Fastball is the most common as well as the basic pitch type and hence every player should know the ways on how to throw a fastball that is perfect. In baseball, the right pitch is important and hence every player needs to master the techniques regarding throwing fastball the right way.
The only tip is that while you understand the basic techniques to throw a fastball, it will be only with time and regular practice that you will be able to master it. Hence, understand, implement and practice daily till you automatically practice the right way to throw the ball. This is also the secret to becoming a good baseball or softball player.
Few Basics About Fastball
Some of the famous players who have thrown a fastball, nicknamed ‘power pitchers’ include Roger Clemens, Nolan Ryan among others as the speed in which they have thrown a fastball is believed to be around 105-108.1 mph. Backspin is used to throw fastballs as it can create an increasing impact on the ball. The result is the ball ascends at a lesser speed that what is expected of it. It also leads to a sort of optical illusion.
For a beginner, there are two pitches to pay heed to. The first one is the basic fastball and the second pitch is the change up. For young players, it is important to master these two pitches. Another benefit is that these two pitches are easier to follow and practise. They can be mastered with ease as they are independent of arm health. While the fastball is hardest in terms of throw, the change up throw can be done with a little change in grip. Both pitches require the same strength though.
The Tips And Tricks to Throw The Perfect Fastball
There are two main ways in which fastball is thrown. The four-seam is definitely the most familiar way, and the other way of throwing it is the two-seam form. The more powerful of the two forms is the four seam fastball and it is also the fastest pitch in the game.
Throwing the Four-seam Fastball
The trick to being an expert in fastball is to learn important techniques that include the hand placement, the mechanics required for pitching and the grip. The grip and that is the way you hold the ball is of importance and it determines how well you will throw the fastball. Two players, one with a small hand and the other with a bigger hand, will have different ways of holding the ball.
A person having smaller hands will need more fingers to have a firm grip on the ball. Normally, a person will use his thumb and two fingers to hold the ball but then a person with the smaller hand will have to use more fingers on the ball so that he can have a controlled grip on the ball which will enable him to throw right. If this is the case, then the middle finger should be placed close to the index finger and you should also use your ring finger on the ball.
Holding the four-seam fastball requires practice because a certain way has to be followed. First determine the perpendicular seam of the ball. This is where your fingertips should be. The thumb should be below the ball in such a way that is placed comfortably. Remember the thumb position is important because this is the finger that will help in the control and contribute to your throw. Baseball coaches usually compare holding the ball to holding an egg, so that players understand how delicately but firmly the fingertips have to be on the ball.
For players with a large hand, the key is to hold the ball in such a way that it is not too firm but yet you are able to control the ball. When you hold the ball loosely, when you throw, the ball can spin out at a faster rate which will result in maximum velocity that will offer the necessary power to the throw. The trick here is that the ball has to spin faster which will enable it to travel faster, leading to the ‘heavy ball’ required for the throw.
Throwing the Two-seam Fastball
The difference between the grip in the four-seam fastball and the two-seam fastball is that the fingers are placed in the perpendicular seam in the former while for the latter they have to be placed along the line of the seams. Coaches advise players to first master four-seam fastball and then go on to two-seam. This is because additional control and movement are necessary for two-seam than four-seam. So, throwing two-seam fastball can be easier once you are able to throw the perfect four-seam fastball.
Always go step by step with a fastball. First, you need to master the throw. Only then, practice throwing at a target. This will require some experience but a beginner should be able to find aiming at targets quite easy once he learns to throw with the right technique. As said, grip and throwing with maximum velocity is of much importance.
So, the first step is learning to grip right, the second is mastering the throw and third is locating the target. Also remember to use the flat ground while practicing instead of mound because the former is where you can learn the techniques easily and in the correct way as opposed to the mound where injuries too are common.
The Three Requisites for The Right Pitching
In baseball, the three important parameters for pitching are balance, power and finish.
The first step is the balance which is basically the position in which the player is loading to pitch. The head will be aiming at the target but the eyes have to concentrate on the catcher’s mitt.
The next point is the power. This is where you should focus on the foot movements. The trick is to form a line with your front foot, the back foot and the target. You will have to move your body around. In order to facilitate the rotation, ensure that your front knee is pointed towards the aim. The head also is pointed at the target but the focus of the eyes should be on the catcher’s mitt.
Now pay attention to the elbow movement. Your elbow has to be in such a way that it remains above the shoulder. This is one of the most important factors in throwing fastballs because if the elbow is above the collar bone, you will be able to throw the perfect fastball but if the elbow is below the shoulder, you will not be able to do the throw. So, always, ensure the position of the elbow concerning your shoulder.
The third point is finished. This is as important as the two former steps because the way you finish will determine if your back has had the energy to withhold the throw. The right finish is also necessary for preventing any injuries. So, what you need to do is to ensure that the elbow of the hand throwing the fastball should be at the opposite knee. The elbow, as well as the glove, will be next to your side while your head and eyes are focused on the target.
Tips to Throw the Right Fastball
Perfect pitching needs practice but by following the proper techniques. Sometimes a player with great skills is unable to throw the perfect pitch just because he has some apprehensions within him. So, first get the confidence and do not be afraid to let go of all fears and doubts. Throw the best you can.
Incorrect posture can also lead to obstacles in the right throw. But bad posture often is the result of not following the techniques. With a fastball, the thing is, it is not about throwing fast or with maximum velocity, but the right manner of the throw. Since all the steps are co-dependent with each other, every step is important to take note to be able to throw the fastest fastball.
If you will not place your fingers right on the ball or if you are unable to have the right grip, you will not be able to have control on the ball which means the impact of the throw will be lesser. Similarly, if the align of the head, the hand, the elbow and the foot isn’t right, hitting the target won’t be possible. So, to master fastball is all about mastering the right alignment of the hands and legs and also the way you hold the ball.
Some of the most powerful pitchers in the history of baseball have been Walter Johnson, Bob Feller, Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, Goose Gossage and Steve Dalkowski.
Throwing the fastest fastball requires a lot of practice and mastering the right techniques. The key to learning how to throw a Fastball is in the techniques, as in grip, placement of fingers and even the focusing on the target.