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My 9 1/2 year old just started pitch this fall. He has a good arm and throws the ball very well. What concerns me is he throws with a spin. It's not a curve but there is some side spin. He uses 3 fingers instead of 2 because of hand size. I've tried all sorts of drills but it hasn't worked yet. Maybe when his hand gets bigger or maybe it's not a big deal for now. I've always heard lefties throw differently but I wanted to correct something early if I can.
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My son is 9 and goes through this once in a while.

I tell him that his fingers are Wolverines claws, and that Wolverines claws need to cut the baseball in half. After the claws cut through the ball tell him to turn his thumb down.

Play catch with him. Watch the spin. See if makes the ball spin a little more true.

This cue works OK with kids who are un-intentionally putting slurve spin on the ball.

(I'll bet Yardbird likes this post) Cool
One thing we used when I first learned to throw the ball with a four seam grip was a baseball that was painted half red and half unpainted such that if you threw the ball with the correct spin, you could distintly see the red half and the white half. This could add to the suggestions already presented. You could figure out a way to turn it into a little game, and could be learning to throw with proper spin without even knowing he's learning.
Another approach to the painted ball ... When my son was about 9 he had a Coach use a ball with electrical tape to help teach him how to grip the ball, and watch the rotation when he threw. He would tape the ball around the center over the four-seam axis.

He learned that the thumb and middle finger should cut the ball in half. Easy enough, thumb on the tape on the bottom, MF on the tape on the top. The goal was to see a steady (not wobbly) line as the ball flew to te target. Since my guy throws 3/4, from the left side, the line was more 11 to 5 or 10 to 4 than 12 to 6. That's okay. The key is how tightly the rotation held the line.

I brought this idea to my LL team, and used to have all the guys warm up with taped balls (yes ... I know ... that can hurt if the tape is on too tight Smile). The boys had fun learning to throw more effectively, and it became a contest to see who could throw the best (tightest spiral). When I added in target practice -- getting points for hitting the target, all of the boys throwing improved dramtically.

Last edited by southpaw_dad
I could be off base here or not completely understanding your point, but having a different spin on the ball may not be a bad thing. As long as his mechanics are sound and he is not dropping his elbow below his shoulder, he should be fine.

Having a side spin on the ball is what creates tail. My son throws from a low 3/4 slot and has about a 6-8" tail on his fastball. Makes it very hard for a batter to get the sweet spot of the bat on the ball. Movement on your pitches is what will distinguish you from others.

Eventually, he should move from the 3 finger to a 2 finger grip. When he does this, he should pick up some velocity as he will be throwing with his two strongest fingers. Anyway, bottom line is, personally, I would not worry about the spin on the ball. It may wind up being a good thing.
First thing I would check is what arm slot he is throwing from. Chances are it is the "natural" 3/4 arm slot. Chances also are that the ball has more of a "gyroball" spin on it (like a thrown football sprials). This also is perfectly natural, especially at a younger age.

Side spin occurs naturally from the 3/4 arm slot as the angle of release is brought more parallel with the ground. If your son's side/ gyro spin is caused by a low 3/4 arm release, do not change anything!!! I repeat, do not change anything!!!

My son started pitching when he was 9 years old in little league. He had been throwing baseballs ever since he could walk. He had a very low 3/4 arm slot when he bagan pitching (about 9:00 o'clock location) and continued with that same slot for three years. Over those three years I heard from everyone and their dog about how his throwing would hurt his arm (the low slot and not coming "over the top"). Well, 4 years later he has now polished off into the best pitcher in his age group. Not only does he throw harder than the other kids, he has crazy wicked movement on all of his pitches because of the lower arm slot. I contribute this all to just letting him throw how he feels is "natural". He is now thirteen and has moved his arm slot to just above 10:00 o'clock.

The rule I have always stood by is this- If he throws as hard or harder than anyone else, is consistant, and doesnt have joint pain then don't mess with the arm!. The body, in order to accelerate a 5 oz ball will "naturally" find the most effecient way to do this as long as you are not trying to work against yourself. Working against yourself means that you are worried about the height of your elbow or your release point or "coming over the top" (a very bad little league coaching philosophy!) and as such, you will find your body working against itself as you try to do things the body doesn't do effeciently.

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