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Friday, January 7, 2011

Adjustments for a better change-up (Part 2)

Today is the second half of my ten adjustments for a better change-up.

Try adjusting the
pinky finger placement.
6. Move your pinky finger.  Many times a change-up is held with the pinky finger on the side of the ball (right photo).  Try moving the pinky finger up on top of the ball next to your ring finger.  This can allow the ball to "come out of the side of your hand" and create a spin (think 2 to 8 on a clock) that can get a right-hander's ball to tail away from a left handed batter and/or sink.  If you have it on top, try it down on the side.  This creates a spin (think 12 to 6 on a clock)  that tends to keep a right-hander's ball straight or even "cut" away from a right-handed batter.

7. Move your thumb.  Most pitchers put their thumb directly under the ball.  Try it in different spots.  Move it to various locations on the side of the ball.  This may not only slow the ball down but may also create different movement/action on the ball as well.
Aim for the back / point
of the plate

8. Change your sights.  Practically all pitchers are taught to throw to the glove.  Setting your sights differently sometimes helps with a change-up.  Instead of focusing on the glove, try focusing on the back of home plate - the pointed end.  Ignore the glove and aim for that point with your change-up.  If you are going to miss with a change-up, it better be low.  Aiming low gives you more room for error.  Also, a low change-up usually has more movement.  High change-ups tend to flatten out.  Think line drive off the scoreboard.

9. Pressure point.  The pressure pitchers put on the ball usually occurs at the fingertips, especially on a fastball.  If a pitcher does the same with his change-up, it sometimes has too much velocity.  Try moving the pressure point a little farther down your finger - the first knuckle maybe.  This can help slow the ball down once you get the feel of it.  

10. Your goalSometimes the best adjustment a pitcher can make is in his head.  Many young pitchers' goal is to get the batter to swing and miss.  In most cases, a pitcher should want the batter to hit a change-up.  Think of it this way.  If I get a batter's weight way out in front of the ball on a first pitch change-up, why would I want him to miss it?  I've got him on that pitch!  I should want him to put it in play because it's probably not going to be hit well.  One out.  If he misses it, he gets at least one more swing in the at-bat and now knows more about my change-up.  Pitch to contact with all your pitches but do it especially with your change-up.

There are many more adjustments that could be added to this list.  Talk to other pitchers to see what they do and play around to discover some of your own!

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