HOW TO PITCH
The NJWA has created this page to help all those Wifflers out there who are looking to master the art of pitching a Wiffle®Ball. The NJWA gets tons of e-mails from pitchers all over the country. They all want to know how to throw certain pitches. Now for the first time ever, you'll see exactly how the Pros hold the pitches that have led them to National Championships year after year. Pitching takes a lot of practice in Wiffle®Ball, so once you master the grips, keep at it!
THE BAG & BOX THEORY
When you buy a Wiffle®Ball in a bag or box there are two diagrams explaining the grip on how to throw certain pitches. For a right handed pitcher the grips are WRONG. The grips on the bag or box are for left handed pitchers because Dave Mullany Sr. (owner of Wiffle®Ball Inc.) is a left handed pitcher. On this page the NJWA will display six pitches and grips for a right handed pitcher. It is advised to always get loose and stretch before throwing a Wiffle®Ball, just like a baseball. Icing your arm after a long day of pitching is also recommended.
THE WIFFLE®BALL ITSELF
The Wiffle®Ball itself is the single most important thing for a pitcher to learn about. Making it plain and simple. Get to know your ball. A good ball is hard to find. Since all balls move different, it is important to find a ball you like as a pitcher. New balls will NOT work if you follow the directions below. Pitchers are encouraged to scrape up a ball, sand it or file it. By taking the slickness off the ball it enables pitchers to have more movement on their pitches. Balls (per the rules) can’t have a crack more than 1/4 inches. A scuffed ball is very important, some pitchers use the same ball all season. As a pitcher, always have more than one ball ready for use during the game. It is also recommended for pitchers to keep their own ball in between innings. Remember, it’s your ball, you broke it in, why should you risk the chance of cracking the ball while your team is batting because you let the opposing pitcher use your ball. It is perfectly legal to hold onto your own ball as long as it is ruled legal. Other pitchers (throughout a season) have the same opportunity to break in a ball (like you did) or find a good ball.
The grip for a pitcher is very important. A “loose grip” is holding the ball without putting any pressure on the ball with your fingers. A “tight grip” is putting some pressure on the ball with your fingers. There are several levels of loose and tight grips, find what grip works best for you. The term “holes in” means that the holes of the ball are facing the first base line for a right handed pitcher. The term “holes out” means that the holes of the ball are facing the third base line for a right handed pitcher. It’s just the opposite for a left handed pitcher. The terms “holes up” and “holes down” are pretty much self explanatory, these two terms are the same for both the right handed pitchers and left handed pitchers. The “seem” of the ball is the line where the holes of the ball meet solid plastic, it’s where the ball is glued together. A lot of pitches in Wiffle®Ball are gripped by using the seem, like a baseball.
THE SIX MAIN PITCHES OF A PRO PLAYER
Hosting and playing in tournaments for the past ten years the NJWA’s staff has seen it all. There are about seven or eight different pitches out there in the Wiffle®Ball world, however these six pitches are the basic pitches of a Pro player. The release point for every pitcher is different, thus creating different results. It takes a lot of practice for accuracy, so please be patient and keep practicing.
* LEVELS OF DIFFICULTY
Some pitches are obviously harder to throw then others. If this were untrue, all pitchers would be throwing the same pitches every game. The NJWA staff has rated the six basic pitches on a scale of 1-5. One being the easiest and Five being the hardest.
Very Easy to throw and master
Easy to throw and master
Hard to throw and master
Very Hard to throw and master
Almost Impossible to throw and master
The straight fastball is the easiest pitch to throw in the game of Wiffle®Ball. Holes should face home plate and the tips of the index and middle fingers should be placed over the top holes with the thumb on the bottom seem of the ball. The ring finger and pinky finger are together along the seem of the ball. Throwing the ball with a straight over hand motion will create the ball to go straight towards the target, even on a windy day. This grip is the same for a right handed pitcher and left handed pitcher. Do not grip the ball too tight, a nice loose grip is more effective.
Level of Difficulty 1
The curve ball is the bread and butter pitch for most pitchers. Holes out for right handed pitchers. The middle finger should be placed to the left of the holes where the seem of the ball is. The index finger is spread two inches from the middle finger, like making the peace sign. The thumb is place on the bottom of the ball along the seem and should be placed in the middle of the two fingers. The ring finger and the pinky finger are together and against the center of the ball, where the trademark and patent number are. Again a loose grip is very effective. An over hand motion has the biggest curve and can be thrown accurate with some practice. This pitch breaks from right to left on right handed batters (it actually starts behind them). When thrown properly, expect a three to four foot break. Left handed pitchers grip the ball the opposite of above.
Level of Difficulty 2
The riser is harder to throw then the curve ball. The main reason being, this pitch has to be thrown side arm. The grip is holes down. The index and middle fingers are tightly together above the holes along the seem. The thumb is opposite of the index and middle fingers along the seem too. The ring finger and pinky finger are together and touching the center of the ball where the trademark and patent number is. This pitch has to be thrown side arm. When thrown properly, with a whip motion, expect the ball to rise from two to three feet. If you are throwing the ball too high, you must lower your body while in the wind up to lower the location of the ball while entering the strike zone. This pitch is very difficult to hit when thrown hard. The spin on the ball causes many hitters to foul the ball straight back. The grip is the same for both left handed and right handed pitchers. The big difference with the grip of this pitch is, hold the ball tight, a tight grip is very effective.
Level of Difficulty 3
The screwball is like the curve ball except the grip is the exact opposite. Holes in for the right handed pitchers. Place the index finger on the seem of the ball. The middle finger is spread two inches from the index finger, like making the peace sign. The thumb is on the seem of the ball and the ring finger and the pinky finger are together and touching the solid part of the ball. This pitch is thrown over hand and on right handed batters it breaks inside from left to right about three feet when thrown properly. A loose grip is recommended and is the most effective. This pitch is very hard to master and have control of. You must practice this pitch quite often. Left handed pitchers grip the ball opposite of the above.
Level of Difficulty 4
The knuckle ball. This pitch is not seen too often because it is very hard to throw accurately. The holes of the ball should be facing home plate and the fingernails of the index finger and middle finger should be dug into the ball on the seem. The thumb should be on the bottom seem of the ball and the ring finger and pinky finger should be together. This pitch is thrown over hand and will move back and forth like a knuckle ball moves in baseball. The grip is held the same way for left handed and right handed pitchers. A very tight grip is recommended to be effective. You have to practice this pitch often, it is very hard to master.
Level of Difficulty 4
The sinker is the most difficult pitch to throw and is feared by every hitter. Holes up with this pitch and place the index finger on the seem of the ball. The middle finger is spread two inches from the index finger, like making the peace sign. The thumb is on the seem of the ball and the ring finger and the pinky finger are together and touching the solid part of the ball. This pitch is thrown SIDE ARM or Three-Quarters. This pitch sinks hard on both right and left handed batters. The grip is the same for right handed and left handed pitchers. This pitch is thrown just like the screwball, but it is thrown side arm to three-quarters. This makes the sinker almost impossible to master, few Pro pitchers have this pitch in their arsenal. This pitch is very hard on a pitcher’s arm and is NOT recommended for younger pitchers to throw. A loose grip is recommended and is the most effective.
Level of Difficulty 5