Throwing the floater


#1

These are some key things to keep in mind when throwing the floater (knuckleball):

Throw the floater with fastball mechanics. This is a key factor when throwing the knuckleball. Throwing it with fastball mechanics allows more velocity on the ball. Without this velocity it’ll be slow as a snail, or it won’t get to its intended target. Of course, you don’t throw it like a fastball; you keep your wrist stiff and push off with your fingers.

Throw it with your fingertips, not your knuckles. A lot of tutorials want you to use your knuckles when throwing the floater. Throwing a floater is hard enough, so why make it harder with your knuckles? Throwing it with your knuckles may be natural for a few, but not many. Using your fingertips instead of your knuckles will help keep the rotation count down.

Keep your wrist stiff and push off the ball with your fingertips. I have to stress this a lot to other players when they first try it. Some of them try to literally ‘push’ it towards me, or throw it with a floppy wrist. If you tried to push it towards the target, it’s not your fault. Those tutorials are the reason why so many people have such a hard time throwing this pitch. Always think fastball when throwing the floater, but always keep your wrist stiff and push off with your fingertips.

TL;DR
Throw the floater (knuckleball) with fastball mechanics. When throwing it, keep your wrist stiff, and push off with your fingertips. Always use your fingertips, and not your knuckles when throwing the floater.

Any thoughts or ideas? I apologize for the long post (read the TL;DR for a shorter version), but I wanted to get some key ideas out there.


#2

I never mastered the pitch so I can’t comment. I’ll defer.


#3

@CoachPaul
Neither have I, but I’ve been hanging around this pitch for a while. When I saw it, I fell in love with it, but I haven’t been maintaining it lately, so I’ve lost it. All the information I have provided is from prior knowledge.


#4

I’d add the speed is generally 64 mph at the big league level.


#5

I wouldn’t even call it pushing off with your fingertips. I would call it following the ball with your fingertips, not that either term is necessarily more correct, but pushing off may lead some to flick a little too hard and create top spin.

The reason they say to “push” the ball in those tutorials is usually because that’s their way of saying, you need to stay behind the ball. I hate the term “pushing the ball” too, because it isn’t correct. But the key concept they are trying to get across is that you want your fingertips to be behind the ball, all the way through your release of the ball, this is also why we keep a stiff wrist.

I think to get more consistent with a knuckleball, it is important to practice the release with your hand to get the muscle memory down in your fingers, you will need to practice with the arm motion too, to put it all together. But it is important to spend some time just slowing down the release with the ball in your hand, watch how your fingertips guide the ball out and how your remaining fingertips are only there for stabilization. Lay in bed and toss the ball up with a knuckleball grip trying to get no spin. Even toss a few underhand knucks up in the air and catch them to get a feel for how your fingers effect the spin on the ball. Playing a game of hot potato with a knuckleball grip can be a good way to practicing the release of the ball as well, just be careful not to get your fingernails busted.

You can get creative with these, but you really need to focus on just the release of the ball for a long time to get consistent, it’s good to keep reinforcing that muscle memory all the time too, even when you feel consistent with your knuck.

To work on the velocity aspect of it, and the “fastball mechanics” (I’m guessing you did some research on Dave Clark?), playing long toss with a knuckleball is a good way to do it, in addition to playing catch with them from your knees and of course, working in the bullpen.