How Does a Baseball Pitcher Throw a Curveball?
A successful major league batter gets a hit only thirty percent of the time he comes to bat. One of the ways pitchers lower these chances even further is by throwing a curveball.
A curveball is a pitch that appears to be moving straight toward home plate but that is actually moving down and to the right or left by several inches. Obviously, a pitch that curves is going to be harder to hit than a fastball that is moving straight.
A proper grip and air resistance are the two basic factors involved in creating a curveball. The trick of throwing curveballs lies in the spinning motion given the ball as it leaves the pitcher’s hand.
To throw a curve, the pitcher releases the ball with a snap of the wrist, spinning the ball with the first finger and thumb. The spinning motion makes the air press a little harder on one side of the ball than on the other, curving the ball’s path.
A well thrown curveball can move as much as seventeen inches either way. If you’ve ever seen a batter jump out of the way of a baseball that ends up crossing over the plate, you’ve seen a good curveball.
A pitcher tries to deceive the batter by throwing different types of curves. A pitch that curves away from the batter may be a “slider.” A “screwball” is a pitch thrown with a break or spin opposite to that of a slider.