Good #2 and #3 pitches for eleven year old?

Good #2 and #3 pitches for eleven year old? My kid just doesn’t have much velocity. I am looking for pitches for him that give little elbow and shoulder stress. Any tips?

Fastball In
Fastball Out
Fastball Up
Fastball Down

Throw that in w/4 seam and 2 seam. Add in a changeup and you have 9 pitches.

Point being - working on location at the early ages is more important than having extra pitches in my opinion coupled w/a changeup to keep batters off balance.

That’s all we will focus on until we are 13 or 14 years old.

I would have to say stick to fastball and change-up until he’s older. Location is key like ebk said and if you want, talk to the coach about having him start after a pitcher with a little more velocity and you’ll notice that his lack of speed will most likely help. At least from personal experience when I was younger throwing a slower guy after a faster pitcher did wonders for getting guys off balance.

[quote=“ebkcontainers”]Fastball In
Fastball Out
Fastball Up
Fastball Down

Throw that in w/4 seam and 2 seam. Add in a changeup and you have 9 pitches.

Point being - working on location at the early ages is more important than having extra pitches in my opinion coupled w/a changeup to keep batters off balance.

That’s all we will focus on until we are 13 or 14 years old.[/quote]

Could not agree more.

This will serve him well in the future. He will be able to build on that foundation of being able to locate a fastball and change-up before he adds a curve to the mix.

Stu

FASTBALL!!! and if you are pretty fit with that, learning how to throw a change would be a good idea.

another pitch you could try out is a knuckleball… i threw that when i was 11-13 and it worked pretty well.

What if I were to have him throw a pitch with a cutter grip but no arm pronation?

You’d just have him throwing a fastball essentially. At that age I wouldn’t mess around teaching a pitch that involves any kind of arm action…

Fargo - I could not DISAGREE more. I apologize in advance, but the knuckleball is one of my biggest pet peeves for little league pitchers. Almost all of my young pitching clients love to try and throw this pitch but it will, in no way, help them become better pitchers in the future.

First, it requires a pitcher to completely change his pitching motion, arm speed, and release hand motion to throw.

Second, he will almost definitely NOT be throwing a knuck once he get’s to high school ball.

Third, it teaches kids to try and make people swing and miss at pitches that move tons when the better philosophy would be to attack hitters IN the strike zone and get ground balls and pop ups.

Bottom Line - While the knuck is effective at the little league age, strike outs in little league will mean little if it is achieved my completely changing your motion. The focus should be on Fastballs and Change-ups at that age (as mentioned by all the other posters) and more importantly, repeating the pitching motion, arm slot, and release point. Muscle memory is so important to a pitcher.

Good point southpaw, i just think that if he really wants a pitch he could try out the knuckleball, not to make it a main pitch. Instead of doing something dumb like trying to throw a curve, he could try a knuck. I threw it and really it was a lot of FUN. especially for an 11 year old, the game should be fun!

But i agree with the changeup suggestion, just giving another suggestion with the knuckleball.

And how about the knuckle-curve? That is not a difficult pitch to pick up—basically, you just use a knuckleball grip and throw the curve ball, and what is so great about it is that it comes in there looking for all the world like a fast ball—until just before it gets to the plate, and it drops like a stone. I picked up that pitch when I was about twelve—and I think that’s exactly how Mike Mussina acquired his; he too had no luck with a regular knuckler because of the sharp wrist snap on his curve ball. I threw my curve (which had come attached to my natural sidearm delivery) with a karate-chop wrist snap, and the pitch had a sharp late break to it, and the batters used to have conniption fits trying to get a piece of it! :slight_smile:

Zito - I am surprised you would suggest that a KnuckleCurve would be “easy to pick up” for a little leaguer. I would say that pitch is even more advanced than a regular curveball and is extremely difficult to teach to a youngster.

Also, the knuckle curve (spike curve) is more frequently thrown with only one finger bent and still requires atleast some supination of the elbow and arm which is dangerous for the youngsters.

I know a true knuckle curve is diff. from a spike curve, but the two have become synonymous thanks to Cliff Lee and Company.

Either way, its not a beginners pitch in my opinion.

As I said—just a suggestion. And by the way, my first name ends with an “a”. :roll:

Will a knucklecurve (spike curve) still work even if you use no elbow or arm pronation?

It really depends what level the kids pitching at. I know all these poster saying FB, FB, FB mean well, but the fact is…

My son plays travel ball, and we’ve been playing some upper levelish tourneys, and I can say without a doubt that a FB/change up combo just won’t get it done, for the most part. We’ve seen a couple of kids that can throw it by people, the rest have relied on curves for the most part. Anyway, you had better have very, very good location and an exceptional change or you’re going to get pounded into next week by some of these kids/teams.

Now LL/rec ball, sure a FB/change up will get you a lot of K’s.

SomeBaseballDad - If we are still talking about kids that are 11 and under, I still have to disagree. There arms are just too young to be throwing curveballs - All the strike outs in AAU baseball aren’t going to mean diddly if it leads to tommy john when he’s 13. I know everyone else is throwing curves, but that isn’t a reason to risk injury. I still believe most 11 and unders can survive just fine with FB/CH combos (I’ve seen enough travel ball games to confirm this) and again, the emphasis should be on teaching kids how to pitch with those pitches, not rely on a curveball yet. It will serve them much better as they get to middle school and high school ball.

P.S. sorry for the typo Zita

Johnny - the knucklecurve is probably still not a viable option. It is an advanced pitch in my experience and almost always requires some kind of supination in the arm to throw. Little leaguers who say they throw one almost always throw it was wrist movement and incorrect form

Like I said, it better be a very good FB/change combo. The better TT I’m seeing just have no weak spot in the line-up, and if you can’t hit your spots and get them to swing at the change they will score on you. The one thing I have noticed is the umps will give the pitcher far enough outside the batter just can’t hit it. So if you can hit your spots you can succeed, but miss inside and the batter will put the ball in play. That’s just what I’m seeing.

Also, while I don’t encourage my son to throw one I won’t stop him either. No one has convinced me that the curve, thrown right, is the work of the devil. In fact I see it as a plus if it helps keep the pitch count down.

You said it best… When the curveball is thrown right it doesn’t put undo stress on the arm. My point is that very few kids throw them correctly and with their young arms, it is harmful.

You also said that if kids can locate well, then they won’t get hit - that is exactly true - with or without curveballs. Being able to throw a curveball certainly doesn’t lessen the need to locate well. Unless you routinely throw balls by hitters, you will need to locate well to get hitters out - no matter what pitches you throw.

That report was certainly interesting - but it isn’t the real world either. A few curveballs thrown in an in air conditioned lab with no consideration to work load during the season or pitches thrown in a game does not a paradigm shift make.

Even the publishers of the point said that the bigger issue is work load and pitch counts - which I would agree with for the most part. But it all goes back to my point that the kids need to learn to pitch/locate/change speeds first before they start relying on pitches that could, at the very least, potentially hurt their arms.

A curveball thrown correctly still needs to be limited in terms of how many are thrown (no more than 20-25% of total pitch count - offspeed should account for another 20-25%). And throwing the curve shouldn’t get in the way of developing an offspeed pitch.