Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Throwing Strikes - Changeup

The changeup is thrown with the same arm angle and speed as a fastball, but using a looser three-finger grip instead of two. Players with small hands often use the claw grip, while players with larger hands can use a circle changeup. 

According to pitcher Steven Ellis - The key to an effective changeup is deception. A changeup must look like a fastball, but come in slower and lower in the strike zone.

A fastball is held tightly with the index and middle fingers. With the change up, you hold the ball lightly, keeping the wrist loose, and there is more contact with the ball to create friction. 

Think fastball arm speed
The arm speed of a changeup should be the same as a fastball. Young pitchers tend to slow their arm motion down and good hitters will soon recognize the pitch as being off speed. A good changeup looks like a fastball on release, but is 8-10 mph slower than the pitcher's fastball. The slower velocity of the ball causes a hitter to slow down their swing and lunge at the ball. The result is often a swinging strike, foul ball, or a weakly hit ball put into play for an out.

In addition to the unexpectedly slow velocity, the changeup can also have a significant amount of movement, which can bewilder the batter and throw off their timing. The best changeups utilize both deception and movement.

How To Throw Changeup - Steven Ellis
Usually, with a fastball, you have 100 percent of your strength in these two fingers, the index and middle fingers. You take 50 percent of that strength away by removing the index finger. So you're holding the ball real lightly. ... Your wrist is real loose. The ball is real loose in your hand. And you just throw a fastball.

ViewDo: How to Throw a Changeup (video)


A fool for you: Changeup an effective weapon

Off-speed pitch that looks like a fastball can mess with hitters

Video of Jason Vargas talking about how he uses his changeup

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