How to Throw a Screwball & Curve Ball in Softball
Though pitches in softball and baseball are similar, softball pitchers employ different techniques to throw their pitches. Because softballs are pitched underhand rather than overhand, pitchers grip and release the softball differently. A well-pitched screwball will curve to the right for right-handed pitchers, while the curve ball will curve to the left. Left-handed pitchers use the same pitching technique, but will see their balls curve in the opposite direction.
Hold the softball so that the U-shape in the stitches is facing up.
Place your first, second and third fingers on the U-shape in the stitches. Place your thumb on the opposite side of the ball. Tuck your fourth finger in on the side of the ball.
Step into the pitch to the left if you are a right-handed pitcher, or to the right if you are a left-handed pitcher.
Arc your arm so that it is away from your body as your swing is coming down, close to your body at the bottom of your swing and moves back away from your body as your swing is coming up again.
Snap your wrist at release clockwise if you are a right-handed pitcher, or counter-clockwise if you are a left-handed pitcher. This spin will make the ball curve right for right-handed pitchers and left for left-handed pitchers.
Grip the softball so that the narrow part of the stitches is facing up.
Place your middle finger on the right stitch if you are right-handed, or on the left stitch if you a left-handed. Position your first finger immediately next to and touching your middle finger. Put your thumb on the opposite side of the ball. Tuck your third and fourth fingers to the side of the ball.
Pitch normally, letting your arm follow a smooth, straight arc. Release without twisting your wrist. Because your middle finger will keep contact with the ball for longer than your first finger, the ball will spin to the left for right-handed pitchers, or to the right for left-handed pitchers.
Practice both pitches many times until you are consistent. The best softball pitchers do not necessarily pitch the curviest or fastest balls, but rather the most consistent and accurate balls.
Throw your first few pitches at a backstop rather than at a human catcher. While you learn the pitches, the ball may fly in unexpected directions.
Brian Richards is an attorney whose work has appeared in law and philosophy journals and online in legal blogs and article repositories. He has been a writer since 2008. He holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from University of California, San Diego and a Juris Doctor from Lewis and Clark School of Law.