Two-finger grips are ideal for young baseball players to improve the accuracy on their pitches and control their "feel" of the ball. Unfortunately it can also be a rather difficult way to grip a ball.
Here are some tips to help young athletes to learn this effective grip and avoid the improper finger placements.
Young athletes tend to use three or even four fingers when gripping the baseball. With small hands, it makes sense that an athlete will use the grip that feels most comfortable--one that will not 'stretch" the fingers out.
Oftentimes, this results in an athlete using three fingers. Many athletes continue to use three fingers, even when they have grown to the point where using two fingers is not difficult. The result is an inaccurate, inefficient release.
What the Pros Do
Ask your athletes how many big leaguers throw a fastball with three fingers? When they respond in silence, confirm that the answer is zero, and then communicate that the faster they can get comfortable using two fingers, the closer they are to the big leagues.
Less is More
One important exception comes with an athlete whose hands are physically too small to properly grip the ball using two fingers.
In that case, instruct an athlete to use three fingers, with a clear understanding that the goal is to switch to a two-finger grip as soon as possible.
In general, young athletes should use two fingers across a four-seam grip as soon as possible. An athlete has only a matter of seconds in which to field the baseball, set the proper grip and release a throw to the appropriate base.
Not only is the athlete pressed for time, but he must also find his grip without looking at the baseball (as the batter is sprinting down the baseline).
Gripping the ball correctly becomes an action based on "feel" rather than sight. The ability to feel the ball (recognize its location in one's hand), and then execute the proper adjustments to find a consistent grip, takes thousands upon thousands of repetitions.
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This article was an excerpt from Lifeletics Instructional Manual, "Coaching the Beginning Pitcher." Head over to the Lifeletics website to purchase your copy.