A sinker is a term used to describe one of the pitches in a ball game. Another term for it is a 'sinking fastball'. However, this pitch is not as fast as a regular fastball. Other types of pitches are a cutter, a sharp curveball, and a split-finger fastball.
A sinker is thrown at a slight angle than normal, so you get a late movement on it, and the ball moves down to the right. This makes it one of the favorite pitches in a ballgame. Hitters have trouble making contact with it, and so pitchers have more opportunities of getting ground-ball outs. Knowing how to pitch an effective sinker takes time and practice. Many will probably advice you, if you are 16 or under, to hang around a bit more before you attempt this type of pitching. The reason being, youngsters run a danger of damaging their hands by stretching their fingers too much for a widened grip on the ball. Of course, if you were born with an extra-large set of hands, you might not face this problem.
A baseball comes with a closed-end horseshoe seam pattern. The horseshoe seam comes in handy for knowing where to place your fingers and how to throw different pitches. You can use different types of grips to throw a sinker. You place your first two fingers―the index one and the middle one―parallel to each other on the seam at the horseshoe's closed end. Place your ring finger and little finger lightly on the side, to both, give some stability to your grip and to make it easier for you to make your throw. When you throw, do so in the way you would normally throw a fastball, but release the ball with a quick downward flick of your wrist, with your index and middle fingers propelling it forward.
Now, move your index and middle finger close together, so that they now lie between the ball seams. Place your thumb sideways, so that it lies in a 7 'o' clock position in relation with the two fingers. This type of pitch will make the ball turn over naturally as it is thrown. When thrown by a right-handed pitcher, this kind of pitch gives the ball a clockwise, topspin.
Some pitchers―the extra-large handed ones―even manage to grip the ball in the webbing between their fingers. This is known as a fork ball. Don't try this, especially if you have small hands. Let your fingers gradually accustom to this type of hold, before making it a permanent part of your pitching repertoire.
A few things to keep in mind when you throw a sinker:
- You should make the ball roll off your index and middle finger when you pitch.
- You should not get under the ball when you throw.
- You should not throw the pitch high.
- You should aim at the hitter's waist, throwing low and a little on the inside.
- You shouldn't throw so many sinkers that you end up straining your shoulder or arm.