A few days ago a man approached me at the gym to inform me that he doesn’t want his son to throw a curveball until he’s older. He doesn’t believe it’s a safe pitch for him to throw.He then asked my opinion on his 13 year old learning a curve.
His real question was:
“Is a curveball dangerous?” It’s a valid concern for most parents.
“That’s a great question I’m glad you asked! Do you think he can hurt his arm throwing a fastball?”
“Yes, he answered”
No matter what pitch you throw you can hurt you arm. A curveball is not going to put any more stress on your arm than a fastball does.
The problem with curveballs is that the majority of kids throw them the wrong way, twisted their wrists, trying to put some spin on the ball.
All they need to do is find the proper wrist and forearm angle on the ball and throw it like a fastball.
Problems arise when pitchers don’t have sound pitching mechanics in the first place. That’s why pitchers injure their throwing arms throwing “any” pitch; they simply use their arms too much when they throw.
Other issues with kids learning a curveball is they are being taught how to throw the pitch incorrectly. Their coaches are teaching them how to throw it how they were taught as kids. It never was the right way to throw the pitch in the first place. That is why kids hurt their arms throwing curveballs.
Any arm will hurt when you try snapping or twisting your wrist, wrapping the grip of the curve, changing your natural arm angle to try to throw on top of the pitch and the list goes on.
The key to throw a successful curve is to first learn proper fastball mechanics. Once you have a handle on that, learn a great changeup (I like to teach the C-change). When you have great command of both pitches and use correct pitching mechanics with both pitches; then learn a curveball.
I created this video today. It goes into more depth as to why a curveball is safe to throw if you know how to throw it.