i’m 16 here and i’ve struggled throwing a curveball. my arm slot makes it tricky to get on top of the ball and get it to be consistent. ive been told not to throw a slider and i realize the dangers it has to my arm. but i have this pitch that i sorta tough myself through throwing and i don’t see how it could hurt my arm. if anyone has an idea on a.)what pitch it is or b.) if it could damage my arm. please let me know. what i do is i old the ball in the slider grip shown on this website. with my index and middle fingers straddling the seems. then when i throw it i just throw it like a fastball and let it come off the inside of my index finger. it doesn’t break a lot but the break is sharp and late, just before home plate. i personally love the pitch but don’t want to screw up my throwing arm. so any help would be appreciated. thank you.
Hello there, ytpitch.
While reading your post I noticed that the grip you’re using is not really that of a slider, but closer to a split-finger pitch. The actual slider grip is very much off-center, with the index and middle fingers very close together and the middle finger just resting on one seam. When I was learning the pitch, my coach—one of the Yankees’ Big Three rotation—told me, “Throw it like a curve, but roll your wrist, don’t snap it.” Now, I used to throw my curve ball with a karate-chop wrist snap, and for the slider I just eased up on it. Also, I threw sidearm, which was my natural delivery, and that pitch had a sharp late break to it.
As far as “getting on top of the ball” is concerned, don’t worry about it. My guess is you’re throwing overhand or high 3/4, which can be a strain on the arm, and if you were to drop down perhaps to a lower 3/4 that might help. One thing you absolutely have to do is get your whole body into the action; if you drive off the lower half of your body, using the legs, the hips and the torso in one continuous motion, you will get more power behind all your pitches and take a lot of pressure off the arm and the shoulder because they will just be going along for the ride.
I don’t blame you for falling in love with the slider. Once I got the hang of it, it became my strikeout pitch, and I built my whole arsenal around it. So by all means, go ahead, work with it, and have fun making the batters look stupid. Just don’t overuse the pitch.
I’m gonna disagree with Zita about the grip. The slider grip does not need to be an off-center grip. It could be but it doesn’t need to be.
To throw a slider without an off-center grip, you simply grip the ball like a fastball and then throw it with about 45 degrees of supination (i.e. half the supination of a curve). Preset the hand/wrist angle before arm acceleration and maintain that angle through ball release without any further supination. Let the ball come off the inside of the index finger.
Sounds to me like you are throwing a slider and you are throwing it a proper way. The only other thing to do is limit how many you throw to no more than about 20-25% of your total pitch count.
put your fingers together, if you arent twisting your wrist/arm that is how you throw a cutter
Roger, you’re absolutely right about not throwing too many sliders—or too many of any kind of pitch, for that matter. The only exception I can think of is Mariano Rivera, and that guy is definitely a freak of nature—he throws one pitch, and the batters know it’s coming, they know he’s going to throw it, and they can’t hit it for sour apples! But most pitchers are not Mariano Rivera, and so they need to mix up their pitches.
The way I learned the slider was what Ed Lopat told me and showed me, and I picked up on it quickly, worked with it for several months, and made it my strikeout pitch. And speaking of grips, there’s a variation of the slider which I also learned from Lopat—you use a knuckleball grip, and I knew several I could use. That “slip” pitch is a killer, and when I would use the crossfire with it—no wonder the batters would react the way they did when Lopat uncorked it in 1953: not only did they scream blue murder but also arson, armed robbery, first-degree burglary, grand larceny breaking pitch, and every other felony they could think of!
thanks, i do throw it offcenter so i don’t think its a split finger. i don’t throw it often either as i only use it while ahead in the count. thanks for the advice
thats like a cutter. off center fourseamer with both fingers together. a slider is llike holing the outside third o the ball and the ball actually does rolll of the index finger