Teaching the Curve
One of the more advanced techniques in fastpitch pitching is the curveball, a pitch which should only be taught after a pitcher shows a solid understanding of fastballs, changeups and dropballs.
The curveball is the opposite of the screwball. When pitched to a right-handed batter, a well-executed curveball swerves away from the batter’s body at the last moment. The softball pitching tips here will help a budding pitcher develop a strong curve.
General Pitch Philosophy
The curveball is designed to complement other breaking pitches to mess with a batter’s sense of timing and balance. The curveball can be difficult to master, as it needs to have a significant movement to have a real effect on the batter. The ball must spin in the right direction and rapidly enough to move for it to be effective. It can be a useful pitch when the bases are loaded with runners to force a strike, or when the batter is positioned too far back from the plate as it forces her to extend her reach.
© Kim Jew Photography Studio
The ball should be gripped along them seams, as the pitcher would grip a typical fastball.
Body Position and Shape
For this softball pitch, the pitcher can lean a little of her weight onto the gloved-hand side – the left side, for a right-handed pitcher. This will help set the stance needed to create the curve as the ball is released. The pitcher needs to learn to keep this sideways lean subtle – an exaggerated lean will telegraph to a perceptive batter that a curve is coming and cause the pitcher to become predictable. Too much lean can also ruin the pitcher’s balance. The real spin must be generated from the arm and wrist movements and the way the ball is released.
© Helmut Steinwender
The rotation of the curve can be achieved by tilting the wrist before the ball is released. For a right-handed pitcher, this means tilting the hand to the left so that the fingers roll off as the ball is released, creating a spin that will veer towards the pitcher’s gloved side. The same effect can also be achieved with a wrist snap. The pitcher needs to keep a firm grip on the seam and flick the wrist inward as the ball is released to generate the spin in the right direction. All pitchers are different and each will have their preferred method. If the pitcher is generating a good rotation but the pitch isn’t breaking before it reaches the batter, it may need to be slowed down.
The curve is a very good pitch for your pitchers to have in their fastpitch pitching arsenal. It cam also be a little difficult to learn. What have you done to make this pitch easier for your pitchers to throw for strikes?
What Works for Your Pitchers?
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