Talking about high school kids. Throwing a split is pretty easy to learn for those guys who cant seem to throw a curveball, but ive heard it can be bad on the elbow because it locks up your wrist. Thoughts?
The splitter, or split-fingered fastball. is actually a first cousin to the forkball, and I wouldn’t recommend either one unless the kid has a King Kong-sized paw and long fingers. However, the splitter is less of a risk because, unlike the forkball, you grip the ball like a two-seamer but with the fingers spread wide enough that they’re off the seams. The forkball grip is too extreme and can lead to arm and shoulder injuries. Now, if you’re having a lot of trouble with the curveball (and why, oh why, is it always the curveball?), I would suggest working up a slider, which is not only easier on the arm and shoulder but is also easier to throw and to control. And you can throw it “hard” or like a changeup; the secret to that one is in the grip (index and middle fingers offcenter and very close together) and in throwing it like a curve but rolling the wrist, not snapping it). I learned that pitch when I was sixteen and in a short time it became my strikeout pitch. 8)
I would also recommend the slider or the knuckle curve. Also thrown like a fast ball with a roll of the wrist at release.
It’s all in the grip. Both pitches are fairly easy to learn, but fine tuning may take some time.
The slider and the knuckle-curve…I had both pitches in my arsenal. The slider, which I nicknamed “Filthy McNasty” (after a character in an old W.C. Fields movie), was my best pitch, the one I could go to when I had to go for the strikeout, and the knuckle-curve was my second-best. I built my whole repertoire around those two deliveries and had great success with them. I see no reason why the kid couldn’t develop both of them, because they are not the same pitch. The knuckle-curve is basically a curveball thrown with a knuckleball grip, and the slider is thrown like a curve but with a pronounced off-center grip and rolling the wrist, not snapping it. :baseballpitcher: