What pitches to throw at 13?

I’m getting reading to move up to the big field with a 60 foot pitching distance. Last year in little league, I threw a fastball and a curveball. My fastball is average speed (at next level), and I have good control over it. I have a hard sweeping curveballl with good movement and control(almost unhittable in little league). I played around with a splitter for a change, but couldn’t control it good enough. I have been working on a slider, which is strange becuase it has a 12 6 movement and is slower than my curveball. What other pitches should I learn. Circle changes and plam balls have not really worked for me, really need a changeup.(might be the slider)

hey man i just graduated form little leauge this year :smiley: the pitches i used were fastball curve ball (occasionally) change up and slider. my one word of advice to you is dont throw the curve as much on the big diamond. i threw alot of curves on the little diamond and on the big mound they are alot harder to get across for strikes. other than that try using a 4 seam grip on the ball but use 3 finers instead of two and choke it back but not all the way :smiley:

If you’re getting good results with the slider and not screwing up your arm in the process, I see no reason why you shouldn’t stay with it. A lot of pitchers have been successful with the fastball-slider-changeup combo, and you have a good curveball to go with it—so you actually have four pitches you can use. 8)

You should use 2 types of fastballs, 4 seamer with more control and location, and a 2 seamer with cut to it for more movement. Next you gotta have a change up, straight change or circle really doesn’t matter but gotta be able to slow it down with that. Curveball is useful but you shouldn’t use it more than 10 - 15% of your total pitches. At your age control is so very important to learn, it will be much harder to learn control later.

I’m 14 i throw a 4 seam, 2 seam, circle change, and a knuckle curve.

4 seam, 2 seam, change up, beginners curveball

At 13, fastballs are the key. A change-up should really be the only other pitch to throw. You can grip the ball deep in your palm with three fingers for the change. Developing good command of a fastball is essential before learning breaking pitches. Plus, you want your bones and tendons to mature fully before putting the strain of throwing a curveball on them. No sense in throwing pitches that will cut your career short.

Exactly what are you basing that statement on? Most of the data I’ve seen suggest that a hard thrown FB is harder on the arm that a curve. Also at 13 in the tournaments we play a FB only will get you run out of the game and or lead to really high pitch counts.

The most recent articles state that a “properly thrown” curveball is not any harder on the arm than a fastball, the real issue is that to properly throw a cruveball takes more effort, mechanics and effort than a fastball and at 13 the typical pitcher doesn’t have the discipline to develop the pitch properly.

I totally disagree that at 13 a FB will only get you run out of the game, a fastball that you can’t locate up/down/in/out will, you can get a long way on just a fastball, add a change and you can dominate for quite a few innings. Add the threat of a curveball thrown 10% of the time and you will be able to keep hitters off balance even more. If you want to make the next level of baseball, HS, college etc, you are going to have to do it on your fastball not on junk that the older you get will get the hitters will be able to handle more and more the older they get.

Curveballs will strike out young hitters, but older, more mature hitters that can pick up on the spin of the ball will tee off on a hanging breaking pitch. I nearly meant that mastering command of a good fastball will get a pitcher farther than relying on a breaking ball. Nolan Ryan and Walter taylor threw a overwhelming majority of fastballs and they’re two of the best all-time.

True, but I doubt the person who asked this question throws 98 mph+. So people who don’t throw this hard need to have very good off-speed stuff to compliment their fastball.

In most of the travel ball we play by the second time through the order the better teams/hitters are going to time that FB and then tee off. In all the ball we’ve played, and that’s a lot now, I’ve see one kid throw it by teams.

On the other hand a good curve and change when thrown with a decent FB makes pretty short work of the other teams batting order. That’s my experience.

[quote=“SomeBaseballDad”]In most of the travel ball we play by the second time through the order the better teams/hitters are going to time that FB and then tee off. In all the ball we’ve played, and that’s a lot now, I’ve see one kid throw it by teams.

On the other hand a good curve and change when thrown with a decent FB makes pretty short work of the other teams batting order. That’s my experience.[/quote]

SomeBaseballDad- That’s been my experience as well. The most effective pitchers at 13-14 I’ve seen tend not to have overpowering fastball velocity but have both a CB and CU that can be thrown around the strike zone. IMO it’s having the 2nd off-speed pitch that puts them over the top. A good CB can buy a called strike while the CU induces a swing.

It’s amazing how much faster an average fastball looks in the 4th inning than it did in the 1st when the off-speed pitches have been established.

Now for a little rant.

For those that dislike CB’s unless a parent and coach can monitor every throw a kid makes his entire youth life kids are going to throw curve balls. The simple fact is a CB is more fun- certainly more fun than a changeup- and IMO easier to be effective with than a changeup at the younger ages. If as a coach or parent you choose to prohibit it then be prepared for your players to learn to throw it wrong because they’re going to be throwing it with their buddies when you’re not watching. IMO as a coach and parent it is much better to learn and teach proper curve ball mechanics and follow this up with strict limits on its use.

As long as the fastball remains the main focus I tend to believe the CU and CB can be developed simultaneously. Both are feel pitches and take a long time to learn and command and both have their place. The real key is learning proper technique and follow that up with proper limits.

Most pitchers need a fastball, change-up, and breaking ball of some sort, to be successful. A pitcher needs to have at least three pitches (fastball, change-up, breaking ball) that he can throw for strikes 60% of the time.
I would really recommend that you try to learn some sort of change-up.
If you don’t mind, why doesn’t the circle change work for you?
Do you have smaller hands? Can you not release the circle-change correctly? Do you have the wrong arm angle and release on the circle-change?
Change-ups: c-change (when at release, fingers make a c shape that is facing toward the batter), circle-change (at release, fingers make a circle that is facing toward the batter, circle-change has more movement than c-change), fosh change (a splitter held farther back in the hand), splitter, claw pitch (ball gripped with all fingers- simple version of change-up, good beginner’s change-up pitch)…
When you are trying to learn a change-up, try playing catch using different change-up grips and find which one is most comfortable for you.

Unlikely you’re going to throw your fastball by kids like in LL. That’s ok though, so long as you recognize this and adapt. Most pitchers on my son’s 13U team did not and struggled.

Locating your 2 SFB is super important. Sink it down and away and get some ground balls. Take advantage of everyone wanting to pull the ball all the time.

Off of that you can throw a slider that is even harder to square up or finishes off the plate.

Show hitters your 4SFB. My son (RHP) would throw it inside to rightys, try to straighten them up a little, then go down and away.

Only recently has he been working seriously on throwing a change. I think if you can get movement on that, you could show the 4S and then come back with a change.

What doesn’t work is what used to work in LL — throw it by everyone, get ahead in the count, and throw a curve ball. My son’s dream is that eventually he has the kind of velocity that it could work for him at 60’ someday.

Fastball LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION, Circle Change and Knuckle Ball. A good Pitching Instructor will let you know When you are ready to throw breaking pitches, rely on his knowledge and experience!

I’d suggest the same - focusing mainly on the fastballs and change up.

Moving up to the big diamond you really need to focus on locating your fastballs and developing a nice change. the type of change really doesnt matter as long as it’s effective.

That being said, when you reach high school you will need to develop a breaking ball to be effective at the varsity level.

At 13U major travel ball level my son was very successful with a 4 seam, 2 seam sinker, and circle change. He only started throwing the curve in high school. He used 13 year old ball and JV/Metro to develop the curve.