Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

A common mistake on a change-up

November 25, 2011 by  
Filed under Pitching

Although the change-up, in my opinion, is the second best pitch in baseball – the first would be a good fastball, it can be a difficult pitch to learn for some players.  There are many different grips that can be used and each one can be altered slightly to match the pitcher’s comfort level and even the size of his hand.  Sometimes it can be a lengthy process to figure out which combination works best.  

Early on in the process of learning a change-up, many pitchers make a common mistake.  It is a mistake I see at every level even with veteran pitchers who have been throwing a change-up for a while.  I call it flat-wristing.

What the arm, hand, and wrist are doing from here to the
release point go a long way to either deceive or help
the batter.
Flat-wristing is when a pitcher locks his wrist and doesn’t let it be loose and flexible to go back and “snap” forward on the release like he would on a fastball. This usually occurs because the pitcher is thinking change-up instead of fastball. A couple previous posts dealt extensively with change-ups.  I highly recommend you go back and check them out.  There is a lot of info in both.  Click HERE and HERE to go back to them.  One thing I emphasized in these previous posts was the need for every pitcher to make their change-up look exactly like their fastball in every way.  Flat-wristing causes batters to immediately know that something other than a fastball is coming because he will notice the flat-wrist prior to the pitcher even letting go of the ball.

One major key when throwing a change-up is understanding/remembering that it’s not so much the speed of the pitch that fools the batter. It’s the arm speed and overall mechanics that get the batter to think a fastball is coming. The same applies to every other off-speed pitch as well.  

To prevent these mechanical differences, I tell pitchers to “think fastball but grip it like a change-up.” This typically helps the overall mechanics of the change-up mirror those of the fastball because every ounce of the pitcher’s body and mind are geared towards throwing a fastball.  Only the grip thinks change-up.


2 Responses to “A common mistake on a change-up”
  1. jason reynolds says:

    One tip i can offer to help pitchers with throwing change ups is to alter their mentality when delivering this pitch. The change up is an aggressive pitch, its a power pitch, a knock out pitch meant to get the batter out right then and right now. There is nothing “soft” or passive about this pitch. Instead of thinking “Ease up”, “Slow down”, or “Finesse” when delivering this pitch, be aggressive and throw it with conviction. Good hitters are NOT intimidated by good fastballs. But nothing can get in their heads better than a good change up. And as you have stated in a previous post Mr. McCreary, dont do the weaker hitters in a lineup a favor by throwing them a change up when they cant square up your fastball well. You can often get a great hitter to pop up, hit a weak grounder or fly ball with a well timed and located change up. And by all means if theres already two strikes, let them swing and miss as well!

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