How often should you throw offspeed in high school?

I’m on Jv and my coach tells me that cause i dont have an over powering fastballs (cruises around 74 with movement)i should throw more curves. Luckily for me from what ive seen i have an above average curve compared to most kids my age so i can get by. but isnt it wrong if im throwing 50% curves?

50% curves is too much, IMHO. A simple mix would be 50% fastballs, 25% curves and 25% change-ups. You do have a change-up don’t you?

I’d go 70/20/10: FB/CH/CB.

Yeah i do have a change up but its not really that effective. Its only ~5mph from my fast ball and is pretty flat so it gets hit hard so i chose to stick with my curve

Well, Isee a few good things here. 1) you have a good curve, that means that if you work hard you will gain arm strength. This is because it takes good hand and wrist strength, and arm speed to throw a good one. You have good movement on your fastball always a plus.
But you should focus on throwing heat right now. Nolan Ryan once said that too many pitchers become off-speed pitchers, since they don’t have overpowering velocity. I would still use my curve, but remember your fastball if your primary pitch. It sets everything up and complements your offspeed. Curt Schilling also once said that a huge key to success in baseball is command of your fastball, since everybody works off the fastball except knuckleballers, but even they sometimes have to throw a fastball when theyare behind in the count. You need to develop that command.

What I said earlier to the guy who wanted to know how he could increase his velocity holds true here.

Spoken like a true 90mph’er.

I tell my kids one monkey ball (curve) per batter. Very few coaches and even fewer kids respect or work at control anymore. Working the corners, throwing off speed or throwing off the plate with control and speed will get you further in this game than anything. Anyone can throw a 85 mph fastball in HS but can you control it? Can you put it where you want to every pitch? Most kids can’t and coaches have no idea how to teach them any better.
After you master the smoke and off speed then and only then you can throw the monkey or a nice changeup, very few coaches teach this anymore. Look behind any HS dugout any you’ll find a pile of arms from kids past that think the curve, the splitter, or the fork is the only pitch to throw but they can’t throw 10 fastballs with control.

Good Luck and God Bless,


I see my fireballing friends have been here,LOL!

At 74 you not that far off, certainly not enough to "live below bat speed."
However your coach is right,you arent going to overpower many. That he is analyzng your stuff is good! He is interested in your developement!

One train of thought: Pitching backwards-this means you use your curve to set up your fastball-you lead off by throwing curves (or change ups) and finnishing off with a fastball that you “sneak by’em.”

The great Don Sutton used this philosophy for his entire hall of fame career. This takes enormous control with not only your curve but your fastball and change up as well. The problem with this is you need to have an excellent pick off move and be very quick to home plate and we are talking under 1.2 seconds. Otherwise if batters get on, so is the road race to steal on you. Coaches HATE being stolen on and for good reason!

For you getting ground balls will be important and that usually does not mean in high school ball a curveball, a lot of guys let them go. We would be speaking of a slider. Its is almost a must for a guy who does not light up the juggs gun, to be able to throw this pitch effctively.

You also need to be able to steal some strikouts and here are some ways:
(Assuming you are righthanded)

  1. Drop down to sidearm and throw a curveball
  2. Low Change up after a high fastball
  3. Slider low and away
  4. 4 Seamer about chin high.

At some point I will submit my treatise on the junkman (hopefully this weekend) or how to be an effective pitcher without over powering stuff.


If you don’t overpower then don’t be afraid to throw your curve as much as it is needed to get batters out. If you have good control, sometimes it just is not enough. If you are getting hit hard, you should work on the outside corner. Thats the hardest pitch to get out ahead on. From there, you should just work on location of the curve and make sure you can throw it all the time. Even 3-2 or 3-1. If you can do that, hitters will panic. The hardest part of hitting is figuring out the pitcher. If you let them figure you out, and they know you always throw the same pitch in the same count, you’ll get hammered. Even if you feel good, throwing 2 curves in a row. Why not, whatever it takes to get the batter out.

I also agree on the slider thing. As long as you start it middle away you’ll be fine. But if you start it inside, watch out. you always throw the same pitch in the same count, you’ll get hammered. Even if you feel good, throwing 2 curves in a row. Why not, whatever it takes to get the batter out.

What does Zita always say? Never the same pitch in the same count in the same spot?

Now after I have written a long post about finese and breaking balls let me insert my obligatory commercial for your fastball.

Your fastball is still your most important pitch even for old junkmen like myself. Frankly, I had a great curve, double nasty slider, and a baffling change-up, and I still got the most strike outs and outs with my fastball.

2 & 4 seam varieties-still the most important pitch I threw,and it should be yours (and any other pitchers) as well (except for a Knuckle-baller). You dont have great velocity but you do have great movement. Great! Your fast ball is better than average, its just average speed (@74), but if you can sink it, cut it, run it with good movement, its a plus pitch!

Also remember you still have room to grow, maybe your fastball will go from average to medium fast (my sons did).

So keep throwing your heater, keep its movement, and location-you will be a winning pitcher. Ian