By Steven Ellis, former Chicago Cubs pitching pro
A proper grip is one aspect of pitching that is often overlooked by pitchers and baseball coaches. Yet the quality of your pitching grip will help determine the level of your control.
The better your baseball pitching grip, the more control; the better your control, or ability to throw strikes, the more successful you will become at baseball pitching.
For good control, your fingers should have secure contact with the seams of the baseball. Finger tip traction on the seams causes rotation of the ball.
The more rotation, the greater the speed and the more movement in the pitched ball. The more movement on the ball, the harder it is to hit. Proper rotation should "roll back" toward the pitcher or over the top.
Grips involve individual preference and may take some getting used to. Hand size, for one, is a determining factor in your baseball pitching grip. Very young players may need to grip the baseball using three fingers (not counting the thumb) in order to grip it properly. Older players should use two fingers.
Test the grips in practice to decide which are most effective for you. Remember, you are most concerned with control - throwing strikes consistently.
If you're a coach teaching proper pitching grip, check the player's grip every four or five pitches until you are confident he is gripping the ball correctly. Have your pitcher hold the ball firmly, but without squeezing it. Make sure your pitcher understands the concept of finger tip control with the pitching grip.
Even when your pitchers are away from practice, at home, encourage them to practice holding the ball, handle it, grip it whenever he has the opportunity. It will help toughen his fingers and stretch his hands, particularly for some of the off-speed pitches.
If you'd like to receive more of my best tips and techniques to throw harder with better control while reducing the risk of injury, I invite you to subscribe to my free baseball pitching tips here: www.pitchingtips.com/free
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