The MLB World Series begins tonight between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers (as opposed to the MLP’s Drive and Ranchers). In honor of the October Classic, we’re dusting off a baseball-themed tip to help your serve.
Greg Maddux didn't win 4 Cy Young awards throwing straight fastballs. It was a variety of pitches and command of the strike zone that set him apart.
Channel that energy when you've got the ball in your hand. Add a couple of different serves to your arsenal and use them to keep your opponent guessing.
Here are four favorites:
A) Fastball - Deep and to your opponent's backhand. This is where the majority of serves should probably live. Push them back off the baseline and make it difficult to return.
Check out James Ignatowich’s fastball down the middle.
B) Curveball - This is a good chance to let the topspin shine. Put a little loft on this one and let it dip into the back corner. Again, depth is key, delay their journey to the NVZ and take the pressure off your third shot.
Watch Dekel Bar hit the corner and put away an easy third.
C) Changeup - After they back off the baseline to deal with the fastball and curveball, hit them with the changeup: low, soft, and just barely past the kitchen line. Sure, this brings them up in the court, but in rec play it can lead to return errors.
D) Slider - Every once in a while it's nice to mix in the slide piece. Dot the low, outside corner of the strike zone (service box) and their head will spin faster than the ball itself. The benefit here is even if they return the serve it will be a struggle for them to get back in position to cover a third-shot drive.
Bonus: Eephus - The lob serve. It's a great change of pace option. The floating ball affords the returner time to think, which can surprisingly cause them to go for too much on a return. They might try to hit a perfect return that results in a net ball, or one that sails deep.