Anyone have any tips on teaching high school pitchers a change-up? I find that more and more young pitchers either abandon their change-ups after little league or never learned one. This year we are hoping to teach all of our pitching staff a change-up to go along with the fastball and curve they have already.
We just use the circle change grip and play A LOT of catch with it after we stretch out for long toss.
If you use the circle, tell guys to think about throwing it with the middle two fingers. The actual circle made with index finger and thumb can be a personal preference, big or tight. Raising the pinkie finger to almost touching the ring finger helps with control and will usually give some arm-side run to the ball.
Mostly work on getting it to have fastball arm action and good change of speeds (10-14mph off the fastball). Remember, hitters don’t hit what you throw, they hit what they see.
we really emphasis the changeup in everything we do pitching wise. we feel its great pitch on the high school level - especially right hander to lh hitter. but we throw it to rh alot also.
we throw the circle change and as they develop it we teach them to turn it over which gives it a little screw ball dive at the end. we just make our kids throw it all the time. we incorporate it into our longtoss which is a great teaching tool for keeping fastball armspeed.
we shoot more for the 8-10 mph difference between it and the fastball. too much change of speed is easier for the hitter to adjust.
we also try to stress to our youth program ( 6-14 ) to be fastabll/changeup pitchers.
thank you all, do you have any specific drills that could help pitchers with control and “feel” for the pitch?
The key also is to have confidence in this pitch. I worked with my son on several different grips. The key is to have him throw it during warm ups and practice. Get the perfect grip and throw it during a game situation. Once they have confidence in it and throw it with fastball arm speed it can become a deadly weapon.
Play a lot of changeup catch. This will help more than anything to get “feel” for the pitch. Let the person know that you are throwing it, preferably with another pitcher, and spend time just getting it out of the hand.
Also, I agree with raiderbb, about turning the change over. It usually depends on how much movement the individual pitcher has and what kind of movement he has on his sinker or two seam. If the pitcher has more hard sink and not as much arm side run, then we usually don’t have him turn it over. Remember, the most important aspect of the change is deception, and making it look like the fastball as much as possible with the change of speeds.
Coach DeLunas brought up a good point. A great way to develop a quality change-up is to play a lot of catch with it. In the Cubs organization, we even long tossed using the change-up grip a couple of times a week. This, of course, forces you to throw with fastball arm speed, but enables you to develop a feel for the change-up grip.
Additionally, raiderbb’s suggestion of turning the change-up over (called pronating the pitch) is essential to get the change-up to fade to the throwing-hand side of the strike zone. Thanks, coach.
is a change up thrown at the same relase point as a fastball or is it thrown out in front of the body like a spliter. Ive heard people say to do both and was wondering what everbody’s preference is.
I like to teach my kids to experiment with the release point, at the end of the day its whatever provides consistent location. Having said that, you may find you are leaving it up in the zone because of the way you release the ball off the top of your fingers…I know that it was always useful for me personally to focus on releasing it further out front. I also agree with turning the ball over to get good run…to encourage that I like our kids to throw with 2 seams. One last drill I have found that works well with kids just learning the change…I like to get them in front of a fence, maybe 20 feet away, and have them throw the ball with the fastest arm speed they can generate, and see how soft they can actually throw it. What I’m trying to do here, is get the pitchers to “learn by feel” how you can maintain full arm speed by letting the ball “slip” out of your hand. From there its just experimenting with release points to getdesired location, and I really dont care how they grip it : circle, fosh, BP, whatever…just learn how to throw it like a fastball AND at any count, and you’ve got a winner.
Thank you. practice started last week and we are working the change hard with our pitchers. Like many of you said, we made them play catch and go through all their throwing warmups with the cange-up grip. We also had them throw from about 45 feet to squares on a wall. They threw 5 fastballs to adjust to the location of the box (18 inches wide and 6 inches tall, with the bottom of the box being 3 inches below the knees of an average height player) then 20 change-ups then 2 fastballs 1 change 1 fb and one change. We did this 2 times with a day inbetween. the kids liked it and many said they felt better throwing it the 2nd time. i recorded the amount of pitches within the box and all 6 kids were more accurate the second day.