How to Throw a Slider – Grips and Tips for Pitchers in Baseball

Okay so let’s talk about the physics of
the slider a little bit. So the slider can be a little bit misunderstood it’s
it’s basically a combination of spin so if you talk about rhapsode oh and some
of these new pitch tracking devices like track man flights go rhapsode oh one of
the terms that they use is pitch efficiency or some czar spin efficiency
so spin efficiency is basically when you have a spin axis say was this one where
I drilled right in the center how well it spins exactly on that axis right so
for curve balls we want them to have exactly one axis spin as fast as
possible a slider is not like that a slider is kind of a mixture of two spins
so when you throw a slider you’re getting to the front of the ball and
then you’re also turning the ball sideways so turning the ball sideways
creating quote-unquote bullet spin would mean the ball doesn’t actually move at
all because when you should fire a bullet out of a gun it goes dead
straight because of the rifling that causes bullet spin so purely bullet spin
like this is just gonna cause no movement and purely one axis spin is
going to create a curveball so the slider actually exists kind of somewhere
in between so you get to the front of the ball a little bit so if you look at
high-speed video and I encourage you to watch for you know major league baseball
games because you’re gonna see all these big weak guys throw them they do
high-speed video all the time showing you know boom just out chapman releases
slider or whatever it is and when they get to the front of this you’ll see them
get to the front of the ball and then as they follow through as they start to
come through and they’ll eventually pronate you pronate on every pitch they
get to the front of the slider a little bit so out in front kinda like 1 o’clock
if they’re the clock was here and this is 12 this is one as if they’re righty
so they’re getting out in front and then they’re spinning it so that’s what we’re
getting a little bit of forward spin and then we’re coming back through and
adding that bullet spin ok so that’s something to think about when you’re
throwing a slider so you’re thinking how do I accomplish this how do I throw this
pitch it’s not getting around it you’re not throwing it like the little D curve
ball quote-unquote you’re not trying to make it break laterally you really have
to think be through the ball get on top of the ball but there’s still just a
little bit of that tool component so if you kind of think about your fingernails
your fingernails are gonna kind of get set like basically pointing towards one
o’clock and a lot of coaches teach the cutter and the slider
like a handshake so you’re trying to point these two fingers towards the
catcher and that’s a really good way to think about it you’re trying to get in
front of the ball and then come back through the ball like that and that’s
how you get this combination this mixture of spin where you have a much
lower spin efficiency because it’s not that you’re not spinning the ball just
on one axis it’s a mixture and then that’s what gets the combination or
break it’s just a very different pitch all right so just a little bit of the
physics overview because the slider is an awesome pitch it can be a great pitch
for one pitcher and a curveball can be a great pitch for another pitcher is this
about finding the right pitch for you but obviously the slider can be a really
devastating offering depending on how well you understand it and how well you
can spin it okay let’s go over the slider grip so unlike the curveball
there’s not I mean there’s a lot of variation in the slider grip okay so it
can kind of be whatever you want it to be but I’m gonna go over just basically
the basics and you can kind of tinker and figure out what feels best for you
so basically curveball grip is like this right so a thumb underneath this seam so
it can kind of catch up and then these two or on the inside of the horseshoe
like that that’s a standard curveball grip and it’s also a slider grip you can
throw a slider like this because you’re getting on the inside you’re getting at
the front of the ball and then on the inside as we give it a combination of
bullet spin and forward spin so we’re getting to the front of it so we get a
little bit of forward spin and then we get that mixture of bullets man that’s
how the pitch pretty much does its thing so to accomplish that we just have to
get a good feel to catch the ball on the front kind of like if this was 12
o’clock and this is 1 o’clock we’re trying to catch it the one o’clock edge
or the 11 o’clock edge for lefties so I when I learned a slider I threw this in
two different seasons I tinkered with it and it was a much easier pitch to learn
and immediately be somewhat effective within a curveball I learned from my
whole bull pen I got probably eight guys told me eight different grips I kid you
not they all had a slightly different way of
throwing it so the other day it’s really mostly about the arm action
and the the feel of it and the way you spin it with your hand not as much on
the grip because if it was all about the grip then there’d be one right way to do
it but really it’s about how you spin it so you could be here we’re on the inside
the seam you could be a little further up I’ve had some guys throw one from
here guys like just sometimes catch their middle
fingers right there on the home the seam like that some guys show me how to catch
it here so either way is I’m throwing it home I have seemed to grab and help it
snap off a little bit my favorite was this one where I was a
little bit here on the inside of the seam and on the front edge of the ball
it helped me get to the front of the baseball a little bit more but again you
could be here and I’ve also had guys show me like this honestly you can grab
it basically just two fingers together somewhere on the descending edge so if
you see like this is 12 this is 6 this is 3 somewhere in the 1 o’clock 2
o’clock area that’s basically where the the ball is descending that’s where I
need to be and I’m overloaded so then boom I get to the front edge of the
baseball so it doesn’t matter so much what you’re doing as long as you’re
gripping it as long as you’re getting to the front of the ball because that’s
where the slider is created it’s not this loopy side spinny thing it’s
getting to the front and then pull them coming back through it afterwards
as far as thumb placement you’ve a couple options you can put on the very
bottom some guys will put on the side no one some guys kind of like put their
thumb like that it just depends this is a personal preference you can have your
thumb straight you could have your thumb bent or you could come up the side of
the ball a little bit some of those change how to interact so whether you’re
here here or here it’s pretty much up to you there’s a lot of tinkering you can
do with the slider so I’d encourage you again just to go out and throw it make
sure you have a throwing partner who will give you good feedback and they’ll
tell you hey that one was sharper that one was not as sharp that one looked
very different that one looked kind of Slurpee that one looked kind of straight
up and down stare at an angle everyone throws the differ
version of pretty much the same pitch and you could have a different signature
so if you’ll remember Brad Lidge in the big leagues his slider broke mostly
straight down right here a little bit of lateral English but not as much guy like
John Smoltz Chris Sale these guys have a lot of lateral movements probably equal
parts down and lateral so it can be what you want it to be so don’t force it into
into any one mold but the way you grip it is gonna have an influence a little
bit on the shape but it’s also going to have an influence of you getting in the
front but the core of the slider is going to the front of the ball and then
applying forward spin and bullet spin so it’s not just on the side because then
it wouldn’t break it all it’s why bullets fly straight and it’s not a
curveball because we’re not getting on the front of it it’s a combination of
the two that’s the easiest way to think about it so when you grab the baseball
and you’re about to throw a slider tinker with it throw them a ton and
practice ask for a feedback and find the grip that works for you you

7 thoughts on “How to Throw a Slider – Grips and Tips for Pitchers in Baseball

  1. Be sure to subscribe to my channel if you liked this video! And, don't forget to check out my baseball-themed VLOG here:

  2. But if you only apply bullet spin it’s gonna break because it’s not going to have fastball spin

  3. I’ve heard many people say the slider causes stress on the elbow and is “dangerous” to throw. Is that a myth or do you agree?!

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