How To Throw A Sinker (with Pics and GIFs)

How to throw a sinker bannerIf you want to learn how to throw a sinker, you're going to love this article.

In this step-by-step guide, I'll show you how to grip a sinker with pictures and descriptions from MLB pitchers.

I'll also share some of my favorite sinker tips, tricks and techniques that I picked up along the way in the Chicago Cubs organization.

What is a sinker?

The sinker is a pitch with hard downward movement, known for inducing ground balls. It's generally one of the faster pitches thrown and, when effective, induces some of the weakest contact off the bats of opposing hitters.

Sinkerballers — pitchers who rely on the sinker — are adept at inducing ground balls and limiting home runs. Such is often possible due to the sinker's sharp downward movement, which is conducive for inducing weak contact.

A sinker or a true sinking fastball is a heavy pitch. It shouldn’t explode off the bat. The main purpose of the sinker is to produce ground balls. The pitch should move slightly (a couple of inches) to result in a ground ball.

Average speed of a sinker

88.6 MPH

Average pitch speed for a sinker in Major League Baseball


MLB average velocity difference from fastball: 4.9 MPH

MLB average spin rate of sinker: 2126 rpm

MLB average strike percentage: 64.3%

What does a sinker look like?

Chris Heston sinker
Chris Heston sinker
Phil Hughes sinker

How do you throw a sinker?

  1. Step 1: Turn your hand outward, almost like a screwball. You will be throwing the inside half of the ball, resulting in side spin.
  2. Step 2: The key is the arm action of the follow through. After throwing, force your pitching thumb to graze your lead leg. It’s erroneous to believe the follow through should go past the outer leg with the little finger past your thigh. This counterproductive action straightens the ball.
  3. Step 3: Practice turning your pitching hand inward. Allow your thumb to pass your leg while your fingers remain on the outside to provide an excellent sink to the ball!

Sinker grips

Sinker grip images

What do you think?

Now it's time to hear from you:

How do you throw a sinker? Can you share a pic of your sinker 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.



Get exclusive pitching tips

Are you in yet? Click the button below and enter your email to get advanced pitching strategies that I only share with my 87,431 newsletter subscribers. (This is where I share my best material, and it's FREE!)

GET EXCLUSIVE TIPS FROM STEVEN »