Teaching my friend a slider


#1

I have a friend that I play adult league with and we workout/throw a few times a week and I have been trying to teach him a slider but for some reason he can’t get it to work, every time he throws it I see the red dot coming at me with good rotation on the ball but it just does not break, it seems to just back up. I have a very good slider and throw from a similar arm slot so I know how to throw one but I just cant make it click for him. Does anyone have any tips I can give him. I have told him to really focus getting it out in front and to cut down through the ball.
He is righty from a 3 quarter arm slot at around 70 mph. I am wondering does he just not throw hard enough to have an effective slider.


#2

Hello again, trebeck. It seems that everybody and his or her uncle has different ways of, or notions about, throwing a slider, and while some of them can make it work they all seem to miss the mark. Let me —tell you how I learned the pitch, many moons ago. When I caught up with Ed Lopat, after a game in which he beat the Cleveland Indians for the gazillionth time 2-1, I just wanted to ask him something about that pitch. His response was to draw me aside, away from the mob at the players’ entrance, and take some minutes to show me how to throw a good one. His first instruction was “Throw it like a curve, but roll your wrist, don’t snap it.” He showed me the grip, which is very much offcenter—index and middle fingers very close together and the middle finger just touching one seam, thumb underneath on one seam for support, the other two fingers sort of curled up on the other side of the ball—the standard grip for this pitch. When he demonstrated the wrist action, he did it first in slow motion and then at normal speed as if he were throwing the pitch, and the wrist action was definitely easier—rather like a chef flipping a pancake or a crepe, which told me that I need to ease up on mine (I threw my curve with a very sharp karate-chop wrist snap). Then he handed me the ball and said softly, “Go ahead—try it.” I worked with the pitch for ten minutes, and being a natural, dyed-in-the-wool sidearmer I got the hang of it pretty quickly. But I knew that one doesn’t master the pitch overnight, and so I worked with it for about eight months and finally felt comfortable enough to use it in a game—and the first time I did, I got a whole bunch of strikeouts with it. It became my #1 pitch and served me well for some 22 years.
The slider does not have a big break, it has a sharp late one. I would suggest that you follow the same directions as I received from Lopat and just show your friend the grip and the wrist action and let him take it from there, don’t worry about red or purple or chartreuse dots. And one other thing: this is a power pitch. It will take time and patience, but your friend will wind up with a good slider in his arsenal. I hope this helps. Oh yeah—mine hit 86 miles an hour, definitely not a junk pitch.


#3

Set your wrist angle halfway between your fastball release and you curveball release and just throw it. Grip it essentially how Zita described. Change the orientation of the ball within your grip in small increments until it comes out of your hand with proper rotation. The fingers should just roll off the outside of the ball. Let your wrist follow through naturally. Don’t try for extra snap because you will exaggerate the supination and delay your arm from getting back to a neutral wrist and eventual follow through pronation. It’s a stressful pitch–no need to make it worse.


#4

First things first, have an idea where you want the Slider to end up. That all begins with a Down Hill Mindset.

Know that the ball is going to break down and away from the hitter (if righty vs righty or LHP VS LHH).

The best Sliders start out a strike and end up a ball out of the zone.

Throughout the delivery, think Fastball, Fastball, Fastball…SLIDER. This will help you stay behind the baseball and release it out in front.

Another tip to consider, is not trying to throw the Slider in the arm swing out of the glove. When pitchers speed their arm up at this point, trying to throw the heck out of the Slider, the hips open Too soon, the shoulders open up too soon, and the hand fall underneath the baseball. The Slider loses its tilt when the foundation of the delivery goes to waste.

Stay under control and focus on getting the arm up on top, then pick of the arm speed going forward.

Best of Luck with the Slider to you and your friend!!!