What effect do different grips have on pitches? What’s the difference between a cutter and a slider? The art of pitching is filled with arcane terms, and even when two players are talking about the same thing, they often use different words. In this series of articles, we’re going to look carefully at the motion of a baseball through the air: how does it behave and what can a pitcher do to control it?
For these explosive youth pitching drills athletes will need a set of Kbands attached just above their knees. Athletes will move through two phases of this youth pitching drill, tuck jumps and split jumps. This unique combination of exercises allows athletes to focus on building baseball power in both legs while also isolating the legs and forcing them to individually develop these power characteristics.
What effect do different grips have on pitches? What’s the difference between a cutter and a slider? The art of pitching is filled with arcane terms, and even when two players are talking about the same thing, they often use different words. In this series of articles, we’re going to look carefully at the motion of a baseball through the air: how does it behave and what can a pitcher do to control it?
Jeff Gordon has been reporting and writing since 1977. His most recent work has appeared on websites such as eHow, GolfLink, Ask Men, Open Sports, Fox Sports and MSN. He has previously written for publications such as "The Sporting News" and "The Hockey News." He graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism in 1979 with a bachelor's degree.
Every pitcher wants to learn how to throw a curveball. Why? Because it’s effective and it gets hitters out. There’s nothing like throwing a curveball that makes a hitters knees buckle. It’s a great pitch to have in your arsenal because hitters never really learn how to hit a curve or adjust to it. Hitters can hit a good curveball but they can’t hit a great one. Even the greatest of hitters struggle hitting it; they just hope they don’t miss the opportunity to hit a fastball when it comes.
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.
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 is also important for throwing a fastball and other pitches as well.  What do I mean when I say stay behind the ball?   It means don’t be under the ball, too much to the side of it, or overdoing it with your wrist or elbow. Regardless of your arm slot, you will properly get to this point in your delivery by doing everything correctly with your mechanics from the ground up.  From the time your feet first move to deliver the pitch.  
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.
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.
Youth1’s Recruiting Counselors are on a mission to educate student-athletes and families about the recruiting process.  The process starts early and is very competitive so we want to make sure we do whatever we can for families interested in learning more about the college athletic recruiting process. We’re here to answer your questions and provide guidance through the important decisions that will shape your athlete's journey in sports.

Practice pitching standing up once you get more comfortable with the throw. After practicing on your knees and getting the hang of throwing a curveball, it's a good idea to try pitching while standing up so you can practice throwing with a fuller motion. This is a more realistic representation of how you will actually be pitching when you play.[11]
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.
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.
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.
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