Changeup In Softball: Everything You Need To Know

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One of the best tools invented to keep hitters off balance is the changeup. Most parents and new pitchers have no idea what a changeup is when they come to us for lessons. With just two or three pitches, you can be highly effective if you have a dominant changeup.

Because you can keep the hitter on their toes at all times even when you’re not throwing at maximum speeds, the changeup is known as the “great equalizer.” Because it’s a “equalizer,” it either gives you the advantage or takes it away from the batter. A batter cannot sit on any of your pitches if they cannot determine what you are throwing.

What Is A Changeup?

The changeup is a deceptively slow pitch used to disrupt the timing of the batter. Dominating changeups are misleading since they resemble fastballs identically.

The backhand is by far my favorite kind. When the backhand change possesses tight backspin and extremely quick arm speed, it is most lethal. A fastball with a top spin has the exact opposite spin as one with a backspin. When the backhand is thrown perfectly, the fastball and changeup look so similar that hitters can’t full-time them.

While the arm speed of a changeup should be 25–35% slower than that of a fastball, the latter should not change. Look at the contrast between Lacey Waldrop’s first and last pitches in the video below. The devastating changeup from Lacey with the final pitch.


When Can You Begin Learning A Changeup?

You can start studying once your mechanics are largely sound and you’re throwing at a speed appropriate for your age group. Around the end of their first year of pitching, pitchers are often ready. It is preferable to learn the change-up sooner because it takes some time to get used to it.

How to Throw a Changeup?

Throwing a Circle Changeup

1. On the side of the ball, create a circle with your thumb and first finger. Create your circle at the stitch’s horseshoe (U shape). Look for a recognizable object to center your circle around, such as the first or last letter of the ball’s branding label (if it has one). By doing this, you can throw with the same grip every time.

The pitch will shift downward more quickly as the circle gets narrower.

You can also try making a C with your thumb and first finger instead of a complete circle if you’re just getting started with the circle changeup.


2. Over the top of the ball, evenly distribute your remaining 3 fingers. Squeeze the ball firmly with your pinky and thumb in particular while spreading your middle, ring, and pinky fingers over the top. Those two fingers alone should be plenty for you to throw the ball.

 You will gain a better understanding of how to hold the ball when you release thanks to this.


3. At the release point, turn your hand so that the circle is facing the catcher. As your hand nears the release point, swing your arm around and rotate your hand such that the circle is facing the catcher. When your arm is fully extended at your hip, release the ball by popping your fingers outwards.

 Consider that you are tossing a dot to the catcher from the center of your circle.


Using a Flip Changeup

1. Four fingers should be uniformly spaced along the ball’s seam. With your fingertips pressing into the stitch, spread your forefinger, middle, ring, and pinky fingers along one of the stitches on the side of the horseshoe (U-shaped) of the ball. Next, place your thumb such that the tip is pressing into the ball on the side opposite it.


2. Swing your arm around and turn the ball. Rotate your hand so that your fingers are towards the catcher as you swing your arm around fully and come parallel with your leg. Make sure you have a firm hold on the ball as your arm comes up since this changeup can be challenging to manage.


3. As you release the ball, snap your wrist back. Release the ball by turning your wrist backward and popping your fingers away from the object when your arm is fully extended at your hip. The ball ought to feel as if it were being torn from your fingers.


Throwing a Stiff Wrist Changeup

1. With your fingers palming the ball, match the stitching’s direction. Your pitch will be slower the deeper you hold the ball in your hands. Your wrist will become more rigid if you place the ball deep in your palm. Place the ball in your palm and run your fingertips along the horseshoe’s side stitches (U shape).


2. Your knuckles should be elevated as you dig your nails into the ball. Put your first finger at the horseshoe’s bend and the tips of your middle, ring, and pinky fingers along the stitches nearby. After that, align your thumb with the stitches on the side that your middle, ring, and pinky fingers are on. Grab the ball firmly and sink your nails in.


3. As you release the ball, keep your wrist flexed. Swing your arm around while maintaining a rigid wrist. Pop your fingers open and release the ball once your arm is fully extended at your hip. When releasing the ball, keep your wrist rigid and push the ball with the heel of your hand toward the direction of the catcher.


Why Is Having A Changeup So Important?

The first quality a young pitcher must possess is velocity. A shift in speed is the second thing. A mediocre pitcher can become a great pitcher by mastering a dominant changeup. Because the changeup is ALWAYS on the hitters’ minds, it throws off their timing on every pitch you throw.

You can start practicing the backhand change-up at home with a self-flip utilizing the spinner if your mechanics are sound and you’re ready to learn it. I suggest spinning regularly to comprehend the mechanics better.


One of the best pitches in softball is the changeup, which is a slower pitch that is delivered in between faster pitches to keep batters off balance. Many pitchers like to emphasize their fastball, but if they don’t throw the changeup, hitters will know what to expect and will be able to get hits more readily. There are other alternative techniques, but the circle changeup is the most popular. You’ll be pitching no-hitters in no time if you learn the flip, stiff wrist, knuckleball, and shove changeups in addition to the circle.

Clark Harris

Clark Harris

"I live and breath Softball"

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