Softball is a game that requires a variety of different pitches to be successful. One of the most challenging and rewarding pitches to throw is the screwball. This pitch involves twisting the wrist just before releasing the ball, causing it to spin in the opposite direction of a curveball and moving away from a right-handed batter.
In this comprehensive guide, we will break down the screwball pitch step-by-step, from grip to release, to help you master this tricky pitch. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced pitcher, you will find the tips and techniques in this article useful in your quest to become a screwball master.
Understanding the Mechanics of the Screwball
Before we dive into the step-by-step instructions for throwing a screwball, it is important to understand the mechanics of the pitch. The key to throwing a successful screwball is in the wrist action. By twisting your wrist just before releasing the ball, you create a spin that causes the ball to break away from a right-handed batter.
To get a better understanding of the mechanics of the screwball, let’s break down the motion into four distinct phases: the windup, the stride, the arm action, and the release.
The windup is the first phase of the screwball motion. During this phase, you will take a deep breath and relax your body. This will help you to focus and prepare for the pitch.
The stride is the second phase of the screwball motion. During this phase, you will take a step towards home plate, bringing your back foot forward while keeping your weight over your back leg.
The Arm Action
The arm action is the third phase of the screwball motion. During this phase, you will bring your arm back, keeping your elbow close to your body. As you bring your arm back, you should be rotating your wrist in the direction of the pitch.
The release is the final phase of the screwball motion. During this phase, you will release the ball, twisting your wrist just before release to create the spin that causes the ball to break away from the batter.
How to Grip the Screwball
The grip is one of the most important elements of throwing a successful screwball. To grip the screwball, you will need to place your fingers on the ball in a specific way to create the necessary spin and movement.
The Two-Seam Grip
The two-seam grip is the most common grip for the screwball. To grip the ball using this method, you will need to place your middle and index fingers along the seams of the ball, with your thumb positioned directly below your middle finger.
The Four-Seam Grip
The four-seam grip is another option for gripping the screwball. To grip the ball using this method, you will need to place your fingers along the seams of the ball, with your thumb positioned directly below your index finger.
How to Throw the Screwball
Grip the baseball: Start by gripping the baseball with your index and middle fingers on the seams. Your thumb should be under the ball.
Prepare your arm: Step back with your non-throwing arm, keep your throwing arm parallel to the ground and bend your elbow slightly.
Wind up: Begin to wind up by rotating your hips and lifting your front leg.
Delivery: Release the ball by snapping your wrist and rotating your hand so that your index and middle fingers are facing downward. Your wrist should be turned inward and the ball should come out of your hand with a twisting motion.
Follow through: Finish your throw by extending your arm and pointing your glove towards the target.
In conclusion, mastering the screwball pitch in softball requires consistent practice and repetition. The key to success lies in proper grip, arm motion, and arm angle. Remember to focus on your wrist action and follow through with your arm to generate spin on the ball. With patience and determination, you will be able to throw an effective screwball that can confuse and surprise your opponents. Keep practicing, adjusting your techniques and pay attention to your coaches’ feedback, and soon you’ll be throwing the perfect screwball. Good luck!