Unless you have a King Kong-sized paw, I would advise you to stay away from the forkball because the extreme grip required of it puts too much of a strain on the arm and the hand. However, its cousin the split-finger pitch, or splitter, is a lot easier to throw; it’s closer to the fastball. To throw that one you grip the ball as for a two-seamer but with the index and middle fingers just off the seams and perhaps a bit off-center, and you throw it just like a fastball.
As for the changeup—did you know that just about any pitch can be turned into a nice one? My pitching coach of long ago told me about this, and he demonstrated a few for me. Now, if you want to acquire a good one I would suggest the palm ball—this was the first change I acquired, and a good one it is. You grip the ball with all four fingers on top of the ball and the thumb underneath on the seam for support, well back in the palm of the hand (hence the name)—but don’t grip it too hard, because you do NOT want to squeeze the juice out of the ball!This too you throw like a fast ball—and you can change speeds on it by gripping the ball more loosely or holding it farther forward in your hand.
Still another pitch you might think about is the knuckle-curve. I remember how I wanted to try throwing a knuckleball, but I got nowhere fast with it because I had a sharp karate-chop wrist snap on my curve ball (which had come attached to my natural sidearm delivery). So I experimented with different grips, and I had my knuckle-curve, which can be a very devastating pitch indeed. It’s not difficult to throw either. You can use any of several different knuckleball grips—two-finger, three-finger, dig your fingernails into the seams—and throw a curve ball. Here too you can change speeds on it. (I think Mike Mussina picked his up the same way as a kid, not being able to get the hang of the knuckleball because he too had a sharp wrist snap on the curve.)
I don’t know if you have been working on trying to get more speed, or at least more movement, on your “fast ball”, but here’s a little secret—in fact, I call it “The Secret”, which I learned from watching how the Yankees’ Big Three pitching rotation did it, way back in the late 40s and the early 50s. What it is—you need to get your whole body into the action, drive off the lower half of the body, using the legs, the hips and the torso in one continuous motion so that the energy flows uninterrupted all the way through to the shoulder and the arm. Not only do you get more power into your pitches, you also take a lot of pressure off said arm and shoulder so that you throw harder—and faster—with less effort. A good way to begin is with something called the “Hershiser” drill, which aims at getting the hips fully involved, because they are the connection between the lower and upper halves of the body—and this is the real key to a pitcher’s power.
Also, something else my pitching coach told me: Move the ball around—high, low, inside, outside, change speeds, change the batter’s eye level, and stay away from the middle of the plate. Mix up your pitches. If you can get the hang of those couple of pitches I told you about, you’ll have the advantage. Hope this helps. 8) :baseballpitcher: