The change up...any helpful hints to instruct

I’ve done about everything I can think of with my 13 year old…

circle change grip, box, three finger

Yet, he still has the problem of throwing it down into the ground about 3/4 of the way to the plate.

I’m at a loss and I know how important it is for him to throw it. He does not have the confidence in the pitch now and therefore is not throwing it. This leads some kids to be able to tee off on his 68 mph fastball at times.

He throws a very good slider but I don’t want him throwing that more than 8-10 times at the most in a game.

I’ve heard you should hold a change up tight to choke it, I’ve also heard you have to hold it loose…with fingers up, etc.

I’ve heard another method (circle change) where you should throw it such that you are throwing the circle with the palm facing outward ??Not sure what that means…pronating the hand on release?? throwing the circle at the glove?

I just havn’t been able to get him where he can consistently throw near strikes with about a 7 mph difference.

When he throws strikes it because he slows down his arm action and the ball is only 3 mph slower.

Please Help :shock:

It sounds to me like he’s changing his mechanics when throwing the change-up (e.g. possibly shortening his stride).

What he needs to do is throw it exactly like his fastball. The only difference is the grip (the difference in the grip – more skin on the ball – is enough to slow it down).

FWIW, I wouldn’t let a 13 year-old throw a slider. I’d wait until 16 or 17.

I would not allow him to throw sliders until he is post-puberty. The supination of the wrist invites twisting during the throw. When that is combined with the fact that the slider is thrown with near-fastball velocity, bad things can happen.

That is exactly what it means. The hand/wrist is pronated so the palm faces out. The amount of pronation is to one’s comfort level. What I’ve taught some pitchers is to take the index finger off the ball (circle, ok, or “C” grip) and then just focus on keeping the middle two fingers on top of the ball. That results in a slight amount of pronation. This slight bit of pronation coupled with taking one of the strongest fingers off the ball and replacing it with a weaker finger results in a slower velocity.

[quote=“eaglefreak”]I just havn’t been able to get him where he can consistently throw near strikes with about a 7 mph difference.

When he throws strikes it because he slows down his arm action and the ball is only 3 mph slower.

Please Help :shock:[/quote]

Two other options come to mind:

(1) Splitter. This is thrown like a fastball. Starting with a 2-seam grip along the seams, spread the fingers wide so they’re off the seams. Then make sure the thumb is centered under the fingers. Allowing the thumb to creep up the side of the ball towards the index finger will invite twisting and that’s what makes the splitter hard on the arm.

(2) Screwball. This is a fastball thrown with pronation. Simply use a fastball grip and then pronate the hand/wrist to your comfort level. The pronation will take something off the pitch.

Tom House claims that what makes a change-up is the pronation - not the grip. The key to leaning a change-up is to identify what is the most comfortable and then sticking with it.

Remember that the change-up needs to be thrown with the same arm speed and release point as one’s fastball to maximize the deception factor.

It sounds like he is hanging on to the ball too long, which happens when people try and throw a change up. This is normally because they slow everything else down an don’t keep their mechanics the same.

Definitely keep everything the same in his mechanics and motion as if throwing the fastball. Throw the change up just as hard as the fast ball but with a different grip, and ask him to try and keep a straight wrist. He should feel like he is setting the ball down (and his hand) on top of the plate.


Your getting good advice. Sometimes a kid can get overwhelmed with different ideas of what will work for him Like others, I’d suggest he pick a mainstream CU grip and stick with it, then just throw with his FB mechanics.

In order for him to get comfortable with it, he has to throw it. Have him warm up with his CU grip. Have him throw his long toss, as far back as 120’, with his CU grip. He will develop the mentality that he is just throwing, holding the ball with a different grip. Even his warmup throws across the infield between innings can be thrown with his CU grip. In his bullpens he can throw an equal number of pitches with his CU and FB grips. Good luck Dad :slight_smile:

3rdgen’s advice is right on target.

Throwing a change, similar to throwing any other pitch, takes getting used to. Continue to try different grips till you find one you like and practice, practice, practice. It’s not going to come overnight.

the reason i went to a splitty was that i had no control when trying a circle or pitchfork. I just didnt feel comfortable throwing with more than 2 fingers.
Splitty took awile to get but it was wellworth it.

Get him to try a few splitty’s, get him to throw 3 fast then a split and keep doin that so that he gets in his head that he is thrown a change exactly like a fast. make sure he throws it identically to the fast.

Great advice by all. Thanks Gentlemen.

I’ve got some ideas now to work with.