Circle Change thrown like a Screwball

On page 51 of Tom House’s The Pitching Edge, there is one sentence on the “Circle Change”. It reads:

“The circle change is the same as a screwball, but the ‘O’ should be thrown directly at the catcher.”

The “Screwball” entry on the prior page reads like this:

“The “scroogie” is thrown with fastball arm speed, and the forearm, wrist, and hand angle are at full pronation, leading with the thumb; this enable the middle finger to impart rotation over the center axis of the ball, creating a spin that works with gravity in an inside-down action. At the release point, the arm should snap straight to full extenion with the wrist firm and the angled palm out. This enable the middle finger to impart a maximum of pronated rotation on the ball. A screwball is considered an off-speed pitch because the arm angle puts rotation, not force, on the ball.”

This is true? I’ve never heard that a circle change should be thrown like a screwball. It sounds painful :?

The screwball is essentially a curveball or slider in reverse, in that it breaks opposite a conventional curve or slider.

The circle change will break with pretty much the same action as the screwball.

I think the comparison is that both are thrown with lots of pronation. The difference with the circle change is that it can also be thrown with the palm facing the catcher which will change the action on the pitch.

I agree with Turn


Tom House knows what he is talking about…“throwing the circle” at the target at ball release takes speed off the circle change because the middle, ring, and pinkie fingers are not directly behind the ball. Since these fingers are on top of the ball (generating topspin) but on the opposite side from a curve release (generating screwball-like run), the circle change is an outstanding off-speed pitch, when thrown well.

The circle change can also be thrown with palm forward, as implied by other posters; however, you should think about this carefully…a palm-forward release of the circle change puts at least two fingers directly behind the ball at release. If your delivery mechanics and arm-speed are the same as for your fastball (they should be the same) then a palm-forward release of the circle change may tend to produce nothing more than a mediocre, hittable fastball.

The fingers behind the ball at release will create backspin (i.e., like a fastball) and having two or three fingers behind the ball at release tends to transmit the full force of your delivery to the ball (i.e., puts fastball speed on the ball). Thrown this way, the circle change will also tend to be pretty straight, which is also probably not what you want.

Perry Husband’s research has shown that really effective changeups need to be more than 6 mph slower than the pitcher’s fastball, and preferably 10 to 12 mph slower. Thrown palm-forward with fastball mechanics, the circle change grip will likely not take 6 mph off of your fastball speed.