Get a Grip: Proper Mechanics Can Be the Difference Between a Thrower and a
Get a Grip: Proper Mechanics Can Be the Difference Between a Thrower and a Pitcher
By Nicholas Caringi
Senior Director of Operations Little League International
Most effective pitchers have three things in common; working fast, throwing strikes and changing speeds. To be effective, a pitcher must learn to keep hitters off balance. After all, hitting requires good timing on the part of the batter. The pitcher’s main task should be to disrupt the hitter’s timing. A good fastball and change-up, gives the pitcher an added edge on the hitter.
Learning a skill like pitching is not easy for most players. With a positive frame of mind, the willingness to succeed, and proper fundamental mechanics, pitchers can succeed – safely – at any level of ball.
Here are some proven fundamental tips and grips for Little League pitchers.
Fastball – Four-Seam Grip: The most commonly used grip for accuracy is the four-seam fastball. The four-seam fastball is held with the index and middle fingers positioned across the large seams. A finger’s width should be the distance between the index and middle fingers with the thumb positioned underneath the ball on a seam. The pitcher should be sure there is a small space between the web of the hand and the ball. The third and fourth fingers are curled back.
Fastball – Two-Seam Grip: The two-seam fastball is held with the index and middle fingers across the seams where the horseshoe-like seams almost meet. The thumb is placed on a seam at the bottom of the ball, while the third and fourth fingers are curled back. Using this grip provides a little extra movement on the fastball. Again, the pitcher should be sure there is a small space between the web of the hand and the ball.
Fastball – With-the-Seam Grip: On this grip, the index and middle fingers should be placed on the seams where both horseshoe seams almost meet. The thumb is placed on a seam underneath the ball. The pitcher should be sure there is a small space between the web of the hand and the ball. The third and fourth fingers are curled back. When thrown, this pitch has a tendency to move a little which will make it more difficult to hit.
Three-Finger Change Up: The purpose of a change up is to give the appearance of a fastball, but because the speed of the ball is much slower, the hitter’s timing is disrupted.
The three-finger change up can be gripped in any way the pitcher feels comfortable. Most pitchers grip the first and third fingers running the length of the seams with the middle finger in between the seams. The thumb is positioned underneath on a seam. Some pitchers grip the three-finger change up similar to a four seam fastball with slight modifications.
The most important aspect of the change-up is that the ball, unlike all the fastball grips, is tucked back against the pad of the hand. When throwing any change up, the key is to keep the same pitching mechanics and arm speed. The grip of the ball will slow the speed of the pitch.