If you’re a fan of baseball, you’ve probably heard of this myth at least once. “Don’t throw a breaking ball when you’re young.”스포츠토토
Many baseball fans look at the high rate of breaking balls of young players with a negative eye. It is thought that the risk of injury will be higher than that of adults because the burden on the arms increases while the body is less young.
This is not just a matter of fans’ “feeling”. The opinion of the expert group is the same. The US Institute of Sports Medicine (ASMI) and the Major League Baseball (MLB) Secretariat also restricted pitching guidelines for youth pitchers through the Pitch Smart. According to this, the secretariat recommends that players between the ages of 9 and 12 refrain from pitching pitches other than fastballs and changeups. The guideline requires that breaking balls such as curveballs be polished after the fastball and changeup have been established until the age of 18, and there are no separate restrictions after the age of 19. In line with this, the Korea Baseball Softball Association (KBSA) has also pushed for a ban on breaking balls for youth players since 2017.
Looking at the above, the perception that ‘it is dangerous for a young pitcher to throw a breaking ball’, which has been known ideologically, seems correct. It is certainly wonderful to want young players to grow up healthy. But before that, we need to ask a fundamental question. Are breaking balls really that harmful to children?
The history of related research is as old as the perception that breaking balls are dangerous. ASMI, mentioned earlier, published the first study on the subject through the American Journal of Sports Medicine in 2002. The study studied 476 pitchers aged 9 to 14 over one season to see if a particular pitch caused shoulder or elbow pain.
As a result of the study, the risk of shoulder pain increased by 52% when throwing a curveball and the risk of elbow pain when throwing a slider increased by 86%. At this age, players definitely need to refrain from breaking balls. However, at the same time, the number of pitches thrown by a pitcher during a season was also found to be significantly related to elbow and shoulder pain.
Comparison of joint force and rotational force according to pitch type. Data = 2008 ASMI paper ‘Biomechanical Comparison of Youth Baseballs: Are Curveballs Potentially Harmful?’
Subsequent studies that have been published since then have contradicted the previous results. First, in 2008, ASMI researchers published a paper titled ‘Biomechanical Comparison of Youth Baseballs: Are Curveballs Potentially Harmful?’. The answer was ‘no’.
As a result of the experiment with a total of three pitches (fastball, curveball, and changeup), the load on the elbow and shoulder was the largest in the fastball. The changeup had the least load. There was no clear evidence that the curveball was more dangerous than the fastball.
The same was true for the 2010 thesis. The study followed 481 youth for 10 years to quantify injuries. The study hypothesized three hypotheses: increased pitches, throwing curveballs at a young age, and combining as catcher increase injury risk.
As a result of the study, the most related to injury was pitched innings. Players who played 100 or more innings a year had a 3.5 times greater risk of injury than those who did not. On the other hand, there was no evidence that curves increase the risk of injury for youth pitchers. This is the opposite conclusion from the hypothesis first established by ASMI in 2002.
ASMI as well as other organizations such as Driveline Baseball have similar conclusions. The number of pitches is cited as the biggest injury factor. Also, among the types of pitches, the ball with the strongest load was selected as a fastball, not a breaking ball. This is because the arm load cannot be avoided as much as it has to be thrown quickly. In modern baseball, the fact that pitchers leave due to Tommy John surgery, etc., despite being carefully managed, is by no means irrelevant to the speed that is getting faster and faster.
However, the researchers emphasized that young players still need to be careful in throwing curveballs. ASMI’s Dr. Glenn Plaisic said, “Asking whether a curveball is safe is probably the wrong question. The question might have to be changed to: ‘Am I overusing it?’ Because there is no doubt that throwing too much leads to injuries and often serious ones,” she said.
“A kid with a good curve is more likely to be abused because the coach is more likely to keep him throwing to win,” said Eric Cressy, the New York Yankees’ health and performance director.
“The biggest problem for pitchers who throw curveballs at a young age isn’t injury,” said Lanz Wheeler, president of the baseball think tank. revealed through
This is a new thing soon, but it reminds us of important facts. The act of throwing a lot of balls at a young age is more dangerous than anything else. And the breaking ball itself is not as dangerous as we thought. Nevertheless, it is said that the use of the youth’s breaking ball must be cautious.
Of course, the results of the study were mainly focused on the curveball, and there is a limitation in that data on other pitches such as sliders are lacking. However, the key is not ‘what ball to throw’ but ‘how much to throw’ to prevent injury to youth players. In the end, if the leader knows how to see the future, not immediate success, throwing a little breaking ball won’t be a big deal. There is nothing wrong with the change ball. There are people who use it incorrectly.