The One Pitch You Should Avoid at All Costs: The Surprising Truth About Baseball’s Worst Pitch



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Have you recently taken up baseball at school or as a hobby, but aren’t sure if the rigorous pitches are bad for your arm?

A pitch that is properly thrown will never strain your arm. Some exceptions to this rule are; excessive pitch stress if your arm muscles have not finished growing, and pitches were thrown with index and middle fingers, with the risk of inflammation or damage. A split-fingered fastball can also cause muscle stress and strain if thrown regularly. 

This article covers everything you need to know about the different kinds of pitches, how they affect your arm muscles, what are the worst pitches for your arm, and how to avoid muscle strain from excessive pitch stress. 

Why are some baseball pitches bad for your arm?

If you’re new to baseball and learning it as a beginner, or if you’ve just started it at school, there is one important thing you must know; some of the pitches that you throw as a pitcher regardless of technique can be harmful to your arm and its muscles. Here are some examples:

  • Excessive pitch stress – If you’ve joined baseball very young, there’s a high chance that your muscles have not ceased growing, and are still in the growth process. In this case, overusing your muscles may result in irreversible muscle damage and strain. Overdoing any kind of pitch throw can result in permanent injury. 
  • Pitches thrown with the index and middle finger – these pitches have a very strenuous focal point, they result in ulnar nerve inflammation and can be felt in the elbow. 

Note that these damages are irrespective of whether or not you’re following the proper throwing technique, since other factors can contribute to an arm injury as well for example, throwing too much, or using one pitch a lot of times. As for what pitches hurt your arm the most, we will be covering that in the following paragraphs. 

What Are The different kinds of pitch throws?

Before we tell you which pitches are harmful to your arm, you should first know what different kinds of pitches are there in baseball. For example:

FastballsFour-seam Two-seam Cutter Splitter Forkball
Breaking ballsCurveball Slider Slurve Screwball
ChangeupsChangeup  Palmball Circle Changeup

According to a fan article about baseball, fastballs are straight pitches with a high velocity and little to no movement. These require a lot of force to be thrown since they need to be a lot faster than your average pitch. Depending on the release, they may even move downwards. 

A curveball on the other hand requires a slight shifting of the hand before throwing, and this pitch breaks downwards. A changeup on the other hand is slower than a fast ball, but is thrown with the same movement and arm motion. 

What kind of injuries can you get from pitch-throwing?

Now that we’ve listed all the different types of pitches you can do in baseball, we will now be explaining what kind of injuries those pitches can cause if any. According to Motus Rehabilitation, 64% of the parents who had children playing baseball reported that their children had been experiencing pain in their arms as a result of pitching. 

And that’s not all, throwing a ball may seem like nothing, but it requires a lot of force, kinetic energy, and torque on the pitcher. From fastballs to curveballs, each pitch has its own velocity and breakage point, so your arm has to deal with a lot of pressure from different angles. 

Some of the most common elbow injuries to pitchers are:

  • Forearm tendinitis – this injury comes from overuse of screwball or wrong technique and can feel like soreness on the inner part of your elbow, from the bone to the wrist. 
  • Little league elbow – situated at the outside of your elbow, this injury can be caused by micro-tearing or big tears and is similar to dislocating your elbow. Younger kids often report of this injury more because of their still-growing muscles. 
  • Olecranon stress fracture – caused when the muscles around your elbow bone aren’t strong enough to handle the shock created by your arm movements. 
  • Pitcher’s elbow – caused by rigorous pitching mechanics (curveballs or fastballs), this happens when you wear out your elbow cartilage in your olecranon bone. 

Some shoulder injuries caused by the sport are:

  • Internal impingement – comes from overhead pitches and throws, this injury is sauces by a painful rub which can develop into a tear. 
  • Rotator cuff tears and tendinitis – limiting the mobility of your arm, this injury frays the tendons in your rotator cuff. 
  • Internal rotation deficit – results in the inflexibility of your back shoulder ligaments, usually caused by excessive overhead throws. 
  • Bicep tears and tendinitis – create pain and aches in the front of the shoulder, and can worsen till the tendon tears. 

What baseball pitch causes more injuries?

The curveball; not only does it require an intense amount of skill and force, but the inhumane angles that the wrist, hand, and elbows have to go through often puts an irreversible strain on your arm. 

How important is the technique when throwing pitches?

The technique is perhaps the most important thing while pitching, one wrong move and you could strain your arm, pull a muscle, or cause a tendon to tear. Most baseball injuries are caused by the wrong usage of technique, so it is the most important aspect of learning baseball. 

How to avoid baseball pitches hurting your arm?

Many pitching injuries are due to overdoing a pitch, so limit your practice of a certain pitch, and use MLB’s recommended pitch counts for young pitchers. The proper mechanics to throw should also be kept in mind in order to avoid an injury. 

Condition your muscles and train them to handle stresses and strains, especially your back, arm, and shoulder muscles, so that they become less susceptible to getting injured. Also rest in the off-season is a must, you shouldn’t keep trying to get better all the time, give your body the rest it deserves. 


Baseball pitches can often hurt your arm and cause irreversible damage, so it’s important to know which types of pitches can be harmful to your arm to prevent damage to your body beforehand.

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