Want to be a Better Youth Baseball Pitcher? Learn the Changeup!

Youth-Baseball-ChangeupA few weeks ago we explored the always popular question “At What Age Should a Pitcher Begin Throwing a Curveball?” This week, we are going to take this discussion one step further. In the video below, Coach Dan Clemens offers a bit of advice for youth pitchers. Forget the curveball (at least until high school).

“Curve balls aren’t needed in the youth game,” explains Coach Clemens. “Coaches and parents should wait until high school to teach kids how to throw a curveball. It really isn’t needed in the youth game.”

However, a pitcher – even a youth pitcher – cannot live on his fastball alone.

“By the time the kids are 12 or 13, 14 years old, they are going to need two pitches,” said Coach Clemens.

Instead going to the curveball too early, focus on developing your changeup. Not only will this help decrease the risk of serious arm injury, but it will also help improve command, velocity, and will ultimately help a youth pitcher improve his game far more than any curveball ever will.

“The changeup can be just as devastating a pitch [as the curveball] in the youth game,” said Coach Clemens.

A good changeup can be a youth baseball pitcher’s…heck, any pitcher’s best friend. Aside from good command and location, nothing is quite as great a tool as switching speeds. And if you think good velocity is still king, think about this. A great changeup will keep hitters honest and make your fastball look even faster. That’s what we like to call a win-win!

Forget the Curve . . . Teach the Changeup!

“I think the changeup can be a tremendous pitch to learn to throw in the youth game,” added Coach Clemens.

As for the curveball, Coach Clemens leaves you with this tidbit of wisdom.

“Just wait as long as possible. There’s no need to rush into this. And I really believe there is no need to learn to throw a curveball into you get into high school. That’s something that can be picked up at the right time in the high school game.”

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