I have placed the long seam of the baseball in between my index- and middle-fingers, and I have put my thumb on the opposite seam underneath the baseball (as shown in the first picture above). Some baseball pitchers may find it more helpful to place their index finger along the seam of the baseball since the index finger is the one from which the slider is thrown.
Throwing a curveball in baseball is a fantastic way to dazzle your friends and baffle your opponents. Most of the technique of how to throw these curveballs is in the grip of the ball and the release. Although it takes a bit of practice, once you’ve put some time and commitment into it, you’ll be throwing steep curve-balls like the pros in no time!
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.
With my fastball, I'm trying to keep my two fingers behind the ball as long as I can to pull down on it and create as much backspin as possible. With the curve, instead of trying to stay behind, it's almost the opposite. At the very end of the release, you try to get your hand in front of the ball to create that topspin, which makes it break. You're rolling your hand forward and down off the side of the ball as you snap your wrist.
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.
The Shadow to Balance Drill is highly effective in getting pitchers to "learn" the all-important first stages of the pitching motion – getting from the stance to the balance position in a controlled and balanced manner. Because no baseball is used in this drill, a pitcher can practice this beneficial exercise on a daily basis, regardless of when he is pitching during a particular week.
Launching a great pitch requires good timing, and lots of control during the leg kick. New pitchers tend to fall forward too soon on follow-through, rather than staying on top of the baseball. This balance drill gets pitchers to practice holding their leg kick before full delivery. It keeps the pitcher in a position to maintain control, rather than rushing the follow-through. Slowing down the leg kick will ultimately help a pitcher to deliver straighter, faster balls, with more power and poise.
Do you know a baseball pitcher or someone who coaches baseball? Given the popularity of baseball, there's probably a good chance you know someone who can help you learn to throw a great curveball. Find a pitcher or a coach and ask them to meet you at a local field to give you a few pointers for throwing a great curveball. Enjoy giving your throwing arm a good workout!
One of the most commonly used verbal pitching cues is for an instructor to say “chest to glove”. The cue is designed to promote proper shoulder and trunk rotation into the release of the pitch. Many young throwers struggle with maintaining a firm front side throughout the entire throw and when the mind decides to fire the baseball forward, the front side leaks open, and command issues arise. … continue reading
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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.
My Scientific Formula For Big League Pitching Mechanics Package is the only complete “pitching clinic” home study course available that is backed by real sports science research. It’s designed for parents, coaches, and players of all ages. Whether you’re a pitcher just starting out, or an advanced pitcher looking for answers, we make it simple to understand for both the parent and pitcher.
The beginners curveball is a great pitch for younger pitchers. In essence, this pitch does the exact opposite as a fastball. Where as a fastball spins from the bottom to top (which is known as "backspin"), a curveball spins from top to bottom. And instead of leverage coming from behind the top of the baseball (as a four-seam fastball), leverage on a curve comes from the front of the baseball.
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.
Throw the ball at half of regular speed to your partner when practicing. A really important part of throwing a curveball is ensuring that you get the direction of the spin correct and that you can repeat this at least 80% of the time. As such, throwing at half your regular speed is a good halfway point to get your action started but to minimize the variables you have to battle.
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.
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.