Throwing Basics

Gripping the Ball and Ball Leaving Hand

Gripping the Ball (4-Seam Grip)
Brief Description

The 4-Seam Grip is the best ball grip for throwing a baseball straight. It is called the 4-seam grip because when the ball is thrown you see four different seams rotating (backwards towards thrower).

Mechanics
  • Grip the ball across the seams with the index and middle fingers on top, the thumb on the bottom, and the other fingers to the side.
  • For younger players with smaller hands, add the ring finger to the top set.
  • Make sure there is a little bit of space between the palm of the hand and the baseball. The larger the hand, the larger the space.
  • Don’t hold the ball too tight that you hold onto it too long or too softly that it slips out of your hand. Think of holding a bird—hold it tight enough to not let the bird fly away, but not too tight to injure the bird.
  • The ball comes off the tips of the fingers and rotates in a backward motion (turning backwards towards the thrower) with four seams rotating horizontally.
Videos

Gripping the Ball 
Ball Leaving the Hand Drill 
How To Create A “4-Seam” Throwing Grip 
Sources: Baseball Factory and Steve Bernhardt, Trent Mongero, Winning Baseball

Drill – Flipping Ball
Description

With a partner, the players flip the ball back and forth focusing on the proper grip of the ball and ensuring that the ball rolls off the end of their middle finger and rotates properly. See Ball Leaving the Hand video.

Drill Setup

Two rows of players with players standing approximately 10 feet across from their partner and about 5 feet from the player beside them.

Instructions

Coaches

  • Find an area large enough for your players to catch the ball with a partner.
  • Partner players with similar ability.
  • Explain how to properly grip the ball and how you want them to flip the ball to their partner.
  • Walk around and observe and help players with the grip and flip.

Players:

  • Grip ball and then holding glove under throwing arm elbow flip the ball, almost like a basketball throw, to his partner.
  • Catch the ball thrown by his partner.

Balls

  • One ball per group.

Coaching Points

  • Space between the palm of the hand and the baseball.
  • If they are holding the ball too tightly, the ball may get released late and tract downward. If they hold too lightly, the ball may tract too high or off to the side.
  • Need to feel the ball coming off the tips of their fingers (middle finger primarily) as they throw the ball.
  • Top fingers finish under the ball to provide the backwards spin.
  • Ball rotates backwards and that the seams stay flat.
  • Correct throws that have a sideways spin.

Throwing Mechanics

Throwing Mechanics
Brief Description

This skill is about developing the correct path for the arm when throwing the ball. It focuses on the start and backswing of the throw.

Remember that young players have developed different ways to throw and teaching them the proper way will take time.

Mechanics
  1. Grip the ball with four-seam grip.
  2. Get into stretch position with ball in glove at chest level and feet in line with direction of throw.
  3. Optional. Bring throwing arm down and front leg up and motion to crack egg on top of front leg thigh.
  4. Continue with downward motion of arm and thumb going past the outside thigh. This is the “thumb to thigh” part.
  5. Bring arm around the circle and up and when arm is at 90 degrees the ball should be facing out and behind the thrower at 45 degree angle. This is the “show ball to sky” part.
  6. At the same time the throwing hand is moving in a circle down and out, the glove arm is moving  down and forward to provide balance and rhythm. In other words, it is not just about the throwing arm. The glove arm movement needs to provide balance to the throw.
  7. Weight also has to be balanced in the centre of the body. At the show ball to sky part, the arms (shoulders to elbows) and body form a T-shape.
  8. The ball arm then needs to come forward and accelerate through the throw and move across and down the side of the forward leg.
Videos

Throwing Mechanics 
Figure 8 Drill 
Arm Path When Throwing 
Throw Like a Pro! Step-by-Step Mechanics 
Sources: Baseball Factory and Steve BernhardtTrent Mongero, Winning Baseball

Drill – Figure 8 with Throw
Description

This drill tries to help players who have trouble throwing and who don’t have a nice, fluid throwing style.

Drill Setup

Two rows of players with players standing approximately 15 feet across from their partner and about 5 feet from the player beside them.

Instructions

Coaches:

  • Find an area large enough for your players to catch the ball with a partner.
  • Partner players with similar ability.
  • Show how to do the figure 8 twice and then the throw.
  • Walk around and observe and help players with figure 8s and throwing.

Players:

  • Standing with feet lined up in direction of partner, do two figure 8s and then throw the ball to their partner.
  • Shift weight forward and backward with throwing arm to develop momentum.
  • Catch the ball thrown by the partner.

Balls

  • One ball per group.

Coaching Points

  • Figure 8s are rounded and not jerky.
  • Stay balanced with weight centred.
  • Shift weight with throwing arm.
  • Proper grip.
  • Good rotation of ball (i.e., backspin) on throws.
  • Accurate throws.
Drill – Throwing from Knees
Description

With a partner, kneeling down on one knee, players work on the correct circle throwing path while they throw the ball back and forth.

See Arm Path When Throwing video.

Drill Setup

Two rows of players with players kneeling approximately 15 feet across from their partner and about 5 feet from the player beside them.

Instructions

Coaches:

  • Find an area large enough for your players to catch the ball with a partner.
  • Partner players with similar ability.
  • Explain how to properly throw the ball.
  • Walk around and observe and help players with throwing.

Players:

  • Kneel on the knee on the same side as the throwing arm with the other leg pointed at their partner.
  • Throw the ball to your partner.
  • Catch the ball thrown by the partner.

Balls

  • One ball per group.

Coaching Points

  • Proper grip.
  • Stay balanced with weight centred.
  • Separation of arms with throwing arm coming down and around.
  • Excelleration throw with a good follow-through and finish.
  • Shift weight with throwing arm.
  • Good rotation of ball (i.e., backspin) on throws.
  • Accurate throws.