Curveball help!


#1

I grew up an avid San Francisco Giants fan and I watched Matt Cain’s one hit gem yesterday. The pitch that I thought gave him that mastery was his curveball. Cain’s curveball drops quickly and I also see Zitos big looping cueveball.

I was wondering how these pitcher throw these big looping curveballs rather than the regular curveball that breaks towards the outside part od the plate. Mine is just like a fastball except its slower and breaks towards the outside part on a right handed hitter.

Another question:My curveball doesnt move as much as I want it to. How do I get my curveball to cut towards the outside of the plate more? Should i pronate or whatever my wrist more?


#2

I had a rather large assortment of pitches, including a curve ball that—get this, now—came attached to my natural sidearm delivery. When I threw it, I used a wrist action like a karate chop, and the pitch broke sharply, and batters used to foul it off because they couldn’t get a good read on it. I used to mess around with different grips, and one such was a knuckle-curve that would come in there looking for all the world like a fast ball and then suddenly drop, the way a glass will fall off the table. You might try doing that—fooling around with various grips.
The big looping curve such as you describe is very much like the old eephus pitch, although not exactly twenty feet high. That’s pretty much a 12-6, and you might have a great deal of success with it. Being a sidearmer I never used that one, but I’ll bet you could. And you might think about working on a slider—what my pitching coach told me is “Throw it like a curve, but roll your wrist, don’t snap it.” That’s a nice pitch, and when thrown correctly it’s easier on the arm and shoulder than most other pitches. (That was my strikeout pitch.) So, I would say, experiment a bit with different grips and release points, and have fun with them. 8)


#3

Try using a knuckle curve grip and when you throw just point your middle finger towards your target, it works really well for me. Not everyone’s the same but it’s just something for you to experiment with.


#4

To answer your question and produce results, a pitching coach that understands the four major elemental influences in any breaking pitch which are: (1) torso projection (2) shoulder hinge, (3) elbow hinge, and finally (4) wrist and grip release, is your best bet.

Some pitching coaches will expand on these elemental influences, while others will abbreviate - meaning narrow down the list to only two or three.

In any event, the surface condition and how you feel personally on any given day also has an impact.

Now it would be so easy to say … proper mechanics this and proper mechanics that, but there are so many variables that kick in with the curve, slider, cutter, knuckle, knuckle-curve and so forth that your best bet is live time with a pitching coach. Also, since all of the aforementioned are consider to a greater or lesser degree breaking pitches, some of those mentioned are in the fastball family of pitches while others are not. I don’t mean to confuse you, but every breaking pitch does share some similarities with its cousins. So, if you have success with your slider, your cutter, or any other pitch with movement - bring that knowledge along when developing your curve. Experiment, try this-try, that- that.

In the mean time, at the top of this web page you’ll find an information bar that has PITCHING ARTICLES as one of the topics. “Click” on to that topic and scroll down to your come to pitching grips. There you’ll find a few articles on the curve.

If you plan on making it to the next level of this sport, try targeting your curve - or any other pitch for that matter, as a deliberate effort. Why? Because if you target your catcher’s left shoulder, for a right-handed batter, and you release, that curve will more than likely end up right smack dab going right into the sweet spot of the bat. OUCH! Any breaking pitch should be targeted to start at a point that allows the ball’s natural design coupled with your delivery motion to avoid the most damage by the batter. Again, a pitching coach can expand on this for your live time.

Coach B.


#5

I’m not sure how old of a post this is but here it goes:
I used to not be able to throw a curveball at all… it sucked cause its a simple pitch right? Either it wouldn’t break at all for me or, when it did break, I had no control what so ever. A pitching coach a long time ago showed me a way to get it to break more consistently. He taped two baseballs together (one on top of another) and you would hold the bottom one and throw it like you’re throwing a curveball 12-6 style. I think where it helped me what I got used to the top ball making me “snap” downward creating a hell of a lot more spin on the ball. If done right it should also help control as you will get down a more consistent release and angle etc.