How To Throw A Moving FastBall
There are various ways to make a fastball "move" up or down and there is no definitive age when you can start teaching kids to throw these pitches. Here are some tips on how to throw a moving fastball.
My rule of thumb is if the kid is consistently throwing strikes and his hands are big enough to grip the ball correctly then you can begin to teach them how to throw the two seam and four seam fastball. Something to consider is that the ball doesn't move very much given the Little League distance is only 46' from the pitchers mound to home plate.
In kids baseball leagues, teaching kids how to pitch correctly takes time and patience. Teaching them to throw the moving fastballs will take time also. By the way, teaching youth baseball kids to throw curve balls is strongly discouraged.
The two seam fastball is meant to sink while the four seam is meant to "rise". The actual movement of each of those pitches depends on factors such as arem strength, arm speed and angle at which the pitcher releases the ball.
The Mechanics of the Two Seam Fastball
The two seam fastball is effective in making the batters hit ground balls. However, it is prone to produce more passed balls and wild pitches.
- Instruct the pitcher to grab the baseball and position it so the shortest distance between the seams parallel with the index and middle finger.
- Next, place the index and middle finger on the each of those seams.
- Position the fingers so the both fingers are touching the ball from fingertip to palm.
- The thumb should be placed under the ball with the pad of the thumb resting securely on the seam (where the seam forms a "U" or horseshoe).
- Now release the ball using your normal release.
The Mechanics of the Four Seam Fastball
The four-seam fastball is a pitch that should be used to tease batters to swing. The idea is to throw it between chest and eye level (no lower). To a batter, seeing that ball coming at eye level seems like the perfect pitch to hit. But in fact, it is difficult because the batter must raise the bat up to hit the ball. By the time your in position the ball is past the batter.
The downside with this pitch is if it thrown low (say waist high), the ball is prone to be hit for extra bases or even a home run.
- To throw a four seam fastball grab the ball and rotate it so you can read the lettering on the ball (left to right).
- Next grip the ball around lettering to form the letter "C" (for a lefty or a reverse "C" for a righty). You should still be able to see the writing of the ball in between the index finger and the thumb.
- Now position the tips of the index and middle finger on the seams furthest away.
Now tuck the thumb underneath the ball centered between the index and middle fingers. It's ok if the thumb doesn't rest on the seam. It is important that you can "push off" the seam with the index and middle finger to get the correct ball rotation.
Throwing these two pitches takes time. You may see results until you advance to the next level, where the mound is further away from the plate.