Thursday Throwing Tips – More Boring Game?
The latest study of the possible injury danger of youth throwing curve balls says that there is no more danger than with throwing fastballs, because no more stress is on the arm for curves. I tend to agree, but that does not mean throwing curves for young pitchers is the right thing to do.
The problem is simple – kids cannot hit them very well, if at all. So why is that a problem for pitchers? Because it provides such an easy out pitch, kids will rely on them too often and never really learn to pitch with fastball and change-up location. Pitchers arms may not be in danger, but their ability to learn how to pitch will be when they can throw curves anytime. If they can just resort to curve balls, with outs the usual outcome and there is no more danger with throwing them, why not use them all the time. It definitely would change the game by taking away more contact and possibly leading to increased boredom, because of the lack of contact and resulting action.
As most major league pitchers would attest to, the best pitch in baseball is the fastball with location. As most hitters at that level would say, the toughest pitch to hit is a great changeup. If pitchers can throw curveballs at the young ages, they lose the important pitching process of learning how to pitch with fastball location and changeups.
One Possible Solution – keep things the same where youth cannot throw curveballs at least until the age of 12 and limit the number of curves in a game (One per inning, for example) until high school.