How To Throw A Knuckleball Like Tim Wakefield

Trying to release the ball with just two fingers always results in too much spin … In the history of sports, few plays have been as tricky to pull off as the knuckleball. Its erratic and unpredictable movement, however, isn’t just hard to hit and catch—scientists have long puzzled over how the throw is even possible. Now, with a little help from a soccer ball-flinging robot, a group of scientists think they may have cracked the knuckleball’s secret.

Well, number one it’s not with your knuckles and off the top of my head I have no idea how it acquired it’s name, but the grip is the most important aspect of being able to throw a floating knuckleball. If thrown correctly a batter can’t hit the ball and the catcher can’t catch it. So, through the motion of throwing a knuckleball, the pitcher has better stamina and should be able to last longer than a pitcher without a knuckleball in their pitching arsenal. This confusion leads to the batter losing the ball and it ends up as a strike.

Another reason for the difficulty of the knuckleball is due to the network effect. Because there are so few knuckleball pitchers, the resources for learning and improving the knuckleball are few compared to more common pitches. Pitching coaches often struggle with knuckleball pitchers due to a lack of experience with the pitch. “I think the hardest thing for me is just the alone-ness that you feel sometimes because nobody else really does it,” said Wakefield.

The only known full-time knuckleball thrower in Major League Baseball is Steven Wright of the Boston Red Sox, who kept his career going past age 40 by mastering a pitch that doesn’t put much stress on the arm. “First, start by digging the baseball into your palm as deep as it will go. If you grip the ball out in your fingers and away from the palm, you will impart unwanted spin onto the baseball. I keep my nails short, but most knuckleballers actually prefer longer nails. Try zero-rotation hot potato with some friends or teammates. For an added challenge, try to get all involved in the game to throw knuckleballs.

Knuckleballs will baffle hitters because they move in several directions as they approach the plate. It’s also a safe pitch that will create very little strain on your arm and shoulder muscles and maintain your pitching stamina to do go deeper in games. For example, pitchers will throw more wild pitches since the ball travels in a random pattern to the home plate.

Another disadvantage is if the pitcher can’t throw the pitch perfectly, the pitch will not move as much. If the ball coming to the home plate doesn’t move than hitters will easily hit it. Finally, throwing a knuckleball comes down to the feel of the pitch. If the pitching can’t get the feeling right during a game, they won’t have an effective outing.

So that if no force causes the ball to dance it will move downward in flight. This is due to both the knuckleball’s average speed (55–75 MPH) and erratic movement, which forces the catcher to keep focusing on the ball even cleat cleaner brush after the runner takes off. These factors lead to the scarcity of the so-called knuckleballer. The record for passed balls in an inning was first set by Ray Katt of the New York Giants in 1954, catching Hoyt Wilhelm.

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