Youth Baseball Pitches

By Steven Ellis, former Chicago Cubs pitching pro

The only two baseball pitches needed to be successful in youth baseball are the fastball and change up.

Combine a good fastball and change up with the ability to throw strikes consistently, and you're on your way to a winning season!

The four seam fastball is the first of all youth baseball pitches that a young player should develop.

Four-seam fastball

With the four finger fastball, the fingers should be closer together. The wider the split between the fingers, the more velocity is lost.

For younger players with small hands, the index finger (pointer finger-shorter) should be placed on the open (narrower) end of the threaded horseshoe (threads). The thumb should be placed underneath the ball at the 6 o'clock position.

A common mistake that youth pitchers make when throwing this baseball pitch is to allow the thumb to slide up on the side of the ball. Keep that thumb underneath the baseball pitch!

The four seam fast ball is a pitch that is designed to go straight - little or no movement, but it is a very accurate. Throw this pitch about 80% of the time, and when you need a strike!

Two-seam fastball

The two-seam fast ball is designed to produce movement. Again the wider the fingers, the more velocity is lost.

The two seam fastball places the thumb in a five o'clock position (as opposed to a 6 o'clock position on the four-seam fastball). This slightly off-center grip produces the movement of the two seam fastball.

With both fastballs, the less "skin" you have on the ball the more velocity you will attain. This creates less friction or drag.

Also, with the fastball, you want your fingers and calloused part of your palm (top) gripping the ball. With both fastballs, a youth player should learn to grip the ball softly (like an egg).

Later, as you develop more pitching skill, you can apply pressure to change speed or apply more pressure to one finger to create right or left movement.

Change up

The change-up, on other hand, is attained by sinking the ball deep in the palm and putting more skin on the ball. Then you simply throw the pitch like a fastball. The grip is what takes off speed.

Remember, when learning basic baseball pitches, develop a good fastball first. Then you can add a change up. Those two pitches coupled with command of the strike zone will be a great asset to your team!


 

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