A couple issues for a new but somewhat old pitcher

Hi, I have a few questions that I’m hoping you folks could answer for me.

I’m 20 years old, and I’ve never really pitched competitively before. That’s not to say I haven’t pitched, as I have in pick-up games and whatnot, but I’m hoping to start pitching in either a men’s league or university next year (I’m Canadian, not American, so our university level probably won’t blow me away like it would south of the border).

Anyways, I throw sidearm and my best pitches are a screwball and what I considered to be a curveball until I looked around and found out I was using a grip similar to most pitchers’ slider. I have my middle finger running along the right inside corner of the horseshoe seam.

My main problems are that I have low velocity and can’t consistently locate any fastball grip I try. I’d guess that my pitch speeds top out at about 65 MPH, and when I do throw fastballs, I probably top out no higher than 75.

Would anyone have advice on how to best pick up my velocity (hopefully to the 80-85 area for my fastball), and whatfastball grip would best complement my current pitches and help my control issue.

p.s. The control thing only really affects hard-thrown pitches, it seems. When I miss, they usually sail about 8 feet high…

Tough to say what is causing your control problems without seeing you pitch. Can you post some video?

I’ll try- don’t have a videocamera of my own, but I may be able to convince a friend to lend a hand.

I throw sidearm … My main problems are that I have low velocity and can’t consistently locate any fastball grip I try. I’d guess that my pitch speeds top out at about 65 MPH, and when I do throw fastballs, I probably top out no higher than 75.

I’m not a big fan of the sidearm style … so, I’ll try and reserve my opinions to myself and stick with the experiences that I’ve had coaching sidearm pitchers.

Sidearm pitchers have a contrast in forward and side motion at different stages in their setup and delivery that can actually contribute to the lack of velocity, balance and accuracy. In this regard, your body’s movement starts down the mound or whatever surface that your pitching off of with all the intentions of gong straight forward … but… then your arm action and attention span leans to the side … whether you actually feel this or not, and the pitching side of your body now supports a major shift in balance and performance.

Unless you’ve dedicated yourself to hours of practice and traing’d with a real good pitching coach … you’re going to have these problems from the get-go.

However, here’s a bigger issue… at twenty years of age, having reintroduced yourself to the game and pitching… I’d give some serious thought to foregoing this sidearm style and train’g more in a traditional manner. From what I read in your post, your a recreational player… so, I’d suggest approaching the game at your age with a recreational mindset.

Another subject to address is the injury prone nature of the sidearm style if your pitching surface is lss than accomodating to your physique, stride posture and your overall physical fitness.

I wish you th best in your baseball experience… just give my suggestions some thought.

Coach B.

I adopted the sidearm style because it felt most natural to me, thanks to using it in the field as a position player for years. I normally play(ed) the middle infield.

In all honesty, I think you’re 100% right about it being the cause of a lot of my problems (also causing a problem would be that I have to change arm slots to throw my screwball, which would be a dead giveaway to just about any batter, I’d imagine). If I were to change to an overhand or 3/4 delivery, are there any pitchers who you’d recommend modelling my mechanics off of?

I don’t really have any illusions about being a fireballer (if I ever threw 85 in my life, I’d consider it a crowning achievement), but obviously I’d like to be able to throw a fastball and possibly a change-up if for no other reason than to make my breaking pitches more surprising.

About your arsenal. Where is your fastball? Where is your Change-up? You need these pitches to be successful. Your the first person I’ve ever seen who didn’t have a fastball.

Like I said earlier, I can’t control them worth beans. Anytime I pitch with friends, I switch up between the screwball and slider, and very rarely throw a palmball. I’m still working on the fastball, but I can’t seem to find a good grip for it, and I won’t throw it to a batter, because I usually end up locating it somewhere in the vicinity of the right-handed hitter’s head.

I’ll have one eventually, but as of right now I don’t throw a fastball to batters because my friends aren’t too friendly about getting beaned. If you’ve got any handy tips, grips or suggestions, I’d like to hear thm, though.

So you develop it now so what if you don’t have control with it. Control will come. When I first started pitching I had the worst control every, somewhat compared to “Nuke” LaLoosh (Bull Durham) but once I learned proper mechanics I started working hard and now I have control similar to Moyer and Lannan. So you want to work on it now so when you do get control you can learn to control your fastball instead of learning a fastball and controlling it.

Well, I’m not planning to not have a fastball, and I do practice with it. But missing my spots my several feet on probably half my fastballs isn’t quite enough to put it in my arsenal.

The main thing I don’t get is that I can pin-point the other two pitches, but as soon as I try to throw a hard one, my catcher instinctively knows he has to jump up and to his left if he wants to stop it.

This might sound dumb- I’ve noticed on a lot of the grip pictures that people are tucking their thumb under the ball for their fastballs. Is that necessary, or just a matter of choice?

What do you mean by tucking?


Like this?


Or this?

I prefer to put my finger under the ball like JP Howell does (second pic) because if I do the Maddux version I feel like the ball is going to slip out of my hand. A fastball is all about the feel or the pitch. If you feel it was a bad pitch as soon as you release it, Its gonna go so far it should have a stewardess on it. You need to be conformable with the pitch.

I throw a lot closer to the second picture.

I saw most of the grip pictures seemed more like the first picture, though, and was kinda thinking there was some secret to holding the ball like that and not letting it slip.

Could certainly be caused by a mechanical issue - one that can be corrected.

Assuming you are a RHP, this sounds as if you’re opening up early. Again, a correctable flaw.

Just a matter of preference.

My opinion of the side-arm slot is that while side-armers might have certain tendencies (such as opening up early or supinating their hand) which increases the chances for injury, the side-arm slot itself isn’t inherently dangerous. But you do need to be able to throw all of your pitches from the same slot to keep the batters guessing.

Really, video will most likely allow us to help you improve your control.

ACTUALLY i’ve kindy the same problem… i’m ecuadorian an it’s the first year i’m pitching… i use to be centerfield when i’s younger i hit very well but they want me as a pitcher now i’m doing it i really do like it!! my fastball 83mph it’s going hard since i came back to baseball my curveball is breaking a lot an it’s the pitch i’m using more frecuent than the fastball cause with it… seems to be a little bit wild… i’ve been working on it an now… i’ve improve but i wanna keep on that… i’m 22 years (i would really like a scholarship for sports psychology but some day that will come with hard training) what shall we do for improving control?