to throw, because of its track and its deception, it pretty hard to hit.

The modern game is beginning to slowly phase out the CB for other pitches more easily controlled, like a good CU, a splitter, or any number of other pitches. And why is that if its so hard to hit? The next time you get the chance, take a look at how many batters that reach base Via a BB or HBP score. Also, go watch about any game HS or below, and take a look at how many runners advance because of pitches in the dirt. Most of those pitches aren’t FBs!

Sorry to be so long winded, but I thought it required more than a “You Should” or “You Shouldn’t answer.

Good Luck! :wink:

Scorekeeper wrote,

What ASMI says is actually this:

“The greatest mechanical stresses on the elbow and shoulder were found to be the fastball, followed by the curveball, and least of all the changeup.”

You can find links to this article all over the place, just check out posts by littlelefty.

Scorekeeper wrote,

In my view, at least every successful ML, MiL and College pitchers throw a killer curveball. And I venture to guess that most successful HS pitchers do too, unless they have a dominating fastball and don’t need the curveball.


I know you are the scorekeeper so you’ve probably got numbers to prove the gradual phaseout of the curveball… I’d like to see them. This is fascinating to me.

I doubt Mero is still reading any of this but given the lack of medical evidence to the contrary, aren’t we being a little hard on the curveball? Properly thrown…I know.

I was very careful in my choice of words, and that’s why I didn’t say successful. By most people’s definition, every ML, MiL, and College pitcher is successful. They’ve made it to a place few others have. Now if you talk about the very best in each category, its true MOST do throw a good hook, but its by no means ALL of them.

The only REAL numbers I have so far are from a couple sources who manipulate PITCH(f/x) data. I currently don’t have the time nor the ability to do it myself, but hopefully that will change in the next couple of years. All I can say for sure is, I’m told the percentage of total pitches thrown being curves, is going down.

I thought I was being generally positive, at least from the injury standpoint, but what is it you think I said that is HARD on the CB? I said nothing that I haven’t either researched, or been told by those with decades of experience at the professional level as a player, scout, or coach.

One of the problems, or assets depending on your POV, of the CB is that it comes to the batter out of a different “tunnel” than other pitches such as FB, CU, sinker, cutter, slider, etc. This lack of deception, in a broad sense, makes the CB relatively easy to read, especially if it is overused as a pitcher’s offspeed pitch. Overuse conditions the hitter to the different tunnel and the pitch loses its effectiveness.

If used sparingly as a complement to the FB-CU the different trajectory of a CB makes it very effective as a “freeze” pitch. Hitters are forced to hesitate for recognition which reduces the chances of squaring up the pitch.

Finally the CB is still going to be the third pitch most kids learn after FB and CU (hopefully). It’s just more fun than a CU. If its use is declining I would be interested to know why. I do know some kids take to it easier and better than others.

[quote=“Dino”]What ASMI says is actually this:

“The greatest mechanical stresses on the elbow and shoulder were found to be the fastball, followed by the curveball, and least of all the changeup.”

You can find links to this article all over the place, just check out posts by littlelefty.[/quote]
No need to. Here it is:

Delighted to see so many people here citing that ASMI medical article right and left.

Of course, no one should give too much credence to that or any other medical article unless you first run it by the baseball authorities in Japan.

littlelefty, I don’t understand your point about the article and the “baseball authority in Japan”, do they have a better understanding than the AMA? Maybe I am just a little slow…

As for declining use of curveballs, I feel that if I can dominate with my fastball then the changeup and the curve just keep batters honest, they never really knows what is coming next. My coach says that if you can keep getting batters out with the fastball then I will be able to move onto the next level, that’s really what I want.

Since I’m the one who made the comment about the use of the CB declining, I’ll pass on what I heard, and add a bit of my own opinion.

What I heard, was that the numbers are indicating much the same kind of thing that took place when they started running numbers on things like SB and bunts. Its not that there’s no place for it, but the extent to which any of those things were valued in decades past has been checked into and found not to be as “valuable” as was once thought.

FI, Linear weights has just about pushed the SB and sac bunt into oblivion because they show the chances of getting a runner in from 2nd with one out is less than the chances of getting him in from 1st with no outs. With the CB, since so much rides on OBP as opposed to many years ago being BA, batters are much more willing to walk than hack at a pitch that’s tough to hit. The result is, since it harder to throw for a called strike, it isn’t really worth the risk in the very long run.

Of course nothing’s absolute! It would be stupid not to allow a great base runner to try to steal, or a pitcher who can’t hit his weight to not drop a bunt. It’s the same with the CB. There are times when it’s a good percentage play, or at least not a bad percentage play. :wink:

No, they don’t.

It’s sarcasm, a reference to some here who tried to raise doubt about the ASMI scientific medical article by referencing Japan’s baseball practices. As someone else pointed out, how do we know that 5000 pitchers aren’t ruined in Japan for every one that makes it to MLB?

My point is that scientific medical articles are challenged properly by scientific medical articles. That’s how academe works. Not by Internet wannabes asking nebulous questions about what supposedly happens or doesn’t happen in other countries. By that standard, let’s all go out and dismiss the scientific medical articles on smoking and smoke heavily because I’ve read that in Mongolia the people smoke all the time and live long. :slight_smile:

Honestly I have read a lot of posts and the only things I have found here about Japanese pitching is when we were discussing the Japanese Little League pitchers, I don’t really find it refered to here a lot. I have been show the articles on pitching overuse as well as the articles in the NY Times and USA Today, also my pitching coach keeps my limits set for how much I throw…are there Japanese articles about their pitching?