My son trying to establish change up--HELP!


#1

My son is 11–his coach suggested a circle change.I dont have a prob with that because you still throw it like a fastball(no curve-type wrist action).We have done long toss to help get used to it.The problem I see is that theres not enough diff in speed to be useful.I need to somehow teach him not to “snap it off” while staying in his fastball delivery–to avoid “tipping” his pitch.It will be important as he is playing the little league world series level(he is called for tournaments to beef up pitching staff).Any advice would be appreciated–help me help him!!


#2

Are you sure? A good change-up is roughly 10% slower than one’s fastball. It can’t be so slow as to be obviously a change-up but it has to be slow enough to screw up a hitter’s timing.

In the case of a 70 MPH fastball, that means that a good change-up would come in at 63 MPH.

This is one case where a radar gun would be useful.


#3

Well–actually he is throwing right at the speed that you can hear the seams cut the air.I dont know how fast it is.@60 I think.Since I catch him I should prob feel the diff I think.So—54 change----60 fastball—hmmmm I am afraid to tell him to do anything different right now.He just seems uncomfortable also changing pitches–we practice 4-seam and 2 seam and now circle.Mental aspect of staying grooved while mixing it up–


#4

can’t be a bad change-up. jason schmidt from the los angeles dodgers throws a fastball 94 mph and a change-up 88-89 mph, it’s still considered one of the best change-ups and is pretty much is only off-speed pitch. what’s so good about it is that he actually use it as a sinker rather than a parachute-change-up ala johan santana. if your son can control it and throw it down and away on hitters, he’s going to get so much ground balls that he will probably fall in love with it and start to work on it even more. he can either change it to a low velocity change-up later or keep it like that and realize that he need 10 to 15 less pitches per outing.


#5

Have him try this:

First, grip the ball with thumb and middle finger cutting the ball in half.

Then, if he has the flexibility to tuck the finger along the side of the ball to make a circle without allowing the thumb to creep up the side of the ball towards the index finger, then do so, Otherwise, just tuck it as far to the side as he can. He might make a “C” instead of a circle. Most young kids don’t have enough flexibility nor big enough hands to make the circle.

Finally, pronate the hand/wrist/forearm enough to put the middle and ring fingers on top of the ball and throw it like a fastball.

That usually will take enough off the pitch. You just need to make sure that he throws through the ball and doesn’t “swipe” across in front of his face. The pronation tends to make kids swipe. If he can get this down, then he’ll beon his way to geting some movement on his change-up since the pronation imparts force around the ball and puts spin on the ball.


#6

actually—he has worked very hard to get rid of a horizontal rotation.He has gotten it to a rotation resembling thismark-- / --his 2 finger moves back in and his circle moves as well.I was just concerned about the speed diff.Maybe he isnt behind the fastball as well as he should be and im looking in the wrong place??He’s getting movement out of 2 pitches at 11yrs old without trying maybe I should just catch the ball and shut up,huh?


#7

there you go.


#8

Thank you guys for the input—you have been very helpful.I will keep the release info to myself as future ref since some mvmt now and effectiveness opinions helpful as well thanks again–ill keep you posted maybe put a clip of his delivery up for inspection–


#9

I have seen a lot of kids pitching in the 11 to 12 range. Don’t you think that a change up in that age group is less effective? Most of those kids with any kind of fastball can throw it past most of those kids hitting at that age, and the change up just gives less able hitters a chance to catch up to the ball. Most kids that age don’t have the experience to be looking change or the knowledge to react accordingly.

In other words, unless the changeup is much much slower than the FB, it is more of a take-it-long pitch. Of course, keeping it down will lessen the long ball parade.

If the pitcher is astute enough to know when a change is appropriate (like with a superior hitter), it is much more effective. With this logic, if your son is throwing against LLWS caliber kids, I guess it would be effective - just thinking out loud here - but make sure that he keeps it low.


#10

You are exactly right.The kids at that level will smoke fastballs.In his local league I told him not to mess around much because most batters his age cant get around on him.When we went to a select level the players skill and amount of practice make more than one pitch necessary.I’ve also been talking to him about a batting practice fastball to start batters off and the second pitch is the real deal.Also–it takes guts to throw a change any time–so you’d better sell it–right?


#11

If a kid has small hands as most do then they throw a bit of a change when throwing their fastball. That lessens the velocity difference between the fastball and the change. My input is that if he’s only got a 6 mph difference between his fastball and his change he’s doing quite well as that means he’s maintaining his arm speed. The last thing you want him to do is to slow the arm down to get less speed.


#12

Right, CA. 12 years old is just the starting point of a possibly long pitching career. Get him throwing it the right way now, and even if its not as successful as he would like, when he gets older that pitch will be devastating. But as you said Benny, he has to sell it. My son developed a grunt when he pitched the change and fastball as a 12 and 13. It was funny to see the kids tense when they heard the grunt, expecting FB. REally throws the timing off.

If the circle change isn’t doing it, some kids throw a palm ball (smaller hands) and I had one kid who threw a “football change”, basically tossing it like a football with all four fingers and the thumb on the ball. It moved from left to right (he was a rightie) with enough movement that most 12’s couldn’t touch it. He also had a 70+ fastball as a 12. That made it very effective.


#13

Right, CA. 12 years old is just the starting point of a possibly long pitching career. Get him throwing it the right way now, and even if its not as successful as he would like, when he gets older that pitch will be devastating.

If the circle change isn’t doing it, some kids throw a palm ball (smaller hands) and I had one kid who threw a “football change”, basically tossing it like a football with all four fingers and the thumb on the ball.[/quote]

I agree that the changeup is still important to learn early, and if the boy is taught to throw it low, it should still be effective.

Also I usually prefer the aforementioned palm ball or some variation of it, or a simple “pitchfork” change for younger pitchers with smaller hands. It’s a heckuva lot easier for those little hands to control.