How to throw a curveball
What's the best way to throw a curveball? You may have some idea that involves directing your fingers over the top of the ball as it's delivered while holding the ball on the inside edge of the horseshoe seam. Proper baseball pitching mechanics are a critical component of being able to throw perfect curveballs. If a pitcher's mechanics aren't up to par, he'll have trouble spinning and locating his curveball consistently. As such, keep reading to find out how to throw the perfect curveball!
What is a curveball?
A curveball is a breaking pitch with greater movement than almost any other type of pitch. It's thrown slower than a slider and has a greater overall curveball break, and it's meant to keep hitters off-balance. When a pitcher executes a curveball correctly, a batter expecting a fastball will swing too early and over the top of it.
Most professional pitchers have one of two breaking pitches: a curveball or a slider, and some have both. A breaking pitch, such as a curveball, is an important part of a professional pitcher's arsenal because it keeps hitters off-balance and prevents them from preparing for a fastball.
What is the difference between a curveball and a breaking ball?
Any pitch that curves is referred to as a breaking ball. As a result, a curveball and slider are both breaking balls:
- Curveballs are the slowest of the three pitch types described, and they can break in both the horizontal and vertical planes, which is why a good curveball is frequently referred to as a "12-to-6" curve.
- A slider is a pitch that is halfway between a curveball and a fastball in terms of speed, and it breaks more in the horizontal plane than a curveball.
- A sinker, often known as a two-seam fastball, is a fastball that drops less than a curveball but more than a four-seam fastball and is generally faster than a slider. It may have slight horizontal movement and drops less than a curveball but more than a four-seam fastball.
Types of curveballs
The most common breaking ball or off-speed pitch is the curveball. The classic 12-6 overhand curveball and the massive, sweeping curveball that cuts down and away from the throwing arm are the two types of curveballs.
Because of the quick break that occurs during the delivery, the slider is a popular "put away" pitch. A slider is gripped in the same way as a curveball, with the same fingers running along the seam. The difference between the two pitches is that when the pitcher attempts a slider, you snap your wrist across instead of down. The ball rotates sharply down and across the pitcher's body as a result of this action.
The second most popular breaking ball or off-speed pitch is the changeup. A changeup is similar to a fastball in that it comes out of the pitcher's hand, but it is much slower and has a little amount of movement down in the strike zone.
A pitcher throws a changeup by placing three fingers at the top of the ball. The index, middle, and ring fingers are all used, with the index and ring fingers running down the seams and the middle finger in between, and the pitch is then launched with a fastball-like release.
The Circle Changeup
The circle changeup is a more challenging changeup to throw, but it has greater movement. The pitcher must make the "ok" sign with his throwing hand before placing the ball across his middle, ring, and pinky fingers to throw a circular changeup. With movement down and into a right-handed batter, the circle changeup will roll off the three smaller fingers, creating more rotation and less speed naturally.
5 steps to throw a curveball
A well-thrown curveball appears to be a fastball, but it spins in the opposite direction and breaks in a different direction before reaching the batter. The batter, with a little luck, will swing early and miss the ball.
Step 1: Grip the Ball
Between your thumb and middle finger, grasp the ball. Place your middle finger along the bottom seam and your thumb along the rear seam of the baseball. Remove your index finger from the ball and place it on the ground. Instead of gripping the ball, you'll use it to indicate in the direction you want it to go.
With one on top and one on the bottom of your palm, hold the baseball such that the seams are close to your palm. Place your middle finger on the top right seam and your thumb on the bottom left seam if you're right-handed. The opposite should be done by lefties.
Step 2: Keep the Grip Hidden
Keep your hold tucked away. If the batter is aware that you're about to throw a curveball, he'll be ready for the speed shift and drop. It's critical to keep your pitch hidden until you're ready to throw it. Make sure your glove covers your gripping hand on the ball so no one on the opposing team can tell you're preparing for a curveball. Even throughout the windup, skilled hitters can recognize the fundamental curveball grip. Hide your grip to make your curveballs more difficult to read.
Step 3: Wind Up and Throw
Prepare to throw the pitch. Grasp the rubber with your dominant foot. As you throw the ball, lift your opposite knee and swivel your hips forward. Your elbow should be at a 90-degree angle and level with or above your arm. As you would with a fastball, finish the first part of your curveball pitch.
When the ball is facing you, a basic four-seam fastball will have your middle and pointer fingers on top of the ball on the seam that goes left and right across the ball. The smooth leather at the bottom of the ball, in between the seams, should be right under your thumb.
Step 4: Release
As your arm stretches and you step forward with the opposing foot, keep your palm pointing inward towards your body and release the ball. Your arm should be pointing toward the opposite hip as you come down from the throw.
Rather than moving your hand in an arc across your torso, snap rapidly from top to bottom. Rotate your thumb up and your middle finger down as if you were going to snap your thumb and middle finger together as you release the ball. The ball will move in the direction indicated by your middle finger.
Step 5: Practice
Before moving on to more sophisticated forms, master a basic curveball. Remember that the spinning action of the throw is created by grasping the ball lightly with the index finger and snapping the ball as it is released. As you toss, keep this movement in mind.
Common tips about throwing curveballs
Curveball mechanics are not the same as fastball mechanics. The curveball has several critical factors that must be followed to throw the pitch correctly:
- Pitching grip: The middle finger is the most important in a curveball. The pitcher should try to find a grip where the seam provides resistance to the middle finger during the release. The precise rotation of the curveball comes from this.
- Stride length: If one of your pitchers is having trouble getting on top of his curveball (pitch comes out high all the time), have them decrease their stride by 2-4 inches.
- Elbow: The throwing elbow must be the same height as or slightly higher than the throwing shoulder. When a pitcher drops his elbow below his shoulder, he adds to the tension on that arm. The elbow joint should not be bent more than 90 degrees. Pitchers who throw curveballs at angles greater than 90 degrees may put their throwing shoulder under additional strain.
- Route: On a fastball, the path of the ball is usually far away from your head. When a curveball is thrown, the route will be significantly closer to your head (slightly up and away from your ear).
- Release: Throwing a curveball is not the same as throwing a fastball. The release of a fastball is straight out in front of your body. The type of action you want the pitch to have is determined by how you release the ball. Your wrist will be hooked and your hand will draw down in front of your torso when you release a curveball. You must release the ball as near to your body as possible (short arm).
- Ball Spin: The more you move away from your torso, the less resistance your middle finger will encounter on the seam, resulting in a looser ball spin. Curveballs with a loose rotation tend to spin or hang.
- Arm speed: Maintaining the same arm speed with your curveball as you do with your fastball is highly crucial. A batter can tell how fast an opponent's arm is moving. With a changeup, arm speed is more significant than with a curveball, but it's also important for other reasons.
Shop for baseball equipment and gear
Baseball360 offers a wide range of sports equipment that can aid in your development as a great pitcher. Most significantly, every pitcher requires a sports glove. To assist you, Baseball360 features multiple high-quality, fantastic pitching gloves. All of these gloves are from companies known for producing some of the best baseball gloves in the world.
A high-quality manufactured baseball is the answer to practicing throwing and becoming the fastest pitcher on the planet. Aside from the weighted balls, Baseball360 has several balls to help you improve your game. Louisville and Rawlings are the two most iconic sporting brands and they are available at our store. This sports equipment, coupled with our advice will assist you in achieving a perfect curveball.