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.
Grip the ball between your thumb, forefinger, and middle finger. This is the classic curveball grip. Grip the ball with the bottom seam between your index and middle fingers, and place 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 front and one on bottom rear of the ball.
You’ll see drills out there that have kids bring the ball up by getting their throwing arm into a good “L” position and their glove arm pointing at the target. This is where the coach can stop the pitcher to make sure his arms are in the right position and make adjustments if needed. There are so many flaws with this method of teaching I don’t even know where to begin…
To begin the pitching drill athletes will need a set of Kbands and 2 Speed and Agility Cones. Athletes will attach the appropriate Kbands resistance just above the knees and space the Speed and Agility Cones at a challenging distance apart. Athletes will be jumping laterally so coaches and athletes should space the Speed and Agility Cones to act as a marker which the athlete is trying to reach. This distance will keep the pitching drill challenging for the athlete.
I have placed the long seam of the baseball in between my index- and middle-fingers, and I have put my thumb on the opposite seam underneath the baseball (as shown in the first picture above). Some baseball pitchers may find it more helpful to place their index finger along the seam of the baseball since the index finger is the one from which the slider is thrown.
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.
In 2004 we developed the first evidence-based pitching program based on sports science research, instead of common coaching beliefs. Through this research we've also learned video analysis is still the best and most accurate way to assess pitching mechanics. We not only show pitchers at all levels their faults and the adjustments, but work with there style in order to improve their velocity and control, all while reducing their risk of arm injuries. The true difference about our coaching methods are simple, our clients will truly feel the difference and that's the only true way towards improvement and development.
A) Wrap the curve: This is when you throw the ball with a bent wrist. It is called wrapping the curveball. There is a reason why coaches like to teach this method to pitcher’s; it works! The problems arise when a pitcher complains of sharp and deep elbow pain. Throwing a curveball like this is also a hit and a miss with your control. Some days you’ll find the strike zone with it and others you won’t. The overall issue I have with it is that is unhealthy to throw like this.
7. Parallel Feet Drill - Works on upper body mechanics. This drill isolates the upper body. The pitchers face each other chest to chest with the feet at shoulder width. The lower body remains stationary. The ball is held in the glove in the "check-your-pulse" position. The torso twists at a 90 degree angle as the ball is pulled down out of the glove, and in a sweeping arc brought to the power position with the hand always on top, and the elbow at least at shoulder level. The delivery is then made and the proper follow through is checked. The glove elbow finishes pointed toward the sky. The drill emphasizes that the pitcher throws with a "proud chest" that remains closed as long as possible.
From the wind-up position have the pitcher rock, turn and raise his leg to the balance position. However, instead of either stopping, or going on to pitch, he now lowers that leg to the ground next to and immediately behind the pivot foot. He should now be standing facing either 3b (rh) or 1b (LH), in good balance before beginning. Now he simply re-raises the non-pivot foot and pitches.
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.
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.
Bruce Sutter, one of the best splitter pitchers in the history of the game, says that it is very important to put your thumb on the back seam, not the front seam. This puts the ball out front just a bit more than a fork ball. Then, he says, you just throw a fastball. A very sophisticated and misunderstood point is that the split-fingered fastball should be thrown with back spin just like a two-seam fastball. But in a Roger Kahn / Bruce Sutter interview in Kahn's book, The Head Game: Baseball Seen from the Pitcher's Mound, he points out that this is not the case.
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.
When you start actually throwing the curveball, I recommend getting the feel for ball release first and working backwards from there. So start off real light, about 15-20 feet from your target. I usually like to start guys off facing their target, feet shoulder width apart, toes pointed forward. You can even start out on your knees to take the legs out of it completely (forces you to keep it light). And just get the arm up with that good hand and wrist position, and work on tossing/flipping the ball with good forward spin.
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