Coaching Baseball: The Correct Way To Hold A Baseball

After years of coaching, giving private lessons, working at camps and clinics, it amazes me to see so many baseball players holding the baseball incorrectly.

I am talking about basic throwing mechanics and the first step in proper throwing mechanics is holding the baseball the correct way. So what is the correct way to hold a baseball?

This is the first lesson I teach players from tee-ballers all the way up to my varsity players. It might seem elementary to teach an 18 year old this simple lesson but your grip on the baseball will have huge impact on velocity, accuracy and distance of your throw.

How to hold a baseball the correct way:

  • 4 seem grip
  • Pads of the pointer and middle finger on the straight seem
  • Pointer and middle finger pinky width apart
  • For a tee baller, I’d suggest using 3 fingers on top, the index, middlle and ring fingers.
  • Thumb underneath ball so that it splits the ball in half
  • Ball rests on the side of the thumb not the pad
  • Keep some space between the ball and the palm


proper-grip-front proper-grip-side


improper-grip-front improper-grip-side

Take a look at the head-on correct grip vs. the incorrect grip, you’ll notice that with the incorrect grip, the wrist is cocked toward the thumb side. When the ball is thrown using this type of grip it usually has “side spin” vs. “back spin”. In essence, the player with the improper grip is throwing a slider or a cutter over to 1st base. Thus losing velocity and distance as the ball dies the last few feet.


You might think it takes too much time in a game to transfer the ball to your hand and get the proper grip but with enough “deliberate practice” it will happen automatically.

When I was taught this lesson (by Clint Hurdle in the early 90’s) I’d have a ball in my right hand, flipping it up and catching it, all the time. I found out that if you give a 1/4 turn to the left, you would land on the 4-seem grip. I would do this while watching TV, walking between classes in school etc.

Now even today, whenever I pick up a baseball, it’s always the correct way with the proper 4-seem grip…it became automatic. That’s how players are able to get the proper 4-seem grip in a blink of an eye.

Stay on plane…

About CoachK

Owner and head instructor at Colonial Baseball Instruction. CBI serves Southern VA with baseball camps and private lessons. CBI also developed My Coach: Baseball App and sells a variety of baseball training aids. says:

Good points…I never paid attention to the thumb placement under the ball.