Last edited by BT3100; 12-06-2017 at 08:59 PM.
"The charm of softball is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope
Enjoyed reading this thread as my DD is 11 as well and she had a very similar trajectory in 10u. Her change up dominated early in 10u then by the end of the season it was effective but just not as effective. Darn hitters just kept getting better and better. Moved up to 12U in the fall and it became more apparent. I think the change up can only be as effective as the other pitches in the arsenal will allow it to be. In particular they have to fast enough to put the batter on edge. This is tough in the first year of 12u but as she gets older and picks up more speed and learns other pitches my thought is this will help her change up.
My DD's bread and butter pitch is the changeup. She throws it often (25% - 33% of the time) on any count. Speeds during 10/12u similar to the OP's DD.
One thing to consider is whether your DD is pitching the change to land for a strike or to get the batter to swing and miss. If you are getting frustrated because your DD's changeup is getting hit, maybe she is trying to land it in the strike zone, or she is afraid of throwing it in the dirt.
During practice, I work on getting DD to try to land her change on the plate or even a little in front of it. At 10/12u, a pitch like this looks like a fastball coming out of the pitcher's hand, and aggressive batters will swing early as the ball arrives late and low. The downside to this is that the catcher needs to be able to handle the pitch in the dirt.
A changeup that is waist high and down the middle is easier to recognize because coming out of the hand it goes up at a slower rate than a high fastball.
Against an aggressive team, we'll attack batters with changeups in the dirt for the first part of the game. Once the opposing coach instructs batters to take on the change, we'll throw the change in the strike zone.
Fun story: DD lands a changeup in the zone for strike 2 on a patient #3 batter. Full count now, the batter as she's stepping out of the box says, "I'd like to see her try that again." Coach calls up another changeup (you can tell because the catcher's eyes get real big as she receives the pitch call from the dugout). DD pitches the change in the dirt and the batter nearly swings out of her cleats. The batter was so frustrated that she began returning to the dugout not realizing the catcher misplayed the block. By the time the batter realized the ball squirted away, it was too late.
Yep. Love the change!! DD's best pitch by far. I would frequently call it on a 3-2 count because most batters were sitting FB down the middle. If she needs a strike that's her go to pitch, as well. It was the one pitch we always worked on over and over. Wasn't seeing it from other pitchers as often as I expected at 14U and 16U which shocked me, so having her mix it in fooled a lot of batters.
The issue with us was that last year my DD was mostly ahead of the batters, so the coach/catch wouldn't call changes at all... and therefore she wasn't getting in her live changeup practice.
I got her to throw changes between/before the innings which further messed up the other team/s as they were all practice-swinging at these.
This year we moved up so hopefully she will get more of those in.
OK... my DD is now a Sophomore in HS. She was NEVER a power pitcher in the younger age groups because she couldn't be. So location, spin, movement, change of speed had to be her thing. The speed came as she matured and started working out. She JUST hit 60+mph and she now can throw it by batters when she need it because it looks like it is going 70+ after seeing a couple of her other pitches and they are not looking for the pure 'faster' ball that gets on them quick.
From all the opposing pitchers we have seen in the area over the years, there is really only ONE truly effective power pitcher left from those early years. Just ONE. The rest either stopped pitching or are not feared by anyone because speed isn't enough any more or everyone else just matured and caught up. Also as you get older - and believe me in 16U it becomes REALLY obvious - the 'easy outs' become fewer and fewer. There is no more feasting easily on batters 6 through 9 or 10.
You need to be able to locate and change speed and movement up, down, in and out.
You don't throw a change up over the plate to a batter who can't catch up to your fastball but you do throw it off the plate where they have to reach for it if they swing. Part of learning you don't HAVE to throw a strike every pitch. Part of learning and understanding HOW to pitch instead of just robotically throwing whatever the coach signals in without knowing why.
So yeah - in 10U you throw change ups in games. If they get hit, you will learn to throw them better.
Last edited by marriard; 12-13-2017 at 10:57 AM.
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