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Safe Pitches For Youth Players

arm safety changeup youth baseball youth pitcher Sep 10, 2022

Youth pitchers and baseball players need to be advised which pitches are safe to throw at a young age and in little league. There is a lot of information out there sharing whether or not it's safe to throw curveballs at a young age. Steve Nikorak breaks down his thoughts.   

For young players (9-10 years old), Coach Steve recommends the 4 seam fastball, 2 seam fastball, and a changeup. He advises against the curveballs and sliders because of the lack of development and strength that the young pitcher's arms have at that age.   

With that, it is then important that the players practice their changeup in the throwing program designed for them. This can be done in practice when warming up, or doing long tosses. Instead of the index and middle finger taking the major role such as during a 4-seam throw, the middle and ring finger are on the 4 seams. The player will still throw the four seam changeup to get a better feel for grip pressure and release point.   

The changeup is a very similar throwing technique to the four seam fastball, but now they are getting used to throwing the changeup. At the younger ages, a problem Coach Steve sees is the young pitchers will try to slow the ball down instead of letting the grip do it for them. The changes in grip, holding the ball deeper in the hand and gripping tighter than the player would for a fastball, create the difference in speed as opposed to changing the way the ball is mechanically thrown.   

Changeups provide enough difference in pitch to throw off the hitter by speed, but they also look exactly like a fastball coming in. If youth pitchers can throw an effective changeup, it is enough at that age to be successful.

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