This post will explain exactly how to grip a curveball. Before any baseball pitcher decides to start throwing curveballs, he must understand how to grip the pitch correctly. There are several different and unique ways to grip a curveball.
Some popular curveball grips include a beginners curve, a straight curve, a knuckle curve, and a spike curve. This is the first part of a series focusing on the curveballs.
How to Grip a Curveball: Three Great Ways
Each of these curveball grips are an excellent choice for any developing pitcher. The grips are in order based on the level of difficulty. Personally, I have always had great success with the spike curveball because of how much movement is possible.
You must decide which grip will be the most beneficial and natural to throw for your specific arm angle or throwing motion. Take a look.
How to Grip a Beginners Curveball
The beginners curve is designed for baseball pitchers who are initially learning how to throw the pitch. It is considered the beginners grip because it forces the pitcher to throw the pitch with the correct motion. Let’s take a look at how to grip this type of curveball, and also take a look at some professional pitchers that utilize this grip.
Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright is most popular for utilizing the beginners curveball grip. As you can see from the photo, you grip this pitch with your middle finger placed on the curve of the seam, and your index finger pointed in the air. For every curveball grip, your thumb will always be placed on the opposite bottom seam of the ball. The ball should be gripped very lightly, and it shouldn’t be tucked deep in the hand.
The beginners curve can be gripped on any part of the seams, and each pitcher must decide what is most comfortable. One of the biggest issues with this grip is the possibility that good hitters can pick up on the lifted finger.
If you’re a pitcher that doesn’t hide the ball very well, then it could be dangerous to use this pitch past high school. However, if you have a nasty beginners curve like Adam Wainwright, then you could continue to use this pitch even if you make it to the major leagues.
Not interested in the beginners curve? Then you might be interested in the straight curve grip.
How to Grip a Straight Curveball
The straight curve is the most popular grip among baseball pitchers. The only difference between the beginners and straight curve is the finger placement. With the straight curve, both fingers will grip the seams.
Both your index and middle finger will straddle the outer seam of the baseball. As you can see in the image of former Royals pitcher Zack Greinke, he is using the traditional straight curve grip. Greinke’s thumb placement is in a unique position, but in most circumstances, it is best to place the thumb of the opposite seam.
Many professional and college pitchers utilize the straight curveball because of its simplicity. One of the biggest issues with this grip is that pitchers have a tendency to choke the ball too tightly. Doing this will make this pitch have less break and will be difficult to control.
The best methods for gripping a curveball is to always hold it lightly, and do not choke the ball too deep in the hand. Pitchers who are unsuccessful with the traditional straight curve, can try the knuckle grip.
How to Grip a Knuckle or Spike Curveball
The knuckle curve is considered a more advanced pitching grip, but it has some great movement potential. This grip is a great alternative to the others because it is known for having some the hardest breaking movement.
Former Yankees pitcher A.J. Burnett is popular for gripping a knuckle curve.
As you can see in the picture, Burnett’s middle finger rest on the outer seam just like the previous two grips, except his index finger nail is pressed into the back seam like a knuckleball.
Depending on preference, pitchers can dig their index finger into the seam or they can bend the index finger so that the front knuckle is rested on the ball. Either way you will undoubtedly see some excellent breaking movement if you utilize the spike curveball grip.
I hope this was helpful and be sure to share it with your buddies!