Quick Answer: What force causes a baseball to curve?

Every thrown ball will curve, because there is a gravitational force acting on the ball, pulling it down towards the earth’s surface.

Do baseball pitches really curve?

It turns out that the path of a curveball really does curve as it flies through the air, making it unpredictable and hard to hit. Exploratorium staff physicist Paul Doherty explains where the curveball gets its curve.

What makes a pitch curve?

Generally speaking, a ball thrown with a spin will curve in the same direction that the front of the ball (home plate side, when pitched) turns. If the ball is spinning from top to bottom (topspin), it will tend to nosedive into the dirt. If it’s spinning from left to right, the pitch will break toward third base.

How does curving a ball work?

Blue Sky Science: How does a curveball curve?

How fast does a baseball have to go to curve?

Scientific experiments show that the maximum curve a baseball pitcher can expect to throw is about 17 inches. The most effective speed is about 100 feet per second, which is well within the capacity of a professional pitcher. Speed by itself, however, has little effect. The important thing is the amount of spin.

How do you throw a curve ball in baseball?


  1. Grip the ball between your thumb and middle finger. Place your middle finger along the bottom seam of the baseball and your thumb along the back seam.
  2. Keep your grip hidden.
  3. Wind up and throw the pitch.
  4. Snap the release.
  5. Practice.

How much do curveballs break?

In the 60-foot, 6-inch journey from mound to plate, a curveball can break up to 17.5 inches, Briggs concluded.

Do pitches actually move?

It’s All in the Spin

Gravity pulls the ball downwards, drag slows the ball down, and the Magnus force… Well, that depends on the pitch. As the ball spins in its flight path, pressure variations form on it and the Magnus effect generates a force perpendicular to the motion of the ball in the direction of the spin.

What pitch is illegal in baseball?

This seems to meet the definition of “illegal pitch” in the MLB rulebook, which reads, “An ILLEGAL PITCH is (1) a pitch delivered to the batter when the pitcher does not have his pivot foot in contact with the pitcher’s plate
(2) a quick return pitch. An illegal pitch when runners are on base is a balk.”

Why does a curveball break?

The pitcher puts a spin on the ball when they release it from their hand. This could be a “topspin” rotation, where the top of the ball spins forward while the ball hurtles towards the plate. That creates air pressure differences on the ball that cause it to “break,” or change direction.

Why is a curveball called an Uncle Charlie?

One of the early nicknames of the curveball was Uncle Charlie, or sometimes, Lord Charles. This was derived from the name of Harvard President Charles Elliot, who was opposed to the adoption of the curveball and considered it to be cheating. No surprise there, because Harvard was the curveball’s original victim.

What is the difference between a slider and a curveball in baseball?

The difference between a slider and curveball is that the curveball delivery includes a downward yank on the ball as it is released in addition to the lateral spin applied by the slider grip. The slider is released off the index finger, while the curveball is released off the middle finger.

Who throws the fastest curveball?

Fortunately, there’s no shortage of that as our quick look at the fastest throwing pitchers in MLB shows.

  • Fastest curveball in MLB: 85.2 mph, Colorado Rockies pitcher Germán Márquez.
  • Fastest splitter in MLB” 89.5 mph, New York Mets pitcher Taijuan Walker.

Is a curveball an optical illusion?

The common perception of a curveball is that it flies straight after it’s thrown, then breaks and curves at some point midway through the air. In actuality, the curveball is curving the whole time, but human perception cannot detect it.

What is the average speed of a curveball?

A typical curveball in the major collegiate level and above will average between 65 and 80 mph, with the average MLB curve at 77 mph.

What’s the farthest a baseball can be hit?

Although we may never be able to know for sure what the farthest hit baseball was, we can assume a range from different sources and that’s from about 150–200 m (500–650 feet).

Is a 600 foot home run possible?

The predictions of the physics despite the issue of over-estimated backspin, is remarkably consistent with the results from ESPN Home Run Tracker at least as far as the maximum possible homer. It seems that the limit is somewhere a bit above 500 feet. So, it seems that 600 footers are out of the question.

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.

When should you throw a curveball?

In most cases, this means waiting until a pitcher is 12 or 13 before introducing the curveball, but it could be sooner, could be later.

What is the easiest pitch to throw in baseball?

Four-Seam Fastball

This is usually the easiest pitch to throw for a strike. If released properly, four laces of the ball rotate through the air, helping to keep the throw in line with the target. Pitchers should hold the baseball with their pointer and middle finger on the top laces or seams of the baseball.

Can you throw a curveball with a tennis ball?

Pitchers can still throw different types of pitches with a tennis ball. Locate a tennis ball to use. The newer the ball, the easier it will be to throw a curveball. Tennis balls that are worn down have deep seams and are less likely to break.

What baseball was used in England?

British baseball, which is sometimes called Welsh baseball, is a bat-and-ball game that is played in Wales and England. It is similar to the game called rounders. This sport has differences from the widely known baseball, which is popular in North America.

What is a cutter in baseball?

A cutter is a version of the fastball, designed to move slightly away from the pitcher’s arm-side as it reaches home plate. Cutters are not thrown by a large portion of Major League pitchers, but for some of the pitchers who possess a cutter, it is one of their primary pitches.

Why do pitches move?

This pitch moves arm side of the pitcher and down. This movement is a result of the seams catching the air in a way that pushes the ball down and in to righties from a right handed pitcher.

What is the science behind throwing a baseball?

When the ball spins at the proper speed around its vertical axis, the passing airstream exerts a deflecting force, caused by the rotation of the ball. Air travels with the spinning ball and is ejected on the opposite side of the spin (see diagram).

Why do pitchers throw like that?

As a baseball rotates, air moves around it and is deflected off one side of the sphere. The axis it spins around and the rate of that spin determines where the air is released and with how much force.

What is the rarest pitch?

Definition. A screwball is a breaking ball designed to move in the opposite direction of just about every other breaking pitch. It is one of the rarest pitches thrown in baseball, mostly because of the tax it can put on a pitcher’s arm.

Can a MLB pitcher throw underhand?

An MLB umpire confirmed pitching underhand is allowed.

Why is the spitball banned?

The reason why the spitball was banned was that it was regarded as doctoring a baseball. And everything that was considered doctoring a baseball was banned on this day in 1920. Throwing the spitball before that 10th of February 1920 was a common thing. Many pitchers did it.