The Knuckle Ball Pitcher’s Cone of Nasty

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Feb 19 2014

The Knuckle Ball Pitcher’s Cone of Nasty

Drop the ball into the knuckleball pitcher’s cone of nasty

The knuckleball flies in the face of conventional pitching. With a conventional pitch, you are trying to impart as much spin on the ball so that the break is sharp. With a knuckleball, you are trying to kill the spin to absolute zero.  You want to throw a conventional pitch as hard as you can to reduce the hitter’s reaction time. You want to throw a knuckleball at a competitive speed, knowing that you aren’t getting it by anyone. You want a sharp downward bite on conventional stuff, but you don’t have to worry about throwing a knuckleball downhill so much.

Here is another difference. This difference is fundamental for a every knuckleball pitcher to understand, and it is this:

With a conventional pitch, you want late break that the hitter has difficulty picking up (I.E. Mariano Rivera’s cutter). But with a knuckleball, you want the ball to break early.

It’s strange, but true.

The knuckleball has the ability to break more than once, and you want the first break to start out of your hand. This confuses a professional hitter to no end, and in Charlie Hough’s words, “It just looks weird.”

When the ball breaks early, a professional hitter doesn’t know where to swing. The mind’s eye immediately recognizes the pitch as something different; something unnatural. And it immediately makes the hitter feel uncomfortable. This gives you an advantage before the ball is even half-way to the plate. Victory.

To get the ball to break early, you need a solid lack of rotation and a little bit of velocity; at least in the 60’s. If the ball does spin at all, make sure that spin is pointed forward. Start the ball at the top of the strike zone and “let it eat”. The ball will essentially make a “cone of nasty”, with top-middle of the zone as the apex and the bottom edges of the zone as the base. The ball will do it’s dance and pass through the cone; dropping from the top to the bottom. And it probably won’t be hit. Do this over and over again and you might wind up in the Major Leagues.

Get that ball floating early and often, throw it right into the Lion’s den and let it eat. The results will be seen immediately.