Thursday, January 19, 2012

How to Pickup Baseball Spin?

Pitchers rely on deception to get hitters out. They throw pitches at various speeds and spins designed to confuse the hitter and take away timing and balance. Pitches vary in speed, from rocket fastballs to slow changeups. Hitters able to pick up the spin of the baseball as it arrives at the plate are more apt to correctly identify the pitch and make solid contact.
Pitchers throw two types of fastballs -- the two-seamer and the four-seamer. The two-seamer has a sinking action. Hitters can pick up the pitch by noticing only two of the baseball's four seams are spinning backward. The four-seamer is gripped across all four seams and has an end-over-end spin. All four seams spin on the pitch, and the four-seamer stays up in the air instead of sinking.
Changeups are delivered with the same arm action as fastballs, but the pitcher puts a tighter grip on the baseball and uses different pressure points. Changeups fool even the best major-league hitters. The pitcher's arm action indicates fastball, but the baseball slowly spins and rotates from the bottom seams to the top. The changeup also sinks as it reaches home plate.
Picking up the spin on a curveball is relatively easy; squaring up the pitch and making solid contact is a challenge. The curveball is thrown with a heavy spin, and the baseball can break from one side of the plate to the other or from the top of the strike zone to the bottom. Gripped at the bottom seam and thrown with a snap of the wrist, the curve rotates from the top seam to bottom seam.
A slider approaches the hitter looking like a fastball. There is a backward spin on the pitch, but the grip makes the slider move like a fast curveball. Pressure is applied on top of the baseball with the pitcher's index finger. The spin on the pitch gives the baseball a sliding action. Good sliders head toward the middle of home plate and suddenly spin out of the strike zone. The spin on the pitch also can cause the slider to come in high and drop out of the strike zone when the hitter starts to swing.
Knuckleballs are not widely thrown because they are difficult to control. The pitch is easy to throw and approaches the hitter at a low speed. The knuckleball is thrown after placing the fingernails of the index, middle and ring fingers just below the seams. The arm action is the same as a fastball, but knuckleballs do not spin. The baseball dances and flutters as it reaches the hitter.

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