Iâ€™ve noticed that some pitchers (Greg Maddux and Mariano Rivera, for example) tuck their thumb on their fastball grip. I seem to recall that Dick said his son Ryan did that as well. Is this just a matter of personal preference, or does it create any sort of advantage for the pitcher, such as increased movement?
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I do not see any advantage. I do see a lot of kids who do not however tuck their ring finger below so it is out of the way and does not create more friction at release.
Like any other grip it should be about how it feels. For example, we have seen so many pitchers who come here who struggle with their change-up because a coach or instructor told them to use a “circle” grip. But it did not feel comfortable. So we help them find a comfortable grip which they can stick with and practice often.
Tucking the thumb is the same thing. Does it feel comfortable?
I would highly recommend that you all start checking finger positions on the ball. Ultimately it is all about how those fingers create force. So it’s really not so much about the grip but about how those fingers finally apply force at the very end. That can cost a pitcher 3-5 mph since the fingers are finally the last thing to transfer force to the ball.
It is just like a golf swing. Is the club square at impact. Or punting a football. If you get on the side of the ball you are applying force away from the center so you get more horizontal rotation whose forces move in the direction of the spin…thus a loss of velocity from a misaligned finger.
I just bought your book and I’m glad this was brought up. My question for you is more on how tight you should actually grip a fastball. I tend to grip my fastball pretty loose, but in the book you said something about a lose grip making it difficult to transfer the forces to the ball. Do you reccomend a tight grip for a 4-seam fb or what is the happy medium?
A better word than tight is firm…which is what I believe I wrote.
You cannot apply force without some tension. Wet noodles do not work.
Would it be correct to say that you want a firm grip, but a loose grip rather than a tight grip?
I have noticed that if I am squeezing the ball a little too tight, than I am trying to muscle the ball in as opposed to letting my trunk deliver my arm like a whip. I have found it is harder to muscle the ball in with a loose grip.
Dear Coach Mills,
In the photos above of Maddux and Rivera, it looks as though Maddux has his hand too close to his head while Rivera’s arm is in a good position. ??Would you please comment on the causes/effects of a pitcher’s hand too close to his head at the landing position.
When you post photos of pitchers always make sure you use the entire body including the legs and feet.??
It appears that Maddux has begun trunk rotation and Rivera is at landing.?? But this must be verified by seeing the entire body.
This might change your assumptions.??
I was reading through some of the prior posts when I saw the photo of Maddux. Sorry for the confusion. But, I meant to ask the general question about the throwing arm too close to the head at landing.
Please restate your question. Are you asking specifically about Maddux?
No, I happened to see the photo of Maddux in a prior discussion and meant to ask a general question about having the throwing hand too close to the head at landing (I think you compared it to “throwing darts”). Is this an indication of breaking the hands too quickly and getting the arm up too soon?
Again, I apologize for not being clear in my prior posts.
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