How To Throw A Sinker

By Steven Ellis former Chicago Cubs pitching pro

The sinker is a Mike Hampton and Kevin Brown specialty!

A sinker or a true sinking fastball is a heavy pitch. This means it usually does not explode off the bat like the straighter four-seam fastball. Instead the purpose of throwing a sinker pitch is to produce ground balls.

When throwing a sinker, the pitch generally should move a couple inches - just enough to get that ground ball.

As most baseball pitching coaches will agree, those grounders will hurt you less in the long run than fly balls. When a fastball is thrown; it should be thrown with the seams over 90% of the time.

When learning how to throw a sinker, grip the ball by placing your index and middle finger should lie over the two seams of the ball where the seams bend close together.

Your fingers could be together or slightly apart. Experiment. This will give your ball some movement when thrown.

The grip works by lessening the friction biting against the ball when you throw a sinker.

For a true sinking fastball, turn your hand outward almost like a screwball. You will be throwing the inside half of the ball, resulting in side spin.

Throwing a sinker can be quite simple, once you understand the sinker grip and throwing technique.

Remember, the key to throwing a sinker is the follow through - more specifically, the arm action of the follow through.

After throwing the sinker, force your pitching thumb to almost graze your lead leg or thigh. Most people believe the follow through should go past your outer leg with your little finger going past your thigh. Yet, that is what straightens the ball out.

Instead, you want to turn your pitching hand inward allowing your thumb to pass your leg while your fingers remain on the outside, this will provide an excellent sink to the ball!

Another way how to throw a sinker is by placing your index finger slightly outside one of the narrow seams, while your middle finger is right in between the two narrow seams. The thumb should rest underneath on the bottom seam of the baseball.

When you throw the sinker, release the pitch with your finger pressure coming from your index finger, with your middle finger applying very little pressure.

No matter which sinker grip you use, throw the sinker hard because this will be your fastball.

Just watch the movement a pitcher like Greg Maddox used to get on hit sinker. His sinker was downright nasty!


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