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Baseball Tips – the techniques of throwing a changeup

Elvis Elvis

The changeup is the opposite of the fastball, in that the velocity of the pitch is meant to be slow. This is in stark contrast to the mindset most pitchers have.

Pitchers are often taught to throw hard and to a spot. Now, with this pitch, they’re being asked to throw the ball slow and to create movement, while giving the impression to the hitter that they’re throwing the ball hard.

Whether you’re young or old, this is one pitch that you should attempt to add to your pitching repertoire. With practice this pitch can be easy to master, adds little stress to your arm, and can be immensely effective against the hitter.

Pitch characteristics.

There is no better pitch to throw off the hitter’s timing. The velocity can be significantly slower than that of a fastball. However, the pitcher’s arm speed, release point, and spin of the baseball make the pitch look very similar to a fastball.

This is the most individual of all the pitches, meaning that there are a number of ways to grip the changeup and you should use a grip that feels most comfortable for you.

Virtually every pitch relies on three fingers – your thumb, your index finger, and your middle finger. However, to slow the changeup down and make it most effective, it is best if you apply a significant portion of your finger and hand surface area to the baseball. The more of the baseball’s surface you can cover, the slower the pitch will be.

Baseball Tips   the techniques of throwing a changeup

Pitch strategy.

The reduction in the speed of this pitch catches the hitters off guard because they are expecting a fastball. This deception often causes the hitter to start his swing early, causing him to hit the ball weakly or miss the pitch altogether. After pitching a changeup, your fastball will look much faster to the hitter.

The trick is to get the batter thinking fastball before delivering a changeup pitch. To accomplish this, simply make your windup and release look like you are going to pitch a fastball.

There are multiple ways to grasp the changeup. The more surface area of the ball covered by your fingers, the better.

This extra area fingers coverage helps to decrease the velocity of the ball. You will need to experiment and practice until you find the grasp that works best for you.

The three-finger grip technique.

With the three-finger grip, hold the ball far back in the palm of your hand. Remember the more surface area of the ball that is covered, the better.

Place your ring, middle, and index fingers on top of the baseball across the widest part of the seams (the “horseshoe”). If right-handed (opposite if left-handed), the seam at the bottom (non-open) part of the horseshoe should be adjacent to your ring finger.

Your pinky finger and thumb need to be in contact with the bottom of the ball. The tips of these two fingers should touch, or come close to, each other.

Circle-changeup grip.

For the circle changeup grip, hold the baseball so that the closed-end part of the seam (the horseshoe) is tucked deep back in the palm of your hand. Place your pinky, ring, and middle fingers on the top of the ball so that they point toward the open-end of the horseshoe.

Curl your index finger around the side of the ball within the side horseshoe. Connect or cross your index-finger tip over the tip of your thumb to form a circle on the side of the ball.

By forming the circle on the side of the baseball, you apply pressure in a manner that will force the movement of the baseball in toward any batter who hits from the same side that you throw, or away from any batter who hits opposite of your throwing arm.

Finger-lift grip.

As is typical of the changeup, when using the finger-lift grip, hold the baseball far back in the palm of your hand. Place your ring, middle, and index fingers on top of the ball and across the widest part of the seams, while your pinky and thumb should be in contact with the bottom of the ball – all in a similar manner to that of the Three Finger Grip changeup.

The difference between this grip and the Three Finger Grip is that you then lift the tips of your ring, middle, and index fingers off the ball so that you hold the ball with your thumb, your pinky, and the middle knuckle joints of your fingers.

This pitch has a tendency to drop straight down as it approaches home plate, as opposed to down and away or down and in. This is due to the equal pressure applied to the ball from “shortening” your middle, index, and ring fingers to the same length as your thumb and pinky.

Also, the pitch gains more bottom-to-top rotational spin as compared to other changeup grips. This is due to how the top of the ball rolls along the underside of your top fingers toward your finger tips as you release the pitch.

The added spin further pushes the ball down as the air pressure is forced over the top of the ball in thanks to its quick rotation.

Changeup release techniques

The release mechanics of this pitch are different than that of the fastball, helping to deaden the baseball.

Keep your wrist stiff, opposite of the snapping motion associated with throwing a fastball. Bring your wrist straight down with the heel of your palm down first, while keeping your arm and elbow high.

As you’re releasing the baseball, for more movement, apply pressure to your index finger (middle finger for the circle changeup). The extra pressure further helps the baseball move in toward a right-handed hitter if you’re a right-handed pitcher, and in toward a left-handed batter pitching left-handed.

To further reduce the velocity of the pitch, push off the rubber with your pivot foot less aggressively than normal or shorten your striding foot’s forward step.

However, remember that the changeup should look just like your fastball as it’s coming out of your hand. This means that your motion leading up to its release should look very similar to your fastball. Don’t change your mechanics to the point that the batter can tell the difference. Otherwise, your edge is gone!