For example, physical forces and properties, such as gravity, friction, velocity, acceleration, and momentum, are constantly at work when a ball is thrown and subsequently hit by a bat. When it comes to a curveball, though, the spin put on the ball by the pitcher brings a couple of other scientific principles into play: Bernoulli's principle and the Magnus Effect.
Don't worry about wrist motion; keep your wrist firm and worry about the angle of your arm. This will maximize bottom-left break if you are a right-handed pitcher. The side of your hand should always face the batter, and your wrist should always finish at your left hip (again, right-handed). Also, try to aim at the left shoulder of a right handed batter, as this is a good aiming spot for the break to be efficient. For more information, you can refer to this article: How to Throw a Curveball.
Doug Bernier, founder of Pro Baseball Insider.com, debuted in the Major Leagues in 2008 with the Colorado Rockies, and has played professional baseball for 5 organizations (CO Rockies, NY Yankees, PIT Pirates, MN Twins, & TX Rangers) over the past 16 years. He has Major League time at every infield position, and has played every position on the field professionally except for catcher. Where is he now? After 16 years of playing professionally, he is now a professional scout with the Colorado Rockies. You should click to watch this great defensive play by Bernier

The spinning action created when the pitcher releases the ball is the secret behind the curveball. This spinning causes air to flow differently over the top of the ball than it does under the ball. The top of the ball is spinning directly into air and the bottom of the ball is spinning with the air flow. The air under the ball is flowing faster than air on top of the ball creating less pressure, which forces the ball to move down or curve. This imbalance of force is called the Magnus Effect, named for physicist Gustav Magnus, who discovered in 1852 that a spinning object traveling through liquid is forced to move sideways.
Let's begin. A pitcher will stand perpendicular to a straight line (like a foul line in the outfield grass or line on a gym floor). If the pitcher is on the pitching mound itself, he can use his spikes to drag out a straight line in the dirt 8-feet long and perpendicular to the rubber (i.e. directly in line with home plate). Then, he simply marks out the distance of his height and drags out a second line in the dirt--only this one is parallel to the pitcher's rubber. If the pitcher is not on a mound, he will simply place a second object like his hat on the ground. This will mark the distance he should be striding toward his target.
It is the direction of the spin axis that determines the break of the ball. A perfectly horizontal axis – corresponding to perfect backspin – would yield a fastball with perfect vertical rise. However, most pitchers tilt the axis slightly. For right-handed pitchers, the fastball breaks upward and toward third base. The opposite is true for left-handed pitchers: Their fastballs move up and toward first base.
Every pitcher wants to learn how to throw a curveball. Why? Because it’s effective and it gets hitters out. There’s nothing like throwing a curveball that makes a hitters knees buckle. It’s a great pitch to have in your arsenal because hitters never really learn how to hit a curve or adjust to it. Hitters can hit a good curveball but they can’t hit a great one. Even the greatest of hitters struggle hitting it; they just hope they don’t miss the opportunity to hit a fastball when it comes.
Let’s begin by reviewing the mechanics of throwing a fastball. The goal of the pitcher is to eject the ball from the hand with the maximum velocity. To do so, he employs the longest, straightest launching system, running from the shoulder, through the arm, elbow, wrist and palm, all the way to the tips of the fingers. In the figure below, shown from the batter’s point of view, a right-hander is about to release a fastball:

Jeff Gordon has been reporting and writing since 1977. His most recent work has appeared on websites such as eHow, GolfLink, Ask Men, Open Sports, Fox Sports and MSN. He has previously written for publications such as "The Sporting News" and "The Hockey News." He graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism in 1979 with a bachelor's degree.
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.
A slider is meant to be slightly more deceptive than a curveball because it is thrown harder and has spin that more closely resembles a fastball — although it doesn't create as much overall movement. Many power relief pitchers possess only a fastball and a slider in their arsenals — with one pitch setting up the other because of the late deception created by the slider.

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.
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.
A well-timed curveball can be highly beneficial to pitchers, but a curveball is pretty useless if the batter knows it's coming so that he or she has time to adjust to the swing. For that reason, it's important that pitchers not only master the grip and motion of the curveball but also the secrecy of the grip itself, which is necessary for fooling the batter.
Pitchers and catchers stand at regulation distance from each other. The catcher stands behind home plate, and a batter stands in the batter's box. The batter should alternate between a left-and right-handed batting stance after five pitches, but not take any swings. The catcher calls balls and strikes. Have the batter wear a helmet in this practice session.
Grip the ball between your thumb, forefinger, and middle finger. This is the classic curveball grip. Grip the ball with the bottom seam between your index and middle fingers, and place 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 front and one on bottom rear of the ball.[8]

Zito grips the ball with his index and middle fingers straddling the seam. "I want to get on top of the ball," he says. "When I release it, I force those two fingers down hard. That creates the torque on the seams, which causes rotation and spin. I also don't want to get my arm angle too high because that will take away the ball's bite -- I want to maintain a three-quarter arm slot."
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.
A) Wrap the curve: This is when you throw the ball with a bent wrist. It is called wrapping the curveball. There is a reason why coaches like to teach this method to pitcher’s; it works! The problems arise when a pitcher complains of sharp and deep elbow pain. Throwing a curveball like this is also a hit and a miss with your control. Some days you’ll find the strike zone with it and others you won’t. The overall issue I have with it is that is unhealthy to throw like this.
A right-handed pitcher snaps his wrists in clockwise rotation when delivering a curveball (he grips the ball with his middle finger near the top of the ball and his thumb on the bottom---but releases the pitch with his thumb near the top).  A pitcher throws a slider with smaller wrist-break.  He imparts spin by gripping the ball "off-center" (that is, he grips the ball with his middle finger at "2 o'clock"-- instead of 12 o'clock)
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A well-timed curveball can be highly beneficial to pitchers, but a curveball is pretty useless if the batter knows it's coming so that he or she has time to adjust to the swing. For that reason, it's important that pitchers not only master the grip and motion of the curveball but also the secrecy of the grip itself, which is necessary for fooling the batter.
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:

Following the tuck jumps athletes will continue the youth pitching drill by performing alternating split jumps. Athletes will begin in a lunging position with one foot out in front of the other while maintaining a high chest. Athletes front leg should stay at around a 90 degree angle throughout the explosive pitching drill. From this starting position athletes will use an explosive upward arm action to help them explosively jump in the air and switch feet, athletes should land with the opposite foot forward. Continue this jumping and switching process for 3-4 resisted sets of 8-12 repetitions followed by 2-3 unresisted set of 8-12 reps.

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".
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 key with the slider is to hold the ball slightly off-center (on the outer third of the baseball). Remember to slightly cock your wrist, but don't stiffen it. That way, you can still get good wrist-snap upon release. If your wrist is slightly cocked to the throwing hand's thumb side, your wrist-snap will enable you to have the pitch come off of the thumb-side of your index finger, which, in turn, promotes good spin on the ball.
Step 2: This grip provides maximum rotation movement, more than any breaking pitch. However, many pitchers who are learning this pitch for the first time aren’t comfortable with the ‘tuck’.  It’s not natural at first to tuck your index finger into the baseball. I recommend, preferably during the off-season, to practice tucking your index finger into the baseball. Do it while you’re watching TV!
Great baseball pitching is your team's first defense. So it's important your pitcher be their best. But while you may think good pitching involves natural talent, think again! There's no question that a laser lob calls for lots of balance, strength, agility, speed, and accuracy. With the right drills, any pitcher can accomplish that. Effective pitching is a learned art. Understanding the mechanics of pitching from the ground up, and choosing drills that fine-tune both the lower and upper parts of the body are sure to take your pitcher from average to ace!

Does your son or daughter have slider spin when throwing a fastball? A common problem in youth baseball is not informing kids that slider spin on a fastball is not ideal for throw/pitch efficiency.  How can you identify if your son or daughter has slider spin on the ball in their throws? First thing is knowing what you are looking for when you’re playing catch in the backyard. If your son or daughter is a righthanded thrower, the first good indicator of slider spin is YOU may be catching the ball on the right side of your body consistently pulling the throws across your body.  A slider has a clockwise rotation and spins on an axis that faces to player indicated by the blue line in the gif below. When playing catch you will be able to identify slider spin by seeing a circle in the middle of the ball. For righty or lefty throwers a 4 seam fastball should have close to perfect vertical spin/12 o’clock to 6 o’clock spin. A  2-seam fastball’s axis, in comparison to a righty, points towards 11 o’clock.  For young kids slider spin when throwing a 4 seam fastball is not horrible for them but can become a bad habit to break. Plus we want to have the correct spin on the ball, especially as a pitcher. In this article, we will identify slider spin, what causes it, and how we can help eliminate it from 4 seams and 2 seam fastballs.


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.

It's been said that players pitch with their legs. There are a great deal of lower body mechanics that go into delivering a powerful pitch. According to Dr. John Bagonzi, former pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, and author of The Act of Pitching, good mechanics begin with transferring energy from the lower body to the arm, and to the fingers. Here are a few tips to tap your pitching potential.
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