I took a little tie off and let my body grow into itself. In April of last year I was 5’6 110lb and could throw a max of 65. I came back for baseball season in December and started to get my arm back in shape. I came back for my physical and was 5’11 135lb. I am a pitcher that is now floating between varsity reliever and #1 JV starter. My velocity has gone up to somewhere around 70-75mph and I am realizing how important my changeup is. I had never used a changeup because my fastball was at the speed of many other changeups in the JV league last year. My coach is stressing that I improve my changeup to get more varsity opportunities. I like to throw a circle-change but I can’t stop spiking it every 4 or 5 pitches and I don’t want to risk it in game. For all I can tell, I am releasing at the same point as my fastball. How can I gain better control?
If you are spiking it pretty consistently, then there’s a good chance you are either gripping too tight or have the ball too far back into your hand. You are correct in having your release point the same as your fastball. Your arm speed should also be the same as your fastball. The changeup speed (or lack of speed) is created by having more fingers (resistance) on the ball and the amount of pronation upon release. The amount of pronation also dictates how much break or drop you will have on your changeup. Depth in the hand should be to your comfort.
The best advice to throwing any kind of pitch is to get a feel for it while just throwing with a buddy. Make small adjustments to grip, depth (in your hand) and pronation until the ball starts doing what you want. Have your throwing partner report what he sees each throw. It may take you 50-100 throws to figure it out. Throw a fastball grip every 4 or 5 throws to reset your brain.
You need to be very familiar with your changeup. At the beginning of every practice (after proper stretching) all teams pair up and play catch, starting at 45 feet and stretching out to 200+ before working back in. Pair up with another pitcher and once you are loose mix in changeups even out to 100 feet. Do this throughout the season and you will be as comfortable with your changup as you are with your fastball.
I’d start by focusing on your grip. With the circle change, many pitchers shift their grip to the inside of the ball in order to make a tight circle with thumb and index finger. Don’t do that. There’s nothing magical about a tight circle. What’s important is just getting the index finger along the side of the ball so it can’t be used to accelerate the ball.
So, grip the ball with thumb and middle finger such that they cut the ball in half (turn your hand around so you can see your fingertips to check). Then put your index finger down the side of the ball only as far as your flexibility allows without shifting your hand on the ball. Finally, lay your ring and pinky fingers on the ball. There’s your grip.
Thanks. I’ve been practicing throwing the grip as you advised and it is helping alot!
Thank you. I will try this out!
Joshua, I’m not a mechanic’s coach, but I have notice the pitchers that I managed, having trouble with their off-speed stuff, stand too upright during the entire motion down the mound, and their release resembled more of a knuckleball pitcher than anything else.
Whoever your battery mate is, ask him for his opinion of whether or not your resembling a knuckleball pitcher’s posture - or - that of a pitcher delivering a fastball.
Now whether or not his contributes to your situation - I can’t say. Roger has considerable experience with youth pitchers, so I would depend on him for the best advice that you could go with.