How to pitch a baseball

A baseball is “pitched” when it is thrown towards the home plate (previously known as the home base) under rules that were first laid down by Alexander Cartwright in 1845. These were the “Knickerbocker Rules” (from one of the first teams established, the New York Knickerbockers) and many of them are still in play today (whilst some have been completely overturned). Under Knickerbocker Rules, the ball was always thrown underhand (as it was when throwing horseshoes) and this continued until overhand pitching was allowed in 1884.

How do pitches vary?
There are a number of ways on how to pitch a baseball (we’ve all heard of the curveball, right?), all of which vary depending on how you hold your hand, your wrist, the angle of your arm etc. as well as the speed and trajectory in which you throw. One of the first we learn in Little League is the Four-Seam Fastball, so-called because the batter sees four seams heading his way. This is where you hold the ball in your fingertips to reduce the friction in your hand, allowing the ball to leave faster. In the Circle Change-Up you do exactly the same as in a fastball but with a different grip. The ball will travel much slower than a fastball but it will look exactly the same as it travels towards the batter, the idea being that he swings too early and entirely misses the ball.

Key things you need to know
Pitching well can be very difficult and it s something that you will need to work at, even if you play professional. In order to pitch well, most people agree that you need to be able to critique four aspects of your game. Firstly, the physical – pitchers need to exhibit a high level of all-round physical fitness. Secondly, there is the mental aspect, which can be just as intimidating. People expect a great deal from a pitcher and you need to keep focused on the game in order to execute well. Thirdly, you need to be able to break down the mechanical aspects of your game. Recording your sessions will help, as will understanding the mechanics of the sport. How should your body be placed? What should an ideal pitch look like in theory? Finally, make sure you don’t spend too much time just focusing on one thing. You could spend hours working on the mechanics but everyone is different. Practice a few things and see what works.

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