Coach Phil grew up in Rye, NY where he graduated from Rye Country Day School before heading to Northwestern University on a baseball scholarship. Phil was drafted by Major League organizations on three separate occasions: first by the Detroit Tigers as a High School Senior, then following his Junior year at Northwestern by the Atlanta Braves, and finally by the Cleveland Indians after his graduation in 1999.Most recently, Phil pitched for the Bridgeport Bluefish of the Atlantic League. His years of pro experience and his commitment to studying the art (and science) of pitching give him a real understanding of what it takes to be a successful pitcher at any level.
Bruce Sutter, one of the best splitter pitchers in the history of the game, says that it is very important to put your thumb on the back seam, not the front seam. This puts the ball out front just a bit more than a fork ball. Then, he says, you just throw a fastball. A very sophisticated and misunderstood point is that the split-fingered fastball should be thrown with back spin just like a two-seam fastball. But in a Roger Kahn / Bruce Sutter interview in Kahn's book, The Head Game: Baseball Seen from the Pitcher's Mound, he points out that this is not the case.
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
A straight curve requires mastery of my beginners curveball, because many of the same principles that apply to both grips. This doesn't mean that you have to throw a beginners curve (most pitchers actually start right out with this pitching grip). But the beginners curveball is a good place to start. Then, of course, this pitching grip is the next step. That's because there is essentially no significant difference between a straight curveball and a beginners curveball, except for the finger placement of your index finger. It should be placed on the baseball as opposed to pointed at a target.

The pitcher must kick straight up and stay there for a count of 2 and then he has to reach back, while in the middle of his kick, and take a ball out of the hand of the person behind him. This will keep the pitcher from 'slinging' the ball and hurting his elbow, improves his balance point during his windup, and it keeps his hand on top of the ball during his windup.


B) Twist or snap your wrist: In this brief pitching video I explain this myth in greater detail. If you twist your wrist right before release of the baseball you will experience elbow problems in the long run. In fact, you will know that it is wrong to throw the ball like this to begin with because your arm will tell you it’s wrong. Why do pitcher’s continue to throw like this? Again, this method works for some pitcher’s because it does impart rotation on the ball. The wrong rotation, but pitchers find success with it so they continue to use it.
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.
Later that summer, the kid would commit to Vanderbilt University, better known as “Pitching U’ because of the plethora of first-round draft picks they were pumping out under the tutelage of pitching coach, Derek Johnson. (Derek Johnson is a member of the BaseballThinkTank Advisory Board and author of the best selling book, “The Complete Guide To Pitching.”)
House primarily talked about kinematic sequencing, essentially developing good timing in your delivery.  The part that was most interesting to me was when he got into the idea of reprogramming movement patterns, or replacing old movement patterns with better ones His main point was that if you want to make lasting changes, you really need to break it down and go back to the early stages of development.
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.

The pitcher is taking advantage of the Magnus Effect when throwing a fastball. The Magnus Effect is when a spinning sphere effects the air pressure around it. The side of the baseball spinning with the direction it is traveling moves against the air faster, creating more drag and pressure on the ball which causes the air to push on it. On the opposite side of the ball, air pressure is reduced which makes the ball travel easier in that direction when a spinning sphere effects the air pressure around.

Go through your regular wind-up routine, but stop when you get to the kick, holding at your balance point for three to five seconds. Have a friend, coach, or teammate make sure that your leg is waist-height or higher, or have a look in the mirror. If you have trouble holding the stance for five seconds, practice tightening up your abdominal muscles, bending the leg you're standing on and aligning the height of your hips and shoulders.

Any baseball pitch begins with how the pitcher grips the ball. To throw a curveball, a pitcher must hold the baseball between his thumb and his index and middle fingers, with the middle finger resting on the baseball seam. When the pitcher comes through his motion to throw the ball, he snaps his wrist downward as he releases the ball, which gives the ball topspin. If the pitcher throws properly, the back of the his hand will be facing the batter at the end of the motion. The ball will break down and away from a right-handed batter if thrown by a right-handed pitcher.
To perform tuck jumps athletes will jump as high as they can in the air, while airborne athletes will tuck their knees into their chest. These jumps should be performed consecutively jumping, landing and immediately jumping back into the air and tucking the knees. Athletes cannot allow the resistance to alter their body positioning and need to maintain good spacing between the knees so the knees, hips, and ankles are all aligned. Athletes will perform 8-12 resisted tuck jumps for 3-4 sets before removing the Kbands and performing 2-3 unresisted sets of 8-12 repetitions.
In order to master the curveball, you must start by gripping the ball with your middle and index fingers together, with the fingers across the seams of the ball at the widest part (the widest distance between the seams). Keeping a tight grip on the ball, especially with the middle finger, don’t let the ball touch the palm of your hand, or you won’t generate enough topspin, which is what allows the ball to drop when it gets close to home plate.
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.
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.
As a curveball flies through the air, the spin creates an imbalance of air pressure on either side of the ball. According to Bernoulli's principle, this imbalance of air pressure creates lift. When applied to a spinning object, the Magnus Effect holds that the force of lift generated will cause the spinning ball to move in the direction of lower pressure.
A successful major league batter gets a hit only 30 percent of the time he comes to bat. One of the ways pitchers lower these chances even further is by throwing a curveball. A curveball is a pitch that appears to be moving straight toward home plate but that is actually moving down and to the right or left by several inches. Obviously, a pitch that curves is going to be harder to hit than a fastball that is moving straight.
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.
Another more advanced variation of the curveball is the knuckle curveball (sometimes called a spike curve). This is the curveball grip that I used. Thrown the same way as my beginners curveball only you'll tuck your finger back into the seam of the ball. Your knuckle will now point to your target instead of your index finger (in the beginners curve).
In order to throw a proper Curveball, it is necessary to get "on top" of the ball and then spin it downwards. The grip is pretty simple: just put your index and middle fingers together and then place the middle finger alongside the Blitzball seam. You should get a good, tight grip on the seam with your middle finger so that you can really get some leverage on it.
3. Elbow: The throwing elbow must be equal to or slightly above the throwing shoulder. As soon as the pitcher lowers the elbow below the shoulder, they put additional stress on that arm. The angle of the elbow joint should be no more than 90 degrees. Pitchers who throw curveballs at angles greater than 90 degrees may put additional stress on their throwing shoulder.
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.
A 12-6 curve ball will break downward more sharply. Place your index and middle fingers between the seams, and your thumb on the bottom of the ball. Do an abbreviated snap as you throw, or release the ball as your hand passes your head instead of following the arm motion all the way through. To account for the sharp break, throw a 12-6 a bit higher than you would a normal curve ball.
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