Softball Pitch Types: The Screwball

A screwball is an easy and effective breaking pitch for softball newcomers to learn.

When building your pitching arsenal, there are a few basic pitches to master first. One of these pitches is the screwball. Released at the side of your body, most pitchers have a natural tendency to throw a screwball.

The screwball is a “breaking” pitch. Breaking pitches are those that do not travel in a straight line to the batter. For a productive screwball, it is helpful to have other breaking pitches at your disposal.

“[The screwball] is most effective when paired with a good curveball,” former professional softball player Jessica Vogel says. “That way, we have two different pitches breaking to both sides of the plate.”

SCREWBALL TIPS

Thrown similar to the fastball, the screwball has one key difference: it should be delivered with an emphasis on your index finger. This finger will be the last to leave the ball.

When pitching a screwball, getting a good angle is also crucial. To get a better angle:

  • Dip your hips back slightly.
  • Bring your arm down to your side, tucked into your body.
  • Lead with your pinky finger and screw the ball outward.

SCREWBALL SNAP DRILL

To improve your screwball, you can practice the Screwball Snap Drill. To execute this drill:

  • Stand five to seven feet from your catcher. Your lead hip should be facing them.
  • Isolate your forearm and wrist.
  • Lead with your pinky finger and get fully around the ball. It should brush against your side.
  • Snap the ball to your catcher and repeat.

“With good body positioning and a consistent wrist snap, the screwball can be a very effective breaking pitch,” Vogel says.

For more information on mastering this pitch, check out these tips on proper screwball grip and snaps.