What Is a Screwball Pitch? How To Throw

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What Is a Screwball?

A screwball pitch is a baseball pitch thrown with a spin that makes the ball move in the opposite direction of a fastball. The term “screwball” can describe any type of pitch with abnormal movement, but it is most often used to refer to a specific pitch thrown with a reverse spin.

How Invented The Screwball?

The screwball was invented by Christy Mathewson, one of his era’s greatest pitchers. He first started throwing the pitch in 1908, and it quickly became one of his trademark pitches. Mathewson used the screwball to great effect, and it helped him become one of the most successful pitchers in baseball history.

How To Throw a Screwball

1. Start with your index and middle fingers close together on top of the ball, with your thumb underneath.

2. As you release the ball, snap your wrist quickly to the left (if you are right-handed) or to the right (if you are left-handed). This will cause the ball to spin.

3. Aim for the outside corner of the plate if you are a right-handed pitcher or the inside corner if you are left-handed.

4. As the ball approaches the batter, it will appear to be headed for the middle of the plate but then break away at the last second.

5. The screwball is most effective when thrown at speeds around 80 mph but can be varied depending on the batter and situation.

Why Don’t More Pitchers Throw Screwballs?

Notoriously Tricky To Master: It requires perfect timing and mechanics to be effective; even then, it can be unpredictable. This makes it hard for pitchers to consistently throw strikes with the pitch, which is a major problem.

Puts Much Stress on The Elbow & Shoulder: Its high-velocity pitch puts unnatural pressure on the joints, which can lead to injuries. In an era where teams are increasingly cautious about pitchers’ health, the screwball’s risks are not worth it.

Less Effective Against Today’s Hitters: Hitters have become more adept at hitting pitches that move away from them, which negates one of the key advantages of the pitch.


A screwball is a difficult pitch to hit and results in a lot of strikeouts. If you’re looking for a way to improve your baseball game, consider adding the screwball to your repertoire. With practice, you’ll be able to fool even the best hitters with this deceptively simple pitch.