How To Throw A Palmball
By Steven Ellis, former Chicago Cubs pitching pro
Almost every good pitcher possesses some sort of off speed pitch. The most common off speed pitch is the change up. An alternative to the traditional change up is the palmball. The palmball is a variation of the change up, and some pitchers prefer it to the traditional change.
To grip the palm ball, you essentially want to choke the baseball deep into your hand and wrap all your fingers around it. Your index and middle fingers should be on either side of the ball to balance it, and your thumb is on the bottom of the baseball.
Releasing the palmball is similar to any other pitch. Use your same mechanics and the same arm speed. The main difference is at release point, turn your hand inward slightly to generate some extra movement on the pitch.
The key to a good palmball is keeping the same arm speed as your fastball. If you slow your arm down, the hitter will be able to wait back and time your palmball. The velocity decrease should come from the choked grip. You should be able to keep the rest of your mechanics the same and still see a good velocity drop.
One tip that has personally helped me with getting a bigger velocity drop is to "deaden" the back leg. Normally, you would get a big push off your back leg when you pitch. When throwing a palmball, instead of pushing off with your back leg, try to just step forward off the rubber. If you can minimize the power from your back leg, you should see a much better velocity drop.
As with any pitch, the palmball takes a lot of time and practice to have good command with. Be sure to throw it a lot in warm ups and in bullpen sessions so you become comfortable with the grip. The more you throw it, the more natural it will feel.
If you are having trouble learning the palmball, check out the Let's Talk Pitching discussion forums and seek advice from the internet's largest pitching community.
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