I throw sidearm, and i have a really good slider, but my changeup struggles and is the biggest thing holding me back. What grip would you suggest for this arm slot?
How do you grip your change? I’m a LHP but have recently started dropping my arm angle a bit to try something new. I’ve been throwing a circle change for about 8 yrs which has become one of my best pitches. When throwing sidearm I kept the grip the exact same and it has been working great. The sidearm angles makes it run in towards lefties alot but it still gets some good sink too.
Sparkman, the change up is one of those pitchers which can be absolutely aggravating. It requires tons of feel and confidence. It takes alot of time simply messing around with grips, which exactly what you have too do. Don’t be afraid to try new grips and see which pitches give you the best combination of movement and command and the necessary velocity difference. My personal opinion is too start with the circle-change grip or the three finger change-up and go from there. Personally I found my change-up by simply playing catch with a buddy, I was messing around and stumbled on my grip.
That’s exactly how Mariano Rivera discovered his cutter—just messing around, playing catch one day with Ramiro Mendoza, and suddenly the pitch was there. Very often that’s how one stumbles onto a pitch that quickly becomes a staple in the repertoire.
I was a natural sidearmer, threw that way all the time and used the crossfire extensively. One day my pitching coach told me that just about any pitch could be turned into a nice changeup, and he demonstrated a few of those for me. I wasn’t fast, not by any stretch of the imagination, so I had to go in the other direction and become a snake-jazz pitcher (and a very good one), and I had a whole closetful of changeups to pick and choose from. It was great fun, experimenting with various grips and pitches with which to confuse and discombooberate the opposing hitters! One of my personal favorites was something called a “slip pitch”, which is a hard slider thrown with a knuckleball grip, and I could use any of several different knuckleball grips, each of which would make the ball break a little differently. Ahhh—feel that breeze! 8)
If you feel comfortable with a split-finger FB grip, try using the splitter as your changeup. My kid is a sidearm RHP…a pitching coach taught him to use the splitter as his changeup pitch several years ago and he loves it–it’s a very filthy pitch. So, his pitches are a sinking fastball, a slider, and the splitter.
Many guys have trouble gripping the circle-change correctly, and to pitch truly effectively with it the circle-change and other traditional changeup grips should probably be thrown with considerable preset pronation (which also requires a lot of reps to control the release point).
The splitter is easier for some guys because it is thrown with fastball mechanics and it is released palm-forward, just like any other fastball… so there is a certain feeling of familiarity that goes along with it. The useful difference is, of course, you don’t have much behind the ball when it is released from a splitter grip so it won’t go as fast, or spin as fast, as your other ‘real’ fastball.
Some pitchers have trouble with the circle change because their hands are simply not large enough to form the complete circle with the thumb and forefinger. An alternative grip, which my pitching coach showed me, is the backwards “c”. I used that, and I also had my third and fourth fingers closer together and more off-center, and that worked very nicely for me. 8)
i throw my submarine change holding the ball with my ring finger and little finger where my
index and middle fingers would be for a fastball. like a circle change with the middle finger off the ball. or maybe just try a circle change.