Adding to the air pressure exerted on the ball are the 108 red stitches that hold the cover on the ball. Because they are raised, the stitches increase the amount of friction created as the air passes around the ball and places more air pressure on top of the ball. A well thrown curveball can move as much as 17 inches either way. If you've ever seen a batter jump out of the way of a baseball that ends up crossing over the plate, you've seen a good curveball.
When you start actually throwing the curveball, I recommend getting the feel for ball release first and working backwards from there. So start off real light, about 15-20 feet from your target. I usually like to start guys off facing their target, feet shoulder width apart, toes pointed forward. You can even start out on your knees to take the legs out of it completely (forces you to keep it light). And just get the arm up with that good hand and wrist position, and work on tossing/flipping the ball with good forward spin.
Again, a two seamer is gripped a little firmer than the four seamer. A firm grip causes friction, which causes the baseball to change direction, usually "backing up" - or running in - to the throwing hand side of the plate. It also slightly reduces the speed of the pitch, which is why most two-seamers register about 1 to 3 mph slower than four-seam fastballs.
For these explosive youth pitching drills athletes will need a set of Kbands attached just above their knees. Athletes will move through two phases of this youth pitching drill, tuck jumps and split jumps. This unique combination of exercises allows athletes to focus on building baseball power in both legs while also isolating the legs and forcing them to individually develop these power characteristics.
You may already know about the risk of sustaining an overuse injury to the pitching arm, from repeated movements. For that reason, upper body drills shouldn't place excess stress on the shoulders. This is a very simple exercise that gently stretches the rotator cuff, and doesn't require any special equipment. This a great exercise for loosening up the shoulders before practices and games!
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.
As you improve, you can make this drill harder by making it a bull’s-eye practice. Seated as you were at the same distance apart, take turns pitching to each other again, but this time, the catcher will sit with her glove in front of her face, protecting her head. The pitcher should aim for the glove, focusing on proper shoulder rotation and keeping her elbow above the shoulder.
Both partners will begin in a standing position, facing forward so athletes are side to side, each with one end of the KB Powerbands. The athlete performing the shoulder prevention exercises will put their hand or a towel high in their armpit, bring their elbow to their side, and make a 90 degree angle at the elbow. Holding the KB Powerbands athletes will maintain this position with their arm and begin to rotate just the bottom portion of their arm (forearm and hand) away from their body. It is important athletes do not let their elbow move away from their body. Keeping the elbow tight will allow athletes to experience the full benefits of the pitching drill. Athletes will move the hand away from their body at a normal speed while taking 4-5 seconds to control the resistance as the hand moves back toward the body.
6. Arm speed: It is extremely important that you maintain similar arm speed with your curveball that you have with your fastball. A hitter reads arm speed. The matter of arm speed is obviously more important with a changeup than it is with a curveball, but it’s important for other reasons. Another way to get a tight rotation and hard downward movement with a curveball is to throw it with quicker arm speed. If two pitchers have the exact same curveball grip, mechanics, release, etc. but one throws it with quicker arm speed, the one with quicker arm speed will throw the curveball with more break, and thus the harder pitch to hit.
[circle_list] [h5]Here are the big problems with most drills that teach “good arm action”[/h5] [list_item]Teaching the “L” – this works completely against developing fluid, efficient arm action. The “L” is a point in time. All pitchers should get to this position just before arm acceleration (or what I like to refer to as catapult & extend). But it’s just that – a point – and you pass right through it.[/list_item] [list_item]Starting from the “Power Position” or the “Power-T” (or whatever they’re calling it these days) does not teach good arm action. The act of throwing involves creating momentum and transferring that momentum out into the ball. When you start from a pre-set position, with your arm essentially where it would be mid-throw, you kill momentum and disrupt timing.[/list_item] [list_item]They teach “Thumbs to Your Thigh, Fingers to the Sky” … Catchy, but an awful teach. This is just not what good big league pitchers do, and is not the way to develop a fluid, efficient arm path. The problem is it teaches getting the arm up as the main objective, when really the focus should be on whipping the arm through and getting to a good fully extended release point.[/list_item] [/circle_list] [h5]So Say No to All Drills??[/h5]
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.
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.
For a right-handed pitcher, a curveball spins clockwise as it heads toward home plate, pushing through the air, and slowing by the force of friction caused by the resistance of the air. Because of the ball's spin, air will pass more quickly on one side than the other. In other words, the air will move with the spin of the ball on one side and against the spin of the ball on the other side.
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