Fastpitch Softball Pitching Techniques
Teaching the Change Up

Once the fastball has been learned, the next of the fastpitch softball pitching techniques a player should learn is the changeup. This pitch should only be taught after a player has a solid year of pitching experience and a good feel for the technique behind the fastball.



The changeup adds an extra element of uncertainty to the pitcher’s game, keeping batters guessing. These softball pitching tips will help establish the basis for a good changeup.

General Pitch Philosophy


The whole concept of the changeup is that it should look like a fastball in every respect, but should result in a slower pitch. Generally speaking the changeup should be around 30% slower than the pitcher’s typical fastball, but without any changes in the set up in terms of posture, arm rotation or facial expression. The intention is to lure the batter into expecting another fastball, resulting in a premature swing when the ball comes at a slower pace.

© Kim Jew Photography Studio
Fastpitc softball pitchers rely on the windmill to maximize power


Ball Grip


In keeping with the principle that preparing for a changeup should look the same as preparing for a fastball, the grip used should be similar for both. For some changeup methods a different grip will be required, in which case this should be prepared with the ball out of sight behind the glove.

Body Position and Shape


Again, positioning and body posture should be identical to the fast softball pitch, with the ball of the front foot at the front edge of the pitching plate and the ball of the weaker foot resting on the back edge. The pitcher should start with her weight forward and back heel off the ground. The most difficult part of the execution of this pitch is maintaining the same arm motion, and more importantly the speed of the arm rotation.

© Kim Jew Photography Studio
A consistent motion with the fastball when delivering a changeup will lead to great success for the fastpitch pitcher


Movement


The arm should move at the same speed as when delivering a fastball. The change in the speed of the ball comes from the way the wrist and hand move as the ball is released, or the placement of the ball further back in the hand before the pitch. There are different methods for executing this effect – the pitcher should use a style that works best for her.

For example, a changeup can be achieved by holding the ball closer to the palm rather than in the fingertips, so that it must brush past the stiff fingers as it is released in order to slow down its movement. The "flip" method involves using the same grip as a regular fastball but flicking the wrist so that the back of the wrist comes to face the catcher as the ball is released.




There are several different change up techniques that can be taught. Which of the change up fastpitch softball pitching techniques have you found most effective to teach?

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Change Up/ Off Speed 
I use the backhanded flip when throwing a slow change up. In my experience, however, it's sometimes so slow that it gives the batter just enough time …

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