Thank you jdfromfla for creating this thread. I'd love to see where this will go. Finger pressure is a very interesting subject, and I think that it's a healthy separation from the "How to throw hard" threads that dominates baseball forums. Not that throwing hard is bad, but learning how to develope command and control is also a very important aspect of pitching.
That said, I have dabbled with finger pressure last year. Of course this usually happens after watching Greg Maddux pitch. I myself cannot throw hard, so I've always looked up to Maddog for inspiration. Anways, althought I don't compete anymore (ya school and work will do that to ya ) whenever I can I do go outside and toss the ball at the net a bit. I naturally have a cutting motion on my ball. It sinks down an in to a righty (I'm a lefty). I have been working on increasing my velocity all of last year, and have noticed that I don't get that sinking motion anymore.
This leads me to two theories on why that is:
1: velocity is effecting how much my ball breaks
2: Throwing harder is somehow changing my arm angle and delivery
I don't believe that it is my first theory. I mean, I only throw 78 (ya, pretty weak huh) when I hurl the fastball lol. Surely, it shouldn't deminish the break on my fastball as drastically as before I attempted to throw "hard." I believe the second theory is what's causing such straight movement on my fastball. Somewhere, somehow I'm not getting to the right "place" when delivering my pitch.
That little anecdote did have a little meaning. I believe that the first step to develope finger pressure skills is to have a consistent delivery. Everything comes from the feet up in pitching, and with focussing on finger pressure this is no exception. Anyways, with my changeup I get the decrease in speed as well as a break of about 1 ft. I throw a circle change. I rest the first joint (the one below the tip of the finger) on the seems and throw it with my fastball arm speed. I'll try to take some photos of what I'm talking about so you all can see what I mean. I find it a lot easier to control it that way and the break just seems to be a nice bonus.
This brings me to my second point. Does finger pressure mean how much direct pressure you put on the ball or how much indirect pressue you put on it? What I mean is, do you really need to apply pressure on the ball, or will the placement of your fingers suffice? With my changeup using my joints to "hold onto" the ball is enough to get the break. Keeping the ball closer to my palm diminishes the speed due to friction. In this case I haven't applied any pressure at all besides the pressue to hold onto the ball. Are there any cases where you need to push down or pinch the ball to have an effect?
Another example of finger pressure that I've recently heard is to use your thumb as a rudder. Placing your thumb on the bottom of the ball and slightly to one side or another is said to have a movement effect on the ball. Of course I got this information from the Baseball Tonight cast, so please PLEASE take it with a grain of salt. If anyone else have heard of this, please feel free to elaborate.
To sum my post up I had three basic ideas on finger pressure.
1. Consistent delievery is the first step to implementing good finger pressure skills.
2. Using joints of your fingers to "hold onto" the ball
3. Using your thumb as a sort of rudder to move the ball left or right
What do you all think? And sorry for the freakishly long post.