What makes a knuckleball throw a kick to the curb, is that the pitch usually confuses the batter since the ball does not spin or has a little bit of it, while airborne.
Due to the unpredictable nature of a knuckleball throw in a softball game, it has become a highly sought after skill by many players and coaches.
Fastpitch games attract highly competitive teams at international levels, therefore, it becomes imperative that such kind of high-value skills gets much appreciated.
Like all the other throws in a fastpitch softball match, the knuckleball embraces the windmill type of movement. In this article, you are going to learn the step by step way of throwing a softball using the knuckleball technique. Stay tuned!
Step 1. Grab your softball at the seams using fingertips/ C section
Dig in, your index, middle, and ring fingers into the seam of your ball excluding the small finger. Ensure that your thumb firmly holds the ball in place while at the same time keeping the palm at the furthest point. This kind of a grip ensures that the ball gets delivered with no or minimal spin.
Step 2. Get yourself going
Put your best foot forward and shift your body weight onto it. Ensure that your hind foot has its toes pointed outwards at an angle of between30 to 45. For an overhand pitch, ensure that you bring your hand over your head, while keeping your back straight and eyes focused straight ahead. For the underhand pitch, just bring back across your hip.
Step 3. Releasing the ball
In both cases, that is, the overhand and underhand, ensure that you extend your hand to the fullest and release it, at the hip position. When you are releasing the ball, make sure that your fingers are tightly squeezed together.
Then, snap out the ball from your fingers, like popping it out. Squeezing your fingers will minimize the spin of the ball. It is also advisable not to flicker your wrist in fastpitch matches, keep it stable as long as you can. It will eliminate spinning.
Step 4. Follow through your pitch
Like any other game that involves a target. Maintenance of aim and follow through is very crucial. Ensure that you extend your fingers all the way to full length when releasing your ball. Always have your feet in a parallel position at the end of the pitch.
Another thing to keep in mind when making your pitch is not to let the batter know that you are going to throw at him. It’s quite simple, just hide that knuckle grip in your gloves until the last minute.
Step 5. Practice and more practice
Just like any other skill out there, you need to improve on what you have. This only gets achieved by lots of practice. Not only does practice increase your confidence levels during match situations, you become a professional in your game.
Strive to have your own extra exercises out of the pitch, and eventually you will get recognized. You probably know that here is no other way to be good at anything than practicing, right?
Improving your throws
Basically those are the steps that you need to practice and perfect before you throw a knuckleball.
So, let’s look at how you can improve your throws:
- Improve on your fitness levels: fastpitch games require a high level of athleticism. Make it your daily hobby to engage in some physical fitness activities. You can do some strength training, run some miles, among others. All these make sure that you don’t run out gas during matches since much of it is physical.
- Join a pitching clinic: after performing some few mavericks with your new acquired knuckleball skill, it’s time to find pitching clinic. In these place, you will get lots of great advice on how to improve your skill. A suitable one would take around nine weeks with a session once every week.
- What not to forget is to follow through your pitch. As you follow it with your hand it will stay on track up to the end.
- During play times, make sure that you at least keep twisting your hips. Your speed majorly comes from this area. Having them flexible and ready will greatly boost your output.
- Always be very keen at the release stage, as it matters a lot especially during fastpitch matches. It is the proverbial finish. You could have started well and put your all, but a small mistake during this phase costs your team.
- Try to keep your elbows close to your body as you can and also keep them in a low natural position.
- Always be confident with yourself when throwing that pitch. Lack of it or being overconfident could bring some pain to you and your teammates.
- If you have a problem with timing, you can always count. For example, you could have numbers 1,2, and 3 representing the various positions on the cycle. This makes it easy to remember what you need to do at what time. This method gets very helpful especially if you tense up during a game situation.
- Overcome mistakes and learn from them: As a human being, you are prone to mistakes and you are definitely going to make one or two during your pitching. Just overrule it and learn something. Avoid sulking over it all the time as it won’t help. For that matter, it will aggravate your current situation and reduce your productivity as a pitcher. Accept mistakes, learn from them and have fun.
Following the simple steps outlined above, and with constant practice and dedication will make you a pro at knuckleball throw. The smartest thing with this skill is that you keep the batter guessing, therefore making it hard for him or her to hit your ball.
Mastering this skill and applying it appropriately will definitely make you a champ, an asset, and a sought-after player.