Remember, it was widely believed the world was flat and that a curveball was actually just an optical illusion (studies have shown conclusively that a curveball can break up to 19 inches!). Sorry, but just because dad says it is so doesn’t necessarily make it make it true.
Before you rush out there are start throwing curve after curve there are a couple things you should know. The study held that if the curve was thrown with proper mechanics, then the risk of injury wasn’t any more significant than throwing a fastball, so if your mechanics are off, the risk of injury is indeed compounded.
Tom House, the former pitching coach for the Texas Rangers, has studied the curveball and pitching for years. According to analysis, throwing a curve puts no more stress on the arm than a fastball. He does point out the curve puts more stress on the elbow and the fastball puts more stress on the shoulder. Which just goes to show that pitching puts stress on the arm, elbow and shoulder, period.
Because kids are going to throw a curveball whether you want them to or not, it’s best to show them how to do it correctly, and thus avoid injury. This doesn’t mean children have license to throw the curve all the time. It’s still probably best to throw a majority of fastballs, and since a majority of children do throw a curveball incorrectly, learning a change-up really ought to be next in line, before the curve. Teach the child how to pitch. That is, change locations and speed, and not just rare back and throw, and many arm problems can and will be avoided.
Most injuries to young arms can be attributed to the following:
Either throwing too many pitches during an outing and/or not getting enough recovery time between games.
A poor arm condition can arise by either not throwing enough or throwing too hard, too soon.