How To Grip A Four-Seam Fastball with Pictures
One of the ways that a fastball can be thrown is the four-seam style. To grip the four-seam fastball, place your index and middle fingertips directly on the perpendicular seam of the baseball. Synonymous with high velocities, a pitcher’s four-seam fastball typically exhibits some degree of backspin and arm-side movement. Position your thumb directly beneath the baseball and allow it to rest on the smooth leather. The perfect location for your thumb is in the center of the horseshoe seam on the bottom of the baseball. Holding the ball “loosely” in your fingertips allows for the gap required between the ball and the palm of your hand.
Relief pitchers with most of these traits such as Sean Doolittle and Josh Hader have already proven that pitchers can survive throwing fastballs upwards of 80% of the time. This is encouraging as last season saw many starting pitchers throwing 4-Seam fastballs above 50% of the time and many of those starters had above average velocity and/or vertical movement. Unfortunately, many of them made the first mistake of focusing on the bottom of the plate and paid the price . When a pitcher can throw what appears as a flatter fastball, he also has a wider margin of error to throw low in the zone. As previously mentioned, fastballs are most effective in the upper part of the strike zone.
Pitchers with a three-quarter delivery will tend to get a mixture of both vertical, and horizontal movement on their fastballs. As we learned in previous blog posts, the 4 seam fastball is generally a straighter pitch with a 1-2 MPH increase in velocity over the 2 seam. The 2 seam or sinker generally has more movement than the 4 seam. Some pitchers throw all 4 seam fastballs while others throw predominantly 2 seamers, but we believe pitchers should throw both. The splitter looks like a two-seam fastball but drops right at the last second. The splitter baseball pitching grip looks very much like a two-seam fastball pitching grip, except your middle and index fingers are placed outside the seams as seen in the picture above.
Tilt and ball position – an inward or outward tilt or a lateral shift towards the pinky/glove side. We only typically see this is pitchers are trying to embrace more of a cut fastball profile. Another variable to consider is whether to place the fingers on-seam or off-seam. When discussing four-seam fastball variations, it’s essential to understand that each inch of movement matters. So while there is less variation in four-seam fastballs, we can still find seven distinct variations.
Practice makes a good pitcher great and getting some time under your belt with each pitch is only going to make you better. If you feel that you are not getting the speed or curve that you want, make adjustments to the way that you hold the ball or twist your wrist. Not all lite flite baseballs pitcher’s hands are the same so it is imperative to get comfortable with your throw before trying it out in a game. The pitch has the speed of a fastball and can also include late-breaking action caused by varying the pressure of the index and middle fingers on the ball.
As expected, Giolito’s increased arm angle led to more vertical movement and less horizontal movement. This increase in vertical movement was partly responsible for his jump in swinging strike rate with the other part being his 2 MPH increase in fastball velocity. Both of these methods are proven to increase velocity while simultaneously reducing the arm stress created from throwing thousands of pitches each year. The arm action is identical to a four-seam fastball, although the hand action differs slightly. Typically, the two-seam has more movement if the pitcher applies index fingertip pressure, or holds the baseball deeper in the hand.
You want a simple up-and-down motion with your hand, not delivering any spin with your wrist.Make sure your arm-speed is similar to your fastball arm-speed. Another example of the impact of arm angle at release point can be demonstrated through a comparison of Chris Sale and Josh Hader. To create this article, volunteer authors worked to edit and improve it over time. Squeeze the ball with your thumb towards your index and middle fingers.
By doing this, Hader should be able to release the ball with his fingers somewhat on top of the baseball whereas Sale’s fingers release from the side of the baseball . The first additional influencer of fastball success is spin rate, which has been somewhat of a buzzword in baseball for the last couple years. The general understanding is that the higher the spin rate, the more movement each pitch will have.
This likely indicates that a major adjustment of some kind has taken place. In order to add speed to your fastball one may play long toss or play catch with a weighted baseball. Rotate the ball in your hand and find in between where the seams are the closest together and the open side of the C shape. Rotate the ball in your hand until you locate the horseshoe or C-shape seam.