After a young pitcher learns the 4-seam and 2-seam fastballs, the next pitch that he should learn is the change-up. Unfortunately, many young pitchers at the Little League level learn the curve ball next. That’s because even a little curve ball at the Little League level makes for an over-powering pitcher.
Many doctors who are much smarter than me believe that a young pitcher should not be throwing a curve ball at an early age. I’m not qualified to comment on that, but one thing is for sure: in the long run, the curve ball will come to most pitchers, but the simply changeup may take longer to master.
How you choose to throw a changeup is completely up to how it feels for the individual pitcher. There are so many hand positions that work in throwing a changeup that the coach should teach them all and let the pitcher decide on what works best for them. Just be sure that the pitch:
- has the same arm speed as the fastball
- has less velocity than the fastball
- can be thrown low and for a strike
- Glove Drill — Simply grip the ball and throw it into your own glove over and over.
- Catch — Play catch with a partner and only throw changeups.
- Wall Drill — Throw the ball at a wall. Notice that the rebound will return to the pitcher’s glove side more so than with a fastball.
- Long Toss — Play long toss with a partner and notice how you can’t quite get the same distance on the changeup as you can with a traditional fastball or fielder’s grip on the ball.