Slider help, tips?


#1

I’m a college Junior and I’m working on putting a good slider in my repertoire. I experimented with one last year when i lost a feel for my curveball during the end of the season and had decent success with it as both a pitch when i was behind in the count. In the summer, i lost a feel for my slider and got the feel for my curveball back. Since then I’ve made a document with little reminders of how to fix these feel problems that I’ve had with my pitches.
This winter, I’ve been very off and on with my slider and i was wondering if you guys had any tips to help me regain my feel for the slider so i can perfect it for the start of the season.


#2

i’ve had the problem too recently, but i’ve found some ways to consistently throw it. When i throw my slider, i’m always thinking i’m throwing a fastball (aiming for the middle of the plate to make it break to the corners) then “cutting” the ball from the side as i releash the pitch. Of course the downside of this is if the ball has no movement it becomes a batting practice pitch right down the middle.
good luck!


#3

That’s a rather common problem—a pitcher losing his feel for one or another pitch. What makes me stop and think is that you seem to have lost your feel for two pitches, the curveball and the slider, and it makes me wonder—has something happened with your grip or your release point on either of them?
Let’s take a look at this for a moment. I know that a lot of pitchers who have trouble with the curve ball do very well with the slider, and sometimes vice versa—but how is it that you seem to lost your feel for both of them? Okay, let’s get back to the basics on both those pitches. First, the slider. This is a pitch that’s not as fast as a fast ball nor as sharp-breaking as a curve, but which is easier to throw and control than either of them. Actually, it calls for a different grip—and an easier wrist action. The way I threw mine, I used a very much offcenter grip, with the index and middle fingers very close together and the middle finger just touching one seam. My pitching coach, who threw a very good one, told me, “Throw it like a curve, but roll your wrist, don’t snap it.” That’s the key. If you’ve been throwing your curve with a sharp wrist action—such as the karate-chop style I used—you have to go easier on the slider, just turn it over (something like a chef flipping over a pancake or a crepe). There is indeed a difference, and although I got the hang of it in about ten minutes I had to work at it for some eight months before I felt comfortable enough with it to use it in a game.
You might want to separate those two pitches for a week or two—one day, work on the curve, and the next day work on the slider, bearing in mind the differences between the two. Note the difference in the feel of each pitch. And if, by any chance, you can throw sidearm, try using the crossfire move with one or the other pitch. Hope this helps. :slight_smile: 8)


#4

Great post Zita…!

Basically like you mentioned re: the middle finger and the seam I always have taught pitchers to focus on the middle finger as well as the wrist. Your description of wrist “roll” was right on and I am actually going to steal your terminoloby moving forward if you don’t mind:D

I personally believe too that the slider requires more attention to release points then the breaking ball and you basically said that as well. There is more error for the breaking ball but too much creates a poor pitch.

With the slidepiece one does not have to try so hard to make it effective it is simply a very subtle variation of the fastball or breaking ball depending on how one is looking at it.

For me even though it has been years since I have actually had a slider I always relate it to pitchers this way when they have lost one of their off speed pitches…get away from both of them for a week or more. Go focus on release points and what not on your change and fast ball.

Off season transversely as compared to say warming up in the pen is in my opinion…sometimes just need to get away from a pitch in order to get it back. On game day you may be the kind of guy who wants to work on what is not working more while others will take the approach of working on what is actaully working that given day…off season is different just leave it alone for a little while and come back to it.

Nothing wrong with getting away from something for a while so you don’t beat yourself up.

Again solid post Zita…thanks


#5

No problem, Coach.
When warming up prior to starting a game I would throw all my pitches to see how they were working. If I discovered that one pitch—usually my curve ball—wasn’t behaving itself, wasn’t doing what I wanted, I would put it back on the shelf, go to my other stuff which I knew was working, and address the problem a day or two later in a bullpen session. And if I was really having problems, enter Ed Lopat—my incredible pitching coach.
I remember one time I was having a lot of trouble with my circle change, it just wasn’t comfortable, and I spoke to him about it. The first thing Steady Eddie did was take one look at my grip, and he told me that my hand wasn’t quite large enough to form the complete circle—the “O.K.” sign. He suggested that I use a half-circle—the backward “c”—and to bring those two top fingers closer together and more off-center, the way I would use my index and middle fingers for the slider. I tried that—end of problem, I had my circle change!
Lopat seemed to have some kind of E.S.P.—a sixth sense. It was uncanny how he could instantly sero in on a problem. Do you, perhaps, remember when Whitey Ford first came up to the Yankees in 1950? He started one game (probably the one he lost that season; he was 9-1 for the year), and the other team was belting him from here to Timbuktu and back, turning every pitch he threw into line-drive extra-base hits! In the fifth inning Tommy Henrich, who was playing first base that day, came running out to the mound and said to him, “Hey, Whitey, that first-base coach is calling every pitch you’re throwing!” That was the first indication for Whitey that he might be telegraphing his pitches.
The next day pitching coach Jim Turner and fellow moundsman Lopat, who doubled as an extra pitching coach for the Yanks, took Ford into the bullpen and had him throw from the stretch—that was when the problem was occurring. Turner, in a rare moment of uncertainty, kept scratching his head—he didn’t seem to know what was going on—but Lopat spotted the problem immediately. Ford, all unawares, was positioning his glove hand one way for the fast ball and another way for the curve, and because he was a southpaw it was no trouble at all for the opposing first-base coach to pick up on that and relay the information to the batters! Lopat then took Ford aside, told him what he was doing wrong, and worked with him to correct the problem in that same bullpen session. (No wonder Turner, when he was really up against it, would ask Lopat for advice and help.)
They don’t make pitching coaches like that any more. I was indeed fortunate to be able to work with Lopat—he helped me become a better pitcher than I had been before. For this I will always remember him. :?


#6

[quote=“Zita Carno”]No problem, Coach.
When warming up prior to starting a game I would throw all my pitches to see how they were working. If I discovered that one pitch—usually my curve ball—wasn’t behaving itself, wasn’t doing what I wanted, I would put it back on the shelf, go to my other stuff which I knew was working, and address the problem a day or two later in a bullpen session. And if I was really having problems, enter Ed Lopat—my incredible pitching coach.
I remember one time I was having a lot of trouble with my circle change, it just wasn’t comfortable, and I spoke to him about it. The first thing Steady Eddie did was take one look at my grip, and he told me that my hand wasn’t quite large enough to form the complete circle—the “O.K.” sign. He suggested that I use a half-circle—the backward “c”—and to bring those two top fingers closer together and more off-center, the way I would use my index and middle fingers for the slider. I tried that—end of problem, I had my circle change!
Lopat seemed to have some kind of E.S.P.—a sixth sense. It was uncanny how he could instantly sero in on a problem. Do you, perhaps, remember when Whitey Ford first came up to the Yankees in 1950? He started one game (probably the one he lost that season; he was 9-1 for the year), and the other team was belting him from here to Timbuktu and back, turning every pitch he threw into line-drive extra-base hits! In the fifth inning Tommy Henrich, who was playing first base that day, came running out to the mound and said to him, “Hey, Whitey, that first-base coach is calling every pitch you’re throwing!” That was the first indication for Whitey that he might be telegraphing his pitches.
The next day pitching coach Jim Turner and fellow moundsman Lopat, who doubled as an extra pitching coach for the Yanks, took Ford into the bullpen and had him throw from the stretch—that was when the problem was occurring. Turner, in a rare moment of uncertainty, kept scratching his head—he didn’t seem to know what was going on—but Lopat spotted the problem immediately. Ford, all unawares, was positioning his glove hand one way for the fast ball and another way for the curve, and because he was a southpaw it was no trouble at all for the opposing first-base coach to pick up on that and relay the information to the batters! Lopat then took Ford aside, told him what he was doing wrong, and worked with him to correct the problem in that same bullpen session. (No wonder Turner, when he was really up against it, would ask Lopat for advice and help.)
They don’t make pitching coaches like that any more. I was indeed fortunate to be able to work with Lopat—he helped me become a better pitcher than I had been before. For this I will always remember him. :?[/quote]

An interesting story, John Smoltz had a similar problem before coming to the St. Louis Cardinals a few years ago. I believe Chris Carpenter identified him tipping pitches and helped get it fixed:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/danpatrick/blog/74861/index.html


#7

thanks for all the advice. I threw live in a cage today and used the advice you people suggested and had alot of success with both my slider and curveball. it’s contributors like all of you that keep me coming back to this board. Thanks again every one!


#8

sorry i dont really know much about the slider. probably will defiantly be one of my pitches when im older. but i’d suggest listenting to zita. if a remember i think its her bread and butter