Baseball Magazine

Slow Down Your Fastball

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard

A while back I wrote a post called Why pitchers should watch batting practice.  The basic message to pitchers was that hitting is extremely hard.  Unfortunately, many pitchers seem to forget that basic concept when they step on the mound.  As an example, I mentioned what happens when the coach unintentionally takes off even a little velocity on a BP pitch.  In short, it screws with the hitter.

Ask most older hitters who they would rather face – a hard thrower or a soft thrower – and I guarantee most will say a hard thrower. Soft throwers can put a batter in a slump after one at-bat by screwing up their timing and rhythm.

But you don’t have to be a Jamie Moyer type pitcher with an incredible change-up to get batters out.  Just a little off the fastball will do the trick.  Unfortunately, a change-up can be a difficult pitch for young kids to learn.  If this is the case for one of your young throwers, emphasizing “taking a little off the fast ball” instead of a “change-up” may help.  There are various ways to do it but here is a picture of the simplest way I know of.

Thumb on the side.

Thumb on the side.

The only thing that changed from the basic fastball grip was that the pitcher’s thumb moved from under the ball to the side of the ball.  Just that alone will take a little off the fastball and may be enough to screw up a hitter, especially in a fastball count.  Because it is almost identical to the normal fastball grip, it tends to be a pitch that is comfortable and easier to control.

It may not get the ideal minus 10 mph off your fastball but as stated earlier, even a little off your fastball can be effective.

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