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bigchief

9-U curveballs?

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I watched the 9-U Nitro team this weekend throw multiple curveballs. Their guys actually tried to tell people that it would not hurt their arms because they were throwing 12-6. First off, no they were not. They were all throwing 2-8 and snapping the bejesus out of their elbows. And not just one pitcher, but at least the three different ones that I saw pitch so probably every kid that toes the mound for them. Sounds good in theory. And I am sure that they are happy with their trophy, but I bet a lot of those kids have arm trouble before too long. For what? A 9-U trophy? Ridiculous.

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For my teen-age son who still loves the game. He now loves the competition of travel baseball but really enjoyed more than just baseball when playing the coach pitch travel ball. I'm not sure that he would have stayed with baseball had we remained in rec ball because he was not being challenged.

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I watched the 9-U Nitro team this weekend throw multiple curveballs. Their guys actually tried to tell people that it would not hurt their arms because they were throwing 12-6. First off, no they were not. They were all throwing 2-8 and snapping the bejesus out of their elbows. And not just one pitcher, but at least the three different ones that I saw pitch so probably every kid that toes the mound for them. Sounds good in theory. And I am sure that they are happy with their trophy, but I bet a lot of those kids have arm trouble before too long. For what? A 9-U trophy? Ridiculous.

:roflolk: Rediculous is an understatement. bad for the kids,bad for the game.Way too much potential for harm versus no benefit.The temptation to follow suit to compete will influence coaches,who otherwise would not jepordize a kids arm if allowed to continue.Just my opinion but I believe the curveball should be banned until old enough to safely throw it and coaches fined for repeated offenses.

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I watched the 9-U Nitro team this weekend throw multiple curveballs. Their guys actually tried to tell people that it would not hurt their arms because they were throwing 12-6. First off, no they were not. They were all throwing 2-8 and snapping the bejesus out of their elbows. And not just one pitcher, but at least the three different ones that I saw pitch so probably every kid that toes the mound for them. Sounds good in theory. And I am sure that they are happy with their trophy, but I bet a lot of those kids have arm trouble before too long. For what? A 9-U trophy? Ridiculous.

 

If a curveball is thrown properly and in the correct number of pitches (20% to 25% of total pitches), throwing a curveball is no more harmful to a pitchers arm (no matter what age) than any other pitch. The problem is that most coaches have not taught or do not know themselves how to teach the kids the proper way of throwing a curveball safely.

 

If you are correct and the Nitro coaches believe throwing with a 12-6 arm slot keeps from hurting the childs arm, then you are right those coaches do not know have a clue how to safely throw a curve ball. What can hurt a childs arm is not the arm path (12-6 or 2-8) but the twisting motion the kids use to get the ball to "spin" while throwing a curve ball. When any person throws a baseball your hand automatically pronates after you release the ball, when a pitcher twists his arm during the throwing motion to get the ball to spin he is putting a tremendous amount of stress on his elbow and then he releases and the hand will pronate in the opposite direction. It is that severe twisting motion while throwing that hurts the elbow of the pitcher.

 

I am sure that most Dad's would not have any problem at all letting your 9 year old sons hit nails with a hammer. If thrown correctly, a curveball is basically the same motion. The keys are to teach the kids to "Pre-Set" their hands with the ball in their glove prior to throwing the pitch. This allows the hand and arm to be at the same angle as they will be at release point (ie for the curve ball it is basically a karate chop with butt of the hand facing the webbing of the glove) and then have the pitcher throw the pitch without changing arm angles through out the entire pitching motion. The Karate chop hand and arm angle will provide the spin to allow the ball to break. Finally do not allow a Coach to call for more than two or three curve balls in a row without throwing a fastball. The proper ratio of pitches is 60% fastballs, 20-25% curveballs and 15-20% change-ups.

 

The problem with not teaching the kids to throw a curveball properly is that most will throw it anyway with their friends when they are just fooling around and most will throw it incorrectly. Secondly, many young kids twist their arms as they throw a baseball because they have not been taught how to properly hold a baseball and/or release it. As a result I have seen many kids, most not even pitchers, with hurt elbows at a young age just by throwing to a friend.

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I think the bigger problem, mechanics or not, is a 4'-0" 80 lb. 9 year old trying to break off a curve ball from 46 ft. that a 6'-0", 180# high schooler is breaking off from 60.5 ft. The physics of the 9U kid doing from a shorter distance what the bigger and stronger 13U and up guys are doing from a third more distance exerts more stress on immature arms with underdeveloped muscle and bone structures. You'd be better off to teach your 9U pitcher how to properly throw a circle change or a palm ball or even a knuckleball than a curve.

 

To address the travel ball portion of this equation, there's oftentimes no safety net between a rogue coach and an arm injury other than the parents who are the ones most enamoured with 'travel ball' in the first place. I understand this is as generalistic a statement as 'rec league' is, but at least do your home work. Parents should place age appropriate restrictions on pitch counts, breaking balls and days rest if the coaching staff is not. Coaches, you should understand the liability that you expose yourself to if you contribute to a kid's arm problems. There's enough documentation from medical experts that I'd think twice about abusing a kid's arm.

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If a curveball is thrown properly and in the correct number of pitches (20% to 25% of total pitches), throwing a curveball is no more harmful to a pitchers arm (no matter what age) than any other pitch. The problem is that most coaches have not taught or do not know themselves how to teach the kids the proper way of throwing a curveball safely.

 

If you are correct and the Nitro coaches believe throwing with a 12-6 arm slot keeps from hurting the childs arm, then you are right those coaches do not know have a clue how to safely throw a curve ball. What can hurt a childs arm is not the arm path (12-6 or 2-8) but the twisting motion the kids use to get the ball to "spin" while throwing a curve ball. When any person throws a baseball your hand automatically pronates after you release the ball, when a pitcher twists his arm during the throwing motion to get the ball to spin he is putting a tremendous amount of stress on his elbow and then he releases and the hand will pronate in the opposite direction. It is that severe twisting motion while throwing that hurts the elbow of the pitcher.

 

I am sure that most Dad's would not have any problem at all letting your 9 year old sons hit nails with a hammer. If thrown correctly, a curveball is basically the same motion. The keys are to teach the kids to "Pre-Set" their hands with the ball in their glove prior to throwing the pitch. This allows the hand and arm to be at the same angle as they will be at release point (ie for the curve ball it is basically a karate chop with butt of the hand facing the webbing of the glove) and then have the pitcher throw the pitch without changing arm angles through out the entire pitching motion. The Karate chop hand and arm angle will provide the spin to allow the ball to break. Finally do not allow a Coach to call for more than two or three curve balls in a row without throwing a fastball. The proper ratio of pitches is 60% fastballs, 20-25% curveballs and 15-20% change-ups.

 

The problem with not teaching the kids to throw a curveball properly is that most will throw it anyway with their friends when they are just fooling around and most will throw it incorrectly. Secondly, many young kids twist their arms as they throw a baseball because they have not been taught how to properly hold a baseball and/or release it. As a result I have seen many kids, most not even pitchers, with hurt elbows at a young age just by throwing to a friend.

That's your opinion,I respect your right to express it on these boards,and there's a chance that it's correct.Having said that,here's mine.It's a known fact that pre-pubescent childrens' joints(especially the elbow)are weak points due to underdevelopement.I have two daughters aged 25 and 23 years,both whom have made multiple trips to the bone and joint clinic to have elbow joints relocated.The Dr.who happens to be a specialist(also happens to be a "duck huntin'buddy"of mine)explained that this was a "very common" injury among the pre teen age class.I will admit that I've not spoken with my friend about the effects of throwing the curve ball on kids arms,but I do know the mechanics of throwing a curve and realize that the arm tourques in an unnatural manner.As a society,we place a high prioriaty on protecting our youth from all kinds of harm via many avenues,such as age restrictions on smoking,drinking,warning labels on music and films,curfews,courts to ensure that attendence and behavior guidelines are met by parents with jail time possible for violations,ect....and yet we should encourage a practice with the potential to do permenant damage to a child? :unsure: I'd like to add that this practice,though it has no restrictions that I'm aware of is "blacklisted" already by almost everyone involved in youth baseball,can that many people be compleately wrong?

Edited by tradertwo

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For my teen-age son who still loves the game. He now loves the competition of travel baseball but really enjoyed more than just baseball when playing the coach pitch travel ball. I'm not sure that he would have stayed with baseball had we remained in rec ball because he was not being challenged.

OMG.

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OMG.

 

lol. Hey, there's a reason why they have 6U and 8U teams. For the phenoms who aren't going to be challenged before they can grow a chest hair. This is Dad speak more often than not. I've seen just as many that don't stick with a sport because they are pushed too fast too soon. Sure that can happen in rec leagues, but there's at least a board of directors and other peer groups that can keep a coach that doesn't have the kids best interests at heart from ruining a kids arm. Little League alone spends hundreds of thousands of dollars for medical research and then develop a criteria for protecting arms rather than some Bubba throwing his little phenom out on the mound every other game. Think about it.

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I watched the 9-U Nitro team this weekend throw multiple curveballs. Their guys actually tried to tell people that it would not hurt their arms because they were throwing 12-6. First off, no they were not. They were all throwing 2-8 and snapping the bejesus out of their elbows. And not just one pitcher, but at least the three different ones that I saw pitch so probably every kid that toes the mound for them. Sounds good in theory. And I am sure that they are happy with their trophy, but I bet a lot of those kids have arm trouble before too long. For what? A 9-U trophy? Ridiculous.

 

Totally concur Chief........a kid should throw curveballs when he starts to shave at the earliest. Throwing them as early as 9 will cause irrepairable damgage to their arms and elbows.

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If you think a kid throwing a curves at 9 years old is ok. Then your an idiot! If you don't have hair under your arms then you shouldn't be throwing it. Unless your one of those types that think winning a 9 year old tournament is the equivalent to the MLB world series. Why chance a kids arm just for the sake of winning some stupid tourney that doesn't mean squat. I'm sure there's a lot if scouts out there watching these games. Protect that arm if you want to play later in high school when there are scouts looking!!

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