My family is baseball obsessed. We will travel to see different professional teams play and we even have a list of baseball stadiums we have been to, and the ones we want to go to someday. With all of this being said, we love to play the game as well.
The two most important positions in my opinion are pitcher and catcher. They have to know the different pitches and be able to read each other. Here are some different pitches that I have learned to throw over the years. Who said girls can’t throw?
What you will need to Follow this Tutorial
- A Baseball
- A Pitcher
- A Baseball Glove
- Willingness to Learn
Step By Step Instructions
1. Four Seam Fastball
A fastball is one of the most well-known throws a pitcher can do. There is more than one kind, but we will focus on the four seam one first. The grip is easy, all you have to do is place your pointer (index) and middle fingertips on the perpendicular seam of the ball. The seam looks almost like a continuous horseshoe and this should be pointed at your ring finger on your throwing hand.
Your thumb comes next. Put your thumb directly underneath the ball. The leather should be smooth, no stitching in the area. Your thumb, when turned over, should be in between the horseshoe.
Make sure you have a nice gap between the ball and your palm. This will help you throw the ball better with minimal backspin and velocity. Plus you will want to keep your grip loose to minimize the friction between hand and ball. With less friction, your ball leaves your hand faster. (You can read more about: How To Throw A Baseball Faster)
P/s: this ball does not rise. It is a low ball toss.
2. Two Seam Fastball
You will want to grasp this ball a bit tighter than the four seam fastball. This would be defined as a movement pitch, whilst the four seam fastball is considered a straight pitch.
This was the first pitch I learned to throw. All you need to do is place your middle and index fingers directly on top of the narrow seams of the ball. After that place your thumb directly on the bottom of the ball (should be smooth leather).
Hold the ball firmly in order to gather some friction. This will help the ball the change direction and will then be directed towards the throwing hand side of the plate for an easy out if the player is not prepared. Expect this pitch to be about 1 to 3 mph slower than a four seam fast pitch. It is still faster than other pitches.
3. Three Finger Changeup
This is most likely one of the first pitches you will learn to throw since it does not require long fingers and big palms to do so. First you need your index, middle and ring fingers on top of the ball. Place your thumb and pinky on the smooth leather on the bottom of the baseball.
If you feel comfortable, have your pinky and thumb touch on the bottom of the ball. It will help the pitcher with their changeup in a finesse pitch.
Make sure you keep the ball deep in your palm in order to maximize friction and to de-centralize the force of the ball when thrown. It is recommended that you throw this pitch similar to a fastball. It is the same mechanics, same arm and same everything.
If you want to develop some fastball mechanics, switch up your pitches. Begin to alternate pitches and try to throw at least 20 pitches a few days a week. Try to strengthen your arm too.
4. Circle Changeup
This is quite easily the easiest, and most natural way to grip a baseball. All you need to do is circle your hand around the ball and turning your thumb and index finger to create an ’O’.
The other three fingers will hug around the ball keeping the ball tucked against the circle. It should be comfortable for the pitcher. If you think about it, your hand is making the sign for ‘OK’.
Your arm speed and body will be throwing it the same way as a fastball. You will only slightly turn the ball over the target. Many people in baseball call this pronating your hand because it looks as though you are giving a thumbs down. This will also reduce your balls speed, but give you a nice and fading movement to your throwing arms side of the plate.
5. Knuckle Curveball
I always think about in movies when characters say that their knuckle ball is their best ball. It can be for you too. People will sometimes call this pitch a spike curve as well. It is a very popular grip and a great beginner’s curveball pitch to learn.
All you need to do with your fingers is tuck them at the seam of the ball. Your knuckle is pointing at the target rather than your index finger. It is a very natural position for your fingers and hand to be in, so most pitchers do not have any issues with it.
They sometimes have an issue with the tucking aspect since it is not a comfortable position for your pointer finger to be in.
This maybe one of the pitches you need to spend more time on during the off season in baseball.
With the post season coming up in Major League Baseball, pay attention to the pitchers hands and body language. From this you can guess which pitch they will be using. I find this to be quite entertaining at times.
If you are interested in improving your pitches, always concentrate on the pitches that you feel most comfortable with. Always have a fastball and a curveball at the ready. Make sure you have a third and fourth pitch ready so you can stump the player up to bat.
If you have a pattern, try to break out of it now, otherwise players will know what to expect from you each time they are up to bat.