Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Correct Technique to Throwing a Curveball

By Nate Barnett

There is no secret that most pitchers throw a curveball as one of their three pitches. And while this pitch is important to learn correctly, it is more important to understand proper pitching mechanics first. Only with a good understanding of how to throw a baseball right can one avoid unnecessary injury of the arm.

To correctly throw a curveball, place your index finger on the opposite seam as your thumb. When finished, your thumb and index finger will have split the baseball in half. Next, place some medium pressure on your thumb and middle fingers only. The index finger should rest lightly on the baseball.

To get the right spin off the baseball, you may consider learning this pitch by taking your index finger off of the baseball to make sure that you do not apply too much pressure with it. Too much pressure by the index finger will cause you to have poor release with the baseball and not get the desired curve effect.

Once you have a basic understanding of this pitch you will be tempted to work on it a lot. I must remind you that without proper pitching mechanics, you run the risk of hurting you arm. In addition of injury, there are some other important reasons why you need to understand pitching mechanics. First, you will end up showing hitters what your are throwing and giving you're your curveball. Secondly, you may end up reducing your arm speed when throwing a curveball which will ultimately telegraph your pitch to the hitter, obviously making it less effective. The only thing that changes when throwing a curveball is your wrist and forearm angles. There is no snapping of the baseball, instead, let the baseball roll off your index finger. If you have the correct angle with your wrist upon release, this should be a natural motion.

Coaches and parents should keep a close eye on how many curveballs are thrown per game. This is especially the case if a young pitcher has some early success with the pitch. As a general guideline, pitchers should throw curveballs no more than 15% to 20% of the time. Any more than this, athletes who are young may increase their risk of arm injury.

The Pitching Academy teaches baseball pitching grips like how to throw a curveball and how to throw a slider. Come check it out!

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