Son Raising Finger Off Ball


My son is an 8 year old lefty who throws hard and fairly accurately for his age.

He grabs the ball with his THREE MIDDLE FINGERS, like every other kid his age (at least around here).

Lately I’ve noticed - I can see it when I’m catching for him - that when he throws sometimes one of his three fingers is lifted off the ball, up in the air.

I’m pretty sure it’s his index finger.

I’ve pointed it out to him, of course, but of course he keeps doing it.

It doesn’t seem to throw off his velocity or accuracy too much - sometimes he’ll smoke a strike in there with the damn finger in the air.

Is this something that needs to be corrected at this age?

If so, how do I correct it?

Are there any drills?

Is he too young to throw with two fingers?

Thanks for your advice and input.

My advice is—leave him alone and don’t try to interfere. Evidently he’s been experimenting with different grips. I recognize what he’s doing—it’s a variation of the “spike” curve or the knuckle-curve, and if he’s getting it over for strikes and it doesn’t seem to affect his velocity any, don’t try to stop him. He’s got himself a breaking pitch to work with, and it goes well with his fast ball. Just keep an eye on his mechanics and make sure he finishes his pitches. :slight_smile:

Thanks Zita.

I agree I should leave him alone.

He’s only 8, after all.

Although, I should clarify that we have not experimented with different grips: at 8 years of age all I allow him is a 4-seam-three-finger fastball.

It did occur to me: could the “lifting the finger” be caused by the ball being too far into the palm? I would imagine that having the ball deep in the palm would at least make it easier to lift a finger. :?

When throwing a palm ball you’re supposed to hold the ball as far back in the palm of your hand as possible. It’s possible that the kid may be gripping the ball too tightly—trying to squeeze the juice out of the ball, as it were—and that may be why his index finger goes up the way it does. He should ease up a little, maybe leave just a bit of space between the ball and his palm.
As far as experimenting with different grips is concerned, let him continue to do that. He may be doing this for future reference, and that’s all to the good. I remember when I was a little snip of twelve, and I wanted to throw the knuckleball; I couldn’t because of the sharp wrist snap I had on my curve (which had come attached to my sidearm delivery), but then I discovered that there was such a thing as a knuckle-curve, and I added that to my burgeoning collection. Not having a fast ball to speak of, I had to go to the breaking stuff right away and become a snake-jazz pitcher.
In any event, your kid is getting the batters out. Again I say, best to concentrate on his mechanics, make sure they’re sound, and make sure he follows through on his pitches. Whether it be age 8 or 18, he’s got something going for him. :slight_smile: 8)

That’s exactly what I was thinking! “Ease up on the grip and leave space between the palm and the ball.”

He does have a history of overgripping the ball, and I think gripping too tight and/or the ball in his palm may be the cause of the index finger in the air.

If he’s lifting his finger, and still accurate, sounds like his hands are big enough to throw with 2 fingers. So, I’d have him try throwing 4 seam fastballs with a normal grip. It’s probably just a habit he has developed by grabbing with 3 fingers since he started baseball, so it will seem a little weird to him at first but just keep practicing.

Good point, Lead Pipe.

I hadn’t thought of that, as he’s only 8 (though big for his age).

Anyone know at what age kids typically start throwing with 2 fingers instead of 3?


Sounds correct to me. I’d have him start throwing the normal two finger four seam fastball.

Sounds correct to me. I’d have him start throwing the normal two finger four seam fastball.[/quote]
I’ll try it.

But I’m still curious if anyone here has experience with an 8 year old throwing a two finger fastball?

Around here it’s basically a given that 8 year olds throw three finger fastballs.


Same with my experience in youth ball. My younger brother is 6 and throws with 3 fingers. I really wish these young kids started out on a smaller ball. In soccer, youth players start with a size 4 and then move up to size 5 when they’re a little older. Baseball needs something like this too, because not only are young kids hands too small to throw the ball with a proper 2-finger grip, but the ball is also plain too heavy – so they have to “heave” it like a shotput, which is not good, either!

Let us know how your son adapts to the two fingers in the coming weeks!

That’s a great idea, Steve. But would Little League of America go for it? :frowning:

The closest thing to a Little League-approved “kid” baseball I’ve seen is the softer cover version (e.g., Level 5), but they’re still 9 inches/5 ounces.

I spoke with a former AAA catcher (who now manages a minor league team) who has a kid my son’s age - 8 - and he said it sounds like my son may be at that stage “right between” the two and three finger fastball.

Given that the season has started here in Florida, I’m leery of making a huge change now, so I’m going to see if I can make him keep all three fingers on the ball. If not, he’ll soon be experimenting with the two finger … during the season!

If your son throws hard with three fingers, then he will deffinitly increase his speed by throwing a two finger four seam fast ball with control doing long toss drills. Just make sure he does not palm the ball and that he has some space between the ball and his palm. It does not have to be a lot of space now. Just enough where you can see some day light. Less friction = more speed. Start off close and work your way back as he gets warmer. Sounds to me like he is throwing a mean changeup with to hard of a grip on the ball. All the 8 year olds that I have come across in my area throw a three finger four seam changeup and a two finger four seam fastball. I have yet to come across a young man or lady that throws a three finger four seam fast ball as their primary throw. I mean, this is not a grip for any infielders and outfielders. Two finger four seam is the priamry throw and pitch because of its accuracy and speed for this age I feel. This is my opinion now. We have a lot of small kids too :slight_smile: If you want him to learn it fast and with control, just throw long toss with him throwing a two finger four seam. I do it with my 8 year old now and he throws hard and accurate. I also use it on my little guys on my team who seem to not have as much command of their throws. It gets them game ready fast and guess what? The player feels more confident and that leads to Happy Parents also :clapping: . I have used this method with my soon to be twelve year old son when he was 8. That’s when I realized how well it really works. Now, my older boy throws me a circle change 20 times in long toss about four days a week and 30 pitches on the mound. Off season… Twice a week with five days in between. During season… One day and that day will be picked the furthest from the last day he pitched. Their arms are so important and should be treated like you treated him or her when you held them in your arms the first time you laid eyes on them. I hope this makes sence to you :smiley: I will tell you this, my older boy throws harder and has more control than any kid at his level and I say this not because I am his dad, but because it’s true. Hard work does pay handsomely. Last year he threw 37 pitches at league age 10, but he was 11 and had 7 strike outs 26 strikes, no walks , no hits and only pitched 3 innings. Wow huh. All four seam, two seam and circle change. That’s it. these kids were 12 and 13 and they were dead in the water. I took him out… What you say? he was just getting warmed up? Yea, you would be right and that is what the other coach was thinking, but it is not about winning at this level as much as it is building… :wink: The other team beat us and celebrated and got their pics taken and hooted and hollard. The whole nine yards, but my young players really won because I taught them that they will win like a team and lose like a team. Most coaches, 95% of them, would of burned my son on the mound for their egos and this would help him how? Win a game ball? No way in H$!!. Believe me, long toss will help your son get aquainted with his new grip for those real game situations and do this during season and off season like I stated. Long toss simulates how hard he will throw in a game and builds arm strength,arm speed,stretches throwing muscles,shoulders and back. remember, it works great for changeup grips, but I used this method for the two finger four seam fast ball as well on my 8 and up if speed and control were an issue. It’s IMPORTANT to WARM up first before starting this drill ok? It works:) … it really does. I know it would be a great idea to have a smaller ball, but it is what it is and we all have played that way and have done well. Soo, im always leary of to much thinking which involves change. Not against it, just leary of it. Like, some people believe that it is ok to teach their 13 year olds a curveball, and a smaller ball would encourage more junk for over the hill dads to push on their sons. Think about it… you may not do it or even think of it with your boy in the minors, but there are dads out there that play the coach and encourage it. I watched a kid 12 in the Majors last season who had beautiful form and power and traded it all for a stupid curveball. That killed me. I worked with that kid like he was my own like I do all of my players that I coach and to see junk balls is uncalled for and you know what? The manager on the team new it also. I think it’s nuts, but some dads help push their already eager boys into it for a little edge for a lot of damage. :frowning: :cry: Anyhow, If he is in the Minors, I would encourage two fingers all the way. Save the three fingers for exactly what three fingers are good for… Change ups :smiley: Good Luck Littlelefty. :clapping:


Buzzsaw . . . thanks for your input. My son also enjoys long toss and I think it helps him in arm strength and throwing accurately.


I finally gave up trying to get my (big) 8 year old to keep all three fingers on the ball when pitching and throwing. It seemed like 30% of the time his index finger would pop up.

So, like several of you have suggested, today I had him long toss and pitch with a two-finger-four-seamer.

And, not bad! He did much better than I had expected. He seemed to throw with at least as much velocity and almost as much accuracy.

I was concerned about making this change now, as our Little League practices have started, but this may go smoother than I had anticipated.


It will Littlelefty. It will. It’s way early still for those young people to adjust out there and your little man is not exceptioon. They are so good at doing things outside of the box that every year I learn something new. I want you and your son to have a great season win or lose. No matter what, it will always be a victory when dad or family is there to watch. I know I will enjoy… :smiley:

Update …

I’ve switched my 8 year old lefty son permanently to a two finger four seam fastball (from a three finger), and it’s been just great.

Although he threw hard before, he’s throwing even harder now, and with no loss of accuracy.

Like some of you advised, I started with a lot of long toss and then just moved him to the mound.

Thanks to all of you for the recommendation to go for the two finger four seamer, as I probably would not have tried it until after the season.

You are very welcome… I have been having a kid this season with… Yup you gussed it! a three finger fastball… Hmmmm … Maybe I can get that to be his changeup and get him to throw a two finger four seam… I talked with his dad and he promised me he would work with him on his two finger fourseam… It has been two weeks and I am sooooo proud of this young man. his father is tooo… you can tell by his face because of the time and love that comes into play while working with your sons and daughters… I just want you to know that you made my day :smiley: I have a first year player that has been taking up some of my energy, which I have a lot of :smiley: anyways, I love to build them up and watch them grow… That is my job as a coach and as a father of four… I see no difference in the two… GREAT JOB DAD!!! money comes and goes, but you get one chance with these little guys and gals, so make the best of it :wink: