Pitching Grips: The Complete Guide

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Understanding all pitching grips is the most essential element to becoming a successful pitcher. Your grip for each pitch can determine how fast you throw, and how much movement your ball is going to have. And as we all know, velocity along with movement on your pitches, is the ultimate formula to pitching success.

There are literally hundreds of different variations of baseball pitching grips, and hundreds of different ways to throw specific pitches. Some pitching grips are far superior over the others, and it's important to understand which grips will be the most beneficial for getting batters out, and which grips will promote arm health.Proper pitching starts with the right grip on the baseball.

Here are the 7 most common baseball pitches and pitching grips:

1. Four-seam fastball

grip-four-seam-fastball

Here's how to throw a four-seam fastball:

The four-seam fastball is the most commonly used pitching grip in baseball. This is because of its simplicity, accuracy, and velocity potential, which is far superior over other grips.

You will simply place your index and middle fingers across the horseshoe portion of the seams.

  • Hold this pitch very lightly, similar to an egg
  • Keep your wrist and arm motion very loose

The four-seam is the simplest pitch to throw, but is the most effective when thrown correctly. Your goal with this pitch should be to generate backspin on the ball, and obtain natural movement.

Both can be achieved by utilizing the steps above.

Put it all together and it looks like this:

Madison Bumgarner fastball

Love watching MLB pitcher Madison Bumgarner throw that four-seam fastball. He's got one of the best four-seam fastballs in the game.

2. Two-seam fastball

grip-two-seam-fastball

Here's how to throw a two-seam fastball:

The two-seam fastball is the second most popular pitching grip. While the two-seamer is typically 3-4 mph slower than the four-seam, it has much more movement potential.

When thrown correctly, the two-seam will tail into a right-handed batter, and away from a left-handed batter if you throw from the right side.

  • Gripped opposite of the four-seam
  • Place your index and middle fingers on top of the seams
  • Apply index finger pressure
  • Or put your fingers together in-between the seams

Both the pressure and closed finger techniques will allow you to see nasty two-seam movement.

Put it all together and it looks like this:

Zach Britton fastball

Love watching MLB pitcher Zach Britton throw that two-seam fastball. He's got one of the best two-seam fastballs in the game.

3. Cut fastball

grip-cut-fastball

Here's how to throw a cut fastball:

The cut fastball has become one of the most popular grips in baseball because of Mariano Rivera's incredible success.

Although many pitchers are interested in the cutter, it is the most difficult fastball grip to learn.

  • Index and middle fingers across the seams
  • But grip the outer half of the ball

In order to achieve, the cutting movement, you will apply middle finger pressure to the ball. There is no wrist pronation (turning of the wrist) with the cut fastball.

The movement from a cutter is the result of the grip alone.

Put it all together and it looks like this:

Adam Wainwright cutter

Love watching MLB pitcher Adam Wainwright throw that cutter. He's got one of the best cutter in the game.

4. Change up

grip-changeup

Here's how to throw a changeup:

Besides your fastball, the changeup is the second most important pitching grip you need to learn.

In order to be successful at the college or even pro level, you must be able to throw a changeup with consistency.

This pitch takes an incredible amount of practice, but once you master it, hitters will start to look foolish.

There are several variations of a changeup grip including the circle, vulcan, three-finger, and the palmball. The circle change is the most popular, and it is arguably the most effective one.

In the picture at the above link, you will notice a circle changeup grip. My middle and ring fingers are on top of the seams like a two-seam fastball.

I primarily threw a two-seam fastball, so I also threw a two-seam circle change. If you rely on a four-seam, then simply place your middle and ring fingers across the seams. This is a very important strategy because your changeup will have the same spin as your fastball except it will hopefully be 6-8 mph slower.

Put it all together and it looks like this:

Felix Hernandez changeup

Love watching MLB pitcher Felix Hernandez throw that changeup. He's got one of the best changeups in the game.

5. Curveball

grip-curveball

Here's how to throw a changeup:

The curveball is the most popular off-speed pitching grip in baseball, and for good reason. Always focus on developing your fastball and changeup before trying to throw a curveball.

There are three popular curveball grips including the beginners, knuckle or spike curve, and the straight curve. In the picture above, you can see a straight curve grip. This is the best grip for beginners, and is the easiest to control.

  • Grip the outer seam with your middle and index fingers together

Put it all together and it looks like this:

Clayton Kershaw curveball

Love watching MLB pitcher Clayton Kershaw throw that curveball. He's got one of the best curveballs in the game.

6. Slider

grip-slider

Here's how to throw a slider:

If you're having difficulty throwing a curveball, a slider may be a great alternative.

Hitters often times have a much more difficult time hitting a slider because it has sharper break, and is typically thrown much faster. The only real difference between a slider and curveball is the wrist action. Unlike a curveball, a slider does not have movement because of wrist supination.

Slider movement is the result of the baseball rolling off your middle finger and thumb. To achieve the greatest amount of movement you should apply middle finger pressure.

Put it all together and it looks like this:

Corey Kluber slider

Love watching MLB pitcher Corey Kluber throw that slider. He's got one of the best sliders in the game.

7. Forkball

grip-forkball

Here's how to throw a forkball:

Throwing a forkball should not be your first option for off-speed. However, if you're having a difficult time seeing a reduction of velocity with your changeup, then a forkball might be a good option.

Keep in mind, a forkball can put a considerate amount of stress on the elbow, so I would definitely advocate learning a changeup as an alternative.

For the forkball, you will simply split your middle and index fingers so that they are rest on the outer portions of the baseball. I have extremely flexible fingers, and I was able to split pretty far. Just be careful with this pitch grip.

Put it all together and it looks like this:

Kevin Gausman forkball

Love watching MLB pitcher Kevin Gausman throw that forkball. He's got one of the best forkballs in the game.

Keep working hard. No off days. No excuses.

Learn more about my off-season workout programs for pitchers

TUFFCUFF pitching program 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. Your work ethic matters. Being committed to the process matters. Big league pitchers spend far more time preparing to pitch than actually pitching. The journey is just as important as the end result.


If you believe adding velocity could be critical to your success, check out my proven programs for pitchers of all ages.

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