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How to Throw a Good Curveball

How to Throw a Good Curveball

Learning how to throw a curveball can take a lot of practice, but once a player has mastered the curveball, it can be one of the most important parts of a pitcher’s arsenal. A player who has a well thrown curveball can dominate the competition and find success on the mound. Curveballs appear to the batter like a normal throw, but the added spin helps the ball break in a different direction as it approaches home plate. Professional players in the MLB can add enough spin to make the ball break over a full foot, which can be extremely difficult for batters to track and successfully hit. As young players begin learning this pitch, you will find that any movement they can get from the ball will intimidate batters and lead to more strikeouts. This guide will teach you a few curveball tips and how to grip and release your curveballs. With some practice and a little luck, your opposing batters will swing early and miss the ball every time. 

When practicing how to throw a curveball, it is extremely important to note that pitching mechanics are one of the most important parts of this pitch. If your pitching mechanics are in rough shape, it will be more difficult to throw curveballs successfully, and you will be at a higher risk of injuring your arm. 

Important factors in your curveball


Knowing how to hold your curveball is the first step in mastering this effective pitch. In a standard curveball grip, the middle and index fingers are placed strategically onto the ball to generate the most spin. The middle finger sits to the side of the seam while the index is placed on the leather. Your thumb is used to hold the ball directly on the opposite side. The ball should sit on your palm, and there should be little to no space between the ball and your palm. This enables pitchers to put greater pressure on the ball upon release and generate additional spin. The knuckle of the ring finger is lightly placed on the side of the ball only for slight ball control. This finger won’t be utilized in the release motion.  The pinky finger should remain completely off the ball. 


Spin is the key component of a curveball. You want to create topspin on your ball or at a slight angle. Topspin creates a high-pressure zone slightly above the ball, forcing it to break when pushed away from this zone. The two fingers placed on top of the ball pull down on the ball as the pitch is released, and this generates the spin that creates the desired movement. It is important to ensure your wrist remains upright upon release to avoid unwanted sidespin. 


While releasing a curveball, it is important to maintain the speed of your pitch, but you will need to reduce it slightly. We recommend throwing about 85% of your fastball. Most of the speed in your normal pitch needs to be transferred into the spin of the ball. Curveballs have a gradual break, but the closer you can get a pitch to the 85% mark, the more it will appear to break. It is important to work on the fundamentals of this pitch before increasing speed. If you increase speed before having the pitch dialed in, you will lose control of the pitch and won’t be able to strike players out on the diamond. 

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