How to Throw a Slider?

How to throw a slider ? A slider is gripped like a two-seam fastball but held slightly off-center. When thrown, try to manipulate the pitch to come off the thumb side of your index finger. Do not permit the two-finger release (used in the two-seam fastball) as it will cause the pitch to balance out, reducing the spin.

Throw a slider

:small_blue_diamond:A slider is a breaking ball that moves in many shapes and sizes, predominantly with glove side action and 10-15 inches of drop off the FB.

:small_blue_diamond:This movement is created because the ball will rotate with a side spin and gyro (or bullet) spin. Sliders are usually thrown faster than a curveball and are roughly 6 to 10 mph off the fastball.

:small_blue_diamond:There are a few different families of sliders, any of which can be effective in a player’s arms if thrown with the right metrics. Since each SL type can be successful, it is especially important to understand what kind of movement your pitch has to decide how to improve upon it.

Techniques and methods

:small_blue_diamond:Learning how to throw a slider is one of the more difficult tasks in baseball. The problem is that it’s not as straightforward a pitch as the curveball and takes a lot more patience and a pitching coach who knows what he’s doing. This article will teach slider grips, the spin, technique, and troubleshooting to throw a slider.

How to Grip a Slider

:small_blue_diamond:The most common grip type among our athletes is referred to as “SL 2”. It is a standard grip that is held with the fingers slightly off-center between the inner seams. The finger that is in middle of hand is placed directly on a seam, while the index finger is on the leather. Both fingers are important at release to impart the necessary spin that leads to a slider’s desired movement.

“SL 2” slider grip

:small_blue_diamond:The thumb is positioned for support on the opposite side of the ball and just off-center. Its position can be adjusted based on comfort. Compared to a curveball, the slider may not be tucked as deeply into the palm—although this varies between athletes.

:small_blue_diamond:The knuckle of the ring finger is placed on the side of the ball to help maintain control, while the pinky finger is completely off. After you’ve positioned your fingers comfortably, you should hold the ball with a decent amount of pressure between your thumb, index, and middle fingers.

How to Throw a Slider

:small_blue_diamond:Throwing a slider is slightly different from throwing a curveball. Let’s discuss in detail as follows :

Slider edgertronic:

:small_blue_diamond:The pitcher’s hand is slightly off to the side; this enables the fingers to come around and pull down on the side of the pitch to produce a sidespin or gyro spin and, ultimately, the desired lateral movement.

:small_blue_diamond:One of the cues we recommend is to “slash the zone” with the ball or “throw it like a football.” The pitch should feel like it “slides” out of hand upon release.

:small_blue_diamond:Depending on your success, the pitch should move towards your glove side and appear to drop during the last few feet. If you don’t have access to high-speed video, you can pay attention to the type of spin and movement the ball has during catch play or bullpens. It might take time to develop a feel for this pitch, but further practicing and using different cues will help your development.

Analyzing Slider Pitch Movement

:small_blue_diamond:If you’re prepared to throw on a Rapsodo device, you can analyze your pitch’s movement profile using the horizontal and vertical break plot. Note that the following graph represents right-handed pitchers and that for left-handers, the results would be the mirror image.

Horizontal and vertical break slider plot:

:small_blue_diamond:The H&V break plot shows a spectrum of different sliders, which are highlighted in blue and located to the left of the y-axis. These pitches (from an RHP) display negative horizontal movement and a minimal negative vertical direction.

:small_blue_diamond:As stated earlier, there are varying slider profiles. Referencing the broken plot, a “frisbee slider” would fall further from the y-axis. In contrast, a “gyro slider” would fall closer to the CenterPoint, and a “slutter” would fall above the x-axis with a slight horizontal movement. Lastly, a slurve would end up between the blue and yellow baseballs above.

:small_blue_diamond:We should note that, while some slider types outperform others across a given sample (for example, frisbees tend to outperform slurves), every pitcher will find a grip and SL type that is best suited to their skills, arms, and comfort level (not every slurve is worse than a frisbee).

:small_blue_diamond:This analysis should give you an understanding of the different types to analyze them when you practice and ultimately decide what is most effective. We’ve seen up to six different distinct slider variations. Check out the article below to learn about them!

Additional Grips and Cues

:small_blue_diamond:Below we have listed additional grips and cues. You’ll notice five other slider grip types. Each clasp will vary between either seam orientation or index finger usage.

:small_blue_diamond:The differences between SL 1, 2, 3, and 6 are seam position. While both the index and middle fingers are placed onto the ball, their location differs. SL 1 is held similarly to a close four-seam fastball grip. The fingers are offset to the side of the ball, with the finger pads positioned on the seams.

:small_blue_diamond:SL 3 has the fingers placed between the inner seams, but unlike in SL 2, they are farther up and closer to the horseshoe. SL 6 continues along that same path and in this case, utilizes the majority of the horseshoe.

:small_blue_diamond:SL 4 and SL 5 share commonalities with grips 3 and 6 regarding placement on the ball, but the main distinguishing factor is the use of the index finger. This type of grip starts to resemble a “spiked slider.”

:small_blue_diamond:In those examples, by digging the tip of the finger into the ball, the pitch becomes “spiked.” The pressure imparted by the fingertip will vary between athletes based on comfort. Since most of the work imparting spin is done by the finger that is in the middle of hand, you’ll normally see it positioned on a seam, while the “spiked” index finger gets out of the way and allows the finger that is in the middle of hand to maximize its force onto the ball.

Additional cues: “Throw the back of the hand,” “Throw it like a football,” “Pull on the side of the ball,” and “Slash the zone in half diagonally.”

  • “Standard Offset” SL 1

  • standard offset slider

  • “Standard Around” SL 3

  • Standard Around slider grip

  • “Standard Spike” SL 4

  • standard spike slider grip

  • “Horseshoe Spike” SL 5

  • Horseshoe spike slider

  • “Horseshoe Standard” SL 6

  • HorseShoe Regular grip


The slider is a pitch that can present a range of movement profiles but will mainly display an element of glove side sweep and a noticeable drop relative to the FB. A mastered slider can be a weapon for any pitcher. Understanding why this pitch type moves and how to throw it can provide the momentum you need to create one for yourself.

What is the method to throw a slider?

The Slider grip

Let’s take a closer look at how to grip and throw the slider.

  1. A slider is gripped like a two-seam fastball but held slightly off-center.

  2. When thrown, try to manipulate the pitch to come off the thumb side of your index finger. Do not permit the two-finger release (used in the two-seam fastball) as it will cause the pitch to balance out, reducing the spin. Your goal is the opposite - to activate spin.

  3. Most good slider pitchers grip the outer-third of the baseball and lean their wrist slightly (not stiffly) to their throwing hand’s thumb-side upon release of the pitch. This enables a pitcher to apply pressure to the outer half of the ball with the index finger.

  4. Avoid any twisting of the wrist upon release.

  5. Place the long seam of the baseball in between the index finger and the finger that is in the middle of hand. Place the thumb on the opposite seam underneath the baseball (as shown in the first picture).

  6. Some pitchers find it helpful to place their index fingers along the ball’s seam. The key with the slider is to hold the ball slightly off-center, on the outer third of the baseball.

  7. Remember to slightly lean your wrist, but don’t stiffen it for a good wrist snap upon release. If your wrist is slightly leaned to the throwing hand’s thumb side, your wrist snap will enable the pitch to come off of the thumb-side of your index finger. This action creates a good spin on the ball.

  8. The movement on this pitch originates from the baseball spinning off the index finger from the outside of the ball, NOT from twisting your hand underneath the ball.

  9. Slider arm speed should remain the same as fastball arm speed.

The slider gripping

:small_blue_diamond:The slider is the third-fastest pitch in baseball, ranking closely behind the 4-seam fastball and 2-seam fastball. From gripping the ball to throwing the rise, many steps can help produce an effective slider.

Gripping the Ball

Throw a Slider Step 1:

1- Place your index and middle fingers. Grip the baseball with your index and middle fingers placed tightly together across an outer seam of the ball located at the horseshoe or U-shape seam. For right-handers, put your finger that is in the middle of hand across the right half of the seam. Left-handers should do the opposite: place your finger that is in the middle of hand across the left half of the seam. This should position your fingers towards the outside of the ball (off-center).

2- Place your thumb. Place your thumb under the opposite inside seam of the ball. The further your thumb is from your other two fingers, the more the pitch will drop. The closer your thumb is to your other two fingers, the more it will slide. If your index and middle fingers are at a 10 or 11 o’clock position, your thumb should be at a 4 or 5 o’clock position.

3- Put pressure on your index finger. Hold the pitch so that the most pressure comes from the thumb-side of your index finger.[1] The key to gripping a slider is holding the outer third of the ball.

Putting pressure on your index and middle fingers will cause the pitch to balance out or become a cutter.

4- Lean your wrist slightly to the thumb side of the throwing hand. Most pitchers do this to ensure that the ball releases on the thumb-side of your index finger. The movement of this pitch comes from the ball spinning off your fingers.

Avoid twisting your wrist. Bending your wrist can cause injury over time.

Throwing a Slider part 2:

1- Hide your grip:

:small_blue_diamond:If the batter can see your grip before the pitch, they will be more prepared for what you are about to throw at them. Hide your grip in your glove to keep players on the other team unaware of the slider you are about to throw.

2- Wind up and throw:

:small_blue_diamond:Pivot and shift your body weight from the back foot forward toward the home plate. Follow through with your motion. Your feet should be parallel at the end of the pitch, and your throwing arm should come across the front of your body.

3- Keep your wrist loose as you release the ball:

:small_blue_diamond:Remember to have it leaned slightly, but resist the urge to twist it (side to side) when you release the pitch. As you terminate, apply pressure with just your index finger to ensure a late break.

Try not to drive your wrist forward with more than an adequate amount of force.

4- Snap your wrist when releasing a slider:

:small_blue_diamond:Snap your wrist (up to down) to make the ball drop as it crosses the plate. Remember to let the slider’s spin come from your index finger releasing from the ball, not a twisting of your wrist. Snapping is an up and down motion, while twisting is a side to side motion.

5- Think fastball as you release the pitch:

:small_blue_diamond:Prepare to come right down through with your wrist, just like a fastball. The greater the angle created by turning the fingers, the wider the break on the slider[3]

6- Aim for the slider to break on the inside or outside of the plate:

:small_blue_diamond:The slider is an effective pitch, whether thrown to the same side or opposite side hitters. However, the slider loses effectiveness if thrown directly over the plate. The success of the slider is its ability to break at the last minute and catch the batter off guard.[4]

  • A left-handed pitcher’s slider should break down and away from left-handed hitters and down and in on right-handed hitters.

  • A right-handed pitcher’s slider should break down and away from right-handed hitters and down and in on left-handed hitters.

Frequently asked questions

Here are some frequently asked questions regarding How to throw a slider?

Q1: How do you throw a good slider?

A slider is gripped like a two-seam fastball but held slightly off-center. When thrown, try to manipulate the pitch to come off the thumb side of your index finger. Do not permit the two-finger release (used in the two-seam fastball) as it will cause the pitch to balance out, reducing the spin.

Q2: Why is a slider so hard to hit?

Outside of the science of our eyes, so much of what makes a slider hard to hit, according to Phillips, derives from the increasing velocity of the average fastball. For a pitcher like Jordan Hicks, whose average fastball sits at 101 mph, a slider can be a devastating complementary pitch.

Q3: Does a slider hurt your arm?

“Kids who threw the slider were at three times the risk of getting injured,” Register-Mihalik says. They reported more pain more often than other pitchers. One reason could be the mechanics necessary to throw a good slider. It requires a more violent arm motion; it’s like a combination of a curve and a fastball.

Q4: What movement does a slider have?

A slider is thrown with a regular arm motion, just like a fastball, and, ideally, the slider’s velocity is only slightly lower than the pitcher’s fastball. Thus, an effective slider can initially look like a fastball to the hitter. Slider movement is a direct result of the fingertip pressure and grip.

Q5: Why do sliders hang?

A slider that doesn’t break as much as a pitcher hopes are referred to as a “hanging slider” or a “hanger” and are much easier for the batter to hit because of its straight trajectory and sub-fastball velocity.

Q6: What makes a pitcher unhittable?

By its very definition, an unhittable pitch continually confounds hitters—even when they know it’s coming. That ability to make a hitter constantly swing and miss and shake their heads as they walk back to the dugout helps set that pitcher apart.

Q7: What’s the difference between a slider and a sinker?

What’s the difference between a sinker and a slider? A sinker is a fastball variation with slight arm side movement–called “run”–and sinking action. A slider is a breaking pitch in baseball that moves toward the pitcher’s glove side of the plate with a diagonal break.

Q8: Who threw the first slider?

So who threw the first great slider? Red Ruffing and Johnny Allen, big stars in the 1930s, are real possibilities, and Feller also is a candidate. With most of the great pitchers drafted into the Army or Navy during World War II (Feller enlisted), there weren’t a lot of great pitches thrown during those years.

Q9: How do you identify a slider?

Slider - This is slower than a fastball but with a similar release, Small to Med break. The best will break sharply, and late, they will have a drop and a slide to them. Hanging sliders will look like a slower fastball with very little and often early to mid-break.

Q10: Which is worse for your arm, slider or curveball?

It requires a more violent arm motion; it’s like a combination of a curve and a fastball. “And that means it’s a more risky pitch than a curveball, especially for kids at a young age when their muscles and bones are not fully developed,” Register-Mihalik says.


The slider is the next-fastest pitch to the fastball, and it relies on a tight spin that mimics the fastball, plus a pronounced late breakdown and away (in a righty vs. righty match up). The grip has the first two fingers close together and off-center positioned down the length of a seam.

On release, the pitcher uses the contact along the length of the seam and pulls downward to create spin. The slider uses the leverage of the seam, rather than a wrist action, to impart spin; try to do both simultaneously, and you’re headed for arm problems.

The spin is not straight through the ball, but off-center, due to the grip, and that spin pattern eventually causes the ball to “snap off” at a downward angle as it approaches the plate. The speed is below that of the fastball, but the closer a pitcher can get to throwing it at fastball speed, the better.

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