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Baseball Pitching Grips: Essential Coaching Tips Made Easy

baseball coaching drill for pitchers Vida Blue

There have been plenty of baseball pitching gripsduring the games history. Players, coaches, instructors, parents and trainers have been messing around with various grips for decades.

Players have been trying to get an edge on opponents for the last century. Grips have evolved over the years into plenty of pitch variations.

Catchers do not have enough fingers to put down to call all the pitches that have been invented. Every player that takes the pitching mound has had the opportunity to show off all their assortment pitches.

Coaches have been teaching baseball the last several decades trying to train players to be more competitive on the mound. Coaching clinics, summer camps, and personal trainers all are willing to share several grips with players to give them more weapons to choose from.

More Is Not Always Better

coaching tips for baseball pitching Fergy Jenkins

Quality or quantity? Is it better to have more different pitches in your quiver or is it better to have 2 or 3 really good ones.

It is far better to spend all your time on mastering 2 or 3 baseball pitching grips pitches. Maybe four when you reach the upper levels of high school baseball. Do you think spending 33% to 50% of your practice drills and game time on each pitch is smart?

Yes, it is! Developing 2 or 3 really good, consistent pitches is all you need. Rather than having 5 or 6 mediocre pitches that are inconsistent. They may work one game but you cannot get the feel of them the next game.

Developing too many grips complicates the game foolishly. You end up with several so-so throws instead of 2 or 3 steady-Eddie consistent ones you can count on these to be there every game type pitches.

Fastball Family of Pitches

Top baseball coaches and instructors teaching fundamentals will know that the fastball is the basic throw of all the baseball pitching grips. Throwing the fastball for a strike is a baseball practice tip all baseball instruction is based on.

The fastball can be moved to throw in all parts of the strike zone. It should be the most consistent for a pitcher to throw strikes with and help build self confidence.

1. Four Seam Fastball: Over the Plate & Piunding the Strike Zone

youth baseball coaching tip for pitchers Jim Palmer

The baseball pitching grips four seam fastball is held with the pointer and middle fingers across the wide horseshoe part of the baseball seams. The thumb is on the bottom of the ball. The ring finger should be disengaged or only slightly touching the side of the ball.

Often youth league players 10 and under will throw fastballs with the ring finger on the ball in addition to the pointer and middle fingers. With three fingers on the ball the speed and velocity will decrease from maximum speed.

This becomes a modified straight change-up. If you want to increase velocity then teach them to wean the player off the three fingers to two fingers on the seams.

With the four seam fastball the ball is held near the last finger pads near the tips …not choked deep near the palm. This gives the thrower the most velocity on the throw.

The four seam fastball is generally a straight throw. The ball will usually have little movement. But it will be the favorite go to pitch for hurlers throwing strikes.

2. The Two-Seam Fastball:
Wood Bat Breaker

baseball coaching techniques for pitchers

The baseball pitching grip two seamer is known as the ‘sinker’ or the sinking fastball. It is thrown the same as the four seam but the pointer and middle fingers grip the seams in a different spot.

There are 2 places on the ball where the seams come closely together. I call them the railroad tracks. The fingers are placed on these seams and the thumb placed opposite on the bottom of the ball.

The two seamer often has the same velocityas a four seam throw. The difference is the sinking movement. The pitch has a tendency to move slightly into and downward from a right hand pitcher facing a right hand hitter. Vice versa for a lefthander.

The added movement increases the effectiveness of the pitch. But it is more difficult to control and command. It is harder for a youth league hitter to square up and meet the ball on the barrel of the bat.

Good velocity and the sinking action movement make the two seam fastball a very effective pitch. Plenty of wood bats have gone to the youth baseball bat broken bat bone yard because of the two seam sinker.

3. The Straight Change-up:
The Great Equalizer

The straight change-up is held more in the palm of the throwing hand. All five fingers are relaxed and very lightly wrapped onto the ball. Allow just enough finger pressure tension to keep the ball in the throwing hand.

The pitch will mimic exactly the fastball. The arm and body action should look exactly like throwing a fastball.

The wrist snap is kept to a minimum. The lack of wrist snap and the added friction caused by all the fingers and palm will slow the pitch hopefully about eight to fourteen miles per hour.

One of the benefits of a radar gun is to check the variation difference in the fastball and the straight change-up.

These are the three basic baseball pitching grips throws a pitcher should have. Spend all of your time perfecting these. Gain control and command of these. Coaches plan your lessons, baseball training, strategy, and instruction on the 3 basic throws.

More on the Straight Change-Up and the Circle Change-Up

Return to Baseball Pitching 101 from Baseball Pitching Grips

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