How to Throw a Curveball – The Definitive Guide for Baseball Pitchers

What’s up! Coach Dan Blewett here. Today
we’re gonna talk about how to throw a great curveball and if you don’t know
how to throw a curveball this is going to be a big step up I also have an
amazing online course so definitely check that out as well but today I’m
gonna give you five really big tips that are gonna be extremely important in your
development of the pitch okay so let’s jump right into it number
one let’s talk about your grip so your curveball grip is not the most important
thing let me just get that out of the way right now
Clayton Kershaw his grip is gonna be mostly the same as my grip as mostly the
same as a twelve-year-olds grip it’s not the grip that makes the pitch now the
grip is really key in helping you get comfortable with it so if you have one
grip maybe you can spin a little bit better than another but ultimately the
grip is not what produces an incredible curveball all major leaguers throw very
similar deviations of the same grip definitely understand that the grip is
important in helping you find your personal best way but it’s not gonna be
the NBL end-all be-all and if your crit ball is not very good it’s probably not
the grips fault so let’s talk curveball grips so the biggest thing here is
getting the middle finger to come up this seam here and then the thumb is
typically gonna be on the inside down there this way we’re going over top the
ball like that and catching on the inside of this seam and underneath the
seams of thumb is gonna help us do that so with the curveball grip we’ve got a
bunch of different variations you can just go just like this and this finger
can stay on top without putting any pressure on it
we can cross it over we can stick it up we can knuckle it
or we can dig it so any of those grips are fine it’s completely your personal
preference on what you choose to use second let’s talk about this spin of the
pitch we don’t want pressure going through the
center of the ball the reason we don’t want that is because you want all the
pressure on the edge to produce topspin topspin spins forward this is the spin
axis that we want we want the ball spinning directly in the in the
direction that’s traveling either to 12 6 or 1/7 orientation the way a curveball
breaks is that as its traveling say this way if it spins with a good fast spin
rate and a good spin a good clean spin axis then what happens is it creates a
high pressure zone on the top a low pressures on the bottom and the high
pressure air pushes the curveball down so the faster the ball spins and the
better the spinner or the the better the spin axis is those two factors are what
create a higher high pressure zone and a lower low-pressure zone that’s gonna
force the curveball down better it’s gonna make it break faster so the faster
you can spin the ball and the more cleanly you can spin the ball with one
axis those are two factors that are gonna majorly impact your curveball
all right next let’s talk about how hard you should throw a curveball this one’s
simple throw it as hard as you can possibly throw it and this is something
that’s difficult you have to really focus on it every year when I was
getting ready for spring training I had to work hard to throw my curveball
harder and harder and harder I would use the radar gun as a tool knowing that if
I was throwing 88 in the bullpen or 90 in the bullpen that I needed my
curveball to be something like 15% slower than my fastball so if I was
throwing 90 my goal is that my curveball was always in the 75 to 80 range trying
to throw it as hard as I possibly could and the reason that we wanna throw a
curveball as hard as we can is a couple reasons number one the curveball is a
deceptive pitch the batter is gonna think it’s a fastball until it’s not so
when you throw it slower it has to take a higher trajectory initially so then
make it still under the strike zone so when we throw our curveball the harder
you can throw it the longer it’s going to basically track down the fast balls
path making it look like a fastball a lot longer so when you throw your
curveball slow or if you’re gonna throw for a strike it has to go up before it
comes down but the harder you throw it the less it has to go up before
down that’s the basic thing you need to understand number two is the physics of
the pitch in general the faster you throw it the more that Magnus effect
takes effect and the more so the Magnus effect is the high pressure low pressure
thing we discussed so the harder you throw it the more physics and the air
pressure and all that stuff is going to push the pitch down so you throw a slow
curve even if it had tremendous spin it would not break as sharply looking at in
the hitters perception is if you threw it slower so again you always want to
throw the curveball as fast as you possibly can both for deception purposes
for trajectory purposes and for actual break purposes the faster you throw it
the more the high pressure low pressure zone is going to take effect and that’s
gonna push the pitch down and that’s what a curveball essentially is number
four how does the curve will actually come off your fingertips I teach kids to
try to get their fingernails to the front to try to release the ball like
this it doesn’t actually happen like that but that’s a good way to think
about it when you’re throwing a curveball so what you don’t want to do
is be off to the side and throw the quote-unquote little-league curve little
italy– curve is when we get around it the big league curve is when we get to
the front of it again our goal is to produce forward spin and so when you
think I’m trying to produce topspin whether it’s 12 6 or 1 7 or if you’re
lefty if it’s a 11 5 we’re trying to get to the front of the ball so we can spin
it the best we can if we’re thinking oh I want to get my fingers around it
because that’s what actually happens when we’re throwing it you’re probably
gonna start to mix in too much side spin and the things gonna get sloppy it’s not
gonna break as sharply so make sure when you’re thinking about throwing the pitch
that you’re trying to get in front of the ball you’re trying to eat your
fingernails towards the target and that basically our goal is to get out in
front here even if we know that in slow motion our fingers are gonna slip to the
side of it and then sort of write it at the end to understand that what you can
think about in trying to cue yourself to throwing a better curveball and what
actually happens they can be different as long as your goal is to produce the
desired outcome okay number five this is the biggest thing how do you throw a
better curveball you have to just throw it but the biggest thing about throwing
it is having a partner who can give you feedback so the process I work with we
don’t have a ton of fancy drills I’ve taught tons of kids curve balls and a
lot of them have really good ones the process is not some bunch
of tricks and and weird drills and weird devices it’s about me as coach catching
you over and over giving you feedback about the spin about the shape and about
where your arm is in space so the big part of the process is playing catch
with someone who must be maybe better than you who is maybe a coach or who can
just give you feedback and you know based on what your parameters are so ask
your coach say hey my ball is supposed to spin like this you’ll see this if you
see this tell me please I don’t want to see my hand go out here you should see
my hand go out in front you should see the ball spinning like this if you see
the ball spinning like this please let me know having a really good catch
partner who can tell you oh that one was sharper that one was softer that one was
kind of slur vien shape those are really important things so and the other thing
is on you as a pitcher as a pitcher it’s up to you to understand what the shape
of your curveball should look like what it should look like when it’s good what
it looks like when it’s bad and that also comes from feedback but it comes
from understanding it so if we know that my best curveballs a 12-6
or my best curveballs a17 then if I start to see it breaking two to eight I
need to mentally pick that up because I’m focused and make an adjustment so
the it’s not just the grip it’s not just understanding the physics it’s not just
the cues in your head it’s about really paying attention it’s about getting
feedback from you and your pet your catch partner to try to make an
adjustment on every single pitch so hopefully this video on how to throw a
curveball helped you if you enjoyed the video please like it share with a friend
subscribe the channel definitely check out the links in the description below I
have a full online curveball course it’s got like 20 plus videos it’s here on
YouTube there’s links to it check it out it’s gonna take you step-by-step on all
the other things I just talked about so definitely check that out
and I’ll see you in the next video!

4 thoughts on “How to Throw a Curveball – The Definitive Guide for Baseball Pitchers

  1. Dan, idk if u already made a video like about how often should we throw offspeed pitches. idk if this change a lot from pitcher to pitcher.
    In my case, i am in a situtation that my fastball do notg have low spinrate to cause groundballs and i'm not throwing hard enough to overpower the hitters with my fastball. i think they r hitting my fastball too easily but they have really hard time hitting my offspeed stuff. i am thinking on replacing my FB with my cutter. Anyway, THANK YOU for ur videos. they r really helping me and my teammates. Thanks Dan!

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