How To Throw A Slider

By Steven Ellis former Chicago Cubs pitching pro

Many of baseball's top power closers throw a slider to compliment their hard fastballs or sinkers. If you throw hard for your age, a slider may be a good second pitch to pick up and learn how to throw.

To throw a slider, place the middle finger along the long seam in the horseshoe of the ball, index finger right next to the middle touching.

When releasing the pitch, make sure your two finger are at 12 o-clock, or on top of the ball, and your thumb can be relaxed on the bottom.

Then, just as you release the pitch, snap down hard down to 6 o-clock. The harder the snap the tighter the break. It's as easy as that. Twist your wrist as you would if you were to twist a knob on a door.

Another variation of how to throw a slider is to place your two fingers at three o'clock and your thumb at nine o'clock. Throw the slider like a fastball. The spin should be like a bullet when thrown properly either variation.

The slider will drop and slide to the side. What is nice about the slider is that you can throw this at any arm angle and at almost any count, if you get good control of it.

You can also think of throwing a slider like gripping a curveball, only the ball is held deeper in the palm and slightly off center, so that more of the white of the ball is exposed between the first finger and thumb.

Unlike a throwing fastball or a curveball, both of which pass the pitcher's head with the first two fingers aiming at the plate, when throwing a slider, the arm passes the pitcher's head with the first two fingers slightly on top of the ball and aiming toward the outside corner of the plate.

Also, the pitcher's wrist is firmly cocked, almost as if he were throwing a football. As his arm follows through, at no point does his wrist rotate, as it does with a curveball, or flick forward and down, as it does with a fastball.

Instead, the wrist must remain perfectly stiff so that his arm continues straight toward the plate with the ball held off center.

At the moment of release the ball merely slips out of the pitcher's hand with an off-center, right-to-left, and downward spin. It approaches the plate moving slightly right to left and down, but at no point does it actually begin to break.

A slider is an easy pitch to learn to throw, yet is a difficult pitch to control because it must be thrown almost entirely in one spot- low and on the outside corner of the plate to a right-handed batter and waist-high and inside to a left-handed batter. (The reverse is true for a left-handed pitcher.)

A slider is the only breaking pitch occasionally thrown waist high- but only to an opposite-handed batter.

An inside waist-high slider from a right-handed pitcher to a left-handed batter will be hit on the handle of the bat. If the pitch is thrown low and inside, the left-handed batter still has a chance to golf it down the right-field line.


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