We each have 1000’s of sweat glands and numerous sebaceous glands (oil secreting glands) on our fingers. The combination of these 2 secretions make our fingers and hands quite slippery. One of the things that we know from forensic science is that these secretions are always present on our fingertips. We leave these secretions behind on almost every object that we touch as a fingerprint.
There are some conditions that make this slippery problem worse.
- If you’re playing in the rain or even in a slight mist
- If you’re the least bit nervous, or excited, the stress activates the sweat glands, to produce more of this slippery solution.
- If you have a tendency to perspire.
- If you’re playing in a state like Florida where the humidity is high.
- What this means, of course, is that whether you’re pitching or batting, it is almost impossible to have your best grip.
Touching Your Forehead
Our foreheads are loaded with sebaceous glands, those same glands we talked about in the beginning of this article. Whenever you touch your forehead, you transfer this oily substance to your hands and then having an optimal grip becomes even more of a challenge.
Your Brain and Nervous System
All of us have about 3000 sensory nerve receptors on each fingertip that send an incredible amount of information to our brain. Many of these nerves act like miniature motion detectors. If they detect even the slightest movement of an object you are holding they will instantly alert your brain.
Our brain, in turn, deciphers this information and tells our muscles how hard to grip the ball. Since this all happens at the subconscious level, we are not the least bit aware that this is happening.
How Does Your Grip Affect the Speed and Control of Your Pitches?
As we all know, grip pressure is critical in pitching a ball. If the grip is even a little bit too strong, the muscles in your wrist, forearm, and upper arm tense up. Among other things, this tension limits:
- wrist snap – It’s difficult to have proper wrist snap when your wrist isn’t completely loose.
- speed – There’s an old saying in sports that “tight muscles are slow muscles” and that is especially true for pitching.
- spin and movement – Again, your arm needs to be loose on the downswing to be able to create good spin and movement
You may be saying at this point, “So what? This doesn’t apply to me. I already use the right grip pressure. End of story”. And you would be right as long as you just stayed in your stance. The problem occurs during your delivery. If there is even the slightest of movement, during the somewhat violent delivery of the ball, your overly helpful brain will step up to the plate and tell your muscles to tighten your grip. This tightening, of course, only gets worse if there’s humidity, a light rain, or you are perspiring.
According to Mo Skelton ( physical therapist and founder of F.A.S.T. sports performance ) in his 5/13/14 article for yahoo sports – “when we grip harder to maintain control of the ball, it actually increases tension in the muscles of the arm and shoulder up to the rotator cuff putting players at greater risk of injury”.
The 2 Most Important Ways to Solve This Problem
- Remove the sweat and oils from your fingertips
- Apply an approved grip enhancer to your fingertips. (A good grip enhancer will remove the moisture and oils and also help limit the formation of additional moisture or oil. It will also improve your grip allowing you to maintain a constant grip through your entire delivery.)
Why Many of the Top Fastpitch Pitchers in the World Use Gorilla Gold
- absorbs sweat and oil from the fingertips – Gorilla Gold is delivered on a cotton cloth that is impregnated with a specially formulated waxy compound. The cloth is fabricated to absorb sweat and oil before leaving behind a light tacky feel.
- waterproofs any surface you apply it to – A light coating of our Gorilla Gold formula is left behind on any surface you apply it to; hands, grips or gloves. This coating inhibits the formation of new sweat or oil on your hands and waterproofs any surface it is applied to. This is especially important if the humidity is high, if it’s raining or if it’s hot and you are perspiring
- especially effective in wet, humid, or cold conditions
- allows you to lighten up on your grip while enhancing your control
- Approved for pitchers by the ASA, NCAA, NFHS, ISC, and ISF. In many softball organizations, GORILLA GOLD is the only substance other that a rosin bag that can be used by pitchers on the mound