After enough practice you’ve probably mastered the curveball, which is great!
But there’s one problem, your opponents know it’s your best pitch and they’re always ready for it.
You just need to add some new weapons to your arsenal and we have the perfect pitch on deck; the knuckleball.
The knuckleball offers a greater learning challenge than the curveball but the payoff is worth it and it’s a great pitch to develop before moving onto more advanced pitches.
First, let’s talk hand placement.
Just like the curveball, this pitch requires unique finger placement.
We’ve already established the ball’s hole side and smooth side when we learned the curveball.
- Unlike the curveball, the knuckleball is going to be held with the hole side facing outward, away from your body.
- Your pointer finger and middle finger will grip the top of the ball as close to the top two most holes as possible without covering them, and using only your first knuckle on each finger, not your whole finger. (Think of it as using on the tips of your pointer and middle finger to hold the ball.)
- Use your thumb to support the bottom of the ball.
- Tuck your ring finger against the side of the ball and tight against your palm
- Then tuck your pinky next to your ring finger.
- When you pitch, let go of the knuckleball about 3/4s of the way through your pitching motion. (It will be tricky to get used to holding the ball with only your knuckles and letting go earlier than other pitches, so make sure you practice, practice, and practice some more.)
- Try letting go at different times to see what you are most comfortable with.
The flight pattern of a curveball didn’t need an explanation since the name gives it away.
The knuckleball, on the other hand, is a little harder to figure out.
The point of the knuckleball is to prevent the ball from having any sort of spin when it’s thrown.
This makes knuckleballs very erratic, each pitch can vary from the last.
The more you pitch and practice, the more you will learn about how your knuckleball moves through the air.
- Try reversing the ball in your hand once you are comfortable throwing it normally.
- When you reverse the ball, the hole side will be facing your palm. This will change the ball’s flight pattern from a normal knuckleball.
- If you want a real challenge you can make a dimple in the reversed knuckleball between the holes that rest on the inside of your ring finger.
- The dimple will pop when you throw it, creating a truly erratic flight pattern.
Remember, a knuckleball won’t always fly right through the strike zone like a curveball will.
(The purpose of a knuckleball is to get your opponent to fall for the erratic pattern and strikeout!)
Learning to throw the perfect knuckleball will take a little longer than the perfect curveball, but mastering it will turn you into a real lean, mean, pitching machine.
Your opponents will tremble at the plate knowing you are well armed and ready to play.
Once you are confident with your knuckleball, you can move onto more advanced pitches.
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