Fastball movement and control

“Stay on top of the ball”

I don’t agree with this teach for a number of reasons, I don’t think I’m alone. Younger players will often allow their fingers to throw from inside or outside of the ball. I think they should stay to the inside to get the ball to tail consistently.

My son’s fastball will sometimes cut (away from RH hitter) and sometimes tail (into a RH hitter) and sometimes be straight. He doesn’t currently dictate the movement.

I am working with him on making his fastball always tail. I believe this will afford him better control. I believe this since you know how the ball will move and its spin you can dictate where it will go. i don’t believe a straight fastball is a good FB :smiley:

Curious what others in the know have to say on this topic. So much is written about making the other pitches move consistently and how little fastball movement is emphasized.

Thanks,

Ed

I don’t throw a straight fastball nor if someone asked me to could I. My pitching coach during high school told me to enhance chances at playing higher levels I needed to add a two seam tail on my four seam fastball. While I think staying on top of the ball can still apply, for example in my long toss I focus on it up until my wrist pronates to give my throw tail. Movement is always a plus especially if it can be controlled. I just think of staying on top of the ball as staying on top to apply as much force behind it before pronation which for the timing of my pronation gives the ball a great amount of tail.

Ed,

You’re right not much is ever really discussed about how to get a FB with movement, unless of course people are asking about the 2 seamer.

The traditional sense is that the 4 seamer is supposed to be straight with what has been described by some as “natural” movement. And if you wanted a FB to move that’s when you’d switch it over to the 2 seamer, or learn the sinker.

Personally I myself liked to be able to make the ball cut and tail so that way depending on where I was going to place the pitch I would have some extra movement on it. But I also had a good straight FB that I would use when I just simply wanted to blow it past guys.

I think the best way to find the movement of the 4 seamer is to play around with the finger pressures and slightly different grips of the 4 seamer and see what works best for the individual pitcher.

I think I mentioned I’m working on the FB movement to help his control. With his FB moving all over the place its hard to predict where it will wind up. I think from this perspective its easier to throw breaking balls for a strike.
If you can control the movement on the FB then it would be just as easy to throw strikes with FB.

I believe one teach a pitching coach used with him is hip and front shoulder to the target. He will sometimes open too soon(?) or fly open which ‘pulls’ his FB toward outside of plate (RH hitter) and will also cause the ball to cut. I need to put camera on him to check this.

I have heard of pitchers doing mirror work was wondering if anyone out there have used this approach and what they emphasized?

Thanks

Ed

Front hip and shoulder should be in line with home plate. Being too closed (if that’s possible) or flying open will definitely affect the direction of the pitch.

I throw three “different” fastballs, I guess you’d say. The 4-seam, 2-seam, and a sinker (or sinking fastball). The only difference between the 3 is how much I pronate when throwing. I pronate my arm when throwing each pitch, but, with the 4-seam I pronate a little less and later, followed by the 2-seam, and then the sinker. The sinker I concentrate on a bit “harder” pronation to try and maximize the sinking action on it.

It’s kinda all about playing with the grip and pronation. All three should be thrown with the exact same arm action.

Obviously, unequal pressure from the top fingers will create spin (tail or cut).

Mariano Rivera only slightly alters his grip and pressure with the middle finger to throw his cutter. Which should be a good indicator.