Thursday, July 30, 2009

Another viewpoint on kids and curveballs

Found this at, which is hosting a lively forum on kids, curves and the Times article. This post was written by a gentleman named Tom LaPrade:

"It amazes me that so many youth coaches who I've shared this article with refuse to acknowledge the validity of the studies. It's as though the notion that a curveball is more dangerous than a fastball is a religious crede of some sort, Not one of the youth coaches I've talked to is a scientist of the biomechanics of throwing, so what other reason could they have for their resistance to these studies than the fact that, for them, the "danger" of throwing a curveball is merely continued worship at the altar of baseball myth?

"But one thing that is obvious is that the act of throwing in any fashion is violent on the arm. Thus it is a legitimate question to ask which methods of throwing are MORE violent. There are probably a handful of experts without an agenda who are qualified to answer this question. And Nissen and Fleiseg are those people.

"So I accept this study as a scientific breakthrough. It’s the role of science to challenge received wisdom and preconceived pieties. I have no personal reason to doubt the study. I never felt any different as a kid throwing one kind of pitch over another, and as a coach I've never heard a kid complain about throwing curveballs v. fastballs. If a valid, peer-reviewed, blinded, controlled study by leaders in the field of biomechanics of throwing conclude that a curve is no less safe than a fastball, wouldn't it be awfully presumptuous of us to dispute it just because most people I know think curveballs arent as safe as fastballs? Who's to say the act of throwing the changeup with the unnatural grip and awkward pronation of the wrist (does anyone throw anything with that motion except a baseball pitcher tossing a changeup?) is not the most dangerous of pitches?

"People used to say the world was flat because that's what the smart people used to say, it looked flat, and everybody repeated the "fact" that the world was flat. Thankfully there were people who had the temerity to challenge these convictions that were based more on certitude than certainty. Think about it, if in fact these studies are correct, then we may be hurting kids by telling them to throw fastballs. Shouldnt the truth be more important than our cherished shibboleths?"

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