Baseball is a great game played in almost all parts of the world. It is an interesting game to watch and a great game to play.
But the fact that the game is captivating doesn’t mean it is easy, and one of the most difficult tasks of baseball is throwing a slider.
Throwing a slider in the game of baseball is an art that takes a lot of hard work (practice, practice, practice), patience, and a good pitching coach to guide you.
We know it is the most difficult task in baseball, but with all these points in place, you will learn how to throw a slider. We will be dealing today with the slider’s grip, the spin, and the techniques involved in successfully throwing a slider.
Myths About Throwing the Slider
Certain misconceptions are engraved in people’s minds about throwing sliders, and some of them are:
Myth #1: Throwing Sliders Are Not Appropriate For Young People
While it is true that throwing sliders is stressful and might not be appropriate for youngsters under 13 years, we believe that all breaking balls should be taught to these kids from the age of 15.
It should be an individual thing; if a youngster of 14 is already learning to throw a curve ball, then he might as well be taught how to throw a slider because they are all equally difficult.
For amateur pitchers, they should learn to command their changeup and fastball first, after which a breaking ball can be added later.
But once a pitcher is ready to throw a curve ball, he can also be taught to throw a slider, in as much he is suited for it because some are more suited for sliders than others.
Myth #2: Sliders Are More Difficult Than Even Curveballs
This is not true. Sliders and curveballs are equally difficult, requiring good coaching, time, and dedication to get better at. The same way many people throw bad sliders is the way others throw bad curveballs.
It’s easier to throw a good slider because the pitcher can go through the pitch more than curve balls. They are also easier to throw for a strike because their break is shorter, which means the slider can get into the zone a little easier than curveballs, which is why many pitchers throw them at the collegiate and pro levels.
Myth #3: The Curveball Is A Better Pitch
This is neither here nor there because one can’t say if the curveball is a better pitch than a slider. It is quite difficult to hit the curveball when it is thrown. Sliders are also thrown quite harder and look like fastballs longer.
The best breaking ball depends on the one an individual can throw well, slider or curve ball. It is a question of the one a player is more apt to. The most important thing is that a player throws at least one of them well.
Myth #4: You have To get On The Side Of A Slider for it To Break That Way
The pitch combines a bullet and forward spin, and you should imagine getting mostly on top of the pitch. You don’t want to impart sidespin, so it spins like a frisbee.
Ensure you avoid letting your hand slipway onto the sides because you will end up with a wrong spin, even though the fingers will not be on top of the ball.
What Pitcher Should Throw Sliders
There are a few rules that tell you what type of pitcher should throw sliders, and some of them are:
1. If you have tried consistently for 2 years to try and throw a slider and are not making any headway, then you probably might not get it.
2. If under a very good coach you have been seriously trying to throw curveballs, and for 2 years, you can’t throw it for strikes at all, or it isn’t good to get consistent swings or misses, then you probably should learn how to throw sliders.
3. If a new pitcher is learning his first breaking ball, the best thing is to teach them how to throw a slider and a curve ball. This way, you can know which of them comes naturally to the pitcher and then focus on it.
4. A slider is your best option instead of a curveball if your arm slot is lower, this is because curveballs require topspin, and the low arm slot makes getting topspin very difficult.
5. If a pitcher can’t get the spin of the curveball, but is quite able to spin a slider, then he will probably be good at throwing sliders.
6. If a lower arm slot pitcher seems to get more sink and run on their fastballs, it means you have a pitcher who will be good at throwing sliders.
How To Throw a Slider
This is a step-by-step procedure on how to throw a slider
Step 1: Stay Behind the Baseball
Pitching involves connective chains of movement, and for you to be in command of the pitches, you must stay behind the baseball.
For all the pitches you throw, be it a fastball, curveballs or slider, you must ensure that you are behind the baseball, not under, or staying too much to 1 side or overdoing it with your elbow or wrist.
Once a pitcher falls beneath the baseball due to some mechanical issues, what happens is that it will adversely affect your throw.
Step 2: Release the Slider
For your slider to be effective, you should release it in front since you will be in the best position to finish the pitch and command the slider to break how you wish.
It will break later and be white-sharp, which you want in this dominant pitch. If you can consistently do this, your result will get better.
Step 3: Throw it Downhill
When you make your throw, make sure it goes now with more tilt or depth, A 2-plane Slider that breaks Down & Away, or Down & In off the plate, will cause more damage to hitters because it is not a side-to-side breaking pitch.
Because you threw the slider downhill, the hitters will not be able to see the dot because it is at the bottom of the baseball and cannot pick up in the spin.
This will frustrate the hitters, and at this point, you will miss more bats. What happens is that there will be more strikeouts, and many of the hitters will face you because they are pissed off.
Watch the Video Below to Learn How To Throw a Slider
How To Grip A Slider
To properly grip a slider, you should place 2 fingers on the ball about the edge of one seam so that the pitch can release from the fingertips with a combination of bullet spin and forward spin.
The grip is not what makes a pitch, but it will help you to spin the ball better. There is no particular grip that works automatically for everyone. However, you can tinker between a few different grips to find one that suits you best.
Tips For Throwing A Slider
Here are a few tips that will make it easier for you to get better at throwing a slider:
1. Find a grip that is comfortable and works for you.
2. Pick 2 pitching drills in which the focus is not your full delivery but your hand position.
3. Start 35-45 feet away from a partner.
4. As you practice, throw slow sliders and focus on how the ball feels in your hand and how to properly spin the ball. The slower you throw it, the better you will get a feel for it. If you throw it fast, it will be harder to tell how the ball feels to the finger.
5. Practice, practice and practice some more, but for each time, you can slightly increase the speed of your throw. You might need to practice thousands of times before you get it, so don’t feel discouraged after a short time.
The slider is one of the most difficult aspects of baseball, and for you to get good at it, you will need a good coach to understand the mechanism and techniques of gripping, spinning, and releasing the ball.
There are many myths about sliders that do not hold water, especially the misconception that youngsters cannot throw sliders and that sliders are the most difficult of all baseball pitches.
This is not true since youths aged 15 can try throwing sliders because they are equally as difficult as a curveball, if not better.
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We trust this article helped you learn how to throw a slider. You may also want to check out How To Make a Wiffle Ball Strike Zone.
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