I am a left-handed pitching sophmore in highschool and want to add another pitch to my arsenal. I already throw a fastball that moves down and away to right handers and a knuckle ball as a change-up pitch. I feel comfortable locating the fastball and as well as can be expected with a knuckle ball. I have worked with a curveball for about six months now, and have tried all sorts of things I have seen on the internet, and my coach has told me, but still can’t get any break or control. If anyone has an idea for another pitch that I could use instead of a curve ball, and how to throw it, I am open to suggestions. Thank you.
Thanks for the question. Personally, I think the curveball is a great strike out pitch. A lot of people will say the slider is the best, but I don’t like HS pitchers throwing the slider. I think the secret in throwing the curve is achieving top-side leverage on the ball and getting good elbow extension. If you would, please check out the elbow extension activity on his website. If possible, try a curveball grip with the exercise and monitor the results. The drill gets the arm in the proper pre-release position. Furthermore, try taking a baseball and coloring half the ball red. With the contrasting colors the ball’s spin will be easier to read. When doing these drills the pitcher should really focus on the rotation of the ball. An effective curveball will move from up to down or 12-6 in baseball lingo. Using the colored ball, the pitcher should receive instant feedback on their technique. Did I stay on top of the ball? Did I get maximum extension through release? These questions are answered by using the half-colored ball. When starting these drills, move the target closer and then slowly move to 60, 75, or 90 feet.
Also, work with the leverage on the front side. Are you getting good tilt with the lead arm? When practicing, try and exaggerate the front side tilt. Have you seen Francisco Rodriguez pitch for the LA Angels? He does a great job of getting leverage going to the plate and has one of the best curve balls in the game.
The two other pitches I would recommend would be the sinker and change-up. I like the sinker because it is thrown like a two-seam fastball, only the position of the thumb changes. Usually, sinker ball pitchers run the thumb along side the ball. Also, the sinker allows pitchers to maintain healthy arm action that is deceptive to hitters. The change up is another pitch that is easily mastered because of the simple grip and deceptive arm action. I hope this helps you, but remember to keep experimenting with all these pitches because you never know what off-speed pitch matches your throwing style. Heck, if your hands are big enough experiment with the split finger fastball. If you would, try the elbow extension drill and tell me how it works.
Also, if you are struggling to get on top of the ball you might want to change the grip a little. Instead of holding it with the index and middle fingers, try holding it with the middle and ring fingers. You also want to shorten your stride when you throw a curve.
Good post I am also a left handed pitcher and if you don’t want to throw a curve. You could try a slider but you have to work it like none stop cause it took me a long time to find control of the slider. When I was younger I threw a cutter. Its an easy pitch just like a fast ball but has major break. You grip it and curl your wrist and when you throw it its just like a curve ball. You know how when they teach you the curve the coach tells you the curve is like this fastball fastball fastball till you get 3/4 of the way and then curve curve curve curve all the way through your follow through well the cutter is the same except no fastball part its curve motion all the way threw. Grip it like a fast ball turn your hand in and curl the wrist slitly and throw. I never had problem. You just have to adjust to the break of it. Have fun with it. Also if you want to pick up more pitches just screw a around with grips. Alot of pitchers make up there own. Just be careful and don’t throw your hardest when practicing make up pitches so you don’t hurt your arm. Good luck!
Great post by Coach Kreber. You’re young, stay awat from sliders and cutters. Follow the instructions, and Steve’s tennis can drill is also a good one. Have patients, and get seen by an instructor to see if your mechanics are sound and if you are extending properly.
Good luck and to all, a Merry Christmas