Change up Help

Here is my problem…I have messed around with different change up grips in the past but right now i’ve been trying to throw a 2-Seam circle change up… The problem is it really has no movement, and any change up grip I try seams to always be high, or right down the middle…If you have any advice please let me know.


The first thing you need to do is check your release point. If you’re releasing the ball too late your pitches will tend to be high, so you need to make some adjustment there so as to get the ball down. The next thing—why do you think you need to mess around with a lot of different grips when just two or three will suffice? The thing with a changeup is not only the grip but also how tight or loose it is—and remember, you have to throw it with the same arm motion and the same arm speed as you would a fast ball.
For example, the palm ball—which, by the way, makes an excellent changeup. This was the first pitch I picked up—I was about twelve or thirteen—and it’s actually quite simple. You grip the ball with all four fingers on top and the thumb underneath for support, way back in the palm of your hand (hence the name)—a firm but comfortable grip will do it; don’t try to squeeze the juice out of the ball! I’ve heard quite a few complaints from pitchers who have tried to do that, and I can tell you it just doesn’t work that way. And as I said, you throw it like a fast ball.
Another thing you might try is a knuckle-curve. This is a pitch where you use any of several knuckleball grips—I used to alternate between a two- finger and a three-finger grip most of the time—and throw the curve ball with it; it appears to come in there looking like a fast ball and then it suddenly drops like a stone. Incidentally, I used to do the same thing with my slider, which was nasty enough as it was—I would get a knuckleball grip and throw my slider with it, and it used to discombooberate the hitters something fierce.
As for the circle change, I think you’re making things unnecessarily complicated there. The basic thing is to make the “OK” sign with your thumb and forefinger on one side of the ball and have the other three fingers on top of the ball, never mind the seams. That’s assuming your hand is large enough to make that circle. If it sin’t, there’s an alternate grip which my pitching coach of long ago showed me—make a half-circle, an inverted “c” so to speak. He also told me to move my middle and ring fingers closer together, creating a sort of off-center grip (like the index and middle finger for the slider). You might find this a little easier, and you might have better luck getting the ball down in the zone. I would suggest getting a catcher and work on those pitches with him behind the plate.
One more thing: you might look at your arm slot. Perhaps lowering it to more of a 3/4, or even closer to sidearm, might help. And here’s something I used to do when I was a little snip: I would get a catcher and have him position himself behind the plate, and he would position his mitt in various places, high, low, inside, outside, every which way except standing on his head :lol:, and I would concentreate on getting the ball smack-dab into the pocket of the mitt—what a satisfying feeling to hear that THWACK as the ball hit the pocket. You might spend some time doing this; it’s a great way to sharpen up you control and a lot of fun besides. Hope this helps. :slight_smile: :baseballpitcher:

Here’s a suggestion that I used with one of my pitchers that worked rather well. For him anyway.

The change-up works best when delivered AFTER the front foot (stride) is securely planted. In other words, once you’ve landed on your stride foot, deliberately feel that foot being FORCED down in the ground - not stomped down, but landing deliberately planting it.

You’ll also find that your slider, curve ball, and sinkers work better when in that mode.

When delivering your change-up, don’t forget to use the same body motion as your fastball. That’s the key signature of a good off-speed pitch.

I might add, that during brisk weather like fall ball and early spring ball, some pitchers have a certain degree of difficulty working their off-speed stuff, in addition to their curve ball and other junk. Why? Because all those pitches require a degree of flexibility and suppleness to the body’s movement. Chilly weather seems to take a bit of that away for some. In fact, I’ve had some pitchers that I would suggest using sparingly during the early parts of the season due to weather temperatures. Their effectiveness and longevity was questionable at times, not to mention their pitch inventory had a certain frailty.

Coach B.

When I have problems with my change-up it is usually related to one of these two things and they are probably related to each other.

The first is I am slowing my delivery down trying to slow down the ball.

The other is that I am not finishing my delivery. I guess that is a result of slowing down the delivery. Best thing I do is to throw my change-up in long-toss - this helps me to get the feel for what my body should be doing.


How do you throw your change-up?

Here are some archetype examples of how various types of pitches are thrown:

  1. Fastball–palm forward straight to the target at release. Index and middle finger are directly behind the ball at release, providing maximum speed and (relatively) little movement.

  2. Curveball–palm facing in (supinated) at release. Ball rolls over the top of the index finger at release, providing topspin and downward break. Except for pitchers who throw almost directly over the top (Koufax, Lincecum, et al) most pitchers will also get significant lateral break on their curveball. The amount of lateral movement of the curve is directly related to how the pitcher’s arm-slot orients the spin axis of the ball at release. Because the fingers are not behind the ball at release, the curve is significantly slower than the fastball.

  3. Screwball–palm facing out (pronated) at release. The ball rolls over the middle finger at release, providing topspin and downward break, like the curve. If a pitcher has a directly-over-the-top delivery there is no purpose to throwing both a curve and a screwball since they would both break the same–straight down. However, a pitcher with, say, a 3/4 arm-slot will get opposite lateral movements from his curve and his screwball. Even though both pitches have topspin to give them a similar amount of downward break, the curve and screwball pitches have oppositely oriented, tilted spin axes which gives them oppositely directed lateral movements. Like the curve, the screwball velocity is much slower than the fastball because the fingers are not behind the ball at release.

Tom House has always suggested that pitchers who throw any of the common change-up variants with a palm-forward (fastball) release are usually just going to produce a mediocre fastball–pretty straight and with some (but not enough) speed taken off compared to the fastball. He further suggests that in order to take 10 or 12 mph off, and get useful lateral movement, most of the common change-up grips should be released with considerable pronation–i.e., related to screwball release.

:allgood: That’s a great explanation, Lee!