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If you want to learn how to throw a four-seam fastball, you're going to love this article.
In this step-by-step guide, I'll show you how to grip a four-seamer with pictures and descriptions from MLB pitchers.
I'll also share some of my favorite four-seam fastball tips, tricks and techniques that I picked up along the way in the Chicago Cubs organization.
What is a four-seam fastball?
A four-seam fastball is almost always the fastest and straightest pitch a pitcher throws. It is also generally the most frequently utilized.
The four-seam fastball is typically one of the easiest pitches for a pitcher to place because of the lack of movement on the pitch. It is often used to overpower hitters, with the goal being for the pitch to get to the strike zone faster than the hitter can handle, thus creating a swing and miss or weak contact because of a late swing.
The pitch derives its name because upon being released, four seams come into view on the ball with each rotation.
Average speed of a four-seam fastball
Average pitch speed for a four-seam fastball in Major League Baseball
MLB average spin rate of four-seam fastball: 2226 rpm
MLB average strike percentage: 65.2%
What does a four-seam fastball look like?
How do you throw a four-seam fastball?
- Step 1: Grip the ball with two fingers across the open space between seams and the edges of your fingers slightly over the seam. (This is the way fielders are typically instructed to throw the ball, because it produces the straightest plane.)
- Step 2: Check that the horseshoe seam is facing into the ring finger of your throwing hand.
- Step 3: Position your thumb directly beneath the baseball and allow it to rest on the smooth leather. The perfect location for your thumb is in the center of the horseshoe seam on the bottom of the baseball.
- Step 4: Hold the ball loosely in your fingertips. A loose grip allows for there to be a gap between the ball and the palm of your hand, and minimizes friction between your hand and the baseball. Less friction will result in a quicker release of the ball!
- Step 5: Keep your wrist loose to get maximum backspin and velocity on the pitch.
Four-seam fastball grips
Three keys to developing a great four-seam fastball
- It is important to remember not to “choke” the baseball. Don’t jam the ball back too far in your palm. Choking the ball will cause a decrease in velocity.
- You want to keep the ball out on your fingertips as much as comfortably possible, yet still possess good control.
- This pitch typically will stay straight depending on your arm angle. Your arm angle is the angle that your arm is at when you release the ball. The lower your arm angle, the more the ball will move on this pitch. The higher the arm angle, the straighter it will be.
One of the big misconceptions in baseball is that playing the game keeps you in shape to pitch. I wish that was true. It's not.
To get to the next level, preparation matters. Big League pitchers spend far more time preparing to pitch than actually pitching.
If you believe adding velocity could be critical to your success, check out my pitching workouts for baseball pitchers.
What do you think?
Now it's time to hear from you:
How do you throw a four-seam fastball? Can you share a pic of your four-seam grip?
Or maybe you have an idea of how I can make this article even better.
Either way, leave a comment below and let me know.
You can also keep learning in these related articles:
- 13 Youth Pitching Grips For Little League Pitchers
- 8 Most Popular Baseball Pitches Explained (And How They Move)
- Pitching Grips 101 - Fastball, Curveball, Changeup, Slider And More
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- How To Throw A Curveball (with Pics and GIFs)
- How To Throw A Cutter (with Pics and GIFs)
- How To Throw A Fastball (with Pics and GIFs)
- How To Throw A Forkball (with Pics and GIFs)
- How To Throw A Four-Seam Fastball (with Pics and GIFs)
- How To Throw A Sinker (with Pics and GIFs)
- How To Throw A Slider (with Pics and GIFs)
- How To Throw A Splitter (with Pics and GIFs)
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- Here's A Pitching Drill To Get More 12-6 Spin On Your Curveball