i have taught my 10 year old son (right hannded) to throw an offspeed pitch that breaks down and away from right hannded batters. he holds half the ball like a slider, but instead of twisting his wrist, he pushes striaght down with his fingers and throws it like a fastball. this gives the ball a spinning action that looks like a curve ball or a slider, but he does not expose the inside of the elbow like a curveball does. he does not twist his wrist like a slider either, he just pushes striaght down with his fingers. does this sound like something that could possibly hurt his arm? is there any more arm motions that i need to look for besides exposing the inside of the elbow, because that’s really all i hear about?
It sounds to me that what you are describing is a cut fastball (or cutter).
I believe that in some cases throwing a cutter can be safer than throwing a slider since you don’t twist the wrist and instead get the movement from the grip and/or finger pressure. For example, Greg Maddux cuts the ball (holds it off center and/or with different levels of finger pressure) but hasn’t had arm problems.
I’m not sure what you mean by “exposing the inside of the elbow,” but what you need to be careful about is supinating (twisting clockwise) the forearm as you release the ball. This can focus the load on the UCL and cause the bones of the elbow to slam together. Instead, you want to pronate (twist counter-clockwise) the forearm before and during the release.
P.S. Turn off your caps lock key. It’s very hard to read your posts.
My first thought when reading the discription of the pitch, is there is a possible chance he could be supinating his wrist unitentionaly due to the nature of the grip.
This could be determined simply with videotape if you have a camcorder.
Just a thought.
If he’s pronating then it should be just fine, however I have a hard time picturing an offcenter grip with pronation and getting cut on the ball.
Offcenter grip to the outside (right side for right hander) and then pronation is how some throw their sinkers. There are plenty of people that can get sink away from same handed hitters, basically I’m saying, no definate determination for good or bad come to mind. I do know video tape would be your simplist answer.
Thanks for your reply’s. What I meant About exposing the inside of the elbow, is that when you throw a curve ball, the inside of the elbow is exposed upward like you are hyper extending the elbow. I have always heard that this motion is what causes most of the arm injuries because you are going against the natrual motion of the elbow. Because his hands are quite small, he can’t throw it as hard and it is about 10mph slower than his fast ball and has alot of break on it, and everybody thinks he is throwing a curveball because it breaks so much and it has that circle spin on it. He holds it like a 4 seam fastball, but he slides both fingers over to the seam on the right and holds just half the ball. Yes, I do have a video camera and I will vidoe tape him to make sure he his rotating counter clockwise when he finishes. This is a great idea and thanks for the info!
Why does he need an offspeed pitch at 10 years old?
I would focus on getting repeatable mechanics that will benefit him the for the rest of his baseball years. Guys that rely on a breaking stuff early on get away with things early on, but when the hitters catch up things go bad quickly. Have your son stay with a fastball (2 seam if he needs movement) and a good changeup. Hold off on the cutters, sliders and curves until high school.
Yeah, I like where KC went with his opinion. If the pitch is ok on the arm, and he really likes the pitch, maybe limit to like 8 of them a game or a generally low number.
This way this will keep your son, coaches, or the catcher, from getting addicted to throwing the pitch.
I know a lot of guys 15 that haven’t developed since they left little league, because the never learned to “pitch” they just through junk, and it doesn’t work near as well in the older age group.
Just from scorekeeping the 13 year old only league, I can see how a curveball and the like can be detrimental to development.
Two kids that pitched the other night were straight junkballers.
Each about 5’11", a head taller than most kids their age. So you would expect lots of fastballs like the typical big kid pitching the first year on 60’ where he still trys to throw it by him, but you would be wrong.
They each threw over 50% curveballs, straight junk. They domminated the 13’s, giving 1 run up in 7, which is great because rarely do teams have less than 8 runs. But the kids have pitched in the 13-15 age group and have been schelled, because you can’t hand a curveball to a kid that’s seen his fair share of breaking stuff through the year.
On the contrary I was very successful at 13 in the 113-15 league, not throwing particularly hard for my age, but fastball and change, I had like a 2.5 ERA in 18 innnings, heck those numbers are better than what I had this year.
THINK IN LONGTERM.
Good luck to ya
PS: I say junkball when a kid is throwing mostly all breakers, and they aren’t setting or serving a purpose really, they’re just being thrown because they usually don’t get hit consistently.
Plenty of the hardest throwers in MLB history never learned a curveball till they got drafted.
This sounds familiar to a pitch i was shown when i was 12. A coach of this team i was on had me throw a ball that he said would not hurt my arm in anyway. I would hold the ball like a two-seam fastball and i would put both of my fingers together on the seam of my index finger and when i would throw the ball my palm would be facing thirdbase left handed and i was supposed to throw the ball straight down not snapping or rotating any part of the wrist. I actually found out not too long ago from a pitching coach that depending on where you put the ball in your hand you will rotate your arm in a curveball or slider like motion somewhat. I hope this was not too confusing. Basically what im trying to say is that he may be rotating his wrist a little bit. Not to tell you what to do with you son but maybe just try a basic 3 finger change-up so you know for sure.