A curveball breaks down and to the glove side because of the spin created by turning your hand outward. A screwball moves down and to the arm side because of an awkward arm motion -- turning your hand inward. The herky-jerky arm motion keeps the pitch rare, but the quirky break makes it a fierce weapon.
Get a Grip
Find one of the two runways on the baseball, where the seams run parallel and closest to each other. Place the inside part of your middle finger along the length of one of the two-seams, resting the finger inside the runway. This will be your leverage point for putting spin on the ball.
Place the thumb underneath the ball directly under the middle finger for counter-pressure. Curl the index finger so that the tip of the finger rests on the thumb, creating an open loop or circle with the thumb.
Rest your ring and pinky fingers lightly and comfortably on the ball. Do not exert any pressure on the ball with these fingers or the index finger while you throw the pitch. The ball should sit fairly shallow in your palm, resting on the pads just beneath your fingers.
Execute the Pitch
Throw the screwball as you would any other pitch. Give the delivery full effort so that you don't tip the pitch, leading the hitter to believe that it may be a fastball. In fact, you may want to think fastball during your delivery, only to change the pitch at release.
Allow your hand to get out in front of your head and then pull down on the ball with the inside of your middle finger while turning your hand inward. Imagine trying to throw a reverse-spiral football. Do not clamp down with or put any pressure on the ball with any other finger.
Follow through as you would normally. Every pitch, including fastball, slider, curveball and knuckleball, ends in pronation, or turning the hand inward. The screwball just requires a conscious and early pronation.
Tips & Warnings
- Opening up your landing foot may help you get inside the ball for early pronation. Simply step a few more inches toward first if you are a righty or a few more inches towards third if you are a lefty.
- Photo Credit Donald Miralle/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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