Practice pitching standing up once you get more comfortable with the throw. After practicing on your knees and getting the hang of throwing a curveball, it's a good idea to try pitching while standing up so you can practice throwing with a fuller motion. This is a more realistic representation of how you will actually be pitching when you play.
The downside risk makes some experts advise pitchers to avoid drills altogether. But I've seen them produce tremendous results in too many of my pitchers to discredit them. What athletes, parents and their coaches need is a way to navigate the landscape of pitching drills. The following will help you know what to look for so you can separate the good from the bad.
First, a pitching drill should not be counterproductive. Second, it should not negatively impact any of the three components. For instance, if a drill is great for balance but hurts your natural timing, it's ineffective. Make sure the drill does not kill your momentum or train bad habits. This is often caused when a drill overly requires you to pause throughout the movements. The end result of training with these types of drills can be a slow, robotic release.
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!
Being able to identify if your son or daughter is trying to throw a 4 or 2 seam fastball and throwing a slider instead is also key. They are different spin axises that affect a consistent ball path. So when playing catch learn how to pay attention to spin on the baseball along with consistent movements. Ask your son or daughter what they are feeling on a throw to throw basis. What finger did the ball feel like it came off? Did you see the spin on the ball? Where was your eyesight? Your arm swing looked a little stiff, did you feel that?
To throw a curveball, a pitcher grips the ball tightly with the middle and index fingers together across the seams of the ball. The middle finger is critical, as the pitcher needs to make sure that the seams provide resistance against the middle finger during the release. This resistance helps the pitcher to put topspin on the ball as it's released with a tight rotation.
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.
To throw a slider, start by gripping a U-shaped seam on the ball with your index and middle fingers. Put your thumb under the opposite inside seam, but remember to conceal your grip in your glove so the batter can't see what you're throwing. To throw, cock your wrist towards the thumb side of your throwing hand, then pivot from your back foot towards home plate. As you throw the ball, apply pressure with your index finger to ensure a late break and snap your wrist up to down to make the ball drop over the plate.
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.
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.
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. 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,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.
This simple drill keeps the weight back while in the wind-up. Once the pitcher gets used to it, he can develop a nice natural flow, rock, turn, raise, drop, raise and pitch. Then alternate the drill every other pitch. Pitchers who are comfortable with it, can even do it between innings for a pitch or two just to reinforce their proper piece and keep from rushing.
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.