I am starting high school this coming year throwing mid 70’s- low 80’s. I have a outstanding knuckleball that breaks about 1-2 feet. My fastball is fairly accurate. I am wondering if there is anything else that won’t hurt my arm that i can throw. I threw a no-hitter this past season, but i think i need more pitches than a knuckleball and fastball. I stopped throwing a change-up because of my knuckleball being better. I throw a 12-6 curveball but i want to cut down on the amount that i throw each game.
My pitching coach of long ago once told me that just about any pitch can be turned into a nice changeup. That being the case, you have a whole closetful to choose from. And most of them will not hurt your arm or shoulder. For example: there’s the palm ball (the first changeup I acquired), and it’s a very nice pitch indeed. If your hand is big enough you might try the circle change. Then there’s the knuckle-curve, which is sure to make batters scream; that one was my second-best pitch. And—again if your hand is large enough and you have long fingers—you might experiment with the split-finger pitch (a first cousin to the forkball but faster).
I don’t know how old you are, but it would be wise to wait until you’re about sixteen to try the slider—and then I would certainly recommend that pitch. And, you know, there’s more than one way to throw a standard curve ball—I was a sidearmer through and through, and I threw that pitch with a sharp karate-chop wrist snap (which won’t hurt your arm, by the way), and it had a nice sharp break to it. So you have a lot to pick and choose from; go ahead, experiment, find a couple you like, and develop and refine them.
And don’t forget that whatever you throw, location—what in my day we called control—is key. You want to keep the ball as close to the plate and as far away from the bat as you can. My pitching coach—he was an active major-league pitcher, a key member of the Yankees’ Big Three rotation—once told me that he almost never threw strikes. He threw pitches that looked like strikes, and therein lay the deception—they’d be close enough that more often than not the umpires would give him the corners or whatever. Also, in reply to a question I had about pitching being kind of like judo, said: "You could say that. The principle is the same. You take the batter’s power and turn it back against him."
In conclusion, have fun and get those batters out! 8)
With a combination of this kind of quality, going into high school ball, I would stongly suggest you work on your game quality - knowing what to pitch, when and why. The reason(s) - your fastball your bread-n-butter pitch. Below are some guide lines.
** Some of these examples are “game situations”, however for this posting and suggesting how to improve your pitch quality, for what the batter is doing at the plate, it’s a good start for your consideration and thinking about why your out there and how of effectively deal with various batters.**
Another thing to consider here is your game quality dependability on any given day. Some of these pitches - when missed by only four or five inches up or down, left or right, are misses big time.
In the pictures below, the COLD spots are where the batter’s effectiveness is the weakest.