If I was going to teach someone to pitch I would want to teach them to pitch both sidearm and overhand.

I think the combination of the two styles would help to confuse batters because they would not know where the pitch was coming from.

Wouldn't this be a more effective way of pitching if you had the ability to throw both ways well?

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    It may have to do with durability and injury. When I was a kid, I threw out my arm pitching, but I wanted to keep pitching, so I moved to sidearm and eventually submarine with reduced pain. The motion uses different muscles for sure.
    – dgo
    Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 3:49
  • Also, this is only guessing; I think most of the time; the person teaching kids to pitch either doesn't have distinction for that or is happy if the kid can just get it near the plate. By the time most kids encounter someone who would even think of that or care, they are in high school or college; and at that point they are already skilled doing it one way (don't fix what's not broken); and messing with the mechanics almost certainly increases the risk of injury.
    – dgo
    Commented Dec 13, 2015 at 17:32
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    I would think you would be more durable if you pitched a combination of overhand and sidearm. I think being good at both would be very confusing to batters. Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 3:52
  • More confusing yes. More durable - maybe - but I can't think of any reason why.
    – dgo
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 17:14
  • More confusing. That says it all. I don't know why this isn't taught more. Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 1:22

3 Answers 3


There are TONS of pitchers that try to throw with multiple arm angles. Some of the all time greats excelled at doing this.

The reasons you don't see it a lot more:

  • most pitchers need a ton of practice to do that and they don't have enough arms to get in 100 pitches a few times a week at multiple angles.

  • the non fastball pitches are really hard to adjust. The twerk of your wrist and snap of your hand is different is you are straight over or sidearm for a curve/slider, even you changeup grip is different. It is really hard to go back and forth for these. A lot of pitchers struggle to throw these well at one angle.

  • the arm release is easy. Usually you have to bring the ball back differently, this takes a different amount of time and the rest of your body is out of whack.

You have your naturals and cerebral pitchers that can adjust on the fly but the others trying to throw a curve while going 3/4ths will hang it up and watch it get clocked.

To add to this answer given baseball movement the past 4 years... Baseball teams manage players so differently now. There is much more of an emphasis on ball speed, rotational speed and limiting pitches/innings. Pitchers are basically thrown into "groups" and are perfected based on their grouping parameters - almost like tuning a robot.

If a team finds that you throw harder and have better spin rate at 3/4ths compared to your normal delivery they will push you in that direction until it is perfect. And this really means that other deliveries will not have time to be perfected as they don't want you overutilized.

Really in today's baseball there are only three types of pitchers that have a chance to learn multiple arm angles and these are probably a very low percentage of the overall pitchers:

  1. The pitcher no on cares about. If you are in rookie ball or A and not considered an asset to your organization they will probably give you more leeway than say a young up and coming A ball pitcher.
  2. The phenom that does whatever he wants. You sign for a 30 million signing bonus you are calling the shots on experimenting with different angles. The club can't waste that money for you pouting in the minors.
  3. The pitcher that had a horrible injury. The guys who come back from tommyjohn and other major surgeries often experiment with arm angles and their new speed.
  • I think your comment at the end is important. Your 'natural' pitchers who just walk out there and sling it with feel will be my ideal candidate. I would teach this from a young age to develop the ideal pitcher. Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 15:24

To extend your point, being able to "switch-pitch", that is, pitch with both your right and left arm, would be even more confusing to batters. And be able to throw from multiple arm angles with both arms!! Okay, enough sarcasm. Honestly, the reason is that most pitchers, biomechanically, have an arm slot that works for them to produce velocity, accuracy, and consistency. It is very common for pitchers to get to the major leagues with a certain arm slot, and have success, but for some reason either their pitching coach, or they themselves, will have the brilliant idea to change arm slots to "create more movement" or "hide the ball better", etc. Unfortunately, however, at least from several pitchers I have seen, it has done more harm than good.

Some examples of this off the top of my head are:

Kevin Jepsen

Ubaldo Jimenez

Jose Fernandez

These are just a few examples to stir the pot, I am sure others will think of more, and also think of some examples who benefited tremendously from changing their arm slot. Consistency in mechanics & delivery is one of, if not the single most, important element in a successful pitcher. That being said, teaching a pitcher to change arm slots constantly can lead to inconsistency and injury. While it may work for some, my conclusion is that it will not work for the majority of pitchers.

  • Thanks for the great analysis. I enjoy that people are discussing this. I love the idea of switch pitch also. The glove would be a small issue but i'm sure you could work around that somehow. I'm holding to my position that with a very gifted athlete changing delivery 'on the fly' is the ideal way to pitch. Strictly theoretical here. In practice would it work well? I say yes, if it was taught to a gifted athlete early. I KNOW they would have great success in youth baseball. The effect would diminish as they face more skilled batters but I believe it is still very confusing for batters. Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 15:17
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    I'm seeing now that the problem with switch pitching is that the pitcher must according to the rules declare the pitching arm first. The batter is then allowed to adjust. The pitcher can only change once per plate appearance. I think this could be somewhat effective but I would rather focus my efforts into throwing with 1 arm but with 2 (or more) very different styles. Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 15:28
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    @slindsey3000 You are correct about switch pitching. The recent rule changes to accommodate for switch pitchers favor the switch hitter. As per your other comment, I agree that it could be 'taught to a gifted athlete early', but kids' bodies are constantly changing - it is difficult enough to teach a kid ONE set of mechanics, let alone, as you suggested, 2+ sets of mechanics. Your point is a valid one, but I just don't think it would work in practicality at a high-level. Sure, you can get through high school and even D2/D3, maybe D1 college ball, but pro baseball is a whole new game.
    – mhodges
    Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 16:01
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    @slindsey3000 There is a reason that > 95% of MLB pitchers have the roughly the same stride length (relative to height), arm slot, arm angle, external arm rotation, timing, and leg lift. It's because bio-mechanically, there are certain absolutes when it comes to efficiency of energy transfer (physics of pitching) that make certain movements and positioning empirically more optimal for creating velocity, consistency, and accuracy. It is not a coincidence that most pitchers share many commonalities, mechanically. They didn't all just wake up one day and say "this feels right".
    – mhodges
    Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 18:02
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    Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – mhodges
    Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 18:05

I am currently a collegiate pitcher that throws from both submarine and a 3/4 arm slot. I'd say I mix in the 3/4 delivery only about 15-20% of my pitches in game. It is really effective if you have a difference of speed above 7 or 8 mph. The biggest problem with it at higher the higher level however is that you must have the same leg lift and stride and only change mechanics once you begin your arm action. With out this the batters will easily be able to distinguish between the pitches. If you can master similar motions however, it is extremely effective. I sit around 80-83 sub and top at around 90 at the 3/4 arm slot. I would not recommend switching styles as a youth pitcher however because it is a lot of wear and tear on your arm. Both styles use different muscle groups and if you are constantly switching styles with improper form, there is a very good likely hood for injury.

  • Almost none of this has relevance to the question, and the portion that does actually answer, is repeating existent information. Can you remove the unnecessary section and expand on the actual answer?
    – Nij
    Commented Feb 15, 2017 at 6:59
  • Great answer. Thank you. I would need to see more info on the injury thing. I just don't see how you would get injured more. I would actually think that doing the SAME motion time after time after time would more likely lead to injury but I have no evidence for that. Just a feeling. Commented Feb 18, 2017 at 20:01

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