The knuckleball has a curious history of being one of the most misunderstood
pitches. The best one could describe it as similar to
the freak show at the circus. Most people are very
curious about it, but few actually are willing to spend the time to learn how to throw it. Simply put, the knuckleball is a slower speed pitch that has a
lot of movement. A knuckleball pitch has been
described as one that dances because the ball can move back and forth. This movement makes it a
hard pitch to hit and has been a saving grace to a number of major league pitchers, such as Phil Niekro, Charlie
Hough and most recently, Tim Wakefield.
To throw a knuckleball properly, one must spend additional time with this pitch because it is so
unique compared to other pitches. Also, its movement can create a problem for catchers to catch so it is a good
idea to stick with one catcher only if you throw a knuckleball. By sticking with one catcher, the catcher can
learn and understand what to expect from your pitch’s movement. This will result in less dropped balls or passed
balls in games.
1. Bend your middle finger and index finger of your throwing arm and grab the ball. (You know when you
are doing it right because your two knuckles should be resting on the baseball).
2. Your ring finger and thumb provide support to the pitch and should be placed on the sides. (In other words, the
knuckles are on top of the baseball and ring finger is on the right side of the ball and the thumb is on the left
side of the ball.
3. After you grip the ball, you will throw the ball with a fastball motion. The only difference is you are not
focused on trying to throw this pitch very hard. Instead, you are looking for a lot of movement and so you will
want to throw it with average arm strength and let the ball naturally.
4. As you practice this pitch, you may find that you have more movement and control by having your knuckles grip
one of the seams or even extending one finger forward and using only one knuckle. It will take some experimentation
on your part to find out what works best for you.
By taking the time to learn and practice the knuckleball, you can ensure that you have a pitch to use
when your other pitches aren’t at their best. Good
luck! A number of baseball players have benefited by taking the
time to really practice this pitch.
*To get some baseball pitching tricks, check out baseball pitching tricks.