The Myth Behind The Risk

Written By: Dave Shinskie

In the following article I hope to enlighten you on how to properly throw a curveball and why it’s a myth that it puts more torque on your elbow. It has been a controversial subject when talking about the right age to start throwing a breaking pitch. In my opinion, it is not the age of when to start throwing a breaking pitch but rather the mechanics of the pitcher. When a young pitcher shows that they can repeat a natural smooth delivery with an acceptable efficient arm path, I allow them to attempt to take that into a breaking ball. Video evidence and a credible source (Al Liter) will prove my point that a curveball is alright to start throwing at any age if the movements of the body are consistently healthy.

Throwing A Curveball

Thinking back on my pitching career I realize now that I never thought about the process of throwing different pitches. I just changed grips and threw it as natural as I could. I share this with kids when trying to teach them how to understand the correct way to throw off speed pitches and breaking balls. We have pitchers feel the release point of their fastball and pay attention to the way the ball spins out of the hand. This feel of the release point is difficult sometimes because kids want to see the break so badly, they end trying to manipulate the baseball. This manipulation of the ball is what we don’t want to do.

In this video, Al Liter explains how he threw his curve by using his core muscles to bring the arm along for the ride. This is one of the better videos I have seen on  pitching instruction. He demonstrates bad posture change and shows the correct way to help pitchers not lead with their elbow. Listen to how he explains why he felt less stress on his arm when throwing a curveball compared to a fastball.

 The Myth Behind the Risk

There are a few myths that are associated with throwing curveballs.  Pronating the hand and wrist through the release of the baseball and following through to the opposite hip helps make the arm path be as natural as possible. No twisting of the ball ever happens, and like Al Liter said, causes less stress on the elbow.  As the front foot hits, the hips should stop with the leg bracing up to allow the upper body to rotate properly forward through the breaking ball. In this video I explain the myth that a curveball puts more stress on your arm than a fastball, and I show you an efficient arm path to be more repeatable when throwing a 12-6 curveball.

 

Best Curveballs In The Big Leagues

In both videos,  Clayton Kershaw and Justin Verlander pronate through the baseball when releasing their breaking pitches. 26 seconds into the Kershaw video and 16 seconds into the Verlander video.  Hitters get fooled by not only the break of the ball toward the ground but the speed change and the deception of their repeatable mechanics. The two pitchers change nothing from their fastball but the grips and release.

What Not To Do

This is a Youtube video that has over 830,000 views. The content in the video is the opposite of what an instructor should be teaching. The only valuable aspect in this video is when the instructor explains not to hook your curveball. I hope this article and the videos provided show how to provide proper instruction to pitchers and how pitchers can throw a breaking ball while maintaining a healthy arm. Bad instruction can lead to inefficient mechanics which leads to inconsistency, and ultimately, arm injury. Please contact Baseball Rebellion or post a comment with your thoughts on the subject. Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it.

 

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