Good curveballs are tough to hit, period. The best piece of advice I can give for becoming a good curveball hitter is to become a good fastball hitter. Let that sink in for a minute.
Youth pitchers love to experiment with different pitches. Most never get to the point where those pitches can be really truly be called pitches. Most are experimental throws that once in a while find the strike zone. Because of this, pitchers will always revert back to the most reliable pitch, the fastball. So for those of you who are having a tough time with your baseball swing on curveballs, don't worry, a focus on hitting fastballs is your ticket.
I know at first this may seems like I'm suggesting that you run from a problem that will surely come back to bite you later on in your career. This is hardly the case. Here are some truths based upon observation of the baseball swing.
1. The majority of hitters prefer hitting ahead in the count (1-0, 2-0, 2-1, 3-1).
2. The majority of pitches thrown on those counts are fastballs.
3. The majority of hitters far prefer hitting a fastball over a curveball.
4. The majority of pitches thrown in a game are fastballs.
Based on the above, it's far more valuable to get VERY good at hitting the fastball hard when it's thrown in your hitting zone. The more you maximize this skill, the less you have to worry about finding yourself in “curveball counts" where the advantage is more for the pitcher.
While focusing your attention on the fastball is important and your first priority, totally ignoring working on offspeed pitches is not recommended. The single best way to make sure you are putting yourself in the best position for hitting a curveball (other than what has been explained above) is to make sure your lower body mechanics are solid and that you can keep your weight back as you swing.
Nate Barnett is owner of BMI Baseball http://bmibaseball.com and is based out of Washington State. His expertise is in the area of hitting, pitching, and mental training. Coach Barnett's passion is working with youth in helping expand their vision for their baseball future. After finishing a professional career in the Seattle Mariners Organization, Nate pursued his coaching and motivational training career.
Hitting 101, a complete visual and video guide to hitting mechanics will be released on BMI website by June 2008.
More articles on hitting can be found on BMI's training blog at http://bmibaseball.com/blog