How much slower should change be?


#1

My son has recently started throwing bullpens in preperation for fall tryouts after a break from pitching. Change up has always been right around 10 mph under fastball in past. Now that he’s started back he’s consistently 13-14 mph under. Control & movement are good. Asked him if he’s doing anything different which he says gripping ball now with fingers only rather than further back in hand. With slower change this pitch is now about same speed as his curve. Is it better to be where he was before changing his change or does it matter? Can’t see any difference in control although he does seem to have a little better movement.


#2

7-10 mph is a good drop. I was told that anything less than 6 mph can still touched with the fastball swing timing. Too much difference gives the hitter less chance of being fooled.


#3

How fast is his fastball? I find the the faster the fastball is, the less of a differential is needed between fastball and off speed. In general, though, if control and movement are good then I don’t think there is reason for concern.


#4

He’s generally 76-78 with fastball. Just started pitching from mound after a short break, started out a little slower & back to summer speeds after three sessions. He was normally 10 mph give or take a little prior to break but now 13-14 mph under. Only thing he’s changed is grip, did it on his own.


#5

I see nothing wrong with the speed variation, as long as he isn’t changing his arm slot or more importantly arm speed.


#6

Everything with arm speed/slot are the same. I’ve heard what Coach Paul mentioned earlier about too slow giving time for hitters to adjust & that is my concern. Think it would be easy to go back to how he was throwing it. He’s thrown with very loose grip & just moved further out to the point of three fingers only with ball not touching hand. Been wondering if he could consistently throw both.


#7

What age?


#8

Recently turned 15, Freshman.


#9

10 mph or 14 mph difference isn’t going to make much difference if he has good movement on the ball. Most HS Freshmen aren’t going to adjust and st on it unless there is no movement.

I personally like the fact that he’s experimenting with grip. Now, in the Fall, is the time to do it. He will figure out if the change is oo slow and make the necessary adjustments. I find that sometimes pitchers are their ow best pitching coaches.


#10

Definitely agree with you on this.


#11

I agree with Turn. And that’s exactly why I asked the age. At that age, a fastball in the 76-78 range should keep the batters honest enough that it will be difficult adjusting to an offspeed pitch that’s 13 mph slower.

However, you should understand the effect of location on what is called “effective velocity”. Effective velocity is based on reaction time afforded to the batter based on actual velocity and location. For example, a 70mph change-up thrown down the middle of the plate will give the batter X amount of time to see and react to the ball. That same pitch thrown on the inside of the plate give the batter less reaction time since he needs to start his swing sooner to get the fat part of the bat further out front to meet that inside pitch. Similarly, that 70mph change-up thrown on the outside will give the batter more reaction time since the batter needs to delay his swing to meet the ball deeper in the zone. Pitchers can use this info to make pitches look faster or slower and to sequence pitches such that adjacent pitches don’t give the batter multiple pitches in a row with about the same reaction time. To learn more about this, Google “Perry Husband” or go to
http://hittingisaguess.com/f_EVelocity.html
.


#12

Coach Paul, Roger & Turn22; Thank you for your feedback & advice, greatly appreciated. Guess only other question I have is whether to encourage him to continue practicing both new & old grips. Not sure if having both might be helpful or better to focus on one. As a side note; he may not be facing only freshman this season, a good possibility of playing up.


#13

I tried five or six different grips before I found the two I became most comfortable with.
I like using a combination of two-seamer and circle change which I locate to my throwing side. Then I pair my four seamer with a palm ball for pitches to the extension side.

Practice relentlessly and go with what works best for you.


#14

I find that pitchers usually don’t try different grips long enough to make a good decision about them. My opinion is practice both grips enough to be sure which he is best at and then stick with that one.


#15

I find that pitchers usually don’t try different grips long enough to make a good decision about them. My opinion is practice both grips enough to be sure which he is best at and then stick with that one.[/quote]

In his case he’d stayed with grip with perhaps a minor variation for almost three years. Took him about a full year to consistently put it where he wanted it. Pitch had good movement & I felt like it was his best pitch. Hadn’t put a gun on him in four months but he continued school practice for about 6 weeks after last time I recorded speeds. He experimented and moved ball further out into fingers. I’ve got to say the movement is really good but was surprised when I clocked him and saw the change in differential. I asked him if he had changed anything and he showed me difference in grip. Just out of curiosity asked him if he could still throw it the way he used to & he said no problem. Not asked him to do & haven’t seem him try. I do know he has exceptional control both ways but haven’t seem him try the “old way” since June. He likes what he’s doing now & don’t want to ask him to give it up. Not sure if I should encourage him to mix in both & see if control is still there. He’s also started fooling around with a screwball. Not consistent with control but looks pretty good about half the time. Claims he’s not turning his hand, said using fingers like “playing a piano”. Guess he’s experimenting?


#16

I would say that he’s probably comfortable with the new grip and it seems to be working for him. Pitchers need to have a degree of comfort and confidence on the mound.
Let him use the grip he’s comfortable with especially if he’s also effective. I see no reason to have two change ups.


#17

I agree. Sounds like he’s given the different grips adequate time and has found one he likes. Now practice, practice, practice.

But I am surprised he reduced velocity while moving the call further out into the fingers and supposedly not pronating.


#18

[quote=“Roger”]
But I am surprised he reduced velocity while moving the call further out into the fingers …[/quote]

In college I was “taught” ( pushed maybe? ) to choke / move the ball back in my palm to take off velocity. When you see a guy perfect it it’s a thing of beauty, ball really looks like it backs up. But I just couldn’t pull it off. So playing catch in warmups I experimented with other grips, and found that by getting the ball out on my fingers with a very loose 2 seam grip…and getting my fingers on the 1st base side of the ball ( sure didnt know what the heck pronate meant ), I could effectively take off velocity while maintaining fb arm speed. Most of all, I could consistently control location because of the feel I maintained on my fingers. And as I tell pitchers now…if you can’t throw the change at 2-0 or 3-1 consistently for strikes…you really don’t yet have a change up.

I’m all about results, so if a kid has a method that is effective I certainly don’t introduce or force mine. But I’ve always got it in my back pocket, and it’s amazing how easily the kids pick it up.


#19

Sounds similar to what my son is doing. His grip is three fingers from middle to pinky. Taught by current pitching coach when he was 12 with a very loose grip and out of the palm. The only change he’s made is grip is completely out on fingers. The change he’s made has slowed the pitch around 4 mph from where is was. It’s got some really nice dive on the end now but it’s also coming in same speed as his curve. His arm speed is good.