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How To Throw A Splitter

By Steven Ellis, former Chicago Cubs pitching pro

Baseball Pitching Training

NEW! CONDITIONING PROGRAM FOR YOUTH PITCHERS AGES 8-13

Roger Craig, formerly of the San Francisco Giants, is probably the person most responsible for the development of the split-fingered fastball, or splitter, in the 1980's.

Today, Tim Hudson throws a nasty splitter.

The way how to throw a splitter is to grip it is by placing your fingers with the seams, as you would with the sinking fastball. Almost splitting your index and middle fingers to the sides of the ball.

You should see a tiny gap between the small web of your two fingers and the ball.

Experiment where your thumb should be. Most pitchers have more success with their thumb to the side however, you can also place your thumb underneath the ball.

Throw the splitter as you would the fastball, but make sure you push the ball with your thumb through your fingers.

At first, when you throw the splitter, you might get little rotation, like the knuckle ball. This is good. The more you practice the splitter, the more you will get side spin.

A good splitter will have slight side or tumbling spin, not a tight, hard spin like the curve or slider.

Some split-finger fastball pitchers use this pitch effectively as there change-up. Taking a little bit off this pitch and splitting your fingers more is considered the forkball. Also with the forkball, by spreading your fingers more, you need to place your thumb directly behind the ball.

To feel comfortable throwing a splitter with your fingers around the baseball, you must practice spreading your fingers around the ball any chance you get. This means when you're watching TV or hanging out around the house, work on your splitter grip on the baseball.

For former pitcher Rick Aguilera of the Cubs, he split his fingers around a softball (because it was much bigger than a baseball) for weeks so he could get comfortable with the position of his fingers.

Effective to a right or lefty, keep this pitch down!



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