Little League World Series Breaking Balls


#1

Okay, I’m watching Japan vs Puerto Rico and at least 50% of the pitches are breaking balls. What gives, are throwing these pitches bad for these kids arms or not? And if it is bad to be throwing breaking balls at this age why don’t I hear Orel Hershiser criticizing these teams and managers?

Also, I’m guessing some of these teams wouldn’t be here if these kids were not throwing so many breaking balls. Is it a win at all cost attitude?

If throwing breaking balls is so bad for these kids, seems to me Little League shouldn’t allow them. What good is a pitch count if half of them are curves and sliders?

Whooo… Rant over.


#2

i know i dont get it. is it just to win. im barely starting to throw breaking balls now at age 13. starting though. ive already got apretty good knuckle curve


#3

To throw breaking balls—or not to throw breaking balls—that is the question, and there doesn’t seem to be any one answer. I know, most people think that a kid should not even think about throwing them until they’re at least 14 or 15, but there are some who are sufficiently developed at age 12 to start throwing them. So there really is no hard and fast rule about this. It seems that some of the older LIttle Leaguers, age 12, fall into this second category, and if they’ve been properly instructed in how to throw things like a knuckle-curve without injuring the arm, let them do it!
I had a curve ball that came attached to my natural sidearm delivery—I was eleven at the time—and I worked with it and developed and refined that pitch, with no problems. And at that time no one in New York City even heard of Little League—we learned to play the game by playing the game, with no rules and regulations other than major league baseball rules, and we had a great time. :slight_smile:


#4

Perhaps worth reading:


#5

This debate has been going on for years and years. But it’s always good to revisit.

I’m wondering if the issue isn’t so much about curveballs as much as it’s about a need to improve young kids’ overall conditioning levels, arm strength, fitness and durability. I a big advocate of fastballs and changeups ONLY at this age. But I’m also realistic: kids are throwing breaking balls 20-45% of the time, no matter what we try to teach them to wait until their older. So perhaps, then, the conditioning needs to ramp up to match the added stresses kids are placing on their arms?! Thoughts?


#6

The conclusions from kyleb’s link were:

However, the following statement was in the results section:

I’m left scratching my head over this statement and I’m wondering if the study had enough breadth or depth to draw any significant conclusions. I would think that exercise, stretching and pitch type frequency would all have an effect on pitching injuries. But what do I know.


#7

i like what steven said. thats great. the conditioning has got go up if the amount of breaking balls do. kids shouldnt be throwing them half of the time. they should work on more fastballs. heck look at kershaw he throws 70% fastballs. second most in majors. and he also throws a nasty 12-6.
like i said earlier. kids should START learning breaking balls at 12. not throwing them like one of their main piches. im just starting to throw a knukle curve. only about 10% of the time though.

-arsenal-
2 seam
4 seam
palmball
knuckle curve
cutter


#8

[quote=“Steven Ellis”]This debate has been going on for years and years. But it’s always good to revisit.

I’m wondering if the issue isn’t so much about curveballs as much as it’s about a need to improve young kids’ overall conditioning levels, arm strength, fitness and durability. I a big advocate of fastballs and changeups ONLY at this age. But I’m also realistic: kids are throwing breaking balls 20-45% of the time, no matter what we try to teach them to wait until their older. So perhaps, then, the conditioning needs to ramp up to match the added stresses kids are placing on their arms?! Thoughts?[/quote]

After watching LLWS for for four games and eight hours yesterday at Williamsport, I think conditioning needs to ramp up. It was an incredible day, watching the best 12 and 13 year old pitchers from around the world. It appeared every team had their ace going. The 4-seam fastball ruled, but fate was decided by the curve. Japan gave up two hits to Mexico, both long home runs off of heat. The curve kept Mexico swinging and missing. All day I saw the same scenario. When Mexico’s pitcher mixed in the curve regularly, Japan was off-balanced and unable to score. When he threw predominately 75 MPH FB, Japan scorched him.

The biggest surprise for me on this day was the FB for most of these kids who threw heat were straight with little movement. I was expecting more movement on the FB, more use of the 2-seam and cutter. Also, in the eight games, I only saw one kid who threw a good slider . . . and he was unhittable.


#9

Regarding lack of movement on the fastball I suspect that the short 46’ pitching distance has something to do with it. It seems to me that the ball is just not in the air long enough, or slowing down enough, to move much. When they move back to 54’ or 60’ next year the movement will start to show. Curve balls bend a lot more at those distances as well.


#10

When I went from 46 feet to 54 feet I was able to recognize the curve more and hit it better.


#11

A good LL pitcher has very good movement @ 46’. It is very evident to coaches, batters, umps and catchers. To say otherwise is not true. Most LL pitchers at the LLWS level have many years of Travel ball experience. If a pitcher lives with a fastball he will have a short career at the travel ball level in the South US. The problem is finding a LL catcher who can catch or block a hard biting slider from a Righty.


#12

Correction, little league world series is not travel ball. It is not USSSA or Triple Crown. It is mostly all star teams from little leagues from what I understand.


#13

[quote=“Hoysauce”]Correction, little league world series is not travel ball. It is not USSSA or Triple Crown. It is mostly all star teams from little leagues from what I understand.[/quote] true true ture. its why they are all so good. they take all the best from the great parts of th world


#14

Yup. Means a LL pitcher with great movement will see many pass balls and one walk + 3 pass balls = one run.

The catchers at the LLWS level all know how to block a ball and catch a moving pitch.


#15

These are Travel Teams and are comprised of the very best kids who live within a specified LL boundary. These kids may play on different Travel Teams before and after LL Tournament season, but during Tournament season, they practice, play and travel together seven days a week.


#16

"Yup. Means a LL pitcher with great movement will see many pass balls and one walk + 3 pass balls = one run. "

Please don’t forget the Ump who takes it upon his self to even out the game. Strike zone for a good pitcher is the size of a postage stamp. Strike Zone for the Girly thrower the size of Okra Winfree’s Butt.


#17

If you want to see some real good baseball watch the USSSA or Triple Crown World Series. Real baseball, better athletes (in my opinion) and strategy.


#18

I play USSSA and Triple Crown both and I love the full baseball rules with bigger sized infields


#19

[quote=“Steven Ellis”]
I a big advocate of fastballs and changeups ONLY at this age. [/quote]

Steve, do you feel this way because you think it’s potentially dangerous for pitchers this young?


#20

The catchers at the LLWS level all know how to block a ball and catch a moving pitch.[/quote]

I have to disagree. The catchers this year were not very good IMO. Allthough there were a few good catchers,the majority were not.