In order to master the curveball, you must start by gripping the ball with your middle and index fingers together, with the fingers across the seams of the ball at the widest part (the widest distance between the seams). Keeping a tight grip on the ball, especially with the middle finger, don’t let the ball touch the palm of your hand, or you won’t generate enough topspin, which is what allows the ball to drop when it gets close to home plate.
To perform tuck jumps athletes will jump as high as they can in the air, while airborne athletes will tuck their knees into their chest. These jumps should be performed consecutively jumping, landing and immediately jumping back into the air and tucking the knees. Athletes cannot allow the resistance to alter their body positioning and need to maintain good spacing between the knees so the knees, hips, and ankles are all aligned. Athletes will perform 8-12 resisted tuck jumps for 3-4 sets before removing the Kbands and performing 2-3 unresisted sets of 8-12 repetitions.
I would recommend waiting until the player is 14 or 15 years old. If young players throw curveballs on a consistent basis at younger ages they can cause damage to their elbows and thus hinder the growth process. But it’s not only the fact that they are throwing curveballs at a young age, it’s the fact that they are throwing curveballs with improper mechanics that causes much of the damage. The key is to make sure they are throwing the curveball with proper pitching mechanics.
Choose a grip (start with the standard finger on top of the ball variation) and see how it feels, and get some feedback from a qualified partner on how it looks. Then, tinker. Try others, and see which grip works best for you. Remember: NO grip is best, and any can produce an amazing curveball – it just depends on the person and his level of comfort with it, and his unique way of throwing.
a slider spins more toward the vertical axis and hence tend to move across the horizontal plane with a slight to moderate downward angle (otherwise it’s a fat pitch, not a slider) L to R from the vantage of the mound for a LHP and R to L for RHP. A great R hand slider will look like a fastball inside to a RH batter and wind up moving away and down from him so the catcher catches it on the low outside corner of the plate and the batter is completely fooled and half way back to the dugout by then after whiffing at it. A curve spins toward the horizontal axis so that the rotation produces downward force (bernoulli) and hence it “breaks” or curves more than “slides”. A great curve will break 12 to 6 or down the face of a clock. A great slider is more 2 to 7 for comparison. Both wickedly effective pitches when thrown in the right count and settings.
Gripping a curveball is simple. Place your thumb on the bottom seam of the baseball and then place your middle finger directly above your thumb; splitting the baseball in half with thumb and middle finger. Your index finger is placed right next to your middle finger. Make sure your index finger applies no pressure on the ball. When you start throwing the curveball you can experiment how tight you want to grip the ball. If your grip is too tight the ball can “squirt” on you or it will not make it across the plate. If your grip it too loose you will lose complete control and the ball won’t even know where it will go. Thumb and middle fingers are the only two fingers that apply pressure on the baseball.

Launching a great pitch requires good timing, and lots of control during the leg kick. New pitchers tend to fall forward too soon on follow-through, rather than staying on top of the baseball. This balance drill gets pitchers to practice holding their leg kick before full delivery. It keeps the pitcher in a position to maintain control, rather than rushing the follow-through. Slowing down the leg kick will ultimately help a pitcher to deliver straighter, faster balls, with more power and poise.
A 4 seam fastball is the most common pitch and the ideal grip for a position player as well on the transition from glove to hand. WHY? Because at release point the finger causes backspin on the baseball. The result is the ball does not drop as much as otherwise, without backspin. In other words, a 4 seam fastball is really appearing to defy gravity and travel more in a straight line. A 2 seam fastball is thrown with similar backspin but again on 11 o’clock axis.
Michael grew up on the South Shore of Massachusetts, but rebelled against his parents by rooting for the Orioles (eventually, he came to his senses). After receiving his Ph.D. in Astronomy from UC Berkeley, he spent five years as a post-doc at Princeton working on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. He now lives in Rochester, NY, studying supernovae and listening to baseball games far too often.

A Hall of Fame pitcher famous for his slider was lefty Steve Carlton. Right-handed pitcher David Cone was famous for his slider, which he was able to use many different ways, as was Bob Gibson of the Cardinals. To right-handed batters, Cone would throw it to hook sharply outside the strike zone, getting hitters to chase and miss it. He threw the pitch from various arm angles to further confuse the hitter. Cone's slider was also a strikeout pitch to left-handed hitters, throwing it to curve back over the outside corner and catch the hitter looking. Cone used the slider effectively during his perfect game on July 18, 1999—the final out was recorded via a slider resembling a wiffle ball. In the first game of the 1988 World Series, Dennis Eckersley tried to strike out Kirk Gibson with a backdoor slider, but Gibson was sitting on that exact pitch and hit a game-winning home run. Joe Carter ended the 1993 World Series with a home run on a slider thrown by Mitch Williams. A remarkable slider was John Smoltz's, which would come in looking like a strike and then break out of the strike zone. Brad Lidge featured a slider in his perfect season as a closer in 2008, and used the pitch to strike out the final batter of the 2008 World Series for the Philadelphia Phillies. Closer Francisco Cordero also throws a slider.[citation needed] Other top pitchers to throw a slider included Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers, who used the pitch to win a Cy Young Award in 1981,[1]and Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks starter Randy Johnson, whose slider's lateral movement eventually spawned its own nickname, "Mr. Snappy". At times, Johnson's slider was faster than most pitchers' fastballs. Mike Jackson, who tied Paul Assenmacher with the most games pitched in the 1990s (644), also threw a slider. Ron Guidry threw a slider, which he was taught by Sparky Lyle.
Grip the outside of the ball along the long seam. Set your index and middle fingers along the inside of the right seam if you are right-handed, and along the inside of the left seam if you are left-handed. Place your thumb under the ball, opposite from your fingers, at a 45-degree angle. Make the ball roll off your index finger as you snap your wrist, creating a spin that takes the ball down and across the plate. Do not twist your elbow or wrist. "Most good slider pitchers grip the outer-third of the baseball and cock their wrist slightly, but not stiffly, to their throwing hand's thumb-side upon release of the pitch," pitching instructor Steven Ellis wrote on his website, The Complete Pitcher. "This enables a pitcher to apply pressure to the outer-half of the ball with the index finger."
A 12-6 curve ball will break downward more sharply. Place your index and middle fingers between the seams, and your thumb on the bottom of the ball. Do an abbreviated snap as you throw, or release the ball as your hand passes your head instead of following the arm motion all the way through. To account for the sharp break, throw a 12-6 a bit higher than you would a normal curve ball.
7. Parallel Feet Drill - Works on upper body mechanics. This drill isolates the upper body. The pitchers face each other chest to chest with the feet at shoulder width. The lower body remains stationary. The ball is held in the glove in the "check-your-pulse" position. The torso twists at a 90 degree angle as the ball is pulled down out of the glove, and in a sweeping arc brought to the power position with the hand always on top, and the elbow at least at shoulder level. The delivery is then made and the proper follow through is checked. The glove elbow finishes pointed toward the sky. The drill emphasizes that the pitcher throws with a "proud chest" that remains closed as long as possible.
Mostly the speed and amount of break. A curveball is thrown more slowly than a slider, and the amount of curve on its trajectory is more even. From the batter’s perspective it looks like the pitch is falling off a table. On the other hand, a slider is thrown almost as hard as a fastball. Its trajectory is much sharper than a curveball’s, its break becomes noticeable about 2/3 of the way towards the plate. To a batter it looks like a fastball, then suddenly breaks sharply.
A 4 seam fastball is the most common pitch and the ideal grip for a position player as well on the transition from glove to hand. WHY? Because at release point the finger causes backspin on the baseball. The result is the ball does not drop as much as otherwise, without backspin. In other words, a 4 seam fastball is really appearing to defy gravity and travel more in a straight line. A 2 seam fastball is thrown with similar backspin but again on 11 o’clock axis.

“Dick’s Scientific Formula For Big League Pitching Mechanics Package has given me the knowledge I need as a pitching coach to help young people succeed. I highly recommend it to any pitcher Little League through college. From mechanics to conditioning to the mental aspect, everything he does is top notch. His program helped our pitchers go 29-1, have a 0.80 ERA last season, and win a State Championship.”
Throw this pitch with the same arm speed and body mechanics as a fastball, only slightly turn the ball over by throwing the circle to the target. This is called pronating your hand. (Think about this as giving someone standing directly in front of you a "thumbs down" sign with your throwing hand.) This reduces speed and gives you that nice, fading movement to your throwing-arm side of the plate.
3. Elbow: The throwing elbow must be equal to or slightly above the throwing shoulder. As soon as the pitcher lowers the elbow below the shoulder, they put additional stress on that arm. The angle of the elbow joint should be no more than 90 degrees. Pitchers who throw curveballs at angles greater than 90 degrees may put additional stress on their throwing shoulder.
It is important when throwing a slider, or any breaking pitch in baseball, not to come "around" the baseball. When the pitcher "comes around" the ball, the pitcher puts extra tension on his pitching arm to throw that pitch. A slider is thrown with a regular arm motion, just like a fastball. Slider movement is a direct result of the fingertip pressure and grip. The pitcher may visualize throwing his fingers at the catcher in order to improve follow through and finish the pitching motion.
Strictly speaking, a curveball breaks more in the vertical plane than horizontally. Curveball masters can throw a “12–6” (think clock), purely vertical and do it anywhere from 70–90mph. More commonly, the ball drifts from 1–7ish, 2–8ish. If a ball breaks more laterally (horizontally), ie. 3–8, then it’s a slider, but thrown faster than a curve (80mph territory). If it just breaks laterally at more or less fastball speed (80–90), then it’s a cutter.
Throw the Blitzball just as you would a regular fastball, but with your two fingers positioned about a half-inch to the outside and the ball should naturally roll off of your index finger to the side when you release it (kind of like throwing a football spiral). This Cutter is thrown just like a fastball with an off-center grip and requires no wrist snapping of any kind. Just make sure that the ball rolls off of the thumb side of your index finger as you release it and the ball should curve sideways a good 3-4 feet (away from a righty batter if you are a righty pitcher and vice-versa).
I hope you enjoyed and learned something from this compilation of the best baseball pitching drills.  I suggest that if you haven’t already, check out my Pitching Mechanics page.  It’s where I break down a lot of the proper mechanics in the pitching delivery.  You should also check out my pitching program if you’re interested in throwing faster and more accurate.
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