Improve Your Curveball With These Tips and Drills

STACK Expert Phil Tognetti shows you how to improve your curveball with top-line tips and drills.

Curveball

If you want to improve your curveball, you've got to be dedicated and pay attention to detail. Here are some mechanical tips and drills to help you set up your pitch.

Grip

One of best curveball grips looks like this: Hold your index and middle fingers together with your middle finger at the spot on the seam where it looks like a horseshoe. Place your thumb on the opposite side of ball and leave little to no room between the ball and your hand.

Here are some photos demonstrating this grip.

Curveball Grip 1

 

Curveball Grip 2

 

Curveball Grip 3

Snap Drill

Once you have the grip down, you need to learn how to make your fingers interact with the ball's seams to give you a solid 12-6 rotation—think 12 and 6 on a clock. You want your curveball to drop from top to bottom, not sweep from side-to-side.

A great drill for working on curveball rotation is the snap drill. It can be done anywhere as long as you have a baseball. Take your curveball grip and snap your fingers, making the ball pop straight up from your hand. Really emphasize the pull-down your middle finger creates on the ball. As the ball rises out of your hand, you should see good vertical rotation and minimal horizontal rotation.

Start out easy and just try to get the rotational direction correct. Once you have mastered that, try snapping as fast as you can to really maximize the number of revolutions the ball makes.

Perform this drill whenever you're killing time around the house or in the dugout.

One-Knee Drill

The one-knee drill brings you more to the throwing position and allows you to work on your curveball without worrying about the lower half of your body. Once you and your partner have performed a dynamic warm-up, band work and stretched out your throwing distance, stand about 30 to 40 feet apart. Take a knee so your stride leg is in front and your hands are already separated, with the baseball in the throwing position.

With your curveball grip, make a throw to your partner. It's that simple. The goal with this drill is to really focus on upper-body mechanics and proper spin with the ball.

Perform one to three sets of five curveballs with two fastballs in between.

Stride Drill

The Stride Drill is set up like the One-Knee Drill, except it engages more of your lower body. Keeping your 30- to 40-foot distance, stride out as if making a pitch and pause. Your stride stance is where you perform the drill.

Start with your hands separated and the ball up in the throwing position. Start with your weight on your back leg and a curveball grip on the baseball. Throw to your partner. You can even ask your partner to squat down in the catching position so you can work on keeping the ball down in the zone.

Perform one to three sets of five curveballs with two fastballs in between.

Flat ground work

As you can see, we have broken down each part of the pitch and its throwing mechanics to focus on the small pieces first and gradually build up to a normal throw.

Have your partner squat like a catcher about 45 to 60 feet away. Throwing from the stretch position, work through a four-pitch sequence so you can get the feel for each of your pitches while practicing a different pitch with each throw. Your sequence can look like this:

Fastball inside, change-up outside, curveball outside, fastball outside

Repeat the sequence four to six times, focusing on making quality pitches in the strike zone.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: STRETCHING | THROW | FASTBALL | STRIDE | DRILL | STANCE | MECHANICS