When my son first started pitching (9yo), a crusty old veteran ump took him aside after a game and said,
"I've been around this game for about a million years, kid, so I know potential when I see it. You have a bright future ahead of you, you could go far, but you wanna know the 3 quickest ways out of baseball for a kid like you ?"
-----insert a wide eyed 3rd grader stare here-----
"Whiskey, women and curve balls."
My son is now15yo. Over the years this once simple fond memory has already proven to actually be sound advice...clairvoyance even.
Talented boys who have gotten caught up chasing "fun" and girls as teenagers may have seen their "likes" and "streaks" increase on social media, but they've paid for it with decreasing stats and playing time. Talented kids who threw early curve balls may have dominated elementary school kids, but they've paid for it with injury and/or an inability to command and rely on their fast ball that is needed to be successful now when it counts.
In all of the noise of youth baseball, it's easy for parents to get lost trying to hear what "everybody" has to say, but sometimes if you just pause and reflect, you'll realize that the answers you seek are found in the evidence right in front of you. In this case...
-No real expert has ever said that a kid didn't need a fast ball.
-No parent has ever asked the question, "what pitches should my Xyo be throwing?" wondering if a fast ball would be among the answers.
-No heated debates exist in forums, in the sport or even in medicine about fast balls.
-No older kid or grown man who played the sport has ever said, "Man, I really regret perfecting my fast ball", or, "I sure wish I hadn't learned to throw my fast ball on a dime so early"...