Circle Change Up Problem?


#1

I did a search of this site but came up empty. I’m sure this question has been asked before. My sons coach recently switched him over to a circle change from a three finger. Today most of his change ups were high and inside. Any thoughts?


#2

Chances are your son is gripping the ball in such a way that he is able to make a nice, tight circle. Unfortunately, this means he is probably holding the ball off-center and the ball is “squirting” out of his hand to the pinky side.

The solution is to grip the ball with thumb and middle finger cutting the ball in half. Then tuck the index finger down the side of the ball only as far as flexibility allows without shifting thumb and middle finger. If he can’t make a circle, that’s fine. There is nothing magical about the circle. Finally, pronate the hand/forearm into release as much as is comfortable.

How old is your son?


#3

He is 9 yo, turns 10 in 2 mos…The grip sounds right Roger. I noticed he was mostly covering the medial aspect of the ball. How important is pronating the wrist? I’m wondering if that would be too complicated for him? Thanks.


#4

I never understood why people have such a hard time with the circle change. when i tried making a circle i didnt have any trouble. on the other hand I dont get what the circle even does. I prefer the palmball


#5

Roger’s comments are spot-on. To elaborate just a little, the trouble with the circle change for many pitchers is: It is often very difficult to make a circle with thumb and index finger at the same time that your middle finger and thumb cut the ball exactly in half…but that’s necessary for a quality circle change grip that shouldn’t “squirt” out of the hand.

I agree with Roger that preset pronation is important for the circle change…still photographs of good pitchers releasing the circle change often show the circle pointing directly toward home plate. In effect you get two useful features from that type of release: (1) Your fingers are not directly behind the ball so it takes a lot off the velocity even when your change-up delivery speed is “fastball” (2) The pronated release also gives very useful screwball-like movement to the ball.

If your fingers are directly behind the circle change at release (i.e., your forearm/wrist/hand are not pronated) then the danger is that you are simply throwing a mediocre fastball with a funny-looking grip. Mediocre fastballs, 3 - 6 mph slower than your fastball and without extra movement, are often easy to hit a long, long way.


#6

I don’t think most 9 year olds have hands big enough to effectively throw a circle change. I’d go with a box change, palm ball, or other such variation. My personal preference is the splitter - but again, most 9 year olds aren’t ready to throw it.


#7

I don’t think most 9 year olds have hands big enough to effectively throw a circle change. I’d go with a box change, palm ball, or other such variation. My personal preference is the splitter - but again, most 9 year olds aren’t ready to throw it.


#8

I wasn’t figuring on him being that young. It could be that his hands are too small for the circle change.

Pronating takes aditional velocity off the pitch because force that is used to spin the ball is force not used to accelerate the pitch. Pronation can also create tailing movement as laflippin described.


#9

I remember the time I was having trouble with the circle-change, just couldn’t get it right. I mentioned it to my pitching coach, and he took one look at my grip and told me that my hand wasn’t quite large enough to form the “OK” sign—the complete circle. He suggested that I go to a backward “c”—a half-circle—and move the middle and ring fingers closer together so as to create an off-center grip like the one I used for the slider with the index and middle fingers. I tried that, end of problem, I had my circle change—the pronation occurred naturally and I didn’t even have to think about it.
He also told me that just about any pitch I had could be turned into a nice changeup, and he demonstrated a few such for me. The important thing is to throw whatever-it-is with the same arm motion and the same arm speed as you would for a fast ball; the one thing you don’t want to do is telegraph the pitch, let the batter know what’s coming! :slight_smile: 8)


#10

I wasn’t figuring on him being that young. It could be that his hands are too small for the circle change.

Pronating takes aditional velocity off the pitch because force that is used to spin the ball is force not used to accelerate the pitch. Pronation can also create tailing movement as laflippin described.[/quote]
Agreed, at this age it is most likely that his hands are not big enough, for now, he will be throwing more of a palm ball than a circle change, simply because he lacks the physical ability to throw it. It will take time and patience to master a new pitch as well.


#11

Would you suggest then spreading out the fingers as mentioned above and also holding the ball deeper in the hand?


#12

When the kid was taught it right at 9/10 he struggled with it. Coach really wasn’t two thrilled with us trying any variation. He insisted it was a new pitch, felt different, and the brain didn’t like it. But just throw it, don’t get caught up in where it goes, just throw the pitch. By the end of his 10U year it was just another pitch. Some of the other kids who fiddled with other pitches, or just resisted the circle change because they couldn’t get it across like they were accustom to with the fastball, even now as 11/12 still haven’t become comfortable with it.

So, I’m glad we didn’t screw around with any off shoots, and learned the grip and moved on, FWIW.


#13

You can experiment with various grips. Just make sure thumb and middle finger cut the ball in half for all grips except the splitter. You can even try using the fastball grip but pronating it.


#14

I could imagine that he is gripping the ball too hard, relax the grip and then it should bring it down.