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.
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
To throw a slider, start by gripping a U-shaped seam on the ball with your index and middle fingers. Put your thumb under the opposite inside seam, but remember to conceal your grip in your glove so the batter can't see what you're throwing. To throw, cock your wrist towards the thumb side of your throwing hand, then pivot from your back foot towards home plate. As you throw the ball, apply pressure with your index finger to ensure a late break and snap your wrist up to down to make the ball drop over the plate.

If you’re interested in some more in-depth curveball training, I have a comprehensive program where I teach you how to master throwing a curveball.  I’ve essentially put together a complete system for learning the right way to throw a true big league curveball.  In this program, I’ll teach you the grip, delivery, drills, and how to integrate a curveball into your game.  You’ll get access to a powerful step-by-step process for developing your curveball and learn exactly how to use your new curveball to dominate on the mound.


Place your index and middle fingers. Grip the baseball with your index and middle fingers placed tightly together across an outer seam of the ball located at the horseshoe or U-shape seam. For right-handers, place your middle finger across the right half of the seam. Left-handers should do the opposite: place your middle finger across the left half of the seam. This should position your fingers towards the outside of the ball (off-center).
When you throw the Curveball, you want to cock your wrist at a slight angle while keeping your middle finger high up on top of the ball so that you can roll your wrist downwards when you release the ball (almost like pulling down the string on a window shade). As a result, the Curveball should spin forward as it approaches the batter, giving the Blitzball a great downward movement. In terms of delivery, some people like to come almost straight over the top to get that great "12-to-6" / Barry-Zito-style drop (drops almost straight down) on their curveball, but this is difficult to do. Most people get better results with something closer to a three-quarters delivery for a "1-to-7" break (a pitch that drops and curves to the side). Try experimenting with different release points and arm slots to find the pitch that works most effectively for you.
Asking if a kid can see that slider spin is occurring is a common question I will bring up in lessons. Having a thought process and feeling with what they are doing is something that he or she can control and fix from throw to throw but it is not often taught. We like to have kids visualize and react to what is being said and into what is being felt. When trying to recognize the slider spin, the catcher should be able to see where the thrower is missing with his fastball. Seeing the ball out of the thrower’s hand and knowing that a slider has clockwise spin on the baseball you will be able to clearly tell that they released the ball wrong.

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.

For the second phase of this shoulder prevention pitching drill one athlete will continue facing forward while the opposite athlete turns to face their partner. Athlete facing their partner will be performing the should prevention portion of this phase of the pitching drill while partner the facing forward will be focused on strengthening their core.
The drill is used to develop great pitcher control by having the pitcher throw strikes at varying distances. The drill has a catcher set at a stationary plate. The plate never moves. The pitcher should begin throwing at a distance 1/2 of his normal pitching distance. You should have 6-8 distance markers with the first being at his starting point and the longest being twice his normal pitching distance. The markers should be at 10 foot intervals and in a straight line with the plate. The object of the drill is to develop control by gradually moving toward and away from the targeted strike zone. The pitcher is required to throw 1-3 strikes from each marker before moving to the next. The catcher serves as the umpire. Variations of this drill may be to have 1-3 pitchers working and competing against each other. The drill teaches them to work fast, concentrate, and execute a perfect pitch. Make sure your pitchers are in condition for this drill. They will find that throwing strikes from longer distance requires great mechanics and builds arm strength. Make sure your players stretch and warm-up first.
One thing I did with this pitch in college and in professional baseball was to always throw my two-seam fastball to the throwing-hand side of the plate and my four seam fastball to the glove-hand side of the plate. In other words, because I'm a righty, I'd throw two-seamers inside to right-handed batters and four-seamers away. I always liked how the feel of the grip of the two-seamer in my glove (when I was in my pre-pitch stance) let me know on a sub-conscious level that I was going inside on guy.
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.

When you throw the Curveball, you want to cock your wrist at a slight angle while keeping your middle finger high up on top of the ball so that you can roll your wrist downwards when you release the ball (almost like pulling down the string on a window shade). As a result, the Curveball should spin forward as it approaches the batter, giving the Blitzball a great downward movement. In terms of delivery, some people like to come almost straight over the top to get that great "12-to-6" / Barry-Zito-style drop (drops almost straight down) on their curveball, but this is difficult to do. Most people get better results with something closer to a three-quarters delivery for a "1-to-7" break (a pitch that drops and curves to the side). Try experimenting with different release points and arm slots to find the pitch that works most effectively for you.
Certain relief pitchers specialize in this type of slider. Known as “Lefty One Out GuYs” (LOOGYs) or “Righty One Out GuYs” (ROOGYs), they are brought into a game to face a dangerous same-handed batter. They usually feed the opponent a steady diet of these “runaway” sliders, tempting the batter to swing at a ball that looks like a strike – but isn’t.
For the second phase of this shoulder prevention pitching drill one athlete will continue facing forward while the opposite athlete turns to face their partner. Athlete facing their partner will be performing the should prevention portion of this phase of the pitching drill while partner the facing forward will be focused on strengthening their core.
Certain relief pitchers specialize in this type of slider. Known as “Lefty One Out GuYs” (LOOGYs) or “Righty One Out GuYs” (ROOGYs), they are brought into a game to face a dangerous same-handed batter. They usually feed the opponent a steady diet of these “runaway” sliders, tempting the batter to swing at a ball that looks like a strike – but isn’t.
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To throw a curveball, start by holding the ball between your thumb and middle finger. Then, as you wind up and throw the ball, snap it on the release by rotating your thumb and middle finger down, almost like you're trying to snap with them. Try to release the ball as close to your body as possible, which will make it spin and curve more. Don't worry if the ball doesn't curve at first. Keep practicing the snapping motion when you release the ball and over time you'll get better!
Grip the outside of the ball along the long seam. Set your index and middle fingers along the inside of the right seam if you are right-handed, and along the inside of the left seam if you are left-handed. Place your thumb under the ball, opposite from your fingers, at a 45-degree angle. Make the ball roll off your index finger as you snap your wrist, creating a spin that takes the ball down and across the plate. Do not twist your elbow or wrist. "Most good slider pitchers grip the outer-third of the baseball and cock their wrist slightly, but not stiffly, to their throwing hand's thumb-side upon release of the pitch," pitching instructor Steven Ellis wrote on his website, The Complete Pitcher. "This enables a pitcher to apply pressure to the outer-half of the ball with the index finger."
The innovator of the slider is debated, but some credit Chief Bender as the first to use the slider, also George Blaeholder was credited with using it with the St. Louis Browns then called a "nickel curve", in the 1920s.[6] Others have also credited George Uhle with developing the pitch.[7] Bender used his slider to help him achieve a no-hitter and win 212 games in his career.[8] Bender was the first pitcher to win six World Series games.[6]
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.[citation needed] 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,[1]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.
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.
The spinning action created when the pitcher releases the ball is the secret behind the curveball. This spinning causes air to flow differently over the top of the ball than it does under the ball. The top of the ball is spinning directly into air and the bottom of the ball is spinning with the air flow. The air under the ball is flowing faster than air on top of the ball creating less pressure, which forces the ball to move down or curve. This imbalance of force is called the Magnus Effect, named for physicist Gustav Magnus, who discovered in 1852 that a spinning object traveling through liquid is forced to move sideways.
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.
Releasing the Slider ‘Out in Front maximizes it’s effectiveness.  You are best positioned to finish the pitch and command the Slider to break how you wish. It’s going to break later and be drastically sharper. That what you want in this Dominant Pitch. The more consistently that you do this step, the more consistent your results will be. That’s what coaches and scouts want to see….and I know where you want to be as a pitcher….
In this video I answer some questions about the King of the Hill Pitcher’s Trainer, one of which was “what type of pitching drills can you do on the King of the Hill?”.  If you like the King of the Hill, and I definitely suggest this product for pitchers of all ages, then you can check it out at King of the Hill.  I really love this product because it teaches pitchers how to properly and efficiently get the most energy out of their legs.
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