Should a 12 y.o. throw a knuckleball?

My son (almost 12) is the smallest kid on the team. He gets to pitch because he’s more accurate then any of the other pitcher. His fastball tops out at about 55 and he has a decent off-speed when he keeps it low.

Because he doesn’t have the heat of the bigger kids, he’s been playing around with a knuckleball with quite a bit of success but hasn’t tried it in a game. He would like to give it a try against some of the better hitters. He can throw the knuckleball for strikes about 2 out of 3 times. It has very little spin and a bit of movement.

My question:
1a) Is he too young to be throwing this pitch?
1b) Should he throw consecutively to a batter for their entire at bat or just use it in conjuction with a fastball?

Any and all advice is much appreciated.

Thanks all,
Craig in Ottawa, Canada

I’m 14 and I have been wanting to throw my knuckleball in a game but I don’t get to pitch enough to be sure. It sounds like your son has a good amount of game experience so let him try one out. If your son can throw strikes consistently, let him try one out, just as long as he is throwing the pitch like a fastball and doesn’t shot put the ball, no damage should come to his arm.

Roger

P.S. I own the Knucklebook by Dave Clark and I instantly began throwing the pitch better, it is defiantly worth the money I paid for it. The book has all the information on how and when to throw the knuckleball.

Sorry but I didn’t see the second question. He should always throw it in conjunction with his fastball. He should throw it when he would throw a change up pitch. Unless it has a ton of movement then it should be treated as a change up pitch. Also just a bit of advice, a knuckleball moves the most at 72 mph and begins get movement and drop at about 45 mph.

[quote=“karatekid552”][quote=“vlad4040”]

1b) Should he throw consecutively to a batter for their entire at bat or just use it in conjuction with a fastball?

[/quote]

Sorry but I didn’t see the second question. He should always throw it in conjunction with his fastball. He should throw it when he would throw a change up pitch. Unless it has a ton of movement then it should be treated as a change up pitch. Also just a bit of advice, a knuckleball moves the most at 72 mph and begins get movement and drop at about 45 mph.[/quote]

Roger,
Thank you for the info about when to throw & speed.
I’ll look into that book.
Cheers,
Craig

Glad I could help.

Also I have been having problems with my elbow.

http://www.letstalkpitching.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=13924&highlight=

Just wondering if you or anyone you know could help.

[quote]It has very little spin and a bit of movement.[quote]

If it only has a bit of movement it is going to start getting hammered with good hitters. Knuckle balls should/need a good deal of movement.

I feel that at 12 yo kids need to develop good fastballs (even if they are 55 mph) and a changeup that takes the speed off maybe 10-12 mph. So if he has a 55 mph fastball that he can locate and a 43-45 mph changeup (with the same arm speed) that he can also locate then don’t worry about the knuckleball, it’s a flash pitch, use it just to show a batter or a team that he has it and to keep them off balance.[/quote]

I agree with buwhite but also have him keep practicing his knuckleball because as his velocity increases, so will the movement of the pitch. I throw my knuckleball at about 55-60 mph and it wiggles from side to side and has over a foot in drop as it crosses the plate, so keep practicing it because it will come in handy as you get older.

My only issue with the knuckle ball is how many guys actually made it using the knuckle ball, very few, under a 100 all time in the bigs. It takes way too long to really get it to do what you want to and its not just an athletic thing its an art to throw it right.

Spend the time on the pitches that will actually get him to high school ball and beyond if that is what he wants. Just how I look at it.

I think that a 12 year old knuckleball would be good to HAVE. A knuckleball is a better pitch to use at his age than even a changeup because at his age if he can throw it with low enough spin the batter can see the seams it will confuse batters, so as long as they are strikes it COULD be a good pitch for him. I do agree that with a knuckleball at 65-70mph it would be extremely hard to be noticed over a fireballer who throws 85mph. So you can teach him the pitch but make sure you help him develop a strong fastball because it will take him farther.

the reason why so few guys make it using a knuckleball is because it is so hard to learn how to throw and control, if he has good control over it then it will be a great pitch for him to throw because as StArs49 said " if he can throw it with low enough spin the batter can see the seams it will confuse batters, so as long as they are strikes it COULD be a good pitch for him. "