What is the difference between a slider and a curveball

    Like many other baseball fans, you already know the popular baseball fields. between them, slider and curveball are two of the most iconic pitches in history. in the major leagues both are pretty effective, but do you know the difference between a curveball and a slider?

    In 2020 mlb, the approximate spin efficiency of a curveball was 68.7% (second highest) and the slider was 35.9% (lowest). still, most professional pitchers dominate the opponent with a curveball or slider. but how do they do that? what is the science behind this and how do players achieve those abilities?

    Hi, I’m Jason Butler, a former baseball player and high school coach. In this article, I will teach you the difference between a curveball and a slider with much more. so grab your coffee and let’s get started.

    what is the difference between a slider and a curveball?

    Now I will show you the difference between a curveball and a slider one by one. starting with a short history class. you won’t get bored, I promise.

    the origin

    Curve Ball: The curve ball pitch first appeared in early August 1870 on the Capitol grounds in Brooklyn. and the pitcher was fred goldsmith. Some believe that the inventor of this type of tone is Candy Cummings, although this is still under debate.

    The first successful collegiate pitcher was Clarence Emir Allen of Case Western Reserve University formerly known as Western Reserve College in Cleveland, Ohio. Tommy Bridge, Bob Feller, Herb Score and Sandy Koufax are some of the legends of the curves.

    Slider: In 1920, the curveball pitch was first used against the st. brown louis. at the time, it was called the “nickel curve”. Although the inventor of this type of pitch is yet to be proven, some believe he is the main bender. using this pitchbender he won 212 games in his career with 6 world series.

    what are slider and curveball pitches?

    Are you expecting some sentences with difficult words and terms? relax, you are not in the classroom and I am not your teacher. In this section, I’ll define curveball and slider pitches in a way that you can easily learn.


    Being a pitcher, I’ve always loved the curveball and tried to do my best. it’s breaking up the pitch with a lot more movement, pitched slower with reconditioning breaks. when executed correctly, the batter will swing a little early expecting a fastball and miss the pitch. this keeps the batter away, especially from setting up fastballs.

    The curveball pitch has a few nicknames like “hook,” “bender,” “uncle charlie,” “deuce” and more.


    On the other hand, the slider is a breaking pitch which makes it a bit more difficult for the hitter. it is thrown faster like a fastball but with less movement than a curveball. the pitch is thrown using a combined curveball and fastball technique.

    It’s trickier than a curveball as it launches faster with spin while also looking a lot like a fastball. another form of a sliding tone is “slurve”.

    in addition, the slider step is also called “snapper”, “snapping ball”, “slider”

    the variations

    Some of the common curveball pitches are:

    • regular curveball: is like another curveball pitch used to trick the batter into scoring.
    • Sweep Curveball: The sweep curve adds a little more speed than a normal curve. This throw is made at an angle between the straight overhand and the straight side. this creates a diagonal type of pitch and the batter misses.
    • Curveball 12-6: This pitch is thrown in a way where you see the forearm go up vertically and all of a sudden the ball breaks down. this can be done as 1-7 or 2-8 but the strategy is the same
    • and the slider variations are:

      • Regular Slider: This ball comes in a little slower (about 8-10 mph) than a fastball, but spins at the last moment.
      • Hard Slider: This pitch is thrown about 2-3 mph faster than a regular slider baseball pitch
      • the grip

        The key difference between a curveball and a slider is primarily in the grip. it is one of the most crucial parts of delivering a perfect tone. if he doesn’t, the batsman will soon notice and score easily. Next, I’ll show you the anatomy of the curveball grip along with the slider grip:

        curveball grip

        The very basic rule for the curveball grip is to place your middle finger along the bottom seam and your thumb on the back seam of the baseball. during pitch delivery, the thumb on the back seam will rotate up and the middle finger will push down accordingly.

        for more details on the curveball grip, you can refer to the summary

        slide grip

        The catch technique of a sliding baseball field is almost the same as that of a curveball. hold your index and middle fingers on top of the baseball and place your thumb just below.

        here some may prefer a little different. like holding the ball with the index and middle fingers on top and the rest of the fingers on the back. In both cases grip is your goal, so try the comfortable one.

        want to throw one slider at a time but still need more guidance? I have a separate article about launching the slider. here I have described how to throw a slider in baseball with all the necessary details.

        the science behind a slider and curveball

        If you want to be a successful pitcher, then you must know the ins and outs of all baseball pitches. this is followed by coach guidance, lots of practice, and above all, science. when you know the science behind any release, most of the task becomes easier.

        As a coach, I always encourage my teammates to work on science and practice symmetrically.

        the pitch motion graphic

        I know you’re thinking of learning science directly and surprising your fellow students. but trust me the pitching motion chart has a lot to learn from, as a former baseball player I highly recommend you study it.

        Almost every baseball fan knows the types of baseball fields. In the chart above I tried to demonstrate almost all pitch types with particular pitch movement points. here you will find 8 different colors that represent a particular type of tone. break up, break down, back spin and top spin classification will help you understand the concept intensely.

        curve ball science

        The very common magnus effect is the key factor behind all curves. which describes “when a rotating sphere or cylinder curves away from the arc it would follow if it were not rotating”. this effect is commonly used in soccer, volleyball, and even cricket.

        A fastball with a backward spin traveling through the air creates an area of ​​high pressure in the air in front of the baseball and deflects downward in flight. furthermore, gravity partially meets the ball in the air. this way the fastballs fall less during home plate.

        in case you want to visually see the science behind the curveball

        slider science:

        As I said before, the slider is a combination of curveball and fastball, but not in general. according to a 2019 report, the average speed of a slider is 8-10 miles shorter than a fastball. so basically there is no exceptional explanation besides the gyroscopic factor, also known as gyroscope. you don’t have to use the gyro meter, just the angle. this gyroscopic angle coupled with the grappling technique allows him to throw like a fastball with a lower speed but react differently than a regular curveball.

        Speaking of fastballs, I have an article on how to increase your launch speed by 10 mph. here you will get a short guide about fastball.

        possibilities of injury

        no, this is not what you thought before. it’s about the effect a pitcher faces during his career, sometimes even for life. Both the baseball pitch slider and the curve ball create tremendous amounts of stress on the arm, more specifically the elbow and shoulder starting with the wrist.

        Most baseball coaches are well aware of the practice, where some league members prohibit the use of these baseball fields until a certain age, such as 13 years old. history tells a lot about the ordeals, where pitchers ended their careers by blowing their arms at both the professional and college levels. while it’s hard to blame any one ballpark in particular, the price remains the same.

        difference between a curve and a plumb

        the bonus is always an attraction for us. so I tried to keep that in writing as well. In this section, I’ll talk about the plumb line and differentiate it from the curveball.

        lead vs curve ball

        maybe you are wondering what you would do if you knew about sinker vs curveball, right?

        Well, I must say that these two pitches have been countering hitters for over a century.

        now we come to your question. The key reason to know about sinker vs curveball, also known as sinker or curveball, is that these guys are pretty close. you may have already experimented with this type of tone unconsciously, but now is the time to find out a little more.

        slugs land late in the flight, causing the batter to hit the top of the ball, which becomes a ground ball. therefore, most sinkers are also called “ground ball pitchers”. one of the most exciting ground ball pitches in mlb to get your adrenaline pumping

        A perfect curveball pitch doesn’t just depend on mastering this. as there are other factors such as wind speed, weather and even the condition of the pitcher, these can affect the right curve. experienced sinkerball shooters, on the other hand, rely solely on the pitch.

        curveball or slider: which is more difficult?

        if you count curves first, then the answer is yes, but not all the time. experienced hitters simply rock their heels and hit the ball long. Every hitter wants to score against curveballs, but this takes a lot of experience, patience, and practice. More often than not, minor leaguers go down in their careers just because they didn’t hit the curveballs.

        By contrast, lead balls are much easier to hit since they don’t break like curveballs. but still, they are difficult for all hitters. At first, they look like a fastball that comes forward and falls at the last moment. Since it seems fast, the batters swing the bat a little sooner but it turns into a ground ball.

        Some people say teams with experienced curveball pitchers and sinkers act like bulldozers for their opponents. As a former baseball player, I had the opportunity to feel these pitches in action. in case both teams have the same game plan, then it’s hard to predict.

        some famous baseball pitchers in history

        There is always some legend who used to find a unique solution and pass it on. in the history of baseball pitching, there are also some.

        • all-time legends of the curveball pitch
          • sandy koufax – loss angeles dodgers.
          • bert blyleven – minnesota twins.
          • dwight gooden – new york mets.
          • camilo pascual – washington senators. all times
          • all-time legends of the slider
            • randy johnson – arizona diamondbacks.
            • steve carlton – minnesota twins.
            • bob gibson – street. louis cardinals
            • sparky lyle – boston red sox, chicago white sox, new york yankees, texas rangers, philadelphia phillies
            • all-time legends of lead pitching
              • william charles swift – seattle sailors, san francisco giants.
              • gregg alan maddux – atlanta braves, chicago clubs
              • mathew james albers – houston astros, boston red sox, chicago white sox, washington nationals, baltimore orioles, milwaukee brewers.
              • brad steven bargesen – baltimore orioles, arizona diamonds.
              • There are many more legends who have enriched baseball history and entertained the world.

                frequently asked questions

                which is better: slider or curveball?

                A slider launches slightly faster than a curveball with less movement. its breaking ability and speed are much more unique and powerful than other releases. so you can count slider releases.

                what is the difference between a slider cutter and a curve ball?

                In short, the difference lies in the two questions, when and how. if you can determine the time and percentage of pitch change, the main difference will be clear to you.

                when should you launch a slider?

                The average age to start throwing a slider is between 14 and 16 years old. although it has been found that young slider pitchers often suffer more arm pain than other pitchers.

                last words

                So far, I have tried to describe and analyze the difference between a curveball and a slider along with the difference between a curveball and a plumb bob. I have written another article on the best pitches to throw in baseball. In case you want to learn more about the best and most effective launch formats, it can show you the way.

                selecting the best may seem more elegant but not always effective. you don’t even have to learn all the multiple types of baseball pitches. just choose the one you like best and suits you in body aspect, and master it. my best wishes.

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