Should youth pitchers throw curveballs?

Should my youth athletes throw a curveball, or any secondary pitch for that matter?

It is commonly said that introducing secondary pitches too early can be detrimental to the long-term health of youth athletes. 

However, biomechanical analysis has been relatively straightforward in finding that there is little to no evidence that secondary pitches are more stressful than fastballs within both adult and youth population. 

This is something that we’ve validated here at the facility with our advanced athlete population using the PULSEthrow and published on our blog.   

However, despite there being little evidence that throwing breaking balls are more stressful or detrimental to long-term health, we still recommend that youth athletes still avoid throwing secondaries until they absolutely must for performance reasons. By only having one pitch in their arsenal, youth athletes will have to hone in on fastball velocity and command to get batters out, a natural constraint that has positive long-term implications to improve the most important pitch in their game.

Furthermore, if you develop feel for a curveball at 13 years old, there’s a high probability that you’ll have to make an adjustment somewhere along the line. A secondary pitch can be developed and changed in one off-season, but a good fastball takes years to develop and is imperative to reaching a professional level of play. We find that it is important to develop the fastball early and build the rest of your secondaries off the characteristics of that pitch.

If you have any questions regarding pitch design, please email us at or via phone at 425-523-4030.

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