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Striped Baseball – How to Make Better Throws with this Simple Hack

Ever stumbled upon a baseball decked out with a black stripe of electrical tape or marked up with a sharpie? If you’ve hung around a local baseball field long enough, chances are you’ve seen it.

This little trick is something of a secret weapon for us coaches to help young players looking to dial in their throwing game. It’s all about nailing that 4-seam or 2-seam grip and release, critical for both pitchers and outfielders.

Striped Baseball with black electrical tape

Imagine this: For outfielders boasting a cannon arm, mastering the 4-seam fastball is crucial. It’s all about minimizing those pesky, unintended mid-flight hooks to ensure the ball lands exactly where intended, quickly and accurately. And for the young pitchers, getting a handle on both the 4-seam and 2-seam fastballs early on is essential. That black stripe? Also referred to as a spin vision (SKLZ owns the trademark), consider it your instant replay, offering real-time feedback on your technique.

If you are interested in a training tool, we’ve had some success using a tool called Shop Play 9 Leather Baseball Spinners.


You’ll need some electrical tape or a hefty sharpie. To practice those 4-seam throws, mark a stripe right over the horseshoe seam of the baseball, wrapping it completely around. If you’re not a fan of the slick feel electrical tape can give, you might want to experiment with a Sharpie instead. Drawing a straight line can be tricky, so here’s a tip: get a piece of string, tape one end to the ball, stretch it across, and tape the other end down. Then, use your Sharpie to trace along the string.

Striped Baseball with a Sharpie pen

Now, about the choice between tape and marker. Some folks argue that tape can mess with the feel of the ball or even its flight if it starts peeling. That’s why I’m a marker man myself—it keeps the ball feeling like, well, a baseball, while still giving you that visual cue you need.

What You will see

With the correct grip and release, a proper 4-seam throw will make the ball spin so the stripe appears as a straight line slicing through the air. Incorporate these marked baseballs into your routine. It’s straightforward: if the stripe remains straight while the ball is in flight, you’ve got it right. If it begins to squiggle, you’ll need to revisit your release technique. This instant feedback is invaluable for adjusting and refining your throw.

This principle also applies to 2-seam throws for pitchers.


Mastering the 4-seam grip is crucial—it’s your ticket to throws that are both powerful and pinpoint accurate. Introducing this simple drill early on lays a solid foundation for future success, whether your sights are set on the big leagues or you’re playing purely for the love of the game.


At the end of the day, it’s about observing the spin, understanding its feedback, and tweaking your grip and throw accordingly. We might all wish for a perfect stripe on every pitch, but the true value lies in using that visual contrast to assess the spin. It makes the concept tangible, something you can physically adjust and improve upon.

To all the coaches and players out there, take it from an experienced old-timer: don’t overlook the power of a simple black stripe. It’s a straightforward, effective method to elevate your team’s performance, teaching the importance of precision and power with each throw. Keep practicing, keep tweaking, and let that stripe guide you to throwing like a pro.

For more information on baseball balls, please visit Different Types of Baseballs post.

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