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At what age should a pitcher throw the curveball - How old?
At what age should a pitcher start learning to throw a curveball? How old should a pitcher be before he starts throwing the curve?
Most of the blogs and forums out there seem to think a good age to start throwing a curveball is 15 – 16 years old. However, there are also some out there that believe it is ok for a 12 year old to start learning and throwing the curveball.
I am a on the fence with this issue of having an exact age, but I do want to share my view on starting to throw the curveball at the earlier end of this age spectrum. Of course, I want to share my personal experience with learning the curveball as well. I don’t like that there is a specific age for throwing a curveball. I started throwing the curveball my first year on the “big bases” which happened to be at age 13. I wouldn’t recommend learning to throw the curveball before this because 60’6” is where you will be throwing your curveball for the rest of your baseball career. Why learn to throw it at a shorter distance?
With that being said, I was a lot bigger than the other kids my age. At 13 years old, I was 6’4” 185lbs and I had been strengthening my arm with a throwing program and light weights.
Therefore someone who isn’t quite as developed or hasn’t been on a throwing program to strengthening their arm may want to wait until they are more developed or feel stronger.
Don’t get me wrong, not everyone is going to be 6’4”, but you do want to make sure that your body is filling out, and that your arm is strong enough to handle the new curveball.
Not everyone is going to be ready to throw the curveball at 13 years old. So how do you know if you are ready?
Ask yourself these questions.
Have I been through puberty?
Am I going through a major growth spurt?
Does my arm ever get sore for any reason?
If you answered Yes, No, No, then there is a good chance you are ready to learn the curveball.
Another thing you will need when learning the curveball is an experienced coach or instructor. You don’t just want to go out there are try what you learned from a friend, picture, or video. You should have someone experienced watching you as you are learning the curveball so you can ask questions and they can provide input to make sure you are throwing the curveball the right way. I had an experienced coach who taught me the correct and safe way to throw the curveball when I learned at age 13 and I never had any arm problems from the curveball.
Therefore, my professional opinion on how old a pitcher should be to learn the curveball, is: No earlier than the first year of “big bases” No later than your body and arm are ready to throw the curveball Only when you have an experienced coach or instructor present.
The two main reasons young pitchers develop arm problems from throwing the curveball is overuse and misuse. If a young pitcher is not ready to throw the curveball and proceeds to throw too many of them, chances are he is going to get hurt.
Also, if a young pitcher is trying to throw the curveball the wrong way, by vigorously snapping his wrist, hooking the baseball, or some other incorrect or unsafe way, chances are he is going to hurt himself. This is just another reminder to make sure you are physically ready to learn the curveball and that you have an experienced coach or instructor there to help you in the beginning.
Good Luck! If you think you are ready to learn the curveball you can watch my video on how to grip and throw a curveball for some tips and tricks to help you out with your new pitch.