How To Throw A Curveball Like Barry Zito
When he was in his prime, Barry Zito had one of the best curveballs in the game of baseball. His curveball was his strikeout pitch and it was very difficult to see when the pitch was coming. The type of curveball he would throw is often referred to as a 12-to-6 curveball. Look at the strike zone as if there were a giant clock in it with the 12 hand being above the catchers head and the 6 hand being at the catchers shin, the ball would start out as if it were going to hit the 12 above the catchers head, but it would end up breaking so hard that it would hit the 6 at the catchers shin. This is why this type of curveball is called the 12-to-6. It is one of the hardest pitches to see and hit in the game of baseball. But a 12-to-6 curveball is one of the most difficult pitches to master.
Gripping the ball properly is very important when throwing a curveball. The way to grip the 12-to-6 curveball that Zito throws is slightly different than some others. Your index finger and your middle finger are going to be on one of the horseshoes of the ball, facing the closed end of the horseshoe, with a finger on each side of the stitching. Your ring finger and pinkie finger will be on the side of the ball touching the line of sticking right below your first two fingers. Your thumb should be on the same horseshoe as your ring and pinkie, but on the opposite side.
The grip of the curveball is not the only important factor. How the ball is thrown affects how the pitch moves more than the grip does. The best way to keep this curveball at its best is to come from a three-quarters arm angle. If your arm angle is too high or too low, the ball will not curve as hard and will be much easier for the batter to see and hit. While your throwing this curveball, make sure you keep your wrist straight in line with the rest of your arm.
As you release the ball, you need to push your pointer and middle finger down as hard as you can. This helps create spin and break on the pitch as well. As with any pitch being thrown, make sure to follow through with your wind-up or the ball wont do a whole lot of moving around. That is how to throw a 12-to-6 curveball just like Barry Zito does.