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Movement pitch theory

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
5,845
63
Dallas, Texas
This is kind of the quiet time for softball...so, I'm throwing this out for discussion. A lot of this thinking is based on Riseball's many posts about "cutters". (For full disclosure, I didn't agree with what he was saying initially. In retropsect, he was right and I was wrong.)

Why is is important to understand these types of breaking pitches? Pitching instructors should be tell the athletes what they are "really" trying to do rather than the current gobbledgook served by most PIs.

The more I've looked at this and read Riseball's posts and looked at videos, it seems there are two groups of movement pitches. The first group is Magnus effect breaking pitches. The second group is seam orientation breaking pitches.

MAGNUS EFFECT MOVEMENT PITCHES

There seems to be a group of "major" movement pitches based on the Magnus effect. (The Magnus effect is that spinning balls thrown with a spin axis not collinear with the direction of movement curve.)

The major movement pitches are the riseball and drop. These are the common Magnus effect pitches. Backspin makes the ball fall less than a normal fastball. Top sping makes the ball drop more than a normal fastball. You can see similar movement in tennis, ping pong, golf, etc. There is plenty of video evidence for these pitches.

There is some video evidence of Magnus effect curve balls. (Curve ball is defined as a breaking pitch moving left to right or right to left. Note that this is *NOT* the same definition as a baseball curve.)

There is very little video evidence of Magnus effect screwballs. Perhaps someone is throwing one, but they are few and far between.

SEAM ORIENTATION MOVEMENT PITCHES

The other way to make a ball move is to have a non-symmetric seam orientation,

The most well known seam orientation pitch is the knuckle ball. The knuckle ball is thrown with very little spin. As ball rotates, the orientation of the seams changes. The result is that a well thrown knuckleball can actually change directions on its way to the plate.

In college softball and in the MLB, there are a lot of bullet spin pitches being thrown. Many of those The bullet spin pitches have a non-symetric seam orientation, making the ball move. If you watch slow motions of MLB pitchers, many of them are throwing pitches with bullet spin but with an asymetric seam orientation.

Attached is a example showing a bullet spin pitch in the "nose up" position. There is more drag (i.e., friction) at the top of the ball than the bottom of the ball. This causes the ball to have some lift.

Another example is the cutter. The image is attached. The view is from the batter. Note that there are more seams per square inch on the right side of the ball than the right. Since there are more seams per square inch on the right side of the ball, there is more friction on the right side of the ball. This causes the ball to move right.

This is similar to a shopping cart with a stuck wheel. The shopping cart tends to veer to the side with the stuck wheel, because there is more friction on that side of the cart.
 

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Last edited:
May 30, 2013
1,196
38
Binghamton, NY
I dont agree that a 12-6 behaves according to magnus effect,
but rather they are seam orientation pitches.

i think probably the best example of a magnus effect pitch,
is a 2-seam fastball
 
Jul 4, 2018
32
8
san diego ca
for your consideration... i pitch in slow pitch softball so my understanding of fast pitch is minimal... however, i warm up with a windmill motion and i get some good movement when i do... i also get a lot of movement in slow pitch using a technique that's demonstrated in this video...

reading some threads in here i see that bullet spin is used a lot and i think this video explains why you can create movement with it... see what you think about this other way to induce the magnus effect...

i haven't found anything suggesting this in here so i'm hoping some experts can look into it and decide if it applies or not... since no name has been given to it, i call it the smooth/rough side effect... it's a well known way of getting movement in cricket and i see it often in baseball and fastpitch but i never see anyone explaining why it works... hopefully this does that... it's also been suggested that this is what makes a knuckleball move as the seams change position in relation to the direction of motion...

 
Last edited:

shaker1

Softball Junkie
Dec 4, 2014
894
0
On a bucket
This is kind of the quiet time for softball...so, I'm throwing this out for discussion. A lot of this thinking is based on Riseball's many posts about "cutters". (For full disclosure, I didn't agree with what he was saying initially. In retropsect, he was right and I was wrong.)

Why is is important to understand these types of breaking pitches? Pitching instructors should be tell the athletes what they are "really" trying to do rather than the current gobbledgook served by most PIs.

The more I've looked at this and read Riseball's posts and looked at videos, it seems there are two groups of movement pitches. The first group is Magnus effect breaking pitches. The second group is seam orientation breaking pitches.

MAGNUS EFFECT MOVEMENT PITCHES

There seems to be a group of "major" movement pitches based on the Magnus effect. (The Magnus effect is that spinning balls thrown with a spin axis not collinear with the direction of movement curve.)

The major movement pitches are the riseball and drop. These are the common Magnus effect pitches. Backspin makes the ball fall less than a normal fastball. Top sping makes the ball drop more than a normal fastball. You can see similar movement in tennis, ping pong, golf, etc. There is plenty of video evidence for these pitches.

There is some video evidence of Magnus effect curve balls. (Curve ball is defined as a breaking pitch moving left to right or right to left. Note that this is *NOT* the same definition as a baseball curve.)

There is very little video evidence of Magnus effect screwballs. Perhaps someone is throwing one, but they are few and far between.

SEAM ORIENTATION MOVEMENT PITCHES

The other way to make a ball move is to have a non-symmetric seam orientation,

The most well known seam orientation pitch is the knuckle ball. The knuckle ball is thrown with very little spin. As ball rotates, the orientation of the seams changes. The result is that a well thrown knuckleball can actually change directions on its way to the plate.

In college softball and in the MLB, there are a lot of bullet spin pitches being thrown. Many of those The bullet spin pitches have a non-symetric seam orientation, making the ball move. If you watch slow motions of MLB pitchers, many of them are throwing pitches with bullet spin but with an asymetric seam orientation.

Attached is a example showing a bullet spin pitch in the "nose up" position. There is more drag (i.e., friction) at the top of the ball than the bottom of the ball. This causes the ball to have some lift.

Another example is the cutter. The image is attached. The view is from the batter. Note that there are more seams per square inch on the right side of the ball than the right. Since there are more seams per square inch on the right side of the ball, there is more friction on the right side of the ball. This causes the ball to move right.

This is similar to a shopping cart with a stuck wheel. The shopping cart tends to veer to the side with the stuck wheel, because there is more friction on that side of the cart.
DD throws a 2 seam ball, we got the idea and grip from what riseball posted and few years ago. I'm not sure if the spin axis and rotation are what he was suggesting, but she gets some decent run away from a rhb, she is a righty also. I will try to get a couple of videos of it.
 

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sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
5,845
63
Dallas, Texas
DD throws a 2 seam ball, we got the idea and grip from what riseball posted and few years ago. I'm not sure if the spin axis and rotation are what he was suggesting, but she gets some decent run away from a rhb, she is a righty also. I will try to get a couple of videos of it.
Love to see it.

Based upon what I'm seeing with all the high-res video these day, I'm becoming convinced that [MENTION=10413]riseball[/MENTION]'s "finger pressure" is the way to go once a kid gets the basics of a vertical movement pitch.
 
Last edited:

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
5,845
63
Dallas, Texas
for your consideration... i pitch in slow pitch softball so my understanding of fast pitch is minimal... however, i warm up with a windmill motion and i get some good movement when i do... i also get a lot of movement in slow pitch using a technique that's demonstrated in this video...

reading some threads in here i see that bullet spin is used a lot and i think this video explains why you can create movement with it... see what you think about this other way to induce the magnus effect...

i haven't found anything suggesting this in here so i'm hoping some experts can look into it and decide if it applies or not... since no name has been given to it, i call it the smooth/rough side effect... it's a well known way of getting movement in cricket and i see it often in baseball and fastpitch but i never see anyone explaining why it works... hopefully this does that... it's also been suggested that this is what makes a knuckleball move as the seams change position in relation to the direction of motion...
First, thanks so much for the video! This is fantastic!
 

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