How to Grip a Sinker Pitch

A sinker pitch, also called a two-seam fastball, drops just before it reaches the plate, throwing off the hitter. It drops more than a typical fastball but moves almost as fast, and it’s a great addition to any skilled pitcher’s repertoire. Your fingers grip the ball parallel to the seams, with your thumb directly under the ball. Practice the sinker pitch with slightly different positioning to find out what grip gives you the best motion for the pitch.

Position your fingers along the seams. Turn the ball so that your forefinger and middle finger are position along the seams where they’re closest together. Your fingers should lay directly on top of the seams, parallel to each other. Tuck your ring finger and pinky finger back.
Try an alternate grip. Instead of positioning your fingers over the seams where they are closest together, move your fingers up and position them over the horseshoe. This positioning is slightly more comfortable for some pitchers.

Tuck your thumb under the ball. Your thumb grips the ball from the opposite side, on the smooth part of the ball where there isn’t a seam. You should grip the ball with the side of your thumb so it won’t slip out of your hand.[1]

Squeeze the ball. The tips of your fingers should be slightly inside the seams against the smooth part of the ball just next to them, to give you a firmer grip. Your thumb should be tight against the bottom of the ball, pushing it against your fingers.[2]

Release the ball. Your middle finger should be aimed right at the batter when you release. As you follow through, your thumb will push slightly inward. This is the same release as a four-seam fastball, and the opposite of the release you’d use for a curveball.[3]

Practice to gain control. The sinker pitch is a little more difficult to control than the four-seam fastball. Releasing from a two-seam grip gives the ball more movement than it would otherwise have. The grip is also a little looser than a standard fast pitch grip.
For this reason, it’s important to practice the sinker pitch until you understand the nuances of the pitch before you use it during a game.

Know what the batter sees. The sinker pitch is easier to keep your eye on because it looks like a perfect double seam coming toward the plate. Unlike a curveball, it’s not tricky to keep your eye on the ball, and batters often make contact with a sinker pitch. However, since it drops slightly in, the batter often grounds out instead of making solid contact.[4]

Sources and Citations
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