When learning to play softball, particularly in the pitching position, you are probably going to want to learn how to throw a screwball. In this guide, you will find all of the tips and tricks that you are likely to need in order to throw a perfect screwball, as well as some details into the mechanics of a screwball and how it works.
What is a screwball in softball?
A screwball is what is known as a breaking ball that is thrown in a way that moves in an opposite direction to other breaking pitches. A breaking ball is simply a pitch that does not travel in a straight line.
This means that a pitcher’s screwball will curve in the opposite direction that their curveball. Normally, a screwball will be thrown in a way that causes it to travel closer to the batter’s hands as it gets closer to the hit-zone.
So, how do I throw a screwball in softball?
There are a few steps to getting the perfect set-up for throwing a screwball, as well as things to take into account when you want to learn to throw one. Here is a detailed guide of how to set up the stance, grip and release of a screwball in softball.
The grip of the ball for a screwball in softball
Similar to the grip for a fast ball, you will want to place your index finger and middle finger on the top of the ball touching each other. Then place your thumb as far around to the opposite side of the ball as possible.
Curl the rest of your fingers into your palm and loosely place them on the side of the ball for some added stability during the throw. Keep in mind that you will want to be placing an emphasis on the pressure of your index finger, so keep this as the most secure contact on the ball.
The build-up to the pitch
Once you have mastered the grip of the screwball in softball, you can move onto the set-up to the throw itself. If you are a regular pitcher, you will know how to stand and get your body ready for a throw. If you are unfamiliar, here is a quick guide:
- Stand with your foot forward that is the opposite of your pitching hand.
- Keep your knees and legs relatively loose.
- Get your grip secure on the ball and ready to throw a screwball.
- Bring your pitching arm back to slightly behind your body and aim your other arm towards the batter.
When you have this basic set up perfected, it will feel like muscle memory and your body will have no issue with pitching a screwball each time.
The actual throw
The part of the throw where your arm makes the motion to the front of your body and the ball is released is where it begins to get interesting. Here is a short step by step that you can follow for this part of the process.
- When you are finished setting up the throw, your arm will be behind your body and you should be relaxed to an extent.
- For the motion of the throw itself you should make sure that the pronation of your arm is quite pronounced. The pronation is essentially the angle of your arm in relation to your elbow away from your body. Essentially, you are throwing more towards the side.
- As the ball comes through in your hand, be mindful to keep the pressure on your index finger more so than the rest of your hand.
- Release the ball when your hand reaches its furthest point from your body and the emphasis you place on your index finger will cause a spin towards the batter that is opposite to the spin of your curveball.
What are some important things to remember?
There is a collection of things that you must keep in mind when you are throwing a screwball in softball. The ones that we have found the most important are listed below so that you can remember them for your future games of softball when you are pitching:
- Keep your pressure on your index finger so that the ball spins the correct way and doesn’t simply become a curveball.
- Practice a fast spin so that the spin on the ball is actually worth it and will cause the ball to bend inwards towards the inside of the plate.
- Make sure that your ball is being thrown with a good speed, otherwise the spin on it will not work as well and will be too easy for the batter to hit.
The most important thing to remember when trying to throw a screwball in softball is that you need to put emphasis on your index finger as you release the ball from your pitching hand. This will cause the ball to spin the opposite way that your curveball does, and it will curve towards the batter’s hands, throwing them off.
Most of the setting up and the motions of the screwball throw in softball are similar to that of the regular curveball in softball. And remember that practice makes perfect!