Key Points in Video #2
Grip and Release the Ball

Item How Why

Gripping the Ball
Pick Up Ball The pads of the fingers should be just past the seams as it rolls off the hand. Some contact with the seams adds control
Ball Away From Palm The ball should be gripped by the pads of the fingers with only the area between the tip of the finger and the first knuckle in contact with the ball. Pitchers with smaller hands may need to have the entire finger touching the ball. There should always be a gap between the ball and the skin between the thumb and first finger. If you are teaching a very young student who will not be used in games for awhile she might be better off using a baseball so she can get the grip correct. If the ball rests on the palm of the hand the pitch ill be slower.
4 Seam Grip Find the letter C (or backwards C) and place the finger pads just beyond the seams on the skin of the ball. It is called a 4 seam grip because as the ball rolls off the hand there will be 4 seams passing on each revolution of the ball. This grip is used for all the other defensive positions because it helps the ball go straighter.
Put a Stripe on the Ball. The stripe should cross 4 seams. The stripe should be straight around the ball, no wiggles. I put a piece of masking tape on the ball and after I make sure it is in the right spot and doesn't wiggle on the way around I draw lines on the ball by the edges of the tape, Then I remove the tape and fill in the stripe with permanent marker or paint. The stripe will make it easier to identify flaws resulting from the release of the ball.
3 or 4 Fingers Most beginners use a 3 finger grip with the middle finger on the stripe and the pointer and index fingers evenly spaced. The fingers will follow the curve in the seams as the middle finger is longer that the others. In a 3 finger grip the little finger rests on the side of the ball in whatever is comfortable. It should not have any pressure squeezing against the ball. Some players use a 4 finger grip especially if their hands are small. The middle and index fingers straddle the line and the other two fingers just fall into place on the ball. Do not force them to get to the sides of the ball. Older pitchers with larger hands may use a 2 finger grip down the road. Find the grip that the student likes the best
Position of the Thumb The thumb should not be on the stripe directly opposite the fingers as this causes tightness in the forearm. The thumb should just find its natural position on the side of the ball. The thumb is used to gently hold the ball in the hand without squeezing tight. The thumb needs to not interfere with the release of the ball.

Releasing the Ball
Ball Rolls Off Fingers As the pitch is released the thumb lets go and the ball rolls along the fingers until it is off of the hand in the same way as an overhand throw. It must roll cleanly and not get stuck due to the thumb or little finger holding too tight. A clean release results in a more accurate and faster throw.
Two fingers touch the ball last. If the last thing that touches the ball is a single finger there will be a loss of stability with the pitch. It's kind of like balancing the ball on one finger as opposed to two. The fingers are different lengths. When using the three finger grip the ball can roll off whichever two fingers are the most comfortable, 1st & 2nd or 2nd & 3rd. The student can also lift her middle finger so that the 1st and 3rd fingers come off the ball at the same time. Students using the 4 finger grip have the ball release from the 2nd and 3rd fingers. This is needed for accuracy
Finger Push Just before the ball rolls completely off of the fingers, the finger pads should push against the seams. This may a little speed but the importance of this motion is to add spin to the ball. It also helps many students focus on the two finger release. Spin and Accuracy
Wrist Does Not Snap During Release A strong wrist snap used to be almost universally taught as a very important part of throwing a pitch. In some circles it still is. Pitching coaches who have studied slow motion, high definition video of great pitchers have observed that none of them snap the wrist until after the ball is out of the hand. That is ZERO percent. At that point the wrist snaps forward because the arm is slowing down and the wrist is relaxed. Without slow motion viewing it looks like the wrist is snapping at release, especially if there is a good finger push. Pitchers who have diligently practiced snapping the wrist for years are surprised when they watch slow motion video of their own delivery and discover that they do not snap the wrist during release. It doesn't work
Get a Clean 12-6 Stripe Let the ball roll down the fingers and push with the fingers. As the ball moves forward a bit make sure the stripe is exactly straight up and down and also that it is not wiggling. Each pitcher needs to find her spot on the ball to release it properly. This may involve rotating the ball a bit in the hand, rotating the forearm a bit, using different fingers to release the ball. Let her find the spot that is the most comfortable for her and check to see if it looks funny at all. Simple and relaxed is what is needed. And repeatable. Challenge the student to get more (faster) spin on the ball while still keeping the stripe straight. Spend as much time on this as is needed. Good hand and finger control is needed at all levels of pitching.

Making Pitches Curve
Why Does a Pitch Curve? In simple terms if there is high air pressure on one side of the ball it will move away from that. In a 12-6 fastball the seams on the top of the ball are coming towards the target faster than the ball is moving. The friction with the air builds a pocket of high pressure above the ball and pushes the ball down more than gravity alone. Advanced pitchers can create high air pressure on the sides of the ball (for horizontal movement) or even under the ball (a rise ball). Do not teach a beginner breaking pitches until she can throw 50 mph or so. But being aware of the impact of spin is important. Spin
2 Seam vs. 4 Seam A 4 seam fastball has four seams hitting the air each rotation while a two seam pitch has only two. More air pressure buildup with a 4 seam pitch therefore producing more break. If the two seam fastball is thrown with the rotation being slightly off center one side of the ball will have more exposure to seams than the other. Air pressure will build on that side and push it horizontally. Beginners should always use the 4 seam fastball until they have excellent control of that and can throw 45 mph or so. Then the two seam can be like a new pitch. More or Less Friction with the Air.
How Much will a Pitch Break? There is a mathematical formula for that. A very complex one. There are lots of variables like the amount of spin, the direction of the spin, the speed of the pitch, the height of the seams, the humidity level, the wind direction and so on. One result is easy to understand without being a rocket scientist. The most break occurs if the axis of rotation is perpendicular to the path of the ball. So a good 12-6 spin needs to have the stripe lined up exactly on the line of flight (the axis or rotation is perpendicular to the stripe) to get the most break. The beginning pitcher should work hard to get control over the axis of rotation so that years down the road it will be easier for her to throw other types of breaking pitches. Plus if her fastball has more break than another pitcher's fastball due to faster and more accurate spin, it will be harder for the hitter to hit it. The Magnus Effect says so.
How Does the Grip Help? Any action the pitcher takes to apply spin on the ball works better if the ball does not slip in the hand. Advanced pitchers do all sorts of things to enhance the grip and reduce slippage such a holding two fingers together to push against a seam. The beginner only needs to know that the grip should be strong enough with the fingers resting just past the seams so that the ball doesn't slip on release. The finger pads push against the seams on a fastball. If the finger pads are entirely on the skin part of the ball things like dust or sweat could cause the ball to slip on release resulting in less spin and therefore less downward break on her fastball. Efficient transfer of energy

Problems Resulting from Not Having Great Technique for the
Grip and Release

Item How This Causes Problems What it Affects
Ball Pushed Into Palm of Hand part 1 The fingers will wrap too far around the ball causing the release to not be clean. Speed
Ball Pushed Into Palm of Hand part 2 Forearm, wrist and hand get tight and the finger push doesn't work as well. Movement
Ball Does Not Roll Off Two Fingers If the last thing touching the ball is only one finger there will not be as much stability on release. Control
Thumb is on the Stripe This is an awkward and uncomfortable hand position Fatigue and potential wrist injury
Little Finger Squeezes the Ball The little finger may add some sideways spin on the ball if it is pushing against the ball at release. Accuracy
Grip is too Tight Release is not free flowing Speed
Grip is too Loose The ball can slip out of the hand at some random place around the arm circle. The pitch is called a ball and runners can advance while the fielders try to figure out what to do. Oops!
Stripe is rotated to one side but still completely vertical If the ball is being pushed out of the hand and the axis of rotation is not perpendicular to the line of flight that means that some of the energy in the release is being directed towards the side and not towards the target. Speed and accuracy
Stripe is wiggly The hand is not facing towards the target at release or is not lined up properly with the stripe. Loss of speed, movement and accuracy.