See, ultimately when you use it in the game, you do want to throw your curveball with good arm speed and hand speed (or good fastball tempo). But the problem is, if you’re not used to throwing a baseball with the correct curveball hand and wrist position (supinated – palm turned in), chances are you’ll have a tough time maintaining it through ball release. Your hand is going to want to revert back to the way it’s used to throwing.
The difference between a slider and curveball is that the curveball delivery includes a downward yank on the ball as it is released in addition to the lateral spin applied by the slider grip. The slider is released off the index finger, while the curveball is released off the middle finger. If the pitcher is snapping his wrist as he throws, and the movement is more downward than sideways, then he is probably throwing a curveball or slurve, and not a true "slider".
No two pitchers ever throw exactly the same, but their deliveries share three components: balance, timing and power. (See how to work on some of these: The Keys to Improving Pitching Speed and Power.) Every good pitching drill must address at least two of these components. It also must be tailored to your individual style. For example, say you specialize in sidearm pitching. A drill that teaches throwing downhill and forward trunk tilt would be a waste of your time.
At the end of this corresponding video, you will look at a short clip from the Best of the Best. Where a Slider thrown by Clayton Kershaw, is featured from a breakdown video/post I recently did of the lefty. In slow motion, you can see that he has done everything correctly in his mechanics to enable him to Stay Behind the Baseball, Release it ‘Out in Front, and Throw it Downhill. As for result, well it speaks for itself.
For all three variations of the preventative youth pitching drills athletes will perform 2-3 sets of 8-10 repetitions per arm. Athletes need to rotate through this pitching drill with their partners moving from the shoulder portion into the abdominal portion. Rotating positions will act as the rest period for the athletes which is why rotating after every set is important to keep athletes arms and abs fresh for the next set of pitching exercises. This pitching drill is a great way to get athletes shoulders and core warmed up before a game or training session and should be utilized before athletic activity is performed.
A slider is the third fastest pitch in baseball. (The No. 1 fastest is a four-seam fastball and No. 2 is a two-seam fastball.) It's important for pitchers, parents and coaches to learn a proper slider grip and to learn correct throwing technique of a slider to ensure and promote arm-health. A slider is gripped like a two-seam fastball, but held slightly off-center.
Snap the release. Keep your palm facing inward to your body, and release the ball as you step forward with the opposite foot. The ball should be out of your hand shortly after it passes your head. As your arm comes down from the throw, snap it toward the opposite hip. Twist your thumb upward and your middle finger downward to put a spin on the ball.
When thrown, try to manipulate the pitch to come off of the thumb-side of your index finger – NOT your index- and middle-fingers, as with a two-seam fastball – because a two-finger release will cause the pitch to balance out, which reduces the spin that you are looking for. 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. This enables a pitcher to apply pressure to the outer-half of the ball with the index finger. Avoid any twisting of the wrist upon release.
This is also important for throwing a fastball and other pitches as well. What do I mean when I say stay behind the ball? It means don’t be under the ball, too much to the side of it, or overdoing it with your wrist or elbow. Regardless of your arm slot, you will properly get to this point in your delivery by doing everything correctly with your mechanics from the ground up. From the time your feet first move to deliver the pitch.
A successful major league batter gets a hit only 30 percent of the time he comes to bat. One of the ways pitchers lower these chances even further is by throwing a curveball. A curveball is a pitch that appears to be moving straight toward home plate but that is actually moving down and to the right or left by several inches. Obviously, a pitch that curves is going to be harder to hit than a fastball that is moving straight.
The arm action on this pitch is a little abbreviated at the end. Instead of getting a nice long arc of deceleration and finishing throwing elbow outside of your opposite knee (as with your fastball), you'll want to bring your throwing-hand elbow to the opposite hip. This, of course, shortens your follow through, but allows you to really snap off the pitch.
In the final phase of this preventative pitching drill the athletes will both face forward. The athlete performing the shoulder portion of the pitching drill will place the KB Powerbands in their outside hand as they laterally lunge and extend their arm away from their body. During this motion it is important athletes use a controlled motion while keeping the arm extended and moving in a straight line. Athletes need to maintain greater control and a slower pace as they bring the hand back toward the body in a controlled motion.
Another property of pitches is their break. Most commonly, that is the difference between their trajectory and that of a ball thrown with the same initial velocity, but no spin. As you may recall from earlier articles in this series, a basic fastball breaks up, while a basic curveball breaks down. A pitcher’s arm angle can modify these motions, so that a righthanded pitcher’s (RHP’s) fastball moves tends to move toward third base, as well as up.
Grip the ball. The knuckle curveball is similar to other grips, but the variable this time will be your index finger. Grip the ball with your middle finger along the bottom seam, and your thumb along the back seam. Hold the baseball such that the curves of the seams are close to your palm, with one on top and one on the bottom of your palm. Bend your index finger inward before laying it on the ball so that your nail and top knuckle are resting on the ball and your middle knuckle is pointing at the target.