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.
You may already know about the risk of sustaining an overuse injury to the pitching arm, from repeated movements. For that reason, upper body drills shouldn't place excess stress on the shoulders. This is a very simple exercise that gently stretches the rotator cuff, and doesn't require any special equipment. This a great exercise for loosening up the shoulders before practices and games!
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.
Another property of pitches is their break. Most commonly, that is the difference between their trajectory and that of a ball thrown with the same initial velocity, but no spin. As you may recall from earlier articles in this series, a basic fastball breaks up, while a basic curveball breaks down. A pitcher’s arm angle can modify these motions, so that a righthanded pitcher’s (RHP’s) fastball moves tends to move toward third base, as well as up.
I would recommend waiting until the player is 14 or 15 years old. If young players throw curveballs on a consistent basis at younger ages they can cause damage to their elbows and thus hinder the growth process. But it’s not only the fact that they are throwing curveballs at a young age, it’s the fact that they are throwing curveballs with improper mechanics that causes much of the damage. The key is to make sure they are throwing the curveball with proper pitching mechanics.
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.
In the stride phase of the pitching motion, a pitcher should be able to draw an imaginary line from the heel of his back foot, through the ball of his stride foot, and onward to the target. Keeping the lower body aligned in a straight line closes a pitcher's hips, directs the shoulders, and allows the throwing arm to reach the "high cock phase" of its arm path in the back of the pitcher's body. Additionally, if a pitcher lands too far to the glove-side of his body, he will open the shoulder too soon. This causes the pitch to be low and outside while creating stress on the arm and reducing velocity. If a pitcher lands too far to the throwing-side, he will inevitably have to throw across his body making the outside part of the strike zone difficult to hit. Plus, if a pitcher throws across his body, he creates an increased amount of stress on the arm.
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.
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.
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.
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The main goal of Slider Domination is to simplify the learning process of pitching. The extremely analytical world of baseball nowadays is not so much for the players. Never forget that. It is for the decision makers at the top of the pyramid. Players at all levels will still have the natural pressures that come with performing. Buying into the analytics just makes everything more difficult. Please allow this simple breakdown of how to throw a Slider in just 3 simple steps to quickly advance your progress. In conclusion, your obligations lie with mastering the Slider and elevating your pitching status.
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. Others have also credited George Uhle with developing the pitch. Bender used his slider to help him achieve a no-hitter and win 212 games in his career. Bender was the first pitcher to win six World Series games.
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.
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.
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.
Let’s begin by reviewing the mechanics of throwing a fastball. The goal of the pitcher is to eject the ball from the hand with the maximum velocity. To do so, he employs the longest, straightest launching system, running from the shoulder, through the arm, elbow, wrist and palm, all the way to the tips of the fingers. In the figure below, shown from the batter’s point of view, a right-hander is about to release a fastball:
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