This blog is dedicated to bringing players, coaches, parents, and fans the finer points of the game of baseball.

Click here for an explanation of "By the Yard."

Have a question or recommendation for a future post? Email me at

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Adjustments for a better change-up (Part 1)

In yesterday's post I recommended that pitchers schedule time to "play around" or "tinker" with their pitches, grips, etc.  I'm a huge fan of the change-up so the next 2 posts are dedicated to adjustments specific to developing a better change-up.  Both posts will have five adjustments - ten total.  Try them all!

1. Increase arm speed.  This has to be mentioned first because nothing else matters if your arm speed is different than your fastball.  A batter who sees a slower arm speed will immediately recognize that the pitch is not a fastball.  When throwing a change-up, a pither should think "I'm throwing a fastball but I'm holding it like a change-up."  This helps prevent the arm from slowing down because both body and mind (except the hand) are geared towards throwing a fastball.

3-finger Fastball
2. Use three fingers.  If you are new to a change-up, this is an easy way to begin.  Instead of throwing a fastball with two fingers on top of the ball, try three.  Having more fingers on top tends to slow the ball down a little.  Try four as well.

3. Palm it. Another easy way to start a change-up is to just hold a fastball - two, three, or four fingers on top - deeper in your hand instead of more in your fingers.  A pitcher who throws a "circle-change" more in their fingers can try holding it deeper as well if they are searching for a different feel.  Gripping it deeper or "palming it" slows the ball down and might develop some movement as well.  One downside is that the spin of the ball tends to be slower which may lead to the batter recognizing it earlier out of your hand.
4-seam circle change
and/or off-set fastball

4. Try an off-set fastball. Pitchers throw a fastball using their index finger and middle finger on top of the ball.  "Off-setting" means placing your middle-finger and ring-finger on top of the ball instead.  This finger combination uses less strong fingers so the velocity of the ball coming out is usually less.  Many times this grip evolves into the popular circle change-up.

2-seam grip
5. Four-seam or two-seam.  Figure out which fastball you primarily throw - four-seam or two-seam.  If you mostly throw a four-seam fastball,  consider throwing a four-seam change-up as well.  The same is true if you throw mostly two-seam fastballs.  The closer your change-up looks to your fastball the better.  A batter may pick up the difference between a four-seam fastball and a two-seam change-up and adjust more quickly. 


  1. A little confused. You say to use your fastball grip on CO, but your photos are showing a "forward C' grip, but you recommend a "backwrd C" grip on a four seam -fastball. Is the CO a Backard or ForwRD c?

  2. Sorry for the confusion. You are correct. I used those pictures more to show various finger placements on the ball - two fingers, three fingers, deeper, etc. I was limited to the pictures I could find. Try both the forward or backward-C grip to see which one allows both fingers the best grip on the seems. No clear-cut rule because the combination of fingers on top of the change-up may not be the same size either. I found it easier to put whatever finger is longer on the high seam. Whether that's a forward or backwards C depends on which finger on your hand is longer. Tinker with both though.
    Thank you for reading!