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Finger pressure ball movement

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
6,375
113
Dallas, Texas
This thread is to explain finger pressure ball movement.

@riseball is the guy who first talked about it. The 2019 CWS demonstrated that it is possible to throw "non-traditional" breaking pitch.

A "traditional" breaking pitch is one where the Magnus Force directly causes ball movement. That is, to throw a riseball, the spin has to be close to 6-12. To throw a curve ball, the spin should be 3-9. And, so on.

However, that is not the only way to make a pitch break. The best example of a non-Magnus Force breaking pitch is the knuckleball. The knuckleball has little or no spin. Its movement is caused by the seam orientation.

Over many years, people on DFP have talked about their DD having "movement" on the ball even though the spin is not correct. My own DD had some movement on her fastball. I asked her PC about it, and he said he didn't understand why some kids had movement on the fastball and others didn't. (Her PC was a former male fastpitch pitcher and had a ton of experience in teaching successful college pitchers.)

When Riseball first brought this up, I was a Doubting Thomas. But, after watching a lot of softball, reading his comments and watching a ton of videos about breaking pitchers, it seems that Riseball was right and I was wrong. (I seem to be the only person in the softball community to ever make mistakes.)

Riseball said that he would explain about throwing the pitch and how to vary finger pressure to get movement.
 
Last edited:
Jul 9, 2016
235
28
I have noticed "Movement" on my DD Fastball 2 Fingers vs 4.
Still learning and practicing.
HC doesn't even know about this pitch yet.
Seems to "Move" to the outside.
From a BucketHead point of view......
 
May 15, 2008
822
43
Cape Cod Mass.
Just to be clear we are still talking about force on a ball generated by the Magnus Effect, or differences in airflow. Higher flow equals lower pressure, lower flow equals higher pressure, the ball will move toward the side with more flow.
What is counter intuitive is the fact that a smooth area on the ball will impede air flow whereas an area with seams will have higher air flow. A softball or baseball with seams will fly further than a smooth ball without seams, similar to a golf ball with or without dimples.
The first thing is to orient the ball spin so that you have a smooth area, this means that the axis of spin must center through the horse shoe area of the ball. If you throw a bulletspin pitch with the spin axis through the horseshoe you have the smooth area in the front of ball moving into the air. If you tip that axis 30-45 degrees to the right or left you have the smooth area on one side or the other, moving into the air flow. The smooth area will have less air flow, the seam side will have higher air flow, the resulting difference in flow will generate the Magnus Effect causing the ball to move away from the smooth side toward the seam side.
 
Sep 29, 2014
2,384
83
I'm the last person to understand about different types of pitches but I have advocated this for a long time. As guys playing baseball catch we used to do this all the time different grips and different pressure fingers etc. all the time to see what we could get the ball to do. It seems in softball this is discouraged and girls are taught do this and only this way. I think more girls should experiment more with different grips and finger pressures and see what they can get the ball to do, if you find something you really like and want to use in a game the biggest thing is just make sure your have control and it is repeatable and make sure you maintain proper mechanics with everything else. Had a related question in another thread about fastball that had movement...hey if you can consistently throw a fastball with a little down and in/out tail to it keep at it...why would you want the ball to be straight and flat anyway?
 
Nov 8, 2018
674
63
From what I gather listening to Bill Hillhouse is that different finger pressure makes the ball spin differently therefore giving different movement. Makes sense when you think about it. I’ve yet to go there with my dd. Not sure she is ready for that. The concept is much different.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Jun 22, 2019
122
28
Girl on my daughter team throws a curve using finger pressure. It works because it spins like a curve. She puts the tip of her index finger on the back seem and presses down. When she releases the ball, the fingers on the ball other than the index come straight up creating spin.
 
Feb 17, 2014
7,065
83
Orlando, FL
Girl on my daughter team throws a curve using finger pressure. It works because it spins like a curve. She puts the tip of her index finger on the back seem and presses down. When she releases the ball, the fingers on the ball other than the index come straight up creating spin.
Finger pressure determines how the ball comes out of the hand. Inside the ball. Outside of the ball. Behind the ball, etc. A good I/R fastball comes off the hand with the fingers inside the ball and generates 1/7 spin going down and in to a RHB. Get the fingers outside the ball and you will get 11/5 spin and it will break down and away. Adjusting the finger pressure, including the thumb will make the ball do pretty much whatever you want it to.
 
Feb 17, 2014
7,065
83
Orlando, FL
What I described above is a traditional pitch that utilizes the magnus force, blah, blah, blah. As mentioned by @sluggers there is more to the story, but pitchers must master finger pressure and other skills before they can move on to other pitches. I would encourage all pitchers to spend time playing around with spins, finger pressure, etc. In addition to breaking up the monotony of a BP session, to truly advance as a pitcher you need to have a keen awareness of what you body is doing. Once this is developed the possibilities are significant.
 

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