How to Grip a Sinker in Baseball

by Amy Lively
Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay's sinker helped him throw a no-hitter in the 2010 National League playoffs.

Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay's sinker helped him throw a no-hitter in the 2010 National League playoffs.

Hunter Martin/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

If a pitcher needs a ground ball to get out of a tough situation, the sinker is the ideal pitch to throw. A sinker, true to its name, breaks down, or sinks, as it approaches home plate. It can be an effective pitch, particularly if the pitcher can keep it low in the strike zone, because the late downward movement of the ball makes it difficult for the batter to make solid contact. A good sinker can break as much as six to 12 inches before crossing the plate.

Step 1

Hold the baseball in your pitching hand. Take note of the two seams created by the stitches in the ball.

Step 2

Place your index finger and your middle finger between the two seams. Your fingers should be parallel to each other.

Step 3

Put your thumb between the seams on the opposite side of the baseball. The arm motion in releasing the pitch is the same as for a fastball, but the friction created by the grip reduces the speed of the pitch and therefore causes the sinking movement.

Tips & Warnings

  • Using unequal pressure between the two fingers will change the movement of the pitch. If a right-handed pitcher puts more pressure on the index finger, the pitch will go left, while putting more pressure on the middle finger will make the pitch break right.
  • Experimenting with variations of the sinker grip can help determine what is most effective. For example, try placing one finger on a seam and see what kind of movement results on the pitch.
  • It is important that a sinker actually sinks. Throwing the sinker with improper mechanics can result in the pitch being right down the middle of the plate, leading to more base hits than ground ball outs.

About the Author

Amy Lively began writing professionally in 2010. She brings expertise in sustainability, careers, nonprofit organizations, photography and American history. Lively holds a Bachelor of Arts in behavioral science from Midland College and a Master of Arts in American history from American Public University in West Virginia.

Photo Credits

  • Hunter Martin/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images