4-seam fastball question

I’m a RH pitcher and grip my 4-seam fastball with the horseshoe facing to the left

does it matter if the horseshoe’s facing left or
right?

also I know that your thumb is supposed to be directly under the ball, between your middle and index fingers

when I grip my normal fastball, my thumb is off-center but when I try a 4-seamer with the horseshoe to the right, my thumb is in the middle…

my question is which one should i do?

-stick with how I’m throwing right now(horseshoe to the left, thumb off center b/c it feels most comfortable)

-keep the horseshoe facing to the left, but move my thumb to the center of the ball, between index and middle fingers(just get used to the grip by using it for a couple of weeks)

-or throw a four-seamer with the horseshoe to the right, b/c my thumb is in the right place(even though it feels sort of awkward, I’d just get used to the grip by using it for a couple of weeks.

any suggestions?

What do YOU notice with the characteristics of the ball when you pitch either way?

Do you notice a major change in accuracy? Do notice a major effect on the movement of your fastball as the ball approaches home plate? Is one way or the other more difficult for you to pitch?

Questions like yours are good. They’re thoughtful and beyond to simple “grip and throw”. And when asking questions like … “What should I do with…” , try and back up your questions with experience that offers you a reference point for comparison’s … either or.

Pitchers that I have coached have griped the 4 seam either way, and their report down stream hasn’t really changed their game much. Although some have admitted that holding the ball one way or the other has produced some movement. On the other hand, a 4 seam fastball is suppose to give you the greatest velocity and accuracy for a fastball with accuracy and speed. And in that respect, a fastball that has movement does give up a certain amount of velocity in exchange for that movement. Don’t forget, an object can’t go in two directions at once. Every time a ball moves in flight … left right, down or otherwise, it gives up a little of its edge on speed.

So, based on your experience, what have you noticed?

Coach B.

If you are throwing a 4-seam and messing with finger pressure, make sure your index and middle fingers are not on the laces. This could cause blister problems if you get a tremendous amount of backspin on your pitches.

One thing that really, I mean REALLY helped my pitching, was to understand the physics behind what your trying to get each pitch to do. Obviously, I can’t give an in depth physics lesson here, but I can kind of play on what Coach B. posted:

For example, Coach mentioned that an object can’t go in two directions at once. This is due to the pressures acting on the baseball after it’s given a certain type of spin. Say you want to fire off a four seam that goes straight to your target with limited movement. The backspin on a pitch like that causes a high pressure build up under the ball and a low pressure above, causing it to act against gravity for a longer distance. Conversely, say you want to fire off a pitch with downward break like a curve. You want to give the ball a topspin that will cause high pressure to act on top of the ball and low pressure below, working with gravity, using it to your advantage. The more you do this, the more the ball will drop off the table. Say want a pitch with some lateral (horizontal) movement. You want spin that’ll get the high pressure to act more on the side of the ball. A lot of this kind of movement has to do with arm slot but the principles remain the same.
Once you understand how the physics work, it’ll give you a lot more freedom with your grips. You don’t have to use a grip just because a big league pitcher does. You have the freedom to say to yourself, “is this grip I’m trying going to get high pressure to act on the ball in such a way that it will produce the movement I want?”

I think there is no set thing that someone could tell you to do that will be the “truth”… Everything is a personal opinion and what works for one person most certainly might not work for the next. Personally, I hold the ball (when my fingers are on top of the ball) so that the horseshoe is a c shap looking right at me… In this way i put my ring finger along the horseshoe that is along the bottom of the ball. Because of this, i get extra friction on the right side of the ball to create more movement… But that is just me… Might not work for you

I’m gonna go ahead and take a stance on this one. I do agree that it is personal opinion and preference in terms of how you throw your pitches… but make sure you have a purpose for each pitch. As a general rule a four seamer should have less movement than a 2 seamer and therefore go faster (velocity wise). Keep your thumb directly underneath the ball for a true four seamer with little movement and maximum velocity. As a general rule, the direction of the horseshoe matters less - but I prefer the it facing outward to allow for better grip on the seams… (btw, I don’t think pressure on seams directly leads to blisters, there are lots of difference things that contribute)

Finally, grip is almost ALWAYS secondary to release and spin. You can hold a four seamer “correctly” all you want, but if you tilt you hand away from your head and finish across your body, it will have a lot of movement that you hadn’t planned on. Make sure to pay attention to repeating your delivery and release point along with everything else.

That also goes back to the physics behind the pitch. That is a very good point that I failed to mention. I did manage to mention that the spin is first and foremost in whatever high and low pressures are going to act on the ball, however I did not mention how proper/improper mechanics can affect spin in addition to the grip.

Also, for Icbball, you might want to check out a video posted by laflippin in the thread entitled, “painting half of a ball black…”

if you put a piece of black electrical tape around the equator of the ball running through the widest part of the 4 seams, it will show you clearly what kind of spin you are getting. the best velocity is achieved when the tape spins in a smooth continuous fashion.

This reminds me of putting a black line on a golf ball to better line up putts.

exact same idea kevinbert. you need a shorter nickname. have to think of something to call you. maybe kbert. have to see if it grows on you.

Kevin Bertha is my real name. A few of my nicknames are K-bo, Preacher, and Big Bertha. Hammer once called me Callaway.

Yeah, I can mark up my golf balls as much as I want, I still suck at putting.