Making the ball 'jump' at batters

disclaimer: this is brainstorming, not a fully coherent, thought out post.

You know how in bowling, the first half of the lane is slick and the second half is not? The ball catches on the wood when it gets to the ‘rough’ part and might speed up a little and curve one way or the other. What if when pitching, you create a disturbance in the air and ‘throw’ it with the ball although eventually ‘slick air’ gets left behind and then the ball ‘jumps’ or breaks sharply once it gets out of the turbulence and ‘grabs’ the air?

Then the pitchers that better create this disturbance achieve sharper break and better fastballs?

Does that make sense?

Yes that actually does happen…a good example is when you throw a two seamer or something similar a long distance in a gym and the ball just randomly cuts or cuts both ways before getting to the catcher. However, it happens over a longer distance than 60’6". Essentially, the knuckleball operates the same way-- since the ball is not spinning, it is up to the wind catching the seams as to how it will move, sometimes moving many times before reaching the catcher.

A change-up pitch when grip’d in a certain way, will have a rotation that will pass through the atmosphere (air) with turbulence surrounding it, due to the seam’s movement … but the seams can actually yield some movement due to the atmosphere’s (air) itself. When video is taken of THE SAME PITCH from several different angles and compared you can see this vividly.

A circle, or ring finger grip, seems to have the greatest chance of influencing this pitch in this way. (from my experience.) But remember, your grip due to your physical endowments – hand size, height, strength, analytical skills, will be different than say … the guy sitting next to you in the bullpen.

Also important, in order for this to work properly, the pitch must be released deliberately off the front foot once it’s plated firmly, and with deliberate stability. Also, your release point should be slightly higher than your fastball, but not overly so. (this you’ve got to fine tune yourself.)

I should mention that players 15 and under are not good candidates – but by no means does that eliminate them totally. It’s just that influencing the ball requires a ton of practice time, not to mention the resources equipped to give the player feedback on the success or lack thereof.

The statement made … “jump at the batter” … is sometimes associated with the properties of this pitch … and in some respect the ball will actually seem to slowdown…. then speedup just a tad — or even visa versa. Again, video taken of THE SAME pitch, from different angles will show this property (influence). However, let’s not go overboard here on speeding up or slowing down. The changes in flight can be there … but their not monumental.

I should caution you here with reaction(s) from some backstops. Sometimes this pitch is FOUL TIP’D right off the top of the mitt and rifles back against the cage of your catcher. Some batting postures are notorious for this. So, after an inning of getting “dinged hard” repeatedly … the other half the battery may be reluctant to give you the sign for this one. If your catcher sits in the dugout and constantly yells out … “will somebody answer that phone”, it’s that ringing sensation in the head that dings off the cage can sometimes produce. :crazy:
Great question !

Coach B.

[quote=“Coach Baker”]
I should caution you here with reaction(s) from some backstops. Sometimes this pitch is FOUL TIP’D right off the top of the mitt and rifles back against the cage of your catcher. Some batting postures are notorious for this. So, after an inning of getting “dinged hard” repeatedly … the other half the battery may be reluctant to give you the sign for this one. If your catcher sits in the dugout and constantly yells out … “will somebody answer that phone”, it’s that ringing sensation in the head that dings off the cage can sometimes produce. :crazy:
Great question !
Coach B.[/quote]

I’ll be sure to answer the phone 8)

The reason I was asking this is because I was throwing yesterday and the last ball I threw was different from every other one. It seemed, from my viewpoint behind it, to go down then flatten out instead of continuing to go down.

Also, I don’t ever really see people talking about this magical quality of making the ball jump, break hard. Some do, some don’t but if some do then there is a way to do it.

Excellent observation … and a big leap forward along the learning curve. Observing changes in a ball’s flight, its movement, and other subtleties is the hallmark of prospect in the making !

To go along with that recent experience of yours, I have some suggestions.
 Get a notebook … any notebook will do.
 Jot down your basic observation …just as you saw it, in very simple terms.
 Then, try and remember the following:
• the grip … draw a picture if you have to
• the release point … by your hat, eye level, straight out in front, etc.
• how were you standing upon release … straight up, slightly bent over, etc.
• what were you aiming at … the catcher’s glove, mask, left knee, etc
• then the most important of all … how did the overall pitch feel to you, in other words did you feel as though you were tossing a powder puff, a fastball with zip, were you in your last inning, your first inning, did
you feel tiered or well rested, so on and so forth.

Now the best you can, try and recreate the same conditions. Concentrate on anything that might help your reinvent the circumstances and the results.

Below is a picture of how to mark an old ball up with finger and thumb placements for giving you a reference point of your grips as you progress with this.

I hope this helps some. Outstanding observation on your work – excellent.

Coach B.