Let's look at learning How to Throw a Slider, which obviously helps, the more pitches a pitcher can add to his arsenal, the greater the opportunity to fool the hitter, which is 95% of winning the battle. It’s all but impossible for any one pitcher to master every type of pitch, therefore he must experiment throwing different types of pitches and settle on attempting to master the ones which feel the most comfortable for him to throw.
The Slider is one such pitch. For a strong armed pitcher (relies on the fastball) the slider offers an excellent opportunity to add a pitch, as the slider is gripped similar to a two seam fastball, yet is the Third fastest pitch, behind the two & three seam fastball.
This slight variation in speed, it appears to be a fastball, but in reality is slower, and the late break of the ball produced by the top spin, will create havoc with a hitter’s timing, which obviously is very important for making contact.---- How to Throw a Slider
You begin your grip exactly as you would a two seamed fastball, Except the ball is held Slightly Off Center.
Apply increased pressure on the ball with your index finger, as you want to produce a spin when you release the ball, equal pressure of index and middle finger ( as throwing a fastball ) will reduce spin, which will cause the ball to flatten out, making it much more hittable.
Pitchers with good sliders usually grip the Outer 1/3 of the ball and slightly cock their wrist, but not too cocked as if throwing a curveball. This slight cock allows for a more natural ability to apply pressure with the index finger as you release the ball, creating the desired spin. Don’t twist your wrist upon release.
A. You can place your index and middle fingers on either side of the seam ( straddling the seam ) with your thumb placed on the opposite seam underneath…. Or
B. You can place your index finger On the seam for better grip and control. This grip should be particularly interesting to the pitcher with smaller hands and fingers as it offers a better and more comfortable grip.
The most important thing to remember when throwing a slider is the pitch is thrown primarily with the Index finger pressure, which when combined with the Off Set grip of the ball and the natural wrist snap at the end of every pitch, creates the spin which is critical for movement.
Every other aspect of pitching mechanics remain the same.
1. Arm Speed is exactly as if you were throwing a fastball…
2. Follow through, bringing your throwing hand completely across your body to where you can touch your opposite hip.
3. Focus on location. You’re throwing this pitch for an out.
*** Remember, there are normally several different grips to throw any particular pitch. This is one which has been quite successful.