Recommend a change up

Son is new to pitching at the HS level. He has a good 2/4 seam fastball and decent slider but we can’t seem to get an effective change up going. He has big hands so we have been tinkering with circle and 3 finger change ups. The problem seems to be that when he grips it firmly he can control it but it is too fast (i.e. -5 MPH off fastball velo) and the deep/loose grips seem to sacrifice control and hangs, making it easier to pick up. We would also like to develop a pitch that runs in, i.e. has some slight screwball-ish tail to it.

Should we stick with the circle change and keep working at it? We know it takes practice to get right but prefer to focus on one grip and then work at it until we get it right. We would appreciate any advice on how you developed your change up to save us some time as well as trail and error.

Thank you.

You might ask him to experiment with the split-fingered fastball. For many pitchers, especially guys with big hands, the splitter is an outstanding changeup pitch.

A quality circle-change is a very difficult pitch, even for kids with big hands. Anybody can make a circle with their thumb and index finger, but there is much more to it than that…the thumb and middle finger should cut the ball in half and the release of a quality circle-change should be pronated. You can think of it as “throwing the circle” at the target.

The nice thing about the splitter is, the release is exactly like a fastball (palm forward to the target) so most pitchers do that very well. Splitting the fingers is what takes velocity and spin off the ball–a good one can be very hard to hit.

Good idea, we might try that and keep the circle change as a “project pitch” until he can spot it more consistently and be confident throwing it in games. Ironically, I use the split finger fastball occasionally when I throw BP and it is very difficult to hit even if you know it’s coming.

Try the 3 finger and gradually move the ball back in his hand over a course of a pen so he gets used to it getting deeper into his hand or simply play catch with it doing the same thing and have him work on keeping everything else the same with his arm angle and motion.

I used this with a few beginner’s learning the change and it worked quite well and made the transition to a circle change easier