My son is 14 years old and he is an excellent pitcher. He is rated as the best pitcher in western Massachusetts in Middle School baseball. He and I have a disagreement about whether or not he should be throwing curve balls. As you can guess, I say no way and he says it is fine to throw them. I have always been told that young pitchers ruin their arms throwing curve balls. He has great potential to take his pitching far and I do not want him throwing any pitches that would shorten his chance at a career in pitching. Baseball is without a doubt his passion but I am thinking of his future. Could you give some advise on the subject?
Melisa, you are almost absolutely correct. Throwing a baseball is a very unnatural movement to begin with, and throwing a curve is even worse. The natural result of throwing a baseball results in the arm pronate, or twisting to the outside. If you have ever seen a slow motion video of a pitchers arm, you would cringe, but its natural. Throwing a curve makes the arm twist inward or supinate, which is even worse.
There are growth plates at the end of each bone in a young persons arm, these can be damaged by abuse. The most common problem is micro fractures that occur over a long pefiod of time weakening the plate and bone. :
Now, with all that said, once a young person has gone through puberty and has basically finished growing, he can throw curves. Keep in mind that he should throw them sparingly, a ratio of one curve for every ten pitches is good. Be sure he is in a strict pitch count ( 65 pitches, and then 3 days rest )
Make sure he ices his shoulder and eldow after he pitches. Also, he should get expert training from a professional instructor, if he is lefty, get a left handed instructor. A good curve ball breaks down, not across, they call it a 12-6 curve. I know this is a lot of info, but I pitched for 35 years and have been a professional instructor for 10. I sugest you also do reaserch in line. USA baseball has great information. I hope this helps.