Developing offspeed


#1

Hey guys, I’m looking for an offspeed pitch to throw. This year, I threw 70mph fastballs from 48 feet away every pitch. I developed good control (I went for a 4-week stretch in which I didn’t walk a single hitter) and my velocity will continue to develop with my added leg strength from soccer. But, since this is my last year in Little League, I’ll be moving up to PONY next year, where there are 300 ft fences, 75ft bases and 54ft pitching mounds. (Not exactly sure that those dimensions are completely correct). We use major-league rules in PONY, so I will have to learn how to pitch from the stretch, how to pick off base runners, etc.

But my first aspect that I want to improve this offseason is offspeed pitches. I’ll be 13 pretty soon, but I made a vow not to throw breaking balls until the age of 15.

Some pitches I have been considering are changeups, sinkers, and knuckleballs.

For the changeup, I’ve tried the circle grip, but I am having trouble getting a true “feel” for it. Any tips?

I think the palmball is out of question because I don’t like pitches in which my fingers don’t have a true touch on the ball.

I’m not sure if I want to try a sinker yet, because it is truly an advanced pitch.

The knuckleball is a pitch I’ve been wanting to learn for a long time.
Pustulio, this is for you. Can you help me throw a knuckler, and a good one, too?

Thanks for help guys.


#2

I would actually recommend you work on a changeup before you even touch a knuckleball. It’s more important for you to learn mixing speeds before you worry abou the fancy stuff.

If I’m being completely honest here I would say my favorite repertoire of pitches for youngsters is 4-seam, 2-seam and a Changeup. I personally don’t throw the best changeup so I think you should ask one of the experts here on how to throw the change.

If you really truly want to learn the knuckleball PM me, I will need to talk to you about it.


#3

I think you have the wrong idea about the palm ball. That is a pitch where you have all four fingers on top of the ball, with the thumb underneath for support, and you grip the ball way back in the palm of the hand—but not too tightly, because you do NOT want to squeeze the juice out of the ball! You throw it with the same motion and the same arm speed as you would a fast ball. And you can change up on it by loosening the grip a little. As for the circle change, here’s an idea I learned from my pitching coach: if your hand is not quite large enough for you to form the complete circle with the thumb and index finger, you can use a backwards “c” on that side of the ball. I had to do that, because my hand was not large enough. As for arm motion and arm speed, the same rule applies. Same speed. You definitely do not want to telegraph any pitch.
And do get in touch with Pustulio. He’s the master of all things knuckleball on these boards, and I’m sure he can help. :slight_smile: