Man have I thought long and hard about this thread.
As a kid I played ball as much as I could for as long as I can remember, officially on my 1st team at 6. I was brought up in a time when it was really ok for my mom to send all 3 of us kids outside in the summer from after breakfast until it was dinner time. During those hours, (I was brought up in the Chicago area) we played baseball, in any form we could (If we had enough we played a major neighborhood game, fewer meant we would improvise, played a little game called stickball or fastpitch by painting a strike zone on a brick wall and hitting to zones that meant single double homer etc.). We could whip any pitch we could figure out to anyone willing to stand up there and risk a bruise, curve, slider, screwgie, side arm, sub marine, it didn’t matter and we just couldn’t get enough of it and we were dedicated to taking it to higher and higher levels. ok fast forward, now I’m a guy who has coached kids for 20 plus years, I have attended clinics put on by D-1 colleges and ex-pros and pro’s, I have studied and worked and do believe that there is one or two kids out there that will say somehow I helped.
Now my issue, it’s my youngest son, he’s this really good and dominating strike out artist of a pitcher (A junior in HS this year, throws hi 80’s regular and I think he’s clipped the 90’s once or twice), he was named #1 jv pitcher by his team last year, pitched in several appearances in varsity and did so well that he was approached by a D-1 scout and complimented as well as being complimented by an ex-pro pitcher who happened to be head coach of the #3 team in the state that he (My son) had just shut down (He said he had the best curve they had seen the whole year). What I have to admit to you guys collectively is that I taught this kid a curve when he was 12. He’s has thrown it for 4 years now, regularly, effectively and has had it charactorized by D-1 coaches and ex-pros as a “plus” breaking pitch. Now he’s never had an elbow issue, never reallly been injured. But after listening to everyone who’s posted here and other places, I have this nagging feeling that somehow I’ve done my son a disservice…really committed a form of child abuse, because I’ve taught him something that is injurious to his health. I don’t think that I’m the only dad that has read this and other sites and walked away with a similar feeling…problem is; What from here? Should he stop throwing this pitch (His stated goal in life is to pitch in the majors)? From what I’ve seen/read the damage is already done. Should we pack it up and hope somehow McDonalds will give him a job, I hear the army is looking for a few good men, how do I even approach it with him? “Sorry son, dad f’d you up and now we are gonna meet this Dr named Andrews and he’s gonna end up taking a part of your leg and put it in your arm”.
I mean what do we do?
Sorry for the length thanks for those who stayed with me here, I really would love to see what you guys think.
Man have I thought long and hard about this thread.
I wouldnt call you a monster. And im not positive at all but i dont think your sons are will be 100% gone by any means. look at the little league world series. kids throwing curves all day its rediculous. but anyways. Its not 100% certain that your son will get problems due to the curve. theres just a chance. as far as you being a monster. You’re not. You just wanted your son to be a good dominant pitcher and most pitchers have a good curve. Plus i mean all 12 yr old kids intrested in pitching try throwing curves. he probably woulda started throwing the curve on his own anyways.
My .02 cents, actually maybe a whole dollar, it’s pretty long.
Wouldn’t say your a monster in the least. It sounds like you have desired to stay educated to better help your son as well as other, I think that’s awesome.
On the curveball at twelve, like GottyJ said, almost any kids that wants to pitch will also want to atleast play with the curveball, so in that sense you essentially guided the inevitable.
When they say wait till 16+ to throw the curveball two reasons generally come to mind:
So that you don’t rely on it and develop a fastball.
So you don’t get injured.
It would appear your son has developed an excellent fastball, 88 as a junior is excellent.
It would also appear your son hasn’t injured himself and has probably passed the critical point with curveballs/growth plates closed (may be wrong on that one though, generalizing cause of age)
Also if his curve is devastating and effective I will assume it is a overhand hook going 12-6 or maybe 1-7. This is far different than the snapping slider style curve that is seen on so many little league fields.
As competetive as baseball is, where the best are going to get the most time, and the rest are to scrap for the rest of the avaliable time, a curveball is just logical to have taught. A fastball only gets you so far. A changeup for most people draws week contact, takes a very good one to draw many swings and misses. Thus a curveball is one of the most effective ways in youth ball to get the ever critical strikeout.
I’m sure I will get in a disagreement with atleast one person for saying this, but I actually think more damage is done to the arm by throwing way to many pitches, far to often, with little rest. And this damage is multiplied when throwing a curveball.
I just had to touch on Little League World series since GottyJ mentioned it.
This is what i see as damaging and terrible for arm health. I’ve seen multiple kids throw well over 50% curveballs. I’ve seen maybe 2 kids in all the regional championship games that actually throw a good curve that they will be able to use down the road. The lazy one plain slider/curve will get knocked all over the park when you get older. Also I’ve only noticed 1 kid actually utilizing a “changeup” but I use that loosely because the announcer explained it was really a knuckleball (Probably just didn’t move). Also these coaches are planning to use their one kid, and have yet to see a pitcher use his defense, it’s 2-2 counts atleast every hitter. This means rediculously high pitch counts.
I was temporarily impressed today a kid pitching in the mid-atlantic region threw basically all fastballs. Then he started walking people (had little sense for placement just throwing). The coach came out and said now it’s time to focus on your braking ball we’re going to throw it a lot more now.
I didn’t care for that in the least.
The one that bugged me the most was a kid throwing absolutely crazy fast, he hit 83, multiple times in the game, yet he still threw a ton of curveballs. (He did have a good overhand one though).
Now that that rant is over, I have to say, those Little League radar guns have to be bumped a few mph or something, I have seen a 12 year old throw 81,82,83 (laugh if you want but, he was on the cover of our sports section to, not just an urban legend lol) Anyways this kid gave up one hit his entire season. I’ve even talked to an umpire that said he called balls and strikes by where the catcher caught it becuase he really couldn’t see it consistently coming in.
When I was twelve I hit against quite a few kids throwing mids 60’s, they were dominant, lots of K’s mostly all fastballs, I don’t see how a kid throwing 80 is even hittable, let alone why they need curveballs. I know 80 is somewhere to the Major League equivalent of 103. Major leaguers get blown away by 103, and their reaction and time to contact is around half of the time it would take a little leaguer. Anyone got an answer on that one?
You may have hosed your son. Or, you may have saved him. If you taught him to throw the curve correctly and you limited the numbers he threw - especially when he was younger - then you may have helped him develop a good curve while doing it safely. In that case, good job! He didn’t learn the playground curve and he didn’t head down the path to injury.
I’d be inclined to say that if he hasn’t had any problems yet, he isn’t throwing too many curves in H.S. currently, and he gets proper time off each year, then he should be ok.
I agree. Too many people fail to appreciate the ease with which overuse injuries can occur as well as the frequency with which they do occur. I believe the pitcher for the NY team threw over 100 pitches in the NY/NJ game today.
I think you are raeding into these boards too much! IF you taught him a curve that didn’t injure his arm at 12 and he is still using it. I would say congratulations! You did your part and you also made sure he didn’t get injured. At his age with no arm problems is a sign that you did the right thing.
Once again congrats and stop reading some of these things on the internet. Everyone thinks they know what’s best for your kid when you know what’s best for your kid!
Congrats, by the way PM me. I have some great clips from the AFLAC all-american game.
It is a risk issue. Some kids throw curves from an early age and have no problems and others follow all the guidelines and have injuries. Such is life and genetics.
I’d still recommend not throwing a curve until about 16 and focusing on the change as an off speed pitch. However, I let my son throw a show me curve starting at 13 so that he could be reasonably competitive against 14yo. He injured his arm at a point when his arm had been rested for a few months and he wasn’t doing any pitching yet. His arm injury had nothing to do with pitching at all, curves or no curves.
I was also wondering about the high 70s fastballs being hit and the accuracy of the gun. I was also surprised to see the Fresno, CA team reaching the regional final with kids throwing in the mid 60s given the new age limits. In 2004 we found that in district play a high 60s kid with control and a breaking ball was very effective. We only had about 3 pitchers in the district who could break 70. The team that won our district was able to dominate the rest of the country with one 70+ kid and some mid 60s types who were smart pitchers. They happened to be able to match up their 70+ kid against the other teams with the strong pitchers during district otherwise they might not have gotten out of district. The third place team in our district may have been the second best team in the country that year.
If you’re worried about arm injuries you should never let anyone throw a ball overhand because it’s not a natural throwing motion. that’s not going to happen, so about throwing curves at a young age; with the correct form the curve is not any harder on the arm than a fastball. If thrown incorrectly kids will damage their arms on any pitch, even fastballs. Most injuries whether they’re youths or adults come from overthrowing or trying to get something extra on the pitch when they’re tired. So with good form and not overthrowing you’ll “lessen” the chance for injury.
[quote=“Roger”]You may have hosed your son. Or, you may have saved him. If you taught him to throw the curve correctly and you limited the numbers he threw - especially when he was younger - then you may have helped him develop a good curve while doing it safely. In that case, good job! He didn’t learn the playground curve and he didn’t head down the path to injury.
I’d be inclined to say that if he hasn’t had any problems yet, he isn’t throwing too many curves in H.S. currently, and he gets proper time off each year, then he should be ok.[/quote]
I have to agree 100% with Roger. Well said.
It sounds like your son’s a great pitcher. He’s probably got a few more mph’s in there, too. So keep working the fastball!
I applaud you for your lack of denial. You are unfortunately fairly unique.
You might also have gotten lucky with your son. He might be less prone to injury than others and/or he might be throwing his curve in a way that it is less injurious.
I don’t have any problem with people who taught their kids this stuff without realizing it was dangerous. They didn’t know any better.
Of course, I think they should rethink their approach once they become enlightened.
I do have a problem with people who know that there is a risk and ignore that risk (generally for their own glorification).
They are the real monsters.
I’m not a pitching expert, just a player, but when I was in little league kids were always fooling around with curves. To me it seems you might have been a help. I would rather have him learn how to throw a curve correctly with proper instruction than have him try to learn on his own.