The science says that if you throw with proper mechanics, the curveball doesn’t cause any additional stress on the arm. There are many in the baseball community that still haven’t bought into the new science, but we have as a program. We still don’t teach curveballs to our 6th graders on down. It starts at 13u for us or with some of our 12u guys who are playing down. Many of the younger kids will drop their elbow and get around this pitch. We need to avoid that completely. We stress getting our arm up and staying on top of the baseball when throwing the curveball. With good mechanics, the pitch works better and it is safer on the arm.
Tips for the Curveball
- Stay on top of it and get extended out front.
- More spin, more break. Practice getting a better spin rate and you will have a better breaking pitch.
Now That We Have a Curveball, How Should We Use It
Get Me Over Curveball
For us, if you have a good curveball, we are going to work on throwing it over the middle of the plate belt high to thigh high. This may seem like a dangerous spot to throw a curveball, but if there curveball is good, this is going to be a get me over pitch for us. 0-0, 1-0, 2-0, 3-1 and they have a good hitter up who we can think is sitting on a fastball. These are great counts to throw a get me over curveball.
Make This Pitch Go Away From a Hitter (Throw it Glove Side)
Your curveball is going to break down and to your glove side. You will usually have more success running this pitch away from a hitter, so a RHP should get good at throwing this outside to righty batters and a LHP should learn how to throw this outside to left handed batters.
Good Curveballs Can Be Thrown To Both Sides of the Plate Effectively
Because a good curveball can move a lot downwards and to the size, you can have a lot of success throwing to both sides of the plate with this pitch. The key is having a good curveball. If you have a good one, have fun pitching to both sides of the plate with it.
Throw It At The Hitter
If you are a righty throwing to a righty or a lefty throwing to a lefty, you should learn how to throw a curveball that starts out at the hitter. For the most part, at the high school level on down, if you can mix this in with 2 strikes, this becomes a pitch that they will often take. If you can get it to come back over the plate for a strike, you have an awesome strikeout pitch. The key here is to get it to break enough so that you’re not just beaning hitters constantly.
Curveball Up In The Zone For a Strikeout Pitch
The curveball up might not seem like a good pitch to get a strikeout on, but it actually works well in combination with a good high fastball. If you can command the fastball up in the zone and get their hitters chasing, their coaches will be talking to them about laying off the fastball up at their letters. When you can establish that fastball, you can then usually get away with throwing a curveball up in the zone which out of the hand, makes them think it’s going to be a ball, then it just drops into the strike zone. For us, this tends to work very well from the high school levels on down. Command the top of the zone with a good fastball and then drop in a curveball and watch them look at it for strike 3.
Put-Away Curveballs (Strikeout Pitches)
The nasty 2 strike curveball that pitchers throw in the dirt is one of the most consistent ways to get a strikeout at the high school level on down. Start it in the zone about thigh high to knee high and break it down into the dirt and see how many hitters will chase it. Save it for 0-2 and 1-2 counts and you will get a lot of swings and misses.
Start it Inside and Break it Towards Their Back Foot
This tends to work better with a slider, but with a good curveball or slurve, you can get a lot of swings and misses at this pitch. Be careful not to hit the batter though with this pitch. For a RHP, you are throwing it in to a lefty batter and for a LHP, you are throwing it in to a righty batter.
Aaron Nola Video
There are some curveballs mixed in here for Aaron Nola. You will see other pitches here too, but the curveballs are pretty nasty. Enjoy!