Should I work on a changeup or split finger


#1

My son is a 10th grader and he is a right hander with a sidearm delivery (not the submarine type). He had great success pitching last season using a 4-seam FB, 2-seam FB and a curveball on occasions. He has replaced the curveball this season with a slider. His 2-seam and slider seems to have great movement on each side of the plate. We have been trying to develop a changeup with not much success. We have tried to use the circle change, C change , and some other grips but he just cannot find something that he is comfortable with. When he release these pitches he is pronating his right hand out toward third base. The pitch will release way out to the pitchers right side. On other occasions if the pitch comes to the strike zone, the ball is traveling as fast as the fastball. I was looking at one of Tom House’s cds to see if we could pick up anything that would help. He mentions several things to work with using the changeup and he goes on to mention is using a split finger pitch. This past weekend we tried the changeup with similar results as mention earlier but when he tried the split finger my son seemed to be able to control it my easier. I could tell the pitch as slower. I would love any suggestions on how to keep working with the changeup. I have seen on the internet where some mention not using the split finger because it is tough on a kids arm. Should we even consider using split finger pitch at his age? Our goal is to develop some type of changeup during the next twelve months just to go along with the faster movement pitches. Any thoughts would be appreciated.


#2

Only if your kid has king kong sized paws would I start to work on the splitter, keep working on the change up at 10, the pitch will definately come around, find the grip he is most comfortable with, all my kids were most comfortable with a palmball type grip, middle finger and ring finger on the seams like a 2 seam, let the rest of the fingers surround the ball and then play with how deep the ball can sit in his hand, the deeper in the hand the slower the pitch. The only other thing I can read from you post is that he might be gripping the change too hard, dont grip it tight like a fastball.


#3

My son was a right handed side-armed pitcher from age 10 thru 2 years of college ball. Although he had a 2 and 4 seam FB and a plus slider, from HS on, his “out” pitch was always his CU. FWIW, here’s a pic of the grip he used.

http://www.infosports.com/scorekeeper/images/CUnew.jpg

Remember, a splitter doesn’t have to be a forkball! Simply spreading the index and middle finger on a FB is a form of the splitter, and definitely will take velocity off the pitch.


#4

Odd grip but whatever works right.


#5

Why odd? All it its is a modified 3 finger CU. Just because a CU isn’t some form of a circle or some other CU grip one reads about on boards like this or sees in videos, doesn’t mean its “odd”. Every pitch has to be worked on and dialed in by a pitcher for how it does what he wants it to do, not because it looks “normal”.


#6

That is an intersting grip. I can try this this weekend. Do you throw this just like the FB?


#7

Sorry, I just said “odd” because it’s not conventional are you better with the word interesting, sorry to ruffle your feathers.


#8

A splitfinger can be very stressful to the arm, especially to just a 10th grader. I lot of coaches I have played for in college have said to scrap splitfingers and concentrate on change-ups and another offspeed pitch. Splitfingers cause most of their problems either in the forearms or elbows. This is because of the abnormal way of holding the ball with your two fingers apart from each other. I would start him off on a changeup and see how it works for him. Mess around with grips and see what grip he is most confortable with. Changeups are a feel pitch, you have to have a good feel for the pitch.


#9

why are you changing things if he had great success? 2 fastballs and a breaking pitch = 3 pitches, that’s more than enough. why id he change to a slider if the cureveball was working. i would recommend only throwing one type of breaking pitch. choose one and throw it for strikes.


#10

My feathers aren’t at all ruffled. AL I did was try to make sure using terms like “odd” didn’t scare anyone away from trying a grip for a CU. I’m not endorsing that grip, nor am I saying its not as good as any other grip. Its just a different grip, and I watched my son work on it for at least 4 years, constantly tweaking and adjusting it until it suited him.


#11

I suggest starting by using your FB grip, then simply moving the ring finger behind the ball. Don’t “tuck” or “jam” the into the palm any more than your FB is. That alone will take off some velocity, no matter how hard you try to throw it. Once you get used to that, Just spread he fingers a tiny bit, and throw some more. If you think about it, all a circle change is, is having all 3 fingers behind the ball, then spreading just the index finger until it touches or gets close to the thumb. That would make the FB grip an circle grip, but the circle is made by the ring finger and thumb, and all you’re doing is moving the fingers around the ball to vary it from FB to Circle Change.

Just make sure you don’t try to force something to happen. Work on it in very small increments, changing the position of the thumb. That will change the ball’s “action”, and you might find something that doesn’t have the fingers spread nearly as far as what my son did. Its all a matter of what feels good to you, and does what you want it to. My boy changed over the years from a CU that had horizontal movement, to one that had more velocity drop, but you might like the movement more.

Have some fun with it, and give it a chance. Good luck, and drop me a note and tell me what you think.


#12

What many people don’t understand is, the forkball used by guys like Elroy Face and Jack Morris, and the classic split used by Sutter, Zambrano, and Linsecum, are both “Change of Pace” pitches when compared to the FB, and really only vary in the amount of horizontal movement and loss of velocity. The main difference is whether or not the ball is “snapped”. If it is, the action is different, and so are the pressures it exerts on the arm.


#13

That’s normally a good question, but unless I’m wrong, a lot of him changing has to do with his arm angle. From the side, what people think of as a curve, or 12/6 action, is almost impossible to throw conventionally because the pitcher can’t “pull down” to get that rotation. He can “pull” , but the spin will be more 3/9 for a RHP, and can make the ball move horizontally like crazy, making it very difficult to control.

So what happens a lot is, you’ll see side-armed pitchers change to a slider, or even a screwball to get more of that “down” action. The difference in ball action for a true side-armed pitcher is often completely misunderstood by people who are much more used to the ball action a higher arm slot produces, and they misdiagnose what they see, then advise something incorrect to match the symptoms they see as needing fixed. It’s a lot like watching a LHP as opposed to a RHP, and thinking the ball isn’t acting correctly.


#14

why do they always make it sounds like you need a massive hand to throw a splitter?
i have an average sized hand (im 5’8") and throw a great splitter!
is there some medical reason i dont know about?


#15

The forkball and the split-finger pitch are cousins, but there is a major difference between them. The forkball, a slower pitch, will place a tremendous strain on the arm and shoulder (not to mention the hand) because you actually grip that pitch between the index and middle fingers—so unless you really do have a King Kong-size paw, you’d do well to stay away from it. The split-finger pitch, or splitter, is much easier to throw because you just grip the ball as for a two-seamer but with the index and middle fingers just off the seams, maybe a bit wider, but not to the extreme that you would for a forkball. And you throw the splitter the same way you would a two-seam fast ball (sinker).
Jpse Contreras throws both pitches and does very well with them—but he has that big paw. So you would do a lot better with the splitter. And who says you can’t work up a change at the same time? You have a whole basketful of changeups to choose from—the straight change, the circle change, to name two, not to mention that my pitching coach once told me that just about any pitch can be turned into a nice changeup and demonstrated a few such for me. So go ahead, experiment, find one that’s comfortable for you, and go to it! :slight_smile: 8)


#16

There is always a lot of debate about pronation when you throw a change-up. When I had trouble with my change flying up and away and not being on location i felt it was necessary to change my release. Now instead of pronating, I pull the ball straight down. By you using the circle change grip, you can allow the ball the float off your fingers. the last finger that should touch the ball is your middle finger. I suggest you try it in a bullpen and just work on pulling the ball down, and feel the ball “roll off” your middle finger. throw it with normal velocity. your change-up is important. Figure it out and you will be good brother.


#17

I appreciate everyones response to my question. I would like for him to use a changeup but he was excited when he realized that Tom House mentioned the split finger. Plus he was excited when he tried it last week with some success. I just did not want to use it if it could cause arm issues. The reason we changed from the curve ball to the slider. His pitching coach liked the slider movement much better. His curve ball had a 11-5 or 10-4 break from his arm slot. The slider looked like the reverse movement of the 2-seamer. We will experiment with the changeup grip some more this weekend. We have got to zero in on getting him ready for is first high school games on February 19. So, we’ll just play with these pitches during the year. Thanks again for your help.


#18

[quote=“Zita Carno”]The forkball and the split-finger pitch are cousins, but there is a major difference between them. The forkball, a slower pitch, will place a tremendous strain on the arm and shoulder (not to mention the hand) because you actually grip that pitch between the index and middle fingers—so unless you really do have a King Kong-size paw, you’d do well to stay away from it. The split-finger pitch, or splitter, is much easier to throw because you just grip the ball as for a two-seamer but with the index and middle fingers just off the seams, maybe a bit wider, but not to the extreme that you would for a forkball. And you throw the splitter the same way you would a two-seam fast ball (sinker).
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That’s how I see it as well.

As House and the NPA say the split is easier for kids to master than a circle change. The beauty of it is that you throw it with fastball wrist and forearm angle so there’s nothing new to learn there. The spread of the fingers controls the speed, or lack thereof, and some movement can be created by dragging the thumb. When gripping be sure to split the “V” created by the index and middle finger with the thumb at the bottom of the ball. If the thumb gets off to the side then you could run into some problems.

10-11 yo’s use it with success although it seems to get better when the kid has hands big enough to throw a true two-seam fastball. IMO this seems to happen around 12 or 13. The only issue I have seen is learning to trust it in competition. If the kid doesn’t have confidence in the pitch then it’s easy to move the fingers a little closer together increasing the speed to just a bad fastball. I’d have no problem with a 10th grader using this as a changeup.