Every baseball player wants to able to hit a curveball when they are up for batting. There are some tips and tricks that you can follow to improve your chances of being able to hit a curveball.
This guide will tell you all about these tips and explain how you can manage a curveball yourself.
What is a curveball?
A curveball is the name given to a pitch that is thrown by the pitcher. It is slower than a regular pitch and can sometimes put hitters off balance. The reason that it takes a hitter by surprise is because they might expect the pitch to be a faster throw and swing too early.
So, when the pitch ends up being a curveball, the hitter has been fooled. A curveball can end in a strike for this reason.
How can you prepare for a curveball?
Most of the success in hitting a curveball is definitely in the preparation. As the batter, you can watch the pitcher carefully when you are sat in the bullpen and not even up for batting.
This is something you should be doing anyway in order to get a sense of the other team’s quirks. If you note any patterns that the pitcher makes leading up to a curveball, remember them.
If you analyze the pitcher’s movements and habits well enough, you are sure to a telling movement that suggests they are about throw a curveball. One of these telling signs could be the pitcher aligning the ball in their hand according to the stitches for a better grip.
Are there are different types of curveball?
As a baseball player, especially a hitter, it is integral to know the different types of curveball that could be thrown your way. If you know the different types, you are more likely to be able to prepare for them when you are up for batting. If a ball is thrown with backspin it will ride on the high-pressure air that the backspin produces.
This will deflect the ball down. Similarly, if a ball is thrown with topspin, the higher-pressure air will be on top of the ball and cause it to deflect downwards. If you can figure out which way the ball is being thrown, you may be able to hit it.
What if I keep failing?
Look on the positive side: if you fail a few time in a row, think about what you were doing each time that caused you miss the curveball. You can then put this knowledge to good use by assessing what you need to do next time you receive a curveball.
Let’s say you keep missing the curveball because you are hitting too high for a topspin ball. Next time try hitting lower than you think you should.
Does my stance make a difference?
Yes. Hitting a curveball is not all about watching the way that the pitcher throws and how they give away that they are going to throw with topspin or backspin, it is also about the batter. If you go up to bat and your stance sees you pushing too far forward, you are going to struggle to hit a curveball.
Also, try to get out of the habit of going for balls that will lie outside of the strike zone, since this will make you stance off balanced if you are overcompensating for the wide balls.
What is the proper stance then?
In order to achieve a stance that will allow you to keep your balance enough to hit a curveball, you will need to try and keep your body weight on the balls of your feet. Your knees should be slightly bent, with a lot of your weight on your back leg, but do not lean back.
Feet are recommended to be wider than your shoulders, but whatever feels comfortable really. Make sure you are standing with your legs at a right angle to the plate. The best tip is to remain relaxed in your stance until the ball is thrown, this way you won’t lose balance.
I’m ready to hit the ball!
After you’ve got the stance sorted, you probably are ready to start practicing hitting curveballs. Look out for what kind of spin the ball has. You should be able to tell by looking at the ball. Depending on how fast it is going, you will see a solid red dot on the ball that is the visual illusion of all the stitching coming together, this is a curveball.
Keep focused on the ball with your eyes, and on your stance and your body with you mind. This way you will always be ready and poised for a curveball. When the ball is coming towards you, assess its trajectory. Is the ball moving up or down?
If the ball is moving down, there is topspin on the ball and you may need to swing at a different time than you would normally.
If you feel hesitant, lean into that hesitation and do not try to meet your bat to the ball. Let the ball come to you still and you might just be able to get the right angle on the ball with your bat. This is your best chance of hitting a curveball.
The best way to prepare for a curveball during a game is to assess the behavior of the pitcher when you are in the bullpen. But the best way to practice a curveball is to remember your mistakes and learn from them.
The more you pay attention to your body’s stance on the plate, and to the hesitation that you should probably follow, the more likely you are to hit a curveball.