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My Nephew (11) Is Throwing Curveballs


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#1 Orange

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 11:35 AM

This weekend I was talking with my brother. We live in different states but both of us have sons that also pitch in little league. He said something about my nephew (11) throwing a curveball and I was like huh? He's allowed to throw curveballs? That seemed strange to me as all I've ever heard is that throwing curves can be dangerous for a developing arm. Heck, pitching in general is probably not that great but our league greatly restricts the number of pitches a young kid can throw. My son only pitches 1 inning per week and typically will throw less than 25 pitches. I'm going to try to provide my brother with some evidence or information since he seemed to think nothing of it. Anyone have any suggestions?

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#2 Coach Rob

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 11:50 AM

This weekend I was talking with my brother. We live in different states but both of us have sons that also pitch in little league. He said something about my nephew (11) throwing a curveball and I was like huh? He's allowed to throw curveballs? That seemed strange to me as all I've ever heard is that throwing curves can be dangerous for a developing arm. Heck, pitching in general is probably not that great but our league greatly restricts the number of pitches a young kid can throw. My son only pitches 1 inning per week and typically will throw less than 25 pitches. I'm going to try to provide my brother with some evidence or information since he seemed to think nothing of it. Anyone have any suggestions?

I'm sure it all depends on how close this hits to home for folks. When playing youth baseball as a kid, I was a catcher, my best bud was a pitcher and thew all kinds of "junk" at an early age (12-14). He had a promising career as a pitcher and in high school started having problems with his pitching arm. No clue if it was because of the types of pitches or because he threw too many. Here's a few links that might help:

http://www.inrich.co...04-25-0021.html

http://www.littlelea...6marsession.asp (about 1/3 of the way down - q about curve balls)

http://www.eteamz.co....cfm?id=2030794

http://www.lifeletic...ns.php?ll_id=28

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#3 Knowland

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 05:20 AM

Why risk it? At that level a change is just as good as a curve, and no risk.

#4 U10CoachJohn

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 07:14 AM

I agree with the previous comment in regard to "why risk it". But I will add that the curveball is thrown in a differant manner than when I grew up. When I grew up we were "taught to snap our fingers" to get a good break. This is also the form that causes Tommy John surgery. I do know from my talks with pitching coaches that there is a differant form that pitchers are taught to throw curveballs, and it is safe on the arm. Even after a couple of sessions with a cetain pitching coach, I still don't teach curveballs. In addition, if I see one of my players trying to throw one, I won't pitch him. At 12 and under, I don't see any reason to throw curveballs, so I am not going to take the risk. I will let the high scholl coaches teach the proper form for throwing a curveball, I'll take care of throwing mechanics at this level.

#5 Coach Larry

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Posted 29 July 2009 - 03:29 PM

I think the last post was right on (U10CoachJohn). There is NO REASON to risk injury to a child just to throw a curveball. That being said, there are ways to get movement "curve" on the ball without twisting the arm/snapping the wrist. Safety curves are very popular in our district nowadays, it is more of a dropball. Also, just by holding the ball across the seams and dropping the arm down a little bit, a pitcher can get some safe movement on the ball.
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#6 vshouse

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 09:32 AM

You should do everything you can to discourage an 11 year old from throwing a curveball. I have been coaching select baseball for 10 years now, I am currently coaching an 11 u select team, this is my second stint through this age bracket the oldest kids I coached are now juniors in highschool, I have seen a couple of real good athletes ruin there pitching career by throwing curveballs to early. Nowadays alot of people teach throwing curveballs by cocking the wrist angle at more of a 45 degree angle which has helped some but it still puts alot of stress on the elbow. In my personal opinion a kid should not start TRYING to throw a curve untill late 13 or 14 year olds, and what I mean by thrying is that in order to throw a curve ball for a strike you have to practice throwing about 50 curves before they start to get it down. At 11 year olds.....the only thing they should be throwing is a 2 seam, a 4 seam fastball, and a change up. Maybe the more advanced pitchers can throw a cut fastball. The most important thing at this age is 1. Form, 2. Location(hit your spots inside and outside)

#7 ProSwingBaseball

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 10:46 AM

I'd have to agree. If you really want movement on a ball for an eleven year old, have them start to develop a 2-seam fastball. The fact of the matter is, there is no way around the mechanics of a curveball and NOT putting stress on your elbow. Regardless of the modifications you may teach to preserve an arm, 11 may be too young to start. Cut fastballs and 2-Seamers are your best bet.

You should do everything you can to discourage an 11 year old from throwing a curveball. I have been coaching select baseball for 10 years now, I am currently coaching an 11 u select team, this is my second stint through this age bracket the oldest kids I coached are now juniors in highschool, I have seen a couple of real good athletes ruin there pitching career by throwing curveballs to early. Nowadays alot of people teach throwing curveballs by cocking the wrist angle at more of a 45 degree angle which has helped some but it still puts alot of stress on the elbow. In my personal opinion a kid should not start TRYING to throw a curve untill late 13 or 14 year olds, and what I mean by thrying is that in order to throw a curve ball for a strike you have to practice throwing about 50 curves before they start to get it down. At 11 year olds.....the only thing they should be throwing is a 2 seam, a 4 seam fastball, and a change up. Maybe the more advanced pitchers can throw a cut fastball. The most important thing at this age is 1. Form, 2. Location(hit your spots inside and outside)



#8 Coach Larry

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Posted 03 November 2011 - 09:37 AM

UPDATE: I just found this really good article on the Little League website -http://www.littlelea...ArmInjuries.htm

In a nutshell it talks about how overuse is the #1 cause of arm injuries. I'm not advocating having young kids throw a breaking ball, but I do think this article fits right in to this discussion. And I do think that the majority of kids that throw breaking balls are the same kids that pitch almost year round. At least that's been my experience. The kids that we've worked with that only throw fastballs and change-ups are the kids that only pitch during the baseball spring season and don't have the time to learn the proper way to throw a safety curve. The kids that come to us already throwing curve-balls are the kids that pitch on travel/tourney teams and put a lot of wear on their arms.

One other thing I noticed is that travel ball does not (at least in the big tourneys in So Cal) limit the number of pitches a pitcher can throw. They do limit the number of innings, but this can still be very harmful to young pitchers (for instance 12u) that throw 60+ pitches in three innings and come back the next day and do it again. Adult Major League relievers don't throw 60+ pitches over several days. How could this be good for children? Over time this can definitely do some damage to the arm - just like the article states ...
My coaching motto: Tell me and I'll listen, Show me and I'll watch, Involve me and I'll learn.

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