Working the Slider

Working the slider is one of the greatest challenges for a pitcher. Regardless if you’re a RHP or LHP, you both have similar problem solving.

Hence, for a right handed pitcher, facing a RHB, you want the slider to go down and away either as a baiting pitch - right about at the thighs, and a pure down and away slider - right about at the knees. slightly higher than the knees on the other hand, for a RHP facing a LHB, you want the upper spaces of your slider to come in sharply just under the hands, and for the lower spaces, your slider should come in sharply right at the knees.

For a LHP, just reverse the routine(s). In other words, say a LHP is facing a RHB - then the slider should come in sharply just under the hands, and for the lower spaces, that slider should come in sharply right at the knees.

In any event, targeting is of the utmost importance. If a pitcher targets off center of the catcher, expecting the slider to “drift” or “cut” in, the pitch will more than likely plow right through the power swipe of the bat… the sweet spot, and into the heavens it goes.

Now I must tell you that not all pitchers can work this. It takes a great deal of patience and practice to surgically pull this off. Basically, a pitcher is depending on three (3) outcomes with a high degree of certainty. Hence, that high degree of certainty has to be backed up with a high degree of practice time and competency, which resulted from said practice. Those three (3) outcomes that I mentioned are - in order : i a batter caught looking for strike (2) a batter swings and misses (3) a batter makes very poor contact for a fielding out.[/i]

Here’s where your game savvy knowledge comes into play. If you’ve got the possibility of a double play in the making - you’ll want to pitch the best possible choice, picking one of the pitch scenarios from above, that’ll give you the highest probability for success. On the other hand, if you want a game ending … slam the door shut pitch… you’ll obviously take the road that’ll shin your other slider selection for the batter that your facing.

The pictorial representation below will give you some idea and a starting point for referencing your work. Notice in the picture that the “spot” indicates the target to pitch directly AT, not TO. If you pitch TO a target you’ll inevitability drift your pitch away from its intended results. So, pitch directly AT your center spot on your catcher, as the graphic picture indicates.


Coach B.

As you know, I was a natural sidearmer, threw everything that way, and I used the crossfire a lot. When I threw the slider, all I did was to keep the ball in the lower half of the strike zone, and I would change speeds on it the way I did with everything else I threw. I also had a very interesting variation of it—Ed Lopat called it a “slip” pitch, in which one uses a knuckleball grip, and I had three or four such I could use. The batters were screaming blue murder, not to mention arson, armed robbery, first degree burglary, grand larceny breaking pitch, and every other felony they could think of because they couldn’t even get a piece of it to foul off! I remember the day he told me about it, and then he added “You’ll know what to do with it.”
:slight_smile: :baseballpitcher: