How To Throw A Screwball
By Steven Ellis former Chicago Cubs pitching pro
A screwball is thrown just like a fastball until the point at which the pitcher's arm is passing alongside his head.
When learning how to throw a screwball, place your two fingers side by side against the seam, as you do when throwing a curveball ... however, you must place them side by side in the opposite direction!
That's because placing them side by side in the opposite direction will force the seams to spin in the opposite direction when you twist your wrist and arm to throw it.
That in effect is how the screwball gets its break.
As the arm moves forward past the ear, you begin to turn your wrist and arm in a counterclockwise manner so that when your arm follows through, it moves away from your body from right to extreme right, instead of crossing your body right to left.
The ball will approach the plate spinning in a manner opposite to that of a curveball. And its break, when thrown by a right-handed pitcher, will be down and away to a left-handed batter.
The screwball is difficult to hit, not because its movement is so unusual by itself but because its movement is so unusual in relation to the pitcher throwing it.
For example, batters are used to right-handers throwing breaking balls that move right to left, and so a "reverse breaking ball" brings an element of surprise and oddity with it.
Throwing a screwball takes time. When you're learning how to throw a screwball for the first time, patience and practice are key!
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