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While I was on my fourth game in 100+, pu, while sitting on bucket in the shade while a new pitcher warmed up, vthc asked me to watch a kid pitch, he threw two pitches, a fast ball and a slider. Vthc asked me who he can call to try to protect the pitcher from this, he wasn't concerned about it offensively  (his kids smoked those sliders) but he was legitimately concerned about the players safety. The two teams gave played another many times and there wasn't any animosity. I don't get why this is a concern, but then again I didn't play baseball outside a very young youth rec league. Can someone explain? I don't believe this was a situation I should commented on and I didn't but was that correct?

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Was he worried about the pitcher's arm because he was throwing sliders?

Conventional wisdom is that kids shouldn't throw breaking balls until they start shaving. They can change speeds with a change up instead.

If the league doesn't have any safety guidance for pitchers, then (a) there's nothing either of you can do, and (b) maybe they should.

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Perhaps a bit off-topic, but why don't we see more knuckle-ballers out there?  It's not hard to learn and it's easy on the arm.  You see these guys throwing in the pros up through their mid-40's (Wakefield, Niekro, etc.).

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Perhaps a bit off-topic, but why don't we see more knuckle-ballers out there?  It's not hard to learn and it's easy on the arm.  You see these guys throwing in the pros up through their mid-40's (Wakefield, Niekro, etc.).


Because most knuckleballs are bad fastballs, and fairly easy to park in the bleachers.
  • Haha 1

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4 hours ago, maven said:

 


Because most knuckleballs are bad fastballs, and fairly easy to park in the bleachers.

 

That's pretty much what I've seen too. I did call a game this year with a kid who had a real niece knuckle curve. He mixed it in real well with a fastball.

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To be honest. the higher the levels I call I find that there are a lot less curve balls and a lot more sliders. It is said to be easier on the arm.

I have a friend that pitched in MLB, and he now coaches high school - by the way, he has a great pitching staff - he teaches his kids the fastball and a change-up. He also shows them the cutter, he does it with pressure only and has them throw it over the top. He was drafted out of HS and had a good career in the pros, and he was taught the non-curve pitches when he made it to rookie ball. They are very effective at the HS level.

My suggestion is to have him talk to a reputable HS coach or even a college coach. FB and CU are they way to go, from what I see.

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I am seeing a lot more knuckleballers in central Florida than I used to. however it is generally pitchers that throw decent fastballs and have added the knuckleball in lieu of a curveball and or a slider. I agree that the cutter being thrown with finger pressure is a great tool for young pitchers. 

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On 5/29/2018 at 10:20 AM, Tksjewelry said:

While I was on my fourth game in 100+, pu, while sitting on bucket in the shade while a new pitcher warmed up, vthc asked me to watch a kid pitch, he threw two pitches, a fast ball and a slider. Vthc asked me who he can call to try to protect the pitcher from this, he wasn't concerned about it offensively  (his kids smoked those sliders) but he was legitimately concerned about the players safety. The two teams gave played another many times and there wasn't any animosity. I don't get why this is a concern, but then again I didn't play baseball outside a very young youth rec league. Can someone explain? I don't believe this was a situation I should commented on and I didn't but was that correct?

It is indeed an injury risk to a developing arm.  When i played over 30 years ago pitchers under 12 weren't allowed to throw any breaking balls.   Apparently there was a long history of kids destroying their arms before they got their driver's license.

The real issue is about strength.  MLB and higher level pitchers can throw effective curveballs, sliders, cutters, etc without additional strain on their elbows (many without even changing their arm motion) - everything comes from the strength of the fingers and/or wrist (I didn't learn a curveball until I was 19, and my curveball and fastball arm motion were the same - the difference was the curveball was created by snapping my fingers on release) - even today, when playing catch with my daughter I do it that way with baseballs and softballs.

Young kids don't have the strength to do that, so they end up needing to torque their elbows to get the desired spin effect - and it usually comes across as an eephus pitch....over time, that strain on a still developing arm, with not a lot of supporting muscle mass, can lead to tennis elbow...and worse...12 year olds needing Tommy John surgery.

Fundamentally, whether it's baseball or softball, kids should learn to master the mechanics of the fastball...and do it for YEARS before going to other pitches.  And, contrary to popular belief, speed first, accuracy second (ie. mechanics, then timing).   Then, work with grip options  (eg. two-seam, four-seam, etc) and learn how the ball just moves naturally with different grips (as a hitter I'd rather see a 92 mph fastball that goes straight, than an 81mph fastball that drifts left or right)    As well, many times simply changing this grip also mixes up the speed of the pitch.

Then, as stated above, move onto change ups.   Kids should be able to be effective with fastballs and change ups well into 16U.  Especially if they have more than one fastball.   Then you can start introducing the junk.   

As questioned above - the knuckle ball also requires a lot of strength, so it's rare to see kids throw it effectively.

 

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7 hours ago, maineump said:

To be honest. the higher the levels I call I find that there are a lot less curve balls and a lot more sliders. It is said to be easier on the arm.  NOT!

Listen to this guy:  I have a friend that pitched in MLB, and he now coaches high school - by the way, he has a great pitching staff - he teaches his kids the fastball and a change-up. He also shows them the cutter, he does it with pressure only and has them throw it over the top.

X.........................X

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