Ever since I walked away from the game of baseball April of 2015, I have had big aspirations of coaching baseball to the younger generation. I played college baseball for a tiny NAIA school that 95% of you never heard of – Asbury University in Wilmore, KY. I was fortunate to play college baseball as a relief pitcher for 4 years. I dedicated to that through hard work and keeping my arm healthy. I was surrounded by great coaches not only knew the game of baseball so well but they knew how to teach proper arm care. I took their advice and I never had one single arm injury in my baseball career. This sets up for the story I am about to tell you.

One day I was enjoying lunch at a Subway minding my own business while reading the local news on my phone. A pair of gentleman walked in and they happened to be friends that were catching up with each other. They got their food and sat down to make a conversation about their sons getting involved with travel baseball. One gentleman brought up that his sons coach was teaching one of their best pitchers a slider. He also mentioned that the kid was throwing this pitch too well, that it eventually caused him to have a UCL injury. A torn UCL at the age of 15. This poor kid needed Tommy John surgery at the age of 15 because of a pitch that no one should throw until they get to college.

Trouble With the Slider

A slider could be one of the most devastating pitches in baseball if thrown right. This pitch is supposed to be thrown like a fastball to where it creates deception to where the pitch looks like a fastball one second then suddenly there’s a sharp break away from a right handed hitter or away from a left handed hitter (depending if you are right or left handed pitcher). While you are throwing a slider, there is so much wrist snapping involved to where it creates a lot of stress on your elbow. I asked my pitching coach about a slider one day and he replied to me “You don’t need to know that until you advance further into your baseball career”. In my case that was college.

A Call to Arms

To the people who are coaches and aspiring coaches, do not teach your kids this pitch until they get to college. There are alternatives you can teach your kids to throw other than a slider. Teach them how to throw change ups, curve balls, cutters, and sinkers at a young age. These pitches create a little to no stress on the elbow. Avoid the “UCL Destroyers” like sliders and screwballs. Teach your kids how to build arm strength at a early age by long tossing and doing exercises on elastic bands. Tell them that’s very important to maintain a healthy arm.

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Belly Up Sports