How to throw a Gyro-ball, with a Wiffle-ball

April 4, 2006

FYI, this has been edited.

I discovered this one playing w/ Gyro-balls with other kinds of balls.  I kinda sorta thought a real Wiffle brand Wiffle-ball (8 perforations on one side, one side no holes) might have the said effect.  Turns out it's relatively easy (well, compared to a hardball or other balls).  I can safely say I can throw it.  All I see is white (like a knuckler).  It has a different sound from other Wiffle pitches, it has a very straight wzzzzz sound instead of the doppler shift a fast ball makes.

How to throw:

Grip the ball like a fastball, but Hold the ball so your index and middle finger are right above the holes, as well is your thumb on the other side, holes pointed out.  Similar to a fast ball, but the fingers do not sit on the holes.  Think of it as your trying to keep the holes faced forward during the whole flight of the ball, so the holes face out at release.

Turn your wrists, so your palms point in toward you and grip the ball tight.

The delivery is a little bit different other pitching types.  Not unlike knuckleball throwers, it requires you to keep your entire body in sync.  Your hips and shoulders should be parallel and in synced movement during the entire delivery.  So does your fore arm.    The velocity will be almost entirely a function of the hip speed.  There is no backspin if executed correctly.  The faster you throw it, the harder it is to control however.

From the second you start the delivery, begin to spin the ball until your palms are facing out.  You have to time it perfectly.  Your forearm rotates evenly during the entire delivery until release which is fully pronated. 

I recommend arm-slots like a knuckleball thrower, over your head, or just a release that's not too far forward.  It can work if your arm is farther forward, but it sinks soooo much it could easily be in the dirt.  Like a knuckle-ball you have to keep your wrists straight.

The ball should fly out and and move fairly fast.  The noise is undeniable, and it breaks sharp and fast.  You can literally throw it head level and with luck it will hit around the knees or lower in the last few feet.  It's the proverbial "dry spitball" so to speak (not really, but it bottoms out like that).  I think this pitch will be very difficult to get in the strike zone with any kind of consistency. 

I got it to spin with all kinds of arm-slots.  I like overhead, but 3/4 or lower seemed caused a lot late sideways break like a really sharp slider. 

OVerhand it's a nasty sinker.  Sub-mariner and even straight underhanded deliveries worked, but sank too much for me to control in anyway.

I've read several references to this pitch in the past, described by some as a pitch not listed in most Wiffle literature.  I'm fairly certain these were Gyroballs.

They are hard to control (like a knuckler).  If you pull back your fingers at the point of release, like a knuckle-ball, the ball will only rotate 1-2 times, along the same axis as the gyro (like a knuckleball, but with no forward or back spin) and make no noise.  It will float and sink.  Cool change-up I suspect.

If you dont rotate to pronation you'll be basically throwing a fastball, with just a little better speed than the gyro.

If you screw up it often tumbles and fall or is fat and down the middle.

The delivery is very smooth and with every type of ball I've thrown it seems to have less impact on my arm than other pitches when thrown with such a synced delivery. 

I think if it is ever successfuly in Pro ball it will be used like a Knuckeball, exclusively, and by rare few.  It's too hard to control, but if anyone ever does, it might become a murder weapon.  If thrown correctly it breaks very late, very hard, down and away from same-handed batter.

I think some reports of people being able to throw a hardball gyro at 90+ mph might be exagerated.  It's faster than a knuckleball, but it's not as fast as a fastball.  Mmaayybbee slider or sinker speeds, but even that seems to fast to me.  I wont count it out though.

Anyway, I dont claim to be an expert AT ALL, I know there are things that could be done to get the mechanics down better.  Now I know it IS real, at least with Wiffleballs, and I'm almost certain W/ Hardballs and other baseball sized balls, and possibly even softballs.

I wasn't going to write about it, but there are two ways to get htis kind of spin. The other way is to break the wrist like a slider (not pronated). If done correctly, the ball spins along the same axis, with an opposite spin as described above. http://www.tc.umn.edu/~vong0025/ describes a similiar pitch as "Hard curve". I've thrown it, and it spins like a Gyro w/ opposite spin. It's a beauty of a pitch. Makes me wonder if some sinkerballers dont accidently throw it. It's weird, even with the pronated release, a forked grip makes the gyro easier to get.

Next up, how to throw a gyro, with a hard ball!

Let me know what you think ;')

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