How To Throw A Filthy Curveball (with 19 Pictures of Grips)

  • Last updated Aug. 17, 2015
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Do you know how to throw a curve ball?

In this article, you'll learn everything you need to know about throwing a curveball that goes beyond "dirty" or "nasty" and usually involves embarrassing the batter...

But first, check out this breaking ball from Clayton Kershaw...

It's hard not to watch Clayton Kershaw curveballs like this one all day, as they effortlessly fall into the zone over and over again:

Clayton Kershaw curveball
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The curve is unique in that its rotation is from top to bottom, rather than from bottom to top like the fastball.

This action results in being released forward, in the direction of the fingers toward the batter. 

On this particular pitch, the hand speed transfers leverage to the front of the ball to get that 12-6 movement that makes the curveball so effective.

The curveball is often a strikeout pitch. It dives down as it gets to home plate. The velocity is as effective as the movement to create deception and disrupt a hitter's timing because it’s usually much slower than a fastball.

Curveball grip

So what's the secret to a good curveball?

Let's take a closer look at how to grip and throw the curveball...

Curveball grip
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  1. Grip a baseball and place your index finger on the ball.
  2. Place your middle finger along the bottom seam of the baseball.
  3. Place your thumb on the back seam.
  4. When this pitch is thrown, your thumb should rotate upward and your middle finger should snap downward.
  5. The arm action is a little abbreviated at the end. Bring your throwing hand elbow to the opposite hip which will shorten your follow through, but, will permit you to snap off the pitch.

More images of curveball grips

Changeup grip images
Curveball grip images
Image source:


The curve is unusual in that it rotates from top to bottom, rather than from bottom to top like the fastball.

That's because instead of being released forward, in the direction of the fingers toward the batter, the curve is thrown with the wrist cocked so that the thumb is on top.

With the arm coming down, the ball rolls over the outside of the index finger, causing a downward spin.

The curve sinks dramatically and can be thrown for a strike or as a "miss" pitch. Depending on the arm position of the individual pitcher — straight over the top or more sidearm — the ball might also break across the plate and wind up outside.

On this pitch, having the hand speed to transfer leverage to the front of the ball is more important than arm strength.

How to throw a curveball video

Put it all together, and it looks like this...

Here's a great curveball from Cy Young winner Corey Kluber:

Corey Kluber curveball
Image source:

Man, that's such a great pitch right there!

What do you think?

Now it's time to hear from you:

Are there any curveball grips, tips or techniques that I missed?

Or maybe you have an idea of how I can make this article even better.

Either way, leave a comment and let me know.

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