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Hand/Thumb Position @ 3 o'clock

Jul 21, 2008
I have seen many pitching coaches teach that on the down swing ie. 3 o'clock that the thumb/palm should be pointed toward second base. I noticed that Ueno does not do this her thumb/hand is pointed more toward 3B. This seems to help with her arm whip and elbow snap.

Which way is correct?

Yukiko Ueno--the world's best pitcher in 2008.

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May 7, 2008
Watch her hand position again.

At around 12:00 she is pointing towards 3rd base.

At around 3:00 the wrist turns upwards (clockwise) and then starts turning counter clockwise.

Although I cannot see her hand exactly at release, from the follow through of the hand - she is throwing an inside and down breaking pitch. The ball is definitely coming off her hand between the thumb and index figer as her hand is cutting to the inside

The hand (ball, if you will) should be 'pointing' towards 3rd base at 12:00 for a RH pitcher. For a peel drop, just as an example, the hand should quickly rotate so the hand is behind the ball.

It all depends on what the pitcher is throwing and how exaggerated she might be making the mechanics for a harder breaking pitch.

However, at 12:00, it should always be pointing at 3rd for the safest mechanics for the shoulder complex.

Ueno probably gets more contribution from her hip/mid-torso than any pitcher I've seen.
To Hal's point her hand does perform a slight opening/cocking move during her downswing phase.
In simplified jargon, most elite level pitchers rotate their hand position when it reaches 12 o'clock. At this point the palm is facing third (RH pitcher) and remains near this orientation until just prior to entering the release zone at which time the palm turns toward home plate (fastball, dropball).
Jul 21, 2008
With correct mechanics should the palm of the hand ever point toward 2nd base.....From 12 o'clock until release

I agree that Ueno gets her fingers behind the ball at release. Another way to ask my question is if you were doing the T-Drill or K-Drill is the ball pointed toward 2nd or 3rd base.


Jan 24, 2009
If you want some one to learn to arm whip properly then they need to face the palm to 3rd base from the top until very near release. A slightly bent elbow leading into the release will assist in the arm whip. As stated above the hand should make a closing movement at release (depending on which pitch is being thrown).
If you want to add stress to the shoulder at release have the student rotate the hand on the way down from the top until the fingers are on top of the ball and then behind the ball at release. The only way to relieve some of this stress is to bend the elbow in the last 1/8 of the circle just before release. But this diminishes the leverage and speed.
Jul 21, 2008
Rex, The rotating of the hand is what I have seen most pitching coaches in my area teach. They teach that at or shortly after 12 o'clock to rotate the hand/ball to face 2nd base for the down swing. IMO, This would cause you to push the ball and not throw the ball or (arm whip) as you stated.
May 13, 2008
There is a guy, I think it is Denny Thorneberry, who taught a series of framed pitches. His whole focus was on the thumb. As the arm rose the thumb was in, then at the top of the arc the thumb is out then on the downswing the thumb is down through the release when the thumb is again up. One of the best explanations that I have ever come across for the arm torque that begins at the top of the arc. I have had a lot of success, particularly with youngsters, in learing this method.

Amy in AZ.

Super Moderator
May 7, 2008
It is Denny Throneburg. I use that method of teaching.

Look for a VHS tape he put out many years ago called Framing the Pitch- Breaking Down the Windmill Style Fastpitch. It is from FastPitch USA, The Signature Series.

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