Breaking Balls

Hey guys. Just a couple questions. Im 15 years old turing 16 in october. Im a freshman in high school and played on JV this year. From the day i starting pitching i threw only fastballs till 13 (7th grade in Middle School). My change up has really developed and my best pitch. My fastball isn’t very fast but i no if i keep working out throwing and get older i will increase velocity. The varsiety coach taught me a slider (throw and turn breaking ball) and another coach taught me a curveball.

Am i old enough to start throwing a breaking ball?
What pitch is safer to throw - throw and turn breaking ball or curveball?
Has anyone throwin both, which do you perfer?

since youre asking for opinions, id say forget about the slider if you dont throw fast enough, if your fastball is below average the slider is only a flat curve, meaning it doesnt travel fast enough to be used how the slider is intended to, the slider being used to foul a hitter by making him think it’s a fastball until it dips out of strike zone or straight back into it. the curveball is a pitch that comes out slow, is used to mess up the hitter’s timing and foul him by the amount of mouvement the ball has.

hmmm…I threw both. Most guys are better with one or the other.

Sliders need to have good fastball meachnics and tight rotation-lack of good rotation can mean a hanging slider or one that backs up. Generally guys that throw hard are better with the slider.

Curveballs are more forgiving because of the change in speed and the downward break, and you can change speeds on a curve -Tom Gordon does this-so does Bronson Arroyo.

At 15 1/2 you’re a little too young for the slider (probably a year away). Remember you can only get good at a pitch by practicing it. If you dont have the mechanics of one down, it will blur into the other-not a good deal. (also please see Steve’s article about 3 pitches being enough).

If you are dead set on throwing both, here are some tips from a guy who had good success with both.

I was not a flamethrower either-I was pretty average velocity wise. I found that keeping my slider exclusively low and away worked for me. Even if it hung, it was still a good pitchers pitch. Front dooring sliders IMHO is for power pitchers.

I would use the slider when runners were on base and I did not want to throw a curve or change. Also, umpires miss calls especially guys doing JV games. The slider is easier to call. If the ump keeps missing the call switch to the slider and see if you don’t feel more love from the man in blue.

If you arm hurts with either pitch, FREAKING STOP Immediately!!!This could be the start of tendonitis or something worse.

Sorry for the long answer, but the brotherhood of finesse pitchers must stay together, Ian.

FINALLY a kid who has actually worked on developing a changeup. This is a breath of fresh air to the usual “LOL IM 15 I THROW A SLIDER, SLURVE, KNUCKLECURVE, AND A CURVEBALL AND FOUR SEAM SHOULD I LEARN A KNUCKLEBALL!?!?!?!?” If it was up to me, work on the curveball. It’s a lot easier to get strikeouts with it in lower levels of baseball because it moves down so much at the end, avoiding the barrel of the bat, in contrast to sliding over and not necessarily avoiding it.

Learn a curveball. Its surprising at a JV and Varsity level how many hitters can rock 80+ mph fastballs, yet can’t sit on a routine curveball and take it to the opposite field. In a scrimmage the other day, i struck out 3 of my schools varsity team best players with 9 straight curveballs, and im only in junior high.

Curveball. Im just saying that from my own experience. Ive heard that the slider is better, but only when its fast. I say that when you can throw faster work on the slider. Most of the time it either goes foul or nowhere. As long as you can throw it down and in.

Ohk thank you. What pitch is safer to throw?

I personally think the curveball is the safest, even though I mainly throw knucklers I do throw an occasional curveball.

Well actually my coach just works with me in practice on pitching, like pitching to batters and whatnot, I haven’t pitched in a game yet this year.

Remember I’m in Wyoming so all the baseball here is summer, my season doesn’t end 'til August so I have plenty of time.

when you throw the curve properly, its definatly the safest. the slider requires a violent snap for it to break properly. when i used to throw a slider i would get an occasional twinge in my elbow from the snap you have to use. im not messing with it anymore and either should u.

Oh well I throw all those pitches plus 2seam vulcan change, circle change, palmball, cutter, forkball, splitter, gyroball, knucklecurve, a nasty k-ball, a screwball, curve, and a nasty sinker.

For the serious question, throw a curve, knuckle or regular. The slider could mess you up depending on maturity. I’d go with the curve. It’s a great pitch.

For the one who said kids can hit an 80 MPH fastball but not a curve. I’m the opposite but I can’t speak for anyone else. I love a curveball. To me its a change-up that I can tell is coming by reading it out of his hand. Now some curves are good no matter what but a lot of them get sloppy.

[quote=“Bostonsportlova”]Hey guys. Just a couple questions. Im 15 years old turing 16 in october. Im a freshman in high school and played on JV this year. From the day i starting pitching i threw only fastballs till 13 (7th grade in Middle School). My change up has really developed and my best pitch. My fastball isn’t very fast but i no if i keep working out throwing and get older i will increase velocity. The varsiety coach taught me a slider (throw and turn breaking ball) and another coach taught me a curveball.

Am i old enough to start throwing a breaking ball?
What pitch is safer to throw - throw and turn breaking ball or curveball?
Has anyone throwin both, which do you perfer?[/quote]do not throw the slider, i just started to throw a slider and i’m just about 19, i think you could start to learn a begginners curve but don’t use it a lot at first, work on feel and the arm action, learn it right, dont learn it wrong, it’s very touch to teach over here, i would suggest talking to someone like a pitching coach or lookin over steven ellis’ grips and how to throw them on this site…

Learn them both, but start with the curve, and remember (and I hope you take to heart) the age guidelines I gave you from the surgeon. 16 & 1/2 minimum for the slider. 15 & 1/2 to start the curve. Stop immediately if there is any pain!

Also do not use a curve as a crutch. If you start it early enough you can pile on strikeouts but that wont last-same as a guy with velocity but nothing else-batters will catch up.

Pick some major leaguers and study them, their sequences & strategy. Get command of the fastball, change and curve you and you can go very far-GOOD LUCK! Ian.

thanks for the help guys

i was looking at pitch like a pro by leo mazzone were it disscuses how maddux glavine and smoltz throw there breaking balls. it says “throw, turn, pull in the elbow” is this considered a curveball or slider. Is it safer to throw then a regular curve or slider?

“Brotherhood of finesse pitchers”—I like that. In my playing days, long ago, I was one—not much on speed, but I threw a lot of what they call in some quarters “snake jazz”. The first such pitch I had was a good curve ball which, surprisingly, came attached to my natural sidearm delivery. I experimented with ways to change speeds on it, and I discovered that there was such a thing as a knuckle-curve (I had no luck with a regular knuckleball because of that sharp wrist snap I had with my curve, and I think Mike Mussina picked his up the same way)—a few other pitches like the palm ball, and when I was 16 I learned how to throw the slider…
I think some of you guys may have the wrong idea about that pitch. The one I learned it from was an active major league pitcher who used it quite a lot, and what he told me was “Throw it like a curve, but roll your wrist, don’t snap it.” I found that it was easier to throw—and to control—than anything else, and what it did to the hitters, don’t ask! Also, because I was a sidearmer, I picked up the crossfire—that’s a move that works only with the sidearm delivery—and my pitching coach (the same major league pitcher) worked with me on it and helped me refine it.
I played for sixteen years, and then, regretfully, I had to stop when my work schedule caught up with me and I lost my free weekends. But it was fun. Now, I would suggest that those of you who want to acquire some “snake jazz” experiment, find out what pitches you are comfortable with, and use them. If you haven’t got a fast ball to speak of, you need that breaking stuff. 8) :wink:

curve is safer and my oppinion works better

Whatever works for you. The slider was my best pitch. For you it may be something else. The important thing is to get the batters out. 8)

i agree