How to throw a change up.
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 January 2010 08:16 Written by Pat Ahearne Wednesday, 4 November 2009 07:47
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I want to pass on a lesson on the basics of throwing a change up. It’s a pitch that a lot of players have trouble controlling, it’s a pitch that all managers want their pitching staff to have, and it’s a fun pitch to throw.
Changing speeds helps a pitcher take advantage of three dimensions of pitching to beat a hitter. Inside/outside is one dimension, up and down another, and if a pitcher can use the change up effectively, then he can beat a hitter with the third dimension of speed.
I would like to present the basics of throwing a circle change up. It’s not a complicated pitch to learn or is it a complicated pitch to throw. Without even seeing a pitcher throw, just taking this lesson and experimenting with it, he should have a pretty good change rather quickly.
Step one: The Grip
I will show images of a change up off a two-seam fastball grip, and you can substitute your fastball grip whatever it is as a starting point.
Here’s an image of a two seam fastball grip:
Now, to take the change-up grip, simply put your middle finger and ring finger on the ball in the same place your index and middle finger are in a fastball grip. Bend your index finger to form the “circle” of a circle change and rest your pinkie finger comfortably on the side of the ball.
Here’s another angle of the grip. On other pitches, ideally you want the thumb and middle finger to cut the ball in half. In the change-up, notice the ring finger and thumb cut the ball in half. Also notice the placement of the thumb and pinkie finger. When you grip the change up this way, it should feel comfortable and you should feel like you have control of the ball in your hand.
The important part of the grip is to cut the ball in half with the thumb and ring finger and have a comfortable control of the ball in your hand. Also, it’s important to have a ball in your hand and practice that feel. When I was growing up, I would always carry a ball around with me – it was comforting and I was getting comfortable with my grips and feel.
Step 2: Throwing the Change-Up
Now that you have your grip, there are two thoughts or two important “feels” for the change-up. First, the change-up is thrown with a relaxed wrist so let the feel of your wrist be loose and relaxed. Next, feel like you are throwing your best fastball. The grip and wrist will will take care of the speed of the pitch and the best fastball motion will give the same look as your fastball to the hitter.
When I teach young players a change, I get them to only 3 quick thoughts.
- Get your comfortable change-up grip
- Relax your wrist
- Throw your best fastball right down the middle, down.
That’s it. A simple plan to practice and develop one of the most useful pitches in baseball.
Go for it!