Bruce Sutter, one of the best splitter pitchers in the history of the game, says that it is very important to put your thumb on the back seam, not the front seam. This puts the ball out front just a bit more than a fork ball. Then, he says, you just throw a fastball. A very sophisticated and misunderstood point is that the split-fingered fastball should be thrown with back spin just like a two-seam fastball. But in a Roger Kahn / Bruce Sutter interview in Kahn's book, The Head Game: Baseball Seen from the Pitcher's Mound, he points out that this is not the case.
This is a good partner drill to practice with a friend or teammate, as it will give you both an equal opportunity to practice improving your accuracy. Start by sitting cross-legged on the ground, facing each other, about 20 feet apart (gradually increase the distance to 30 feet as you get better). When you start, toss the ball back and forth, aiming at each other’s centers. The less the receiver has to move his arm to catch the ball, the more accurate the pitch.
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.
A straight curve requires mastery of my beginners curveball, because many of the same principles that apply to both grips. This doesn't mean that you have to throw a beginners curve (most pitchers actually start right out with this pitching grip). But the beginners curveball is a good place to start. Then, of course, this pitching grip is the next step. That's because there is essentially no significant difference between a straight curveball and a beginners curveball, except for the finger placement of your index finger. It should be placed on the baseball as opposed to pointed at a target.
The difficulty with this pitch isn't from the pitch itself. In fact, most pitchers feel this grip gives them the most rotation – and most movement – of any breaking pitch. However, many pitchers who are learning this pitch for the first time, aren't comfortable with the "tucking" part. It's not super comfortable at first to tuck your index finger into the baseball.
Athletes will begin the pitching drill by standing at one Speed and Agility Cone, raise their inside foot and balance on the outside foot (athlete lined up on left side raise right foot, balance on left foot). From this single leg position athletes will slightly bend the knee and explosively jump laterally toward the opposite Speed and Agility Cone. Athletes should try to keep a good body position by not allowing the hips, shoulders, or chest to rotate at any point during the jump or landing. Athletes should also not allow the chest to lean forward during the pitching drill. Athletes will land the jump on the opposite leg they jumped with, balancing on the landing leg while raising the opposite knee in a pitching motion. Athletes will then balance on their outside leg (same leg which they landed on) and explosively jumping back toward the original Speed and Agility Cone.
What pitcher doesn't want to throw a powerful, record-breaking fastball? According to Dr. Bagonzi, a great pitch isn't just about genetic talent; it can be taught. By now we know that velocity begins in windup, followed through with a powerful throw. Good upper body baseball pitching drills improve velocity by increasing arm strength and speed. For that, the legendary pitcher recommends the following:
To begin the pitching drill athletes will need a set of Kbands and 2 Speed and Agility Cones. Athletes will attach the appropriate Kbands resistance just above the knees and space the Speed and Agility Cones at a challenging distance apart. Athletes will be jumping laterally so coaches and athletes should space the Speed and Agility Cones to act as a marker which the athlete is trying to reach. This distance will keep the pitching drill challenging for the athlete.
For this pitching drill you don’t necessarily need a net. You can use a wall or another person. But the idea is to have something behind the pitcher that will let the pitcher know if he has broken his hands too early or is not gaining enough ground going forward. This is a great pitching drill if done correctly and will promote torque as well as linear momentum. Check the vid for more of an explanation!