How To Throw A Curveball

By Steven Ellis, former Chicago Cubs pitching pro

A good pitcher possesses an arsenal of pitches which he uses to get batters out. The curveball is one of the most common pitches in baseball, and is a relatively easy pitch to learn. Keep in mind, the curveball is an advanced pitch and should not be experimented with until the arm fully matures, usually after the age of 16 or 17.

To grip the curveball, take your index and middle fingers and place them inside the two skinny seams of the baseball. Some pitchers like to put their middle finger on the outermost seam, with the index finger right next to it. The thumb should be placed underneath the baseball with the ring finger and pinky tucked comfortably against the outside of the baseball.

Throwing the curveball is similar to throwing any other pitch. The arm speed and overall body mechanics should not change. The only difference is the angle at which the hand is turned. The idea behind the curveball is to generate forward spin rather than backspin. This is done by turning the hand so the palm of your hand is facing inwards, almost like you are doing a karate chop.

You should finish the curveball like you would normally. Let your arm continue its natural motion, and finish with a nearly flat back. A good finish will allow for the most amount of spin to be applied to the ball which will yield the most amount of movement.

Like any pitch, the curveball requires a lot of practice in order to be thrown effectively and consistently. To become comfortable with the grip, practice with it while playing catch and in bullpen sessions. The more you throw it, the more comfortable it will become.

The curveball can, in some cases, cause arm problems if thrown with incorrect mechanics. If you experience any sort of pain in the shoulder or elbow, stop throwing the pitch and seek the help of a doctor.


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