Controversial curveball vs fastball

I took my son to a well known (retired) pitching coach from North Eastern Ohio, no names please who told me that the fastball was actually more harmful in some cases than the curveball. He stated that when kids between the ages of 11 and 14 throw the fastball that they actually exert more force on the arm (elbow/shoulder) because they try to over throw. He said with my “permission of course” he would teach my son how to throw a curveball that when thrown correctly will not hurt his arm. He also mentioned a cut fastball that also will not put the elbow or shoulder in harms way if thrown correctly. This coach has had winning records at the college and minor league levels and is now training younger players to prepare them for the high school and college levels. My son is 13 yrs old and has been pitching for apprx 5 yrs, he is of normal height and weight for his age and a very good athlete. With all the advice on the dangers of younger players throwing the curveball, I’m somewhat reluctent to give the coach permission, what do you think??

Censored for all you kiddies out there:

I think his idea that the fastball is more harmful than the curveball is a bunch of poo.

Maybe it’s true that the curveball might put less stress on the arm BUT

  1. If you never build up the amount of stress the arm can take by throwing fastballs, it won’t get stronger
  2. If you never throw a fastball you’ll never have a fastball. Ever heard of those coaches that abuse the deuce?

He might know how to throw a curveball and how to teach it, that part I am not debating, but throwing ‘easy’ pitches is taking the easy way out.

Curveballs dont build arm strength. That guy is so stupid. Like I cant even figure out what to put here to describe my overall hatred towards him.

Did you see my picture? lol

That doesnt describe my hatred well enough.
lol

No pitch thrown correctly should “harm” the arm/shoulder…I’ve heard this from ex-pros and current college coachs (D-1). That said, I cannot imagine what this guy is talking about. A fundementally thrown fastball is as close to harmless as we come…one would suspect that if I’m paying a pitching coach he’ll instruct my 13 yr old how to throw it properly and not “overthrow” it. Actually the cutter is the pitch at this age I’d worry most about because A) its a nuanced pitch (Generally a 13 year old hasn’t the real feel to develop the pitch) and B) you have to supinate at the release and that is potentially harmful. I do believe he can show him how to properly throw a curve and not damage him…IF your sons coaches don’t fall in love with the pitch and have him throwing the majority of the time.
Spencer though colorful is spot on. Your kid has to throw a fastball and be able to locate it. It should be the one pitch that he works hardest on. Most every pitch thrown is a fb variant (Except uncle charles…the curve…the knuckler and the differing changes…but all pitches should be delivered in a way that makes the batter think fb).
The coach is mystifying in that, if your son wants to play at higher levels he’ll absolutely have to throw the fb to a location at any time…he should know that. If it was different for his particular college…well that would be the exception…and he isn’t even there anymore…Do yourself a favor and call some of the colleges or universities in your area, talk to the head coaches or pitching coaches and see if they buy that logic (Generally they don’t mind answering questions…and if jr wants to play college ball it’s never too early to get an understanding on how to deal with coaches at that level.)…If they do I’ll buy you lunch the next time you are in Florida…I’m sure they won’t though.

To add,

You won’t really find any ‘junk’ pitchers in the pros (at least the upper levels) and this is because all the junk is based on the fastballs and location. The fastball is what makes you good. (This is an assumption, correct me if I’m wrong)

In little league/HS and some college programs, a mediocre/good curve is enough to get you by without a fastball but you won’t do any better.

Thank you for your responses, I really appreciate them. My son does throw both the 2 seam and 4 seam as well as a circle change, I think that will be his arsenal for now. What a great forum. Thanks again

It’s all about throwing pitches using proper technique, with good mechanics, and in appropriate numbers.

As for learning the curve, I favor teaching kids to throw it the proper way and then limiting the number they throw. If you don’t teach them the right way, they’ll learn on their own to throw it the wrong way. This is a philosophical matter but that’s my opinion.

[quote=“Roger”]It’s all about throwing pitches using proper technique, with good mechanics, and in appropriate numbers.

As for learning the curve, I favor teaching kids to throw it the proper way and then limiting the number they throw. If you don’t teach them the right way, they’ll learn on their own to throw it the wrong way. This is a philosophical matter but that’s my opinion.[/quote]

Thanks Roger, I tend to agree with you, if he is not taught the correct way he probably will throw it wrong and will damage his arm.

The only benefit to throwing the curve at early ages is to get outs…and this in itself it the wrong objective.

bob feller began throwing the curveball at 9. randy johnson - 12. jim brewer (long time major leaguer and pitching coach) 8. if they are ready and can spin the ball properly, i would start them. my guy started throwing the breaking pitch at 11 and has ad no problems with velocity. it takes time and repetition to learn a quality breaking pitch.

"bob feller began throwing the curveball at 9. randy johnson - 12. jim brewer (long time major leaguer and pitching coach) 8. if they are ready and can spin the ball properly, i would start them. my guy started throwing the breaking pitch at 11 and has ad no problems with velocity. it takes time and repetition to learn a quality breaking pitch."

Add in my son who began throwing his at 12. Are you saying you think that this coach is correct in teaching away from the fastball? Or are you just pointing out that it can be taught in a non-injurious way?

I got my dads Chyrsler up to 120 one night when I was 16, but I turned out ok ( I know, that’s debatable ).

terprhp,

I knew there had to be a cause. All those brain cells pressed against the back of your skull by the g-force… :faint:

I agree with Dusty–given the condition that a young pitcher and his primary coach understand how to properly impart spin to a breaking pitch, there is no good reason to delay learning how to throw one. My son has been throwing a modest percentage of breaking pitches in practices and games since about 9 yo (that’s been about 5 years now) and he has never experienced any elbow soreness from pitching. But, he didn’t learn his breaking pitch from me because 5 years ago I wouldn’t have been able to teach him how to throw one–instead, I studied the subject thoroughly enough to detect the difference between b.s. and sound knowledge, then I hired someone with sound knowledge to teach the boy.

I imagine Dusty might also agree with me–not everyone who says they know how to throw a quality breaking pitch really does know. In fact, it seems to me there is often a lot of coach’s ego and testosterone that may get in the way of kids really learning breaking pitches well at a young age. That is, if a youth coach/dad–especially at the LL level–doesn’t know any better (or doesn’t really want to know any better) than some b.s. another misinformed youth coach/dad taught him to do in the past, then learning what “proper” means can be pretty difficult.

Run away!!!

Trevor Hoffman didn’t throw a curveball until he was in college.

That’s one reason why his change-up is so good.

Trevor Hoffman didn’t throw a curveball until he was in college.

That’s one reason why his change-up is so good.[/quote]

What exactly are you saying? If an experienced pitching coach teaches him how to throw a curve correctly wouldn’t that be better than another 13 yr old showing him? What do you mean Run Away?

I really appreciate all the comments mentioned concerning the curveball vs fastball and the possible damage to a younger athletes arm. The pitching coach I was referring at the beginning of this topic always stresses using the fastball to set up other pitches and in no way is stating to use the curveball as a replacement for the fastball. I was concerned because I hear from almost everyone that the curve will damage young arms, but hearing from alot of you I feel better knowing that if taught to throw the curve correctly and use it sparingly there should be no real danger to the elbow/shoulder. Mechanics first, fastballs first, location next, change up second and a correctly thrown curveball occasionally. Thanks everyone great forum!!