How to Throw a Screwball in Slow-Pitch Softball
The one pitch every slow-pitch pitcher needs in his arsenal is the screwball. With proper technique, a right-handed pitcher can make the ball appear as if it is going to cross over the middle of home plate, but then it curves in toward the hands of a right-handed batter or away from a left-handed batter. Effective in jamming the hitter or making him reach to hit the ball, a well-thrown screwball can help you strike the batter out.
Hold the ball with the grip that best accommodates your hand size. The more common is the three-finger grip, which works well for most players. While holding the ball so the seams form the letter "C," place the pads of your index, middle and ring finger on top of the top seam and your thumb underneath the ball, opposite your index finger. Grip the ball with your fingertips and maintain some space between your palm and the ball.
Stand with the heel of your pitching-arm foot on the pitching rubber and the toes of your other foot on or just behind the rubber. Place more of your weight on your back foot and start with your hips square to the catcher. Bring the ball up into your glove in front of your body and pause for a count of one.
Swing your arm in a slow, pendulum movement to start your delivery. Move your arm down, back behind you until it is parallel to the ground and then forward. At the highest point of the backswing, turn your hand so your palm is facing down. Shift your weight onto your pitching-arm foot and step forward with your opposite leg, sometimes referred to as your stride leg.
Shift your weight onto your stride-leg foot and release the ball in front of your body. At the point of release, quickly snap and roll your wrist to the right, if you're a right-handed pitcher. This imparts an inside-out spin on the ball, which causes the ball to curve to the right. If you're a left-handed pitcher, roll your wrist to the left.
Follow through with your pitching arm moving straight toward your target. Finish the follow through with your upper arm near your ear. Take a few steps backward, evenly distribute your weight onto both feet, bend your knees and hold your hands in front of your body -- an athletic ready position -- to prepare for a ball hit in your direction.
As you deliver the ball, maintain a controlled speed and keep your pitching arm on the same path toward the plate. Only use the wrist snap to change the motion of the ball.
Perform a slow, five-minute jog, arm circles or other activities to warm up your muscles before pitching, which can help prevent injury.
- Human Kinetics; Coaching Youth Softball
- Softball: Steps to Success; Diane L. Potterand Lynn V. Johnson
- PitchSoftball.com: Screw Ball - The Intimidator
- Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images