Sports Illustrated recently published an article on the resurgence of the curveball, and it got us thinking more about the mechanics of what makes this throw so great – and so elusive. Young pitchers are often asking our instructors at D-BAT Sports for tips on throwing the perfect curveball, so here’s 5 steps to improve your curveball today:
Step 1: Grip the Ball Correctly
The grip is very important if you want to throw an effective curveball. The middle finger should line up with the seam of the ball, so as the ball is thrown, the tension between the middle finger and seam creates the curve.
Step 2: Find the Right Stride
As you are perfecting the curveball, you may find that your pitches are always high or always too low, this may be a function of the stride. If they are coming out too high, shorten the stance by 2-4 inches; if low then lengthen by the same amount.
Step 3: Elbow Positioning is Key
As you throw a curveball, you might have a tendency to lower your throwing elbow and swing your arm out at a 90+ degree angle. While this may get you the pitch you want, the ergonomics are off and will create stress on your should and arm over time. Instead, keep your elbow at or above your throwing shoulder during the duration of the throw.
Step 4: Perfect the Release
This is often one of the hardest parts of throwing a curveball because it is so different from a fastball. Important tips to remember are 1) release the ball close to your body, not away form it as you would a fastball because this keeps the spin tighter and 2) make sure that your wrist hooks and your hand pulls downward in front of your body as you release the throw.
Step 5: Throw with Fastball Speed
A good hitter watches your release to see how you are going to throw it. If you throw it fast – like a fastball – the hitter is less likely to catch on. Secondly, a well thrown curveball with faster speed with break better than a slow one.
Ready to take professional pitching lessons and perfect your curveball? Visit a D-BAT Sports location near you and let’s get started today!