I am a 14 year old side arm pitcher who is looking into learning to throw a knucklball. Does anyone have any tips on how i should pursue this goal?
Well you’re still young, focus on fastball and changeups mostly. However, make sure that wrist stays stiff and you’re still throwing it with solid fastball mechanics, don’t push, fire and follow.
I like the post that says work on your fastball and change, how many knuckleball pitchers are in the bigs, not many have ever made it vs how many regualar pitchers there are its just a show pitch, see i got one pitch
this is Tim Wakefield talking about his knuck. dont get frustrated when you dont get it down at first. just play around with it, until you find what works for you
One again buwhite is talking down about the knuckleball. The reason again why there are so few knuckleball pitchers are because it is one of the hardest pitches to master and most pitchers don’t want to put that much effort into it. One of the greatest hitters ever, Ted Williams, said himself that he had no idea what to do when Hoyt Wilhelm got up on the mound. His advice was don’t try to drive it, don’t try to pull it, and wait as long as you can which shows just how hard it is to hit and how effective of a pitch it is.
Even the best knuckleball pitchers all time all have great control it all starts with being able to hit the spots you want to. Wakefield didn’t start throwing the knuckleball until he was a professional playing single A pro ball. Phil Niekro didn’t make the knuckleball a solid part of his rep. until the mid 60’s when he got hooked up with the Braves. So the best knuckleball pitchers all time were strong enough pitchers to get themselves to the bigs on their location and ability then used the knuckleball to become the hall of fame guys that they are or are going to be.
I just think that a focus on fastballs and change ups is most important, learning how to pound the strike zone inside and outside and that the time it takes to work on that is immense and the real basis and foundation of pitching.
“I just think that a focus on fastballs and change ups is most important, learning how to pound the strike zone inside and outside and that the time it takes to work on that is immense and the real basis and foundation of pitching.”
this is very true and he does need to keep working his fastball mechanics, but having a another pitch even if your just messing around can make it much more interesting and fun
Here’s a funny story about something I shared with Mike Mussina.
I wanted to try a knuckleball, but I just couldn’t do it; I had a very sharp wrist snap on my curve ball, and no matter what I did I couldn’t get rid of it. One day I discovered that there is such a thing as a knuckle-curve—basically, what it is, you get a knuckleball grip and throw a curveball with it. I was delighted, and I worked on it and added it to my repertoire. I was about twelve at the time. And many years later I was to learn that the Moose picked his up the same way—he couldn’t get the hang of an ordinary knuckleball, so he tried a knuckle-curve and it became part of his arsenal.
And being I was a sidearmer, I had a lot of fun confusing the hitters with that pitch. Later on I found out about something else—the “slip pitch” (not to be confused with the kind of pitch that slips out of a pitcher’s hand and falls to the ground with a resounding “plop” and results in a balk being called if there’s a runner on base). According to Ed Lopat, who told me how to throw it, this is a hard slider thrown with a knuckleball grip, and I lost no time adding that to my repertoire!
I remember when Lopat uncorked that pitch—it was in 1953, after the All-Star break—immediately the batters in the rest of the league started screaming blue murder, not to mention arson, armed robbery, first-degree burglary, grand larceny breaking pitch, and just about every other felony they could think of, because they couldn’t hit that pitch for sour apples! I learned that one from him, and I got the same results with the batters I faced! Because I didn’t have a fast ball worthy of the name, I outfoxed the hitters at every turn.
What I want to say is this: Sure, keep on working at and refining your basic pitches, the fast ball and the changeup, and if you want to work on a knuckleball in one form or another, it wouldn’t hurt. If you can get it in there for strikes, go to it. And have fun. 8)
Zita, I started throwing the knuckle curve when I was 9, I have never throw a curve and my pitching coach would kill me if I did, since I have such good control with it and I can get it to break slow and sharp I don’t think I will ever need a regular curve that I turn over.
My pitching coach is a little old school, I think he broke into the minors with the Walla Walla Braves in the early 70’s was this something common back then and now you only find it from certain pitching coaches, everybody I talk to doesn’t seem to know what I am talking about when I tell them what I throw.
It seems that nowadays a lot of pitching coaches don’t know a lot—I can understand that they don’t know what you’re talking about. Too bad, because they’re missing out on things.
Ed Lopat knew more about pitching than most guys. He had made a comprehensive study of pitching and pitchers starting when he was in the minor leagues and continued to do so when he came up to the majors, and every year he would add another pitch—either a new one or a variation of an existing one—to his rapidly expanding repertoire. I suspect he knew about pitches like the “shuuto”, which Shigetoshi Hasegawa used to throw when he was with the Seattle Mariners, and the controversial “gyroball” which is really just another variation of the screwball—there really isn’t anything new! It was exhilarating to work with him, because he shared a lot of this stuff with me, gave me ideas about how to throw and control some of those pitches, and really taught me a lot about strategic pitching.
I remember when we were talking about repertoire, and he commented that I hadn’t said one word about a fast ball. I was flabbergasted, and I blurted out “WHAT fast ball?” He laughed—he had a warm, easy laugh—and then he said, “Don’t worry about that. We’ll work with what you’'ve got.” My estimation of him jumped about 600 percent, because I realized what he was telling me—that he knew where I was coming from and that he would take me in hand, work with me and help me all he could. And on another occasion, when we were discussing the screwball—that was his best pitch, although he didn’t overuse it—he wanted to know if I threw it. I replied that I did not, although I knew how to throw it, and he said "Good for you. You don’t need it."
They don’t make pitching coaches like this any more. I will always remember him, not only as one of the Yankees’ Big Three rotation for seven and a half years, but also for his expertise as a pitching coach—lucky was the day I found him. 8)
If you want to get technical Wakefield make it to professional ball as a first baseman and learned the knuckleball so that he could keep playing after they told him he didn’t have a chance to continue as an infielder.