Fastball

Baseball Picture

Fastball


This is the bread and butter of all good pitchers.   If you can’t control your fastball, your pitching career is sunk.   The most common types of pitches are the two seam and four seam fastball.   The main difference is how many seams rotate through on the top side when the ball is released.    For instance, a four seam fastball will have all four seams rotate through the top side.   Traditionally, a two seam fastball can be thrown faster because there is less resistance because fewer seams are providing wind resistance.   However, it also has less movement on which makes the four seam fastball so popular.   The four seam fastball provides additional movement as the seams provide more wind resistance, thus altering the course of the ball.  

For my descriptions, I am assuming you are a right handed pitcher. If you are left-handed, you would do the reverse. Also, I will use the term horseshoe- this is the design of the baseball seam where it is angled in a certain way so it looks like a horse shoe or a smiley face.   Also, recognize that for most of these pitches, there is more than one way to do it. I am showing just one way. 

Four Seam Fastball  

Left- Handed

4 Seam Fastball Left Handed

Right- Handed

4 Seam Fastball Right Handed

 

To throw a four seam fastball, place the index finger and middle finger over the two seams of the baseball with the horseshoe opening up to the right.   The thumb is placed on the bottom seam closest to you and the ring finger provides support on the right side of the ball.   To get maximum speed, do not cradle the ball all the way in your hand, but instead, leave some space between the ball and the web of your thumb and index finger.   Also, when throwing and releasing the ball apply pressure on the top seam to get maximum velocity. 

 

Two Seam Fastball

Left- Handed

2 Seam Fastball Left Handed

Right- Handed

2 Seam Fastball Right Handed

To throw a two seam fastball, place the index finger and middle finger over the two seams of the baseball wear they are the funnel in and are the skinniest.  The thumb is places on the bottom left seam and the ring finger provides support on the right side of the ball.  This pitch is essentially thrown the same way as the four seam fastball from this point forward.  To get maximum velocity, apply pressure on the top seam with your index and middle finger.

Other things to tinker with when determining how best to throw the two seam or four seam ball (1) space between your fingers- reduces velocity and provides more control of the pitch, (2) pressure applied to seams- more pressure can provide more movement and velocity, (3) pressure applied more by either the index or middle finger- these can add additional movement and velocity, depending on which is applied.

All and all, a good pitcher will try out these variations in the off-season to see which baseball pitching grip for the fastball works best for them.

*To get tips on how to throw a curveball, check out curveball.

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