Getting your grip


I normally just preset my changeup grip in my hand then switch to fastball and slider in glove off that but last week the team I was playing was picking up on it. How do you normally get your pitch grip should I start in a grip I never use so I always have to change.


Ed Lopat once told me that I should always use a big enough glove so the opposition could not pick up my grip, because some of my pitches had distinctive grips. He also said that one of the primary uses of that glove is to conceal the grip from the start—and a good idea is to use a glove with a closed web. So what I did was hide the ball in the glove and preset my pitches, then change the grip if I wanted to, but always behind the glove so nobody could see it until the last possible minute. One thing that helped was that I was a natural, dyed-in-the-wool sidearmer who used the crossfire all the time—the batters, even if they could get a glimpse of the ball, never knew what the pitch was going to be, only that they couldn’t get a piece of it if they stood on their heads!


I always started with the 4 seam grip both hands together. This way, if I had to make a pick, I’d have the right grip. If I was throwing the 4 seamer, I’d simply rotate it once in my hand, reset the grip and start my delivery.


Here’s what I coached for about 20 minutes with each pitcher doing so on his own.

-Put the ball in your glove, sitting high in the pocket, with your four seam fastball grip.

  • Now here’s the part that you have to practice, to the point where it’s a matter of “feel confirmation” not vision.
    ( In other words don’t look into the glove.)
    -Now use your thumb to rotate the ball so the index and middle finger actually feel the grip that you’ve decided to go with.
    -Again, don’t look into your glove. When you look into your glove you’re giving away you pitch selection, event though that selection is not visible.

Practice makes perfect here - over and over and over. So, take some time to be somewhere, anywhere - watching TV, sitting on a porch, your front steps, anywhere - and slap the ball in your glove… then reach in and feel for the four seams as if you’re about the grip a four seam fastball… then take your thumb and start to rotate the ball anyway you want to feel the two seam, slider, split finger, curveball, change-up/off-speed…

The entire process here is to work quickly and effectively. You get on the rubber, get your sign, reach in and “dial” your grip without hesitation, then send it down range.

You’ll soon develop a greater skill, going into this routine than you realize, Soon you’ll understand the causes-n-effect of grip Vs ball dynamics and how “feel and sensitivity” with playing the seams is what makes you a better pitcher.


I used switching grips to my advantage. I loved digging in my glove real hard just to throw a fastball. Then next time I faced the guy I’d do the same thing and throw offspeed. Do that a couple times with no pattern, and opposing teams will stop trying to guess what you’re throwing real fast. Good catchers actually will signal this sometimes too. My college catcher would mime before a pitch to dig in my mitt a bit if he wanted to screw with the hitter a little more.


My kind a backstop.