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.
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.
First, a pitching drill should not be counterproductive. Second, it should not negatively impact any of the three components. For instance, if a drill is great for balance but hurts your natural timing, it's ineffective. Make sure the drill does not kill your momentum or train bad habits. This is often caused when a drill overly requires you to pause throughout the movements. The end result of training with these types of drills can be a slow, robotic release.
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.
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.
Both partners will begin in a standing position, facing forward so athletes are side to side, each with one end of the KB Powerbands. The athlete performing the shoulder prevention exercises will put their hand or a towel high in their armpit, bring their elbow to their side, and make a 90 degree angle at the elbow. Holding the KB Powerbands athletes will maintain this position with their arm and begin to rotate just the bottom portion of their arm (forearm and hand) away from their body. It is important athletes do not let their elbow move away from their body. Keeping the elbow tight will allow athletes to experience the full benefits of the pitching drill. Athletes will move the hand away from their body at a normal speed while taking 4-5 seconds to control the resistance as the hand moves back toward the body.
The one-knee drill brings you more to the throwing position and allows you to work on your curveball without worrying about the lower half of your body. Once you and your partner have performed a dynamic warm-up, band work and stretched out your throwing distance, stand about 30 to 40 feet apart. Take a knee so your stride leg is in front and your hands are already separated, with the baseball in the throwing position.
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.
One common situation arises when a pitcher faces a “same-handed batter” – a righty pitcher matched up against a right-handed batter, or a southpaw against a left-handed batter. In these matchups, a fastball breaks toward the batter, while sliders and curveballs break away from the batter. If the pitcher aims his slider toward the outer half of the plate, it tends to move farther and farther away from the batter as it approaches him – perhaps ending up far outside the strike zone.
For all three variations of the preventative youth pitching drills athletes will perform 2-3 sets of 8-10 repetitions per arm. Athletes need to rotate through this pitching drill with their partners moving from the shoulder portion into the abdominal portion. Rotating positions will act as the rest period for the athletes which is why rotating after every set is important to keep athletes arms and abs fresh for the next set of pitching exercises. This pitching drill is a great way to get athletes shoulders and core warmed up before a game or training session and should be utilized before athletic activity is performed.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It's been said that players pitch with their legs. There are a great deal of lower body mechanics that go into delivering a powerful pitch. According to Dr. John Bagonzi, former pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, and author of The Act of Pitching, good mechanics begin with transferring energy from the lower body to the arm, and to the fingers. Here are a few tips to tap your pitching potential.
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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).
Grip the ball. The knuckle curveball is similar to other grips, but the variable this time will be your index finger. Grip the ball with your middle finger along the bottom seam, and your thumb along the back seam. Hold the baseball such that the curves of the seams are close to your palm, with one on top and one on the bottom of your palm. Bend your index finger inward before laying it on the ball so that your nail and top knuckle are resting on the ball and your middle knuckle is pointing at the target.
Don't worry about wrist motion; keep your wrist firm and worry about the angle of your arm. This will maximize bottom-left break if you are a right-handed pitcher. The side of your hand should always face the batter, and your wrist should always finish at your left hip (again, right-handed). Also, try to aim at the left shoulder of a right handed batter, as this is a good aiming spot for the break to be efficient. For more information, you can refer to this article: How to Throw a Curveball.
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