Choose a grip (start with the standard finger on top of the ball variation) and see how it feels, and get some feedback from a qualified partner on how it looks. Then, tinker. Try others, and see which grip works best for you. Remember: NO grip is best, and any can produce an amazing curveball – it just depends on the person and his level of comfort with it, and his unique way of throwing.
Grip this pitch softly, like an egg, in your fingertips. There should be a "gap" or space between the ball and your palm (as shown in the middle picture). This is the key to throwing a good, hard four-seam fastball with maximal backspin and velocity: A loose grip minimizes "friction" between your hand and the baseball. The less friction, of course, the quicker the baseball can leave your hand.
[circle_list] [list_item]The drill should address and benefit at least two of these components (Balance and Timing, Timing and Power, Balance and Power, or all three).[/list_item] [list_item]The drill must not negatively impact any one of these components (for example, if a drill teaches balance, but hurts timing and power by having the pitcher pause and lose momentum, then it is counterproductive).[/list_item] [/circle_list]
Throw this pitch with the same arm speed and body mechanics as a fastball, only slightly turn the ball over by throwing the circle to the target. This is called pronating your hand. (Think about this as giving someone standing directly in front of you a "thumbs down" sign with your throwing hand.) This reduces speed and gives you that nice, fading movement to your throwing-arm side of the plate.
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.
It is important when throwing a slider, or any breaking pitch in baseball, not to come "around" the baseball. When the pitcher "comes around" the ball, the pitcher puts extra tension on his pitching arm to throw that pitch. A slider is thrown with a regular arm motion, just like a fastball. Slider movement is a direct result of the fingertip pressure and grip. The pitcher may visualize throwing his fingers at the catcher in order to improve follow through and finish the pitching motion.
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.
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.
Next, place your middle finger along the bottom seam of the baseball and place your thumb on the back seam (as shown in the middle picture above). When this pitch is thrown, your thumb should rotate upward, and your middle finger should snap downward while your index finger points in the direction of your target. This, of course, is the reason this pitch is great for beginners: the ball goes where your index finger points. The beginners curveball helps to align your hand and ball to the target.
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.

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.
Pitching is a connective chain of movements.  As you put this into action, you will notice the prerequisites of staying behind the ball as they continue on to the next 2 steps as well.  When you can stay behind the baseball, you will be in command of your pitches.  When you see a pitcher falling underneath the baseball as a result of mechanical flaws, you know bad things are going to happen.  Due to this mechanical breakdown, it is easy to foresee this before the ball even gets released.   When you do this step correctly, you will execute #2 correctly.
For this pitching drill you don’t necessarily need a net. You can use a wall or another person. But the idea is to have something behind the pitcher that will let the pitcher know if he has broken his hands too early or is not gaining enough ground going forward. This is a great pitching drill if done correctly and will promote torque as well as linear momentum. Check the vid for more of an explanation!
×