How to Throw a Curveball
- Updated: November 14, 2016
Curveballs are great fun to throw, but they can also cause serious injuries to your arms. Because of this, it is not advised for young pitchers to pitch curveballs. Different people will tell you different ages that are appropriate to begin pitching curveballs, but the truth is that everybody is different. Players should not pitch curveballs until their arms are fully developed to avoid the most risk to their muscles and ligaments. If thrown too early or too often, curveballs can cause surgeries in shoulders and arms, and the player will never pitch the same again. However, age isn’t the only factor that leads to surgeries with curveballs. Improper throwing technique also puts excess strain on the arms. To throw a proper curveball, make sure you use the correct grip, release the ball at the appropriate time and follow through correctly.
For a curveball, you want to grip the ball with you middle and index fingers together at the top of the ball. The tips of these fingers should be applying pressure along the seam and your fingers should span the distance along the widest space between seams. Your ring and pinky fingers should be underneath the ball, and your pinky finger should not have any contact with the ball while your ring finger should touch the seam on the same side as your middle finger. Your thumb should also touch a seam and be on the opposite side of the ball as your middle finger. Your palm should not be touching the ball, as this will weaken the spin of the ball.
Releasing the Ball
The actual pitching of the baseball does not change much for a curve ball. The wind up and speed should be the same as for a fastball. The difference lies in the way that your hand is angled and positioned. For right-handed pitchers, the palm of your hand should be facing first base when you are about to release the ball. For left-handed pitchers, the palm of your hand should face third base. The major mistake that pitchers make when releasing the curveball is snapping their wrist. This could cause serious injury, and although it is taught by most coaches, it should be avoided.
A good follow through is also necessary to come closer to pitching the perfect curveball. Without a good follow through, the ball will not curve properly, giving the batter a better chance of hitting a home run. So after you release the ball, the back of your hand should face the batter. Natural reactions will continue to move your pivot foot forward and your throwing arm across your body; this also makes you balanced and ready for fielding.
See, throwing a curveball is not that difficult. And, as an added bonus, it also gives the pitcher more control with a better grip. But beware of the warning signs as a pitcher. If your arm starts to get soar, don’t take it lightly. Too much strain can and will lead to surgery down the road. So take it easy, don’t pitch all game every game, and make sure to pitch the ball correctly.