Three finger change up inquiry

A buddy of mine tried to argue with me about how to throw a three finger change up properly. Apparently, he saw some you tube vid of a guy who said that the pitch doesn’t need pronation or special finger pressure or anything. He said that you should take off 5% of your arm speed and that coupled with the friction from the extra finger should be enough to make it an effective pitch.

I felt that this is completely wrong. My response to this arguement was that the 3 finger change should be thrown like a Cir change. with pronation and carefully timed index finger pressure. In fact, it was my understanding that the only difference between a 3 finger and a circle change was the grip itself which is a comfort thing.

Am I right or is my friend right? …The other reason I feel that I am correct on this is that I actually pitch where as my friend does not. Sure he knows a great deal about the game but the fact of the matter is I improved my change up a great deal by switching from the circle grip to the 3 finger grip and yet keeping the same principles on how to throw it. I don’t reduce arm speed by 5% or even .1%

I am quite proud of my change up and I don’t throw it anything like what he considered the “correct way”. That’s why this little argument started. So now it’s up to the LTP experts to settle it.

Thanks for takin the time,
C. Sam C.

PS: Yes I’m still pitching Coach Baker. I just couldn’t stop. I love it too much and it makes me happy.

There is no proper way to throw a change-up if you ask me. I’m sure I could take 10mph off and get movement with a 3 finger change just by the way I hold it and how deep in the hand I hold it…that being said if someone picks up a ball with three fingers and throws it they probably would just get a 1-2 mph drop in their fastball not an effective off speed pitch with movement.


Many moons ago, Ed Lopat told me that just about any pitch can be turned into a nice changeup, and he demonstrated several of these for me. It all has to do with the grip and how far back in the hand you hold the ball, how loosely or how tightly you grip it. For example: the palm ball, which was the first changeup I acquired. You grip the ball with all four fingers on top and the thumb underneath for support, and you hold the ball way back in the palm of your hand—but don’t grip it too tightly, because you do NOT want to squeeze the juice out of the ball! And you throw it with the same motion and the same arm speed as you would the fast ball—therein lies the deception which is such an important part of the whole thing. The circle change—well, you grip the ball with the thumb and index finger forming a circle on one side of the ball, and the middle and ring fingers on top of the ball and the pinky on the other side of the ball—or you can use all three fingers on top of the ball—or you can have the middle and ring fingers off-center, as I used to do, the way I would have the index and middle fingers when I threw the slider. You take your pick. The important thing, again, is to throw it like a fast ball, because that’s what makes the pitch so deceptive.
I can think of few things worse than telegraphing the changeup. When I was pitching, we often faced a team with a starting pitcher who had the most beautiful slow curve I had ever seen. The trouble was, he was telegraphing it; he had a way of wiggling his elbow when he was going to throw it, and worse yet, he would slow down his arm speed—a no-no in any pitcher’s book. You can be sure the first time I saw this I immediately alerted my teammates, and they jumped all over the guy and knocked him out of the box in about the third inning every time. And the stupid never learned! I would wonder, didn’t his team’s manager or coach or whoever think to tell him he was tipping the pitch? 8)

Zita, does that palm ball grip have movement on it?

As much or as little as you want—it depends on how tightly or how loosely you would grip the pitch, and what kind of wrist action you might use with it. I didn’t have a fast ball, as you may recall, so I used to throw mine like a curve or a slider. 8)