Baseball Toolbox

Resources for Baseball Coaches

4-Seam Fastball Grip

What is the proper grip and spacing for the most effective 4 seam fastball?

In the video below Milwaukee Brewer pitching coach, Derek Johnson shares his thoughts on the proper finger placement and spacing needed to throw and locate a great 4 seam fastball.

At the time of the filming Coach Johnson was serving as the pitching coach at Vanderbilt University. After a tremendous amount of success at the collegiate level, he transitioned to professional baseball as the minor league pitching coordinator for the Chicago Cubs and eventually was hired at the pitching coach for the Brewers.

Coach Johnson believes that a pitcher should build off his fastball and that the 4-seam fastball is the one that he will likely locate the best and as such is a great place to start.

Here are Coach Johnson thoughts on the 4-seam fastball:

  1. Throw so 4 seams rotate together
  2. Horseshoe should be on the inside for straighter harder pitch. Horshoe on the outside may produce more movement
  3.  The middle finger is the last finger to leave the ball. It should be at the center of the ball. The more the middle finger is off center, the more movement the ball will have. For a straight fast pitch, the middle finger should be in the middle of the ball.
  4. The thumb should also be underneath in the middle of the ball. For maximal velocity and maximal spin, you need to have the thumb and middle finger counteracting each other.
  5.  The middle and pointer finger should be spaced about a “pinky” width apart.
  6.  Don’t choke the ball. Should have a finger width between the palm and the ball.
  7. The pads of the finger should be on the seams rather than the smooth part of the ball. This will help create as much rotation as possible.

This clip is from Coach Johnson’s instructional DVD in which he also the 2-seam fastball, change-up, curveball, slider, and the split-finger. He displays how to grip each pitch and how minor adjustments can add or subtract movement and velocity from each pitch. For more information about that DVD, click the link Developing Your Pitching Arsenal and Game Plan

The YouTube video below has audio, so please make sure that your speakers are turned on. Note that some schools block access to YouTube