Be a mad pitcher by arming yourself with one of the most devastating pitches known to baseball players and fans alike – the slider. The slider, according to pro-baseball players, is usually the third pitch in a player’s arsenal. It is one of the most effective pitches as it easily deceives a batter. At first it may look like your regular fastball pitch however, as it comes close, it abruptly breaks downward and flies away from the batter. The slider is similar to the curveball except that it only breaks at a short distance. It is a simple pitch, but if the pitcher is not trained properly, the pitch can easily injure the pitcher’s elbow. Here’s how to throw an effective slider.
- Grip. Grip the ball as you would any regular two-seam fastball. Place your index finger and your middle finger on the widest seam but grip it a little bit off-center, three-fourths out and towards the outer curve of the ball. Let your thumb curl under the ball and tuck your pinkie and ring finger to the side. The pinkie and the ring finger should not curl under the ball but it should rest slightly at the side of the ball. Use your thumb and your middle finger to hold the grip.
- Throw. When throwing the ball, the arm action is much like when you throw a fastball or curveball. As you will notice with professional baseball pitchers, their throw is fairly stiff at the wrist. The ball, when thrown correctly, will roll off your index finger. This, as well as its off-center grip, is vital to give the slider pitch its ball spin. Another technique in throwing the slider pitch is to place a bit of pressure on the ball with your middle finger as you release the pitch. The same fastball arm- action is needed for this technique. Remember to not reveal your pitch. The batter can anticipate your throw once he sees the odd hand grip of the slider pitch. You may use your glove to hide your ball and grip.
- Follow through. Another important note to consider is to make sure that you follow through with the pitch. This will help push and ensure that the ball picks up the speed in the right direction. During your practice, you will notice that the ball will continue to fly high and not curve/ break as it should if you don’t follow-through with the pitch.
- Effectiveness. The slider is certainly deadly and one should use it wisely. The slider pitch can be used on a right-handed batter by a right-handed pitcher as the ball will effectively break down and away. Using the slider pitch on a left-handed batter may be a bit tricky as the ball will direct itself to the area around the hand of the bat. It may be tricky, but it is still effective as the batter can do with this type of pitch which gets a weak pop-up.
Tips. Watch videos of the greats and study their pitches - from the grip to the arm actions and follow through. Religiously practice and refine your skills. Good luck!