No I don’t mean the great song by David Bowie. Even though I love his music I think we all know what we are talking about when we talk about change!
I believe the changeup is the most important pitch a pitcher can learn and without a doubt, the most devastating to a hitter. No matter what the level.
Here are a few key things to keep in mind about this amazing weapon.
There are dozens, maybe hundreds, of ways to grip the change up. The most effective will vary from pitcher to pitcher and will require a little experimentation too perfect. Many beginners start by palming the ball or tucking a finger. As a pitcher gains experience they may switch to a flip change or some other more complicated grip. The important point is that a pitcher may need to or want to continue to experiment, even if they are having success at a young age.
There is no magic number that says a change up is slow enough. You will find a great deal of discussion about how much difference there should be between the speed of your fastball and the speed of your change up. Many pitchers love the idea of a change up that is so much slower than their fastball that it almost looks like it has a parachute on it and that it makes the hitter look sick. I believe as long as their is a noticeable difference, we are going to be effective.
When you have control of you changeup, you can throw it in any count at any time. The changeup is almost impossible to hit when you feel the confidence to throw it in any count. We often fall in love with the idea of throwing the changeup with two strikes hoping for a strikeout, but be careful about throwing it with two strikes all the time. Hitters will figure out the pattern if we fall in love with the two-strike change up.
If you can hit your spots with your fastball and command your change up you are going to fool almost all the hitters you face. You don’t need six pitches if you have a good fastball and a great changeup. Be sure to command your fastball and develop your changeup and you are on your way.
About the Author: Tory Acheson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Fastpitch Prep staff. He has coached at all levels of the game, including the last 25 years at the college level at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, Tennessee Tech and Kennesaw State. He began his coaching career at the high school level spending 9 years Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wis. and is now working as a professional softball instructor.