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.
Baseball players place a tremendous amount of stress on their arms and the ligaments which control how the arms and shoulders move. By practicing pitching drills which focus on developing and loosening these muscles athletes will be taking a step to avoid costly injuries. By adding core work into the pitching drill athletes will further protect their bodies by building a strong base at the center of their body.
The Curveball is generally a more advanced pitch to learn and throw because of the unique mechanics involved. Many coaches feel that younger players (below the age of 15) should not practice throwing the Curveball with real baseballs because it might place too much stress on a young arm. Although it is likely much safer to throw curveballs with a Blitzball because of its light weight, younger players should still ask parents' for their approval before trying to learn it (you might want to learn a hard Knuckleball instead to get a similar dropping action without having to throw actual Curveballs). The Curveball is unusual because it is the only pitch that involves "topspin" (think of it as the opposite of a fastball's backspin).
While this partner is rotating their arm in and out the other athlete will hold the KB Powerbands with both hands extended out in front of their body. With knees slightly bent, back straight, and shoulder blades pinched together this athlete will squeeze their abs and hold this position. As their partner rotates the athlete will feel tension build in the abs. Athletes must keep abs tight to avoid being pulled or rotating the hips or arms.
Gripping a curveball is simple. Place your thumb on the bottom seam of the baseball and then place your middle finger directly above your thumb; splitting the baseball in half with thumb and middle finger. Your index finger is placed right next to your middle finger. Make sure your index finger applies no pressure on the ball. When you start throwing the curveball you can experiment how tight you want to grip the ball. If your grip is too tight the ball can “squirt” on you or it will not make it across the plate. If your grip it too loose you will lose complete control and the ball won’t even know where it will go. Thumb and middle fingers are the only two fingers that apply pressure on the baseball.
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.
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A 4 seam fastball is the most common pitch and the ideal grip for a position player as well on the transition from glove to hand. WHY? Because at release point the finger causes backspin on the baseball. The result is the ball does not drop as much as otherwise, without backspin. In other words, a 4 seam fastball is really appearing to defy gravity and travel more in a straight line. A 2 seam fastball is thrown with similar backspin but again on 11 o’clock axis.
The difficulty with this pitch isn't from the pitch itself. In fact, most pitchers feel this grip gives them the most rotation – and most movement – of any breaking pitch. However, many pitchers who are learning this pitch for the first time, aren't comfortable with the "tucking" part. It's not super comfortable at first to tuck your index finger into the baseball.
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.
Your wrist and forearm position with the slider at release is only slightly different than the curve. With your curveball grip your palm is facing you as you bring the ball out of your glove.: Throwing a slider is similar other than your palm facing you, it is slightly turned in. Using your fastball pitching mechanics with identical arm speed and arm slot, release the baseball in front of you.