Published 08 Jun 2017

Today I’m going to share with you three secrets that will undoubtedly help you live a happy and successful life. It’s true that the career of a wiffle ball pitcher is underpaid and rarely respected, but it takes skill to deliver strikeouts at the plate. I’m going to explain and demonstrate the combined movements use to throw three distinct pitches: the curveball, slider, and riser. By the end of my brief speech, you’ll have gained all the knowledge necessary to shine as your neighborhood’s wiffle ball pitcher. Before I describe the specific pitches, there are a few things to think about regarding the basic physics of a wiffle ball. The holes in this lightweight ball allow the pitcher several different options to guide the ball through the air. Each time you pitch, think about where the holes of the ball are positioned and make sure their placement matches the pitch you intend to deliver. Also when you release each pitch, step through with your leg, keep your eyes on the target, and follow through with your arm. With a little practice, you’ll master the fundamentals of wiffle ball pitching and be ready to develop your secret weapons-different pitches.

First, the finger positioning is the most important part of throwing a perfect curveball. Align your fingers on the side of the ball so the holes are on the side of your dominant hand. If you’re right handed, your fingers she be curled around the ball with the holes facing the right side. Lefties should make sure the holes are showing on the left side. Position your pointer and ring finger’s into the letter “V” and push the ball tightly between them. It should feel somewhat stuck. With your fingers’ in the correct position, you can throw the ball at any angle for it to curve. The most dramatic curveball can be delivered by throwing sidearm. It’s not necessary to throw as hard as you can to deliver a good pitch. In fact, slowing down the speed of your pitches can allow time for the ball to move in ways that are more difficult for the batter to see, time, and hit. Try out different speeds when practicing your pitches.

For a slider pitch, follow the same rules of lining up the holes on the side of your dominant hand. This pitch will surprise a batter because sliders look like fastballs but then curve unexpectedly. Once you’ve got the holes showing on either the left or the right side, curl your thumb, index, and middle finger in the shape of the letter “C”. When you throw the ball, concentrate on making your index finger be the last finger that leaves the ball. Experiment with slightly flicking your wrist and as always, look at your target and follow through!

The riser is another devastating weapon in the armory of a wiffle ball pitcher. Just as a riser pitch crosses the plate, the ball rises to confuse the batter. No matter which hand you use to pitch, position the holes in the wiffle ball down to get the most rise out of your pitch. Hold your fingers in the “C” position we practiced for the slider pitch and focus on flicking your wrist as you throw sidearm. Follow through is important to deliver every pitch to its greatest potential, but it’s especially essential when throwing a riser. After throwing this pitch, your knuckles should almost be touching the ground if you’ve followed through correctly. Experiment with different angles and strength in wrist flicks to perfect your riser ball.

Now that you’ve mastered the curveball, slider, and riser, you’re ready to move on to learn any of the other pitches available in this historic game. Maybe the “Astronaut” or the “Ultimate Freeze” will be the next pitches added to your repertoire. Wiffle ball isn’t only a game for youngsters. It’s a great way to meet friends, relax, and recreate. The game of wiffle ball has been a neighborhood favorite for decades, but few people realize there are regional and even professional leagues across the country. Knowing the proper way to hold and deliver a wiffle ball pitch can help you not only participate, but succeed, on the field. Practice your different pitches, find out which work best for you, and remember the fundamentals. The next time you hear the words, “Batter up!” you’ll be more than prepared!


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