How to Throw a Screwball & Curve Ball in Softball
A good softball pitcher will have a variety of pitches at the fast pitch level, the most common being the fastball, rise ball and change up. However, breaking pitches like a curveball and screwball are great pitches to add to your repertoire. Though pitches in softball and baseball are similar, fastpitch softball pitchers employ different techniques to throw their pitches.
In softball pitching, pitches are thrown 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.
How to grip and throw a Screwball pitch
The screwball is a common breaking ball in softball and one that can tie up hitters easily. To start, hold the softball so that the U-shape in the stitches is facing up. Place your ring, middle and index finger on the U-shape in the stitches. Place your thumb on the opposite side of the ball. Tuck your pinky 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.
Here’s a full video explanation from Team Express
How to throw a curveball?
The curveball is a pitch that is seen across all forms of baseball from women’s slow pitch softball, to NCAA softball, to the MLB. It comes in a variety of pitch types and fastpitch power but the basic one works just as well.
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.
When doing a softball pitching drill, 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.
Add other pitches to your skill set. Pitches like the drop ball, drop curve and knuckleball can make you a well rounded pitcher and gives you many options as you fight to win championships
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.