Friday, January 13, 2012

Baseball Pitching Techniques for Beginners

You can fire a pitch to the catcher or float it in. You can throw the baseball with your knuckles below the seams and watch it flutter. You can make the baseball slide, curve or dart. The grip and arm action determine speed and spin. Like snowflakes, every pitch is different.
Caution: Curve Ahead
Snapping the wrist when releasing the pitch puts spin on the baseball and makes it curve. Physics also are involved when throwing the curveball. According to a report on Physics Forums, there is less pressure on the side spinning with the wind and that causes the baseball to curve. This is known as the Magnus effect. Wind or no wind, throwing a curve with minimal spin flattens out the pitch and reduces movement, which usually causes the ball to hang and get hit hard.
Rise and Fall
The two primary fastballs are two- and four-seamers. Grip a two-seamer on either side of the baseball where the seams are most narrow. Grip a four-seamer where the seams form a horseshoe shape. There is wide belief that a four-seam fastball rises as it approaches home plate, but that is not true. Throwing underhand is the only way to make a pitch rise. The four-seamer is thrown with maximum backspin and stays in the air longer before dropping than other pitches. The two-seamer drops much quicker as it reaches home plate and also is known as a sinker.
Change It Up
The changeup is one of baseball's most effective pitches and easy for beginners to throw. Unlike curves or sliders, the changeup requires no additional arm stress. Gripping the ball with more pressure and using the same arm action makes the changeup look like a fastball when it is released. The speed reduction often fools the hitter and keeps him off-balance.
Knuckle Down
If you don't have natural power in your throwing arm, think about becoming a knuckleball pitcher. It is the easiest pitch to throw but hardest to control. The knuckleball actually is thrown by placing the fingernails on the index, middle and right fingers below the seam. The knuckleball is thrown with no rotation or spin, and the wind gives it a fluttering action. The knuckleball places minimal stress on the throwing arm. It is a hard pitch to control because the fingertips are not gripping the seams.

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