How To Throw

The Different Pitches

in Baseball


Different Pitches and the Reasons We Throw Them

Four-seam fastball - Maximum velocity and should have best
command. This is the most important pitch because everything else
works off of it.

Two-seam fastball (a.k.a. sinker) - This fastball does just that,
it sinks. A very good pitch for inducing ground balls.

Cut-fastball - Holding the ball slightly off center, it will run
away from the arm side. Usually a few mph slower than a four-seam
fastball. Good for jamming hitters.

Split-finger fastball - Strictly an out pitch. Dives down hard at
home plate, many times getting missed swings.

Change-up - Slower than a fastball, but thrown with the same arm
action. The arm speed is very important in getting the maximum
effectiveness. This pitch helps control bat speed.

Curveball - Most often a strikeout pitch. Dives down as it gets
to home plate. Many times the velocity is as effective as the
movement, because itís usually much slower than a fastball.

Slider - In between a fastball and a curveball. Itís harder than
a curveball with less downward action. The slider has a smaller
break with a tighter spin. Many times you can see a small dot in
the baseball as itís coming toward you.

Knuckleball - A pitch that has very little or no spin. It's very
difficult to control and catch. No one knows what it will do
usually, which makes it also hard to hit. A very hard pitch to

Split Finger Fastball or Forkball - Thrown hard while held
between the index and middle fingers at varying depths. Usually
tumbles and drops violently, often diagonally. Known as an out
pitch, but also can be hard on the arm.

Chris Cumberland has been a professional pitcher in the Yankees,
Red Sox, Braves, Blue Jays and Padres organizations since 1993.
In 2004 he has been invited to Spring Training with the Kansas
City Royals, where his father is the Major League pitching coach.

Chris is also the pitching instructor for Atlanta-based Visual
Sports Imaging, where he uses VSI's Pro Motion Computerized Video
Analysis to ensure maximum pitching effectiveness and safety.
Chris can be reached for pitching lessons, clinics & schools by
contacting him at

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