You can pitch without a changeup, but we would prefer that you have a good one. A good changeup is so important to keep a hitter off balanced. If you have a good fastball, a changeup is the ultimate compliment. Some of our best pitchers in the program have been fastball – changeup guys.
Tips for the Changeup
- Get comfortable with your preferred grip. There are a few different grips. Find one that works for you and stick with it.
- Loose wrist, but same arm speed as fastball. This pitch needs to look like a fastball out of the hand.
- Early pronation. Whether you think just turn it over, get over the ball with your middle or ring finger, turn your thumb in, these tips all work, just try to keep your pinky finger on top of the ball as you turn it over. Stay on top of this pitch with your pinky finger so you can get the sink.
Now That We Have a Changeup, How Should We Use It
For Younger Levels, Just Throw it For a Strike Down in the Zone
At the lower levels, you don’t have to be as picky with it as far as what side of the plate. Be more focused on keeping it down so you can get more ground balls on it.
Make This Pitch Go Away From a Hitter (Throw it Arm Side)
Because it’s easier to get better arm side movement with this pitch and it’s an offspeed pitch, it makes sense to use this as a pitch to run it away from the batter. For a RHP, that means you are going to most likely throw this more to lefties. For a LHP, that means you are going to most likely throw this more to righties.
Work On Throwing it Glove Side
This may be harder to do and it may run back over the middle of the plate too much, but there will be times when a RHP may need to throw a changeup away to a righty batter or vice versa with a LHP. Most pitching coaches would have you use your curveball or slider to go away in this situation so the ball moves away from the batter not into the batter. However, there are plenty of times when the changeup is the best or only offspeed pitch option that day and if we can’t get it away, we are in trouble. Work on throwing it to your glove side. If you can figure it out, it can be very effective.
2 Strike Pitch
Bury this one in the dirt and let’s hope we can get a hitter to swing over it. A great time to throw this would be after a fastball in an 0-2, 1-2 or even a 2-2 count.
Get Ahead to a Pull Hitter
This doesn’t matter if you’re a LHP or RHP or if you’re throwing glove or arm side. For some pull hitters, their hands are so fast and it’s hard to throwing anything by them. If you’re looking to get ahead in the count with them, you can throw a changeup thigh high to belt high just a little inside off the plate. You are going to get a big swing here most of the time and it will usually be a very hard hit ball down the line foul. This is a great way to get ahead in the count to a potentially dangerous hitter. This pitch usually won’t end the at bat, but it does help get you ahead in the count which may give you the advantage to get him to swing at a bad pitch with him being down in the count.
Get Me Over to a Pull Hitter
The get me over off-speed pitch is a pitch thrown more middle of the plate. We are trying to throw a strike here and we aren’t picky about it. A get me over changeup can be very effective to a hitter who is very pull happy. Just make sure to keep it down and there is a good chance you will get a ball hit off the end of the bat on the ground. This may not always be a finish the batter pitch, but it is a lot of times. Sometimes, they are just going to pull it foul. Leave it up and you’re in trouble.
MLB Changeup Videos