Great Pitching Drill for the Backdoor Curve

backdoor curveball path drill michelle gascoigne northwestern

Your pitcher’s curveball is made even better when she can throw it “backdoor”. But learning to do so can be tough. Or can it?

backdoor curveball path drill michelle gascoigne northwestern

Check out this terrific drill for teaching your pitchers to throw a backdoor curveball.

We just completed our 4th annual Pitching Summit – and what’s so great about the Pitching Summit is you get exposed to so many new ideas and drills. Every speaker has a slightly different way to solve a problem and this backdoor curveball drill is a perfect example of just what I’m talking about.

Michelle Gascoigne, the Pitching Coach for Northwestern, spoke at our Pitching Summit on Teaching the Curveball; Tips, Grips & Drills, and she shared what I thought was a brilliantly simply drill for teaching the backdoor curve.

Picture 1 shows the path a typical Curveball takes when thrown by a righthanded pitcher.

To throw what we call a “backdoor” curveball means the pitcher throws a curve on the inside part of the plate instead of the outside. So, when thrown by a righthanded pitcher, a standard curveball breaks on the outside part of the plate (against a righthanded hitter), while a “backdoor” curveball breaks on the inside part of the plate (against a righthanded hitter). You can see the difference between these 2 curveballs in Picture 3.

curveball backdoor patch drill pitching inside plate

While this might seem like an easy adjustment for you as a coach, it can be super difficult for pitchers to figure this out. I think the difficulty lies in two things:

  • Having the courage to start your pitch actually heading toward a righthanded hitter (instead of toward the plate as with every other pitch),
  • And picturing the approach angle for the pitch, since there’s no plate to use as a guide on the far inside edge.

Backdoor Curveball Path drill homeplate angle second plate michelle gascoigne

So, here’s the brilliant solution that Michelle Gascoigne taught at the Pitching Summit that I’d never thought of – place a second homeplate to the inside of the regular homeplate. Then have your pitcher simply throw her “backdoor” curve at the second plate the same way she’d throw her regular curve to the regular plate. (Picture 2)

After your pitcher gets comfortable throwing to the second plate, then see if she can throw her backdoor to the regular plate. Be patient, change takes time, but this second plate backdoor drill is brilliant!

There’re a million other things I learned from the Pitching Summit that I could have written an article about. We recorded every single session and will dump these videos into the Pitching Summit Vault soon. When we do, if you’re a Pitching Summit Vault member you’ll get this year’s Summit videos as part of your membership – no extra charge!

2017 Pitching Summit Speakers: 2018 Pitching Summit Speakers:
Jennifer Rocha (Oklahoma) Kelly Inouye-Perez (UCLA)
Missy Lombardi (Oregon) Trisha Ford (Arizona State)
Lonni Alameda (Florida State) Larissa Anderson (Missouri)
Lori Sippel (Nebraska) Piper Ritter (Minnesota)
John Tschida (St. Thomas) Michelle Gascoigne (Northwestern)
Beth Torina (LSU) Cat Osterman (Texas State)
Jen Brundage (Michigan) Megan Langenfeld (U.C. – Riverside)
Michelle Gascoigne (Northwestern) Beverly Smith (South Carolina)
Megan Brown (Boston College)
Dr. Tom Hanson (Big Play Academy)

Become a member of our Pitching Summit Vault and see everything I learned from the 2017 Pitching Summit. If you want to know what these great pitching minds teach about pitching, then become a Pitching Vault member today!  If you’re an over-achiever – then get BOTH the Hitting and the Pitching Summit Vault by becoming a Combo Summit Vault member!

Comments 1
  1. Thank you for the great suggestion on throwing a backdoor curve. I can’t wait to try this not only with my right-handed pitchers but also with my one lefty.

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