# how to throw a screwball?

how do you throw a screwball
when i try to throw it it breaks like a 12-6

The screwball grip should usually be very similar to your curveball grip. However, after you grip the ball correctly, you will need to preset your hand, wrist, and forearm in full pronation as you come set. And, during the launch and release of the ball, you should maintain a fully pronated state in your throwing hand/wrist/forearm.

If your arm-slot is a very high one, you may achieve nearly “12-to-6” spin on the ball. Pure 12-to-6 spin on either curveball or screwball would give the pitch a straight-down break, with no lateral movement. If you take the trouble to develop a curve and a screwball which both do that, you will be missing the point.

Pitchers with both a curve and a screwball do not want identical 12-to-6 spin action on both their breaking pitches. If they do get pure 12-to-6 on both then there is no point to throwing both pitches because they will do exactly the same thing, i.e., break straight down.

Instead, the usefulness of having a curve and a screwball is that the pitches will also show some lateral break–in opposite directions.

So, one basic scenario is this: Most hitters are righties, yes? And most hitters from either side generally have more trouble with breaking pitches that break away from them, rather than break into them. So, LHPs who must face lots of righty hitters will often want to have a breaking pitch that breaks away from those guys. Enter the screwball…a LHP with a screwball that is even slightly off the spin axis giving “12-to-6” rotation will get the down-and-away break that he is looking for against righty hitters.

Nowadays, the screwball is pretty rare…a properly thrown circle change does nearly the same thing as a screwball and varieties of cut fastball can also be made to accomplish the same task, with a smaller but harder break.

i want to get lateral movement on mine
how can i

try to lower your arm slot slightly or pronate slightly less

what is the grip

1. First, hold the ball with your standard curveball grip. The curveball grip should be very firm, the ball should be buried deep into the fleshy part of your hand between thumb and index finger. Your thumb and middle finger should cut the ball exactly in half.

2. Now, preset pronation so that your hand/wrist/forearm and the ball are oriented outward, away from your body.

3. Maintain this pronation from set position through to release.

4. Other than the above, mechanics and arm-speed for the screwball are identical to the FB, curve, and any other pitches that you might use.

The above is essentially a brief description of Tom House’s screwball…he threw it in MLB competition for 9 years.

fernando valenzuela was one of the best screwballers ever
does anyone know how he threw his

a guy i know does the exact opposite of the curveball grip
with the index finger on the seam
he gets a nasty break
but it doesn’t work for me

Well I know Carl Hubbel used a normal 4-seam fastball grip for his and he struck out 3 future hall of famers in an all-star game consecutively he took down Ruth, Gehrig and then Jimmie Foxx. Carl Hubbel had quite the career too, perhaps the top screwballer ever.

Pustilio,

I agree with you Hubbell was one of the great screwball pitchers. It’s probably important to note also that Hubbell threw with a pure side-armed delivery.

Valenzuela was a magnificent screwball pitcher, as kelvinp suggests…and he used a very high arm-slot, if I remember correctly.

So, even though we are talking exclusively about screwballs…the different arm-slots of the pitchers who throw them will most certainly affect the orientation of the spin axis (and, thus, the ratio of downward versus lateral break).

What I think kelvinp probably needs to do, is start working hands-on with a competent pitching coach who can show him details–in person–that go missing in internet discussions. At some point, real pitchers need to stop talking about the myriad of interesting pitching theories and start pitching.

Unfortunately, internet coaches cannot always help pitchers with what they really need.

lappin said “Nowadays, the screwball is pretty rare…a properly thrown circle change does nearly the same thing as a screwball and varieties of cut fastball can also be made to accomplish the same task, with a smaller but harder break.”

I disagree respectfully-A properly throw circle change does not nearly do the same thing a real screwgie does. A circle change turn over fades with a 8-2 rotation. A real screwgie breaks from 11-5 do to the Magnus effect.

Also I found that my screwgie broke more straight down when I threw it from low 3/4’s. The lower I threw it the more it broke straight down (from Sidearm). Part of the rotation thing could be individual anatomy.I found low 3/4’s worked for me when I faced lefthanders because I could throw a fastball that ran away. A circle that did the same only slower(dropped from gravity) and a real hard bending screwgie that I aimed right at a lefties nose. They were a little…disconcerted… :twisted:

my 2 coppers,

Ian

"I disagree respectfully-A properly throw circle change does not nearly do the same thing a real screwgie does. A circle change turn over fades with a 8-2 rotation. A real screwgie breaks from 11-5 do to the Magnus effect. "

–Ian,

I obviously haven’t seen you throw the pitches you are describing; however, I stand by the things I said.

A proper circle change is thrown with a considerable pronation preset in the hand/wrist/forearm of the pitcher, very much like the screwball. The screwball grip is clearly somewhat different than a circle change grip; however, both pitches will have topspin (causing them to break down) and both pitches will usually have the spin axis tilted in the same direction off of parallel to the ground. So, both pitches should also have the same direction of lateral break (LHP, both break away from RHH…RHP, both break away from LHH). Note, I didn’t say they would both have the exactly the same amount of downward and lateral break–the grip difference is real–but they act “nearly” the same.

If a circle change is thrown palm-forward (fastball style) then, yes, you will get backspin on it instead of topspin. However, using a palm-forward fastball release with a change-up grip does not impart any special downward or lateral movement to the ball–it simply produces a mediocre fastball. You can call that a “change-up” if you want to, but I wouldn’t.

Check out some pictures of elite pitchers throwing a circle change. Even well before the release point of the ball, you will see that their throwing hand, wrist, and forearm are highly pronated–just like they are throwing a screwball.

It is a huge misconception that quality change-up pitches can result from a palm-forward type of release using any of the standard CU grips. Whatever the specific CU grip, change-ups do need to be preset with pronation and thrown with pronation–much like a screwgie–in order to take off velocity and to get downward and lateral movement. If you look into the subject carefully I believe you will find few, if any, examples of MLB pitchers who used both a change-up and a screwball–since they do nearly the same thing, there is really no need to develop both. Much more common are pitchers who throw either FB+curveball+change-up or else FB+curveball+screwball.

Another difficulty with the circle change is, many people can’t maintain their thumb and middle finger cutting the ball exactly in half when they make the circle–it’s not that easy, but it’s important. If guys can’t grip the ball in a proper circle change grip with thumb and finger cutting the ball in half, and/or if they cannot pronate the pitch correctly, I teach the splitfinger fastball as an alternative “change-up”.

The splitter is thrown palm-forward, so anyone who throws a 4-seam or 2-seam FB can do that. Making the splitter grip can be difficult for some kids, but it’s usually easier for them than presetting and maintaining the extraordinary pronation required for a high-quality change-up.

hold it like a 2 seam but at the last second follow through to the left shoulder

"If you look into the subject carefully I believe you will find few, if any, examples of MLB pitchers who used both a change-up and a screwball–since they do nearly the same thing, there is really no need to develop both. Much more common are pitchers who throw either FB+curveball+change-up or else FB+curveball+screwball. "

I agree-there are not many guys who throw the screwgie at all let alone both.

I would really like to see the palm forward screwgie in action, I think I might learn something. My son since his “velocity burst” has had problems with his change up-it comes in too hard and becomes a BP fastball-Ian.

re: “I would really like to see the palm forward screwgie in action, I think I might learn something.”

–Hi Ian, I hope this was not a misunderstanding of something I said. I don’t think you’re ever going to see a palm-forward screwball.

Whatever the particular grip that is used to hold the ball, a palm-forward release might as well be synonymous with “fastball” in my opinion.

To take off velo and cause desired movement, change-up grips and screwball grips should be preset with pronation in the hand/wrist/forearm (and they should still be pronated at the release point.)

My point main point was, a palm-forward “fastball” release using any of the standard change-up grips gives a mediocre fastball, not a change-up. A screwgie grip released palm-forward is going to be some type of fastball, probably not a very useful one…

[quote=“kelvinp”]how do you throw a screwball
when i try to throw it it breaks like a 12-6[/quote]

IF ur a right hander, hold on top right side on index on lace of ball and throw straight over forcing down all power on the right side and and keep arm completely straight till end then u twist ur wrist in a bowl shape keeping the straight arm motion. same but opposite for left handers.

slides left 1-2 inches for left handers 1-2 for right handers