Last night I had a conversation with a friend about how many pitches his son should have in his arsenal. His son is only 14 years old, but throws the ball well with sound mechanics. My response was that even at the age of 14 if he can continue to throw his great change-up and fastball (and he has great command of the two pitches); at that age he can still do a lot of damage to the opposing team. He is keeping the hitters off balance with the two pitches. His C-change has great movement and is 8-10 MPH slower than his fastball. He’s dominating hitters and very fun to watch.
I will start showing him a beginning Curveball sometime this year because he will be that much more successful. However, I like to be careful showing a curve ball too soon; not so much because of arm injury (our students learn the correct way to throw it) but I want them to continue to develop the fastball and change up getting excellent command with those two baseball pitches first.
My point: If you are a young pitcher from 10-14 you can do very well with two pitches if you hit your spots and have good movement. Although there isn’t a perfect age for anyone to start developing a curveball, I would suggest starting one by fifteen if you have aspirations to play collegiate baseball. Even if your developing curveball hangs or squirts on you at least you will be working on it (making progress with it) so by the time you are a Junior and Senior you have a decent one. If your fastball is average you will probably need two additional great pitches to make a good collegiate team. If you have an above average fastball and one additional “great” pitch then that can be different; especially if you’re a lefty.
Again, as I have said in previous emails, your job is to keep the hitters off balance so they hit weak grounders and pop-ups; strikeouts are a bonus that come automatically with location, change of speed and movement.
If you are looking to add an additional pitch this year may I suggest our Pitching Grips DVD.