Hey Get A Grip Will You?
- Updated: April 24, 2013
Whenever possible, try to grip the ball with four seams before throwing the baseball to one of your teammates. It’s one of the most important baseball fielding tips that unfortunately, very few focus on. You want the closed part of the horseshoe formed by the seams on the baseball to be either facing inside toward you or outside and away from you. In other words, your index finger is on two seams and your middle finger is on two seams and thus the name four-seam.
My preference is having the horseshoe facing inside because it feels better to me in my hand but this is strictly your call. Experiment with the horseshoe facing either inward toward your body or facing away from your body and then you decide which you like better. One size does not fit all when it comes to gripping the baseball before throwing it but you really should use one four-seam grip or the other. The objective is to simply create a perfect backspin on the throw. It’s not difficult at all. If you are limited time wise and have to hurry on a play, you might not be able to have the choice as to which way the horseshoe faces but you still should strive to get the four-seam grip.
Think of it as a baseball pitcher. A pitcher throws a four-seamer, which is for the most part straight and fast. A pitcher throws a two-seamer, which is not as fast and has movement. You don’t want less speed and more movement when throwing to a teammate, do you? That’s the last thing you should want. More baseball coaches should put this near the top of their list on baseball fielding tips they give to their players. Fielders can be fooled by movement on a ball exactly like a batter can be fooled. The last thing you want is for your throw to have any extra movement when throwing to your first baseman or another teammate. That is inviting trouble, not to mention your teammate will not be thrilled with you when your throw sails on him.
It is a little difficult to get your four-seam grip on the “bare-handed play” on a very slow roller. As you are bringing the ball up with your bare hand, the tricky part is that you only a fraction of a second to move the ball in your hand and find your four-seam grip. Resist the temptation to simply throw the ball before getting the four-seam grip. This is definitely something that requires practice, but all serious fielders make it their business to learn it. And all serious baseball coaches should include this in their baseball coaching drills. On this play, you don’t want to have the ball sail and either go into the runner or have any extra movement to cause your throw to not be handled cleanly by your first baseman. The base runner may very well end up on second base because of the improperly thrown ball when he should have been a fairly easy out.
It’s one of the baseball fielding tips that require practicing and I assure you that you will be able to execute it properly after some repetition. All smart coaches should include this fundamental in their baseball coaching tips.
If you have any doubt about the four-seam grip being important, just remember that all the great infielders use the four-seam grip when throwing the ball. On that point alone, I rest my case. Don’t give me a hard time on this one. Just get a grip, will you?