If you’re a pitcher preparing for this year’s baseball season and would like to have a few different pitches in your arsenal, a little studying on the various types of pitches that the pros use and a lot of practice will help you immensely. From the various forms of fast balls to the breaking curve ball, there are many different ways to grip and throw each pitch, however there are a few basic styles that beginners can use to get better. Always remember to point your front foot forward and to bend your front knee upon releasing as this will help you to throw accurately. Here is a list of some of the fundamental pitches, including how they are gripped, how to throw them, what they do when they are released, and how to use them against batters.
1. Four Seam Fastball- This is the most basic fast ball and the best grip for speed. It is the fastest pitch that a pitcher can throw, although some argue that the two seam can be thrown just as fast. A four seam fast ball is to be gripped with your index and middle finger spread apart across two seams on the baseball. When the baseball is released, the batter will be able to see all four seams rotating. To throw this pitch, as with any fast ball, it should be gripped lightly with two fingers on top and the thumb on the bottom. The knuckle of your ring finger should be against the side. When you release the four seam, snap your wrist to add extra back-spin and speed. There isn’t much movement on the four seam fastball, as this pitch is used when you want to either intimidate the batter with speed, get them to swing and miss, or to try and get them to ground out. If a batter catches up to your fast balls and foul tips one, you may want to use a different pitch, or pitch to a different part of the zone.
2. Two Seam Fastball- To grip a two seam fastball, your ring and middle finger should run along two of the seams, with the round part of the seam just in front of them. When thrown correctly, the batter should see two seams (the round parts of the seams) rotating. Throw these as you would a four seam, only when you snap your wrist the ball should come off the tip of either finger. Depending on which finger you use, the ball will break and move slightly to the left or right. This pitch is used to get batters to ground out, swing and miss, or get them to think a different pitch such as a four seam is coming when they see the speed and then as the ball gets to them it drops slightly, making them thing it’s a ball. It’s good to use when you need to throw a fast ball but the batter may be catching on to the four seam.a
3. Slider- There are a few ways to hold a slider, but a more common way is to put your two fingers together and over the corner of the round part of the seam, at an angle. When you release it, throw it like a football and try to give it side-spin. It should look like a two seam fastball, except spinning sideways. As it gets to the plate, if thrown correctly, it will drop down and break to the left (for right handed pitchers). This is a good pitch to throw when the batter might think a fastball is coming because it’s a little slower and has sufficient movement to break out of the strike zone.
4. Curve- As with the slider, there are many ways to throw the curve ball, however the main thing to do is to choke the ball, which takes away energy used for fast ball speed and gives the curve ball energy needed to have top-spin and to move. To choke the ball means it should be tucked back in your hand instead of being held at with the tips of your fingers, like a fast ball. One common way to hold a curve ball is to put both fingers together like a slider and put your right finger along side the right seam. The round part of the seam should be in front of your fingers and break off to the left. The ball should be choked in half, with your fingers and thumb. Throw it just like a fast ball except when you release, open your hand up completely and instead of following through by snapping your wrist down, open up your hand completely and throw down with the side of your palm, like you are chopping at the air. The ball will roll off your ring finger’s knuckle that is supporting it in the process, and the motion of your hand opening will give the ball top-spin instead of back spin. The ball will break around 3 feet if you throw it just right and these are lethal when the batter doesn’t expect it coming. They will either lock up their knees or too early a lot of the time. However, don’t give away your pitch or throw the curve ball too often because batters will eat you alive if they expect one coming!
Further reading from the author:
How to Teach Your Child to Be More Assertive
Raising a Child With Attention Deficit Disorder: Development
Parenting: A Father’s Guide
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