If your pitcher is like most, the changeup is their least favorite pitch to throw and the one that needs the most work. All your pitcher wants to do is pitch faster, not slower, so becoming fairly proficient in the changeup doesn’t ever seem to happen.
Here are some tips I’ve used for helping my pitchers improve and gain confidence in their changeup, which gives them another pitch in their arsenal!
- Attack the Change – I know it sounds crazy to say your pitcher has to attack a pitch that is designed to go slow, but that’s exactly what needs to happen. The ball goes slower because of either the way the pitcher grips it, or releases it (depending on the type of changeup she’s throwing) and NOT because she slows her hand down at the release point!
- Explode on the Follow Through – Try this – wad up a sheet of paper and ask your pitcher to pitch it all the way to the catcher. In order to do it, your pitcher is going to have to really explode into her follow through, and that’s exactly what she has to do with a ball as well. The speed of the pitch is determined by the grip or release (based on the style), and distance is based upon the speed of the follow through.
- Practice – There’s no way around this. The reason most changeups aren’t very good is that most pitchers don’t practice the pitch. Throwing any pitch once or twice and then thinking you’ve got it mastered isn’t a great plan for excellence. Practice is the key to the changeup, and to all pitches!
For fantastic drills, fundamentals, videos and demonstrations on how to improve all aspects of pitching from the mental game to the different pitches, check out the following:
- DVD: Controlling Pitchers Counts and Pitchers and Catchers Drillmania
- DVD: Breaking Down the Pitching Motion – Fastball Mechanics
- DVD: Advanced Motion Pitches – Riseball and Screwball
- DVD: Fastpitch Softball Pitching DVD Pitchers Potpourri – “Identifying Problems Pitchers Face & How to Correct Them” and “Softball Issues Q&A”
- DVDs: Pitching Clinic Series 4 DVD Set (Best Value!)
- Pitching eClinics