When Should You Teach Young Pitchers a Curveball?
This has been a debatable topic for many years now and there are many theories as to when a youth pitcher should learn curveb. The fact is that there is no magical age to start teaching the pitch.
First and foremost, a pitcher should not mess around with any other pitch until they learn proper fastball mechanics. When one of my pitchers can throw a decent fastball, the first pitch I will teach them is an effective changeup. Change of speed and location (hitting your spots) is important and before a pitcher reaches the high school level he can be very successful with just those two pitches alone; if they are great pitches of course.
There are many dangers if young pitchers don’t understand a few key points about throwing the curveball .
Here are a few of them:
1) They dont know how to throw a curveball properly. Many pitchers tend to snap or twist their wrist when attempting to put rotation on the ball. This is all unnecessary.
2) They fall in love with the pitch, because they have found success with it and they tend to overuse it. A curveball, even at the major league level, should not be thrown more than 20% of the time.
What is the solution? Educate yourself on the proper mechanics of the curveball.
Also, dont be too hesitant to teach the curveball; it is a very effective pitch to have in your arsenal. If you wait too long to learn the curveball, you may not have time to throw a great one. Teach the proper pitching grip first, then wrist and forearm angle at release of the baseball.
As mentioned previously: It is important not to teach a pitcher that they have to snap or twist their wrist a certain way at release of the baseball. I would also add that a pitcher not be taught to come down on the ball changing their arm slot to throw this pitch. This is a very common practice coaches all over should be warned about.
In conclusion, before you learn how to throw this great pitch, learn proper mechanics first.
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