How to Throw a Knuckleball 5-Step Guide


Arch your pointer, middle, and ring fingers so that the tips are facing down. Even the arm speed while bowling doesn’t change and it is the same as in a normal delivery. Bowling the knuckleball short of length or halfway down the pitch might give the batters time to adjust and change their shot. It needs to be bowled in a good length and slightly fuller.

Hence, with the ever-growing nature of white-ball cricket, there have been multiple variations that the bowlers have brought to the game. Irrespective of whether they are spinners or fast bowlers, variations have become an essential part of the shorter formats. If you learn from this guide and make sure that you put in the right amount of practice, rest assured that you that you’ll be able to throw the perfect knuckleball soon enough. Keep practing and you’ll be one of the few pitchers in your leauge that can master the knuckleball. If you’re really dedicated then you can learn the right way to throw a perfect knuckleball in a fairly short amount of time. A “fairly short amount of time” will vary from pitcher to pitcher, but to give you an idea – R.A.

To help speed up the process, try filming a couple of videos of yourself pitching fastballs and compare those to videos of yourself pitching a knuckleball. If executed properly it will provide results, but it is the hardest knuckleball grip to learn. The thumb and the pinky finger will provide stability to the three-knuckle grip. This grip may feel somewhat less stable than the two-knuckle grip, but you’ll be able to pitch the ball farther and quicker which will ultimately be advantageous.

The two-knuckle grip is useful if you’re looking to achieve a slower and floating knuckleball. Due to lesser knuckles being used to push the ball forward, the pace of the pitch will be reduced and the movement will be slower. Wakefield threw his mid-speed knuckleball 90 percent of the time. His speedier fastball changed the “batter’s eye level” — where they expect pitches to be — and the slower curveball snuck into the strike zone unexpected. The obvious downside to the knuckleball is that if it isn’t “dancing” — or moving — it becomes very easy to hit because of the slow speed of the pitch. It even takes a toll on your shoulders and arms given the stress it undergoes as the pressure applied is slightly different.

“Catcher turned third baseman turned knuckleballer … In one day”. Varitek holds the postseason record with three passed balls in the 13th inning of Game 5 of the 2004 American League Championship Series while catching Wakefield. With that kind of pace, the knuckleball can be a highly effective weapon and Archer puts it to good use.

A knuckleball is thrown with normal arm action, but the wrist remains stiff until the baseball has completely left the hand. When thrown well with little to no spin, the ball feels like it slips out of your palm. Instead, you will feel like it “shoots” out as the ball leaves your fingertips. Lastly, as far as location goes, aim for the top-middle of the strike zone and hope for the best.

The “knuckleball catcher” is equipped with an oversized knuckleball catcher’s mitt, similar to a first baseman’s glove; Doug Mirabelli, formerly of the Red Sox, used a softball catcher’s mitt. The Boston Red Sox, in their 2004 world championship season, had Mirabelli regularly catching in place of Jason Varitek when Tim Wakefield was pitching. This use of a “specialist” catcher continued into the 2008 season following the signing of Kevin Cash, and 2009 saw George Kottaras fulfill this role.

With the reduction in stress on your arms, knuckleball pitchers can pitch longer in games. Famously, Boston Red Sox Tim Wakefield would pitch deep into games when his knuckleball was hard for the other team to hit. Since the pitch does four-seam fastball grip not take as much stamina as throwing a fastball, pitchers can pitch deeper into the game without getting tired. The second reason why you don’t see many knuckleball pitchers is that scouts are looking for hard throwers in today’s game.