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correcting spin on change-up

Nov 1, 2008
Reading another thread on here motivated me to ask for some tips on fixing a problem my DD has been having. She throws a backhand change-up. When she first began learning it, she usually threw it with backspin but struggled to keep it down. She often rainbowed the pitch while trying to get the hang of it. With practice, she began getting the release point right and threw it for strikes much more often. The last month or so she has started throwing it with more "bullet" spin than backspin. She's getting it in the strikezone more often, but with the spin being off it doesn't slow down like it should. She's still flipping her hand backwards, she's just waiting until later to do it because she's found that it's easier to keep the pitch down like this. What do i have her do to correct this? I've pointed it out to her and explained that it needs to have backspin to slow down enough to fool the batter but haven't made any progress on actually correcting it. Any advice?

BTW what kind of spin should a fastball have? her fastball has always had bullet spin too.

May 12, 2008
The batters will let you know how good her change up is. Can she spot it? Does she slow her arm down? Is the speed change what you want? I really wouldn't worry about the spin. If it isn't slowing down I bet the difference in spin is her getting more hand partially behind the ball longer.
Mar 2, 2009
Suffolk, VA
assume much smarter coaches will reply, but in meantime......

1) Fastball: Her Grip (thumb across from her middle finger? or off to side causing "Bullet Spin"), her wrist (also critical) and along with her pressure fingers are additional causes for a 12-6 spin and drive off seams of the ball to get rotation, so if she is spinning the ball, its could be her grip is mis-aligned and/or because her wrist is turning and her pressure fingers are last two on one side or the other..... easiest is ball w/ electric tape for a stripe and if it is not moving 12-6 (straight), she can see her wrist is not straight..... so question is HOW to get her wrist to release so spin is straight.... start from wrist snaps ("Snap and follow thru"), then progress to 9:00 throwing (still "Snap and follow thru"), ..... LOTS and LOTS of 9:00 throwing....., then progress to 12:00, though for ME, I really use 9:00s for wrist and follow thru and 12:00 for additional focus of LEG DRIVE

2) Change ups.... I teach a few and let the girl decide which one she is most comfortable with..... (Ironically, my daughter threw a back-hand changeup that peeled off her pinky finger,, worked for her.) I teach a knuckly curve where the arm circle is same, but fingers PUSH the ball out of the hand..... some pitchers prefer this as easier for them to control..... Turn-over changeup.... is the ball a little deeper in her hand? that helps also

Ken Krause

May 7, 2008
Mundelein, IL
I agree with Mark. The spin doesn't really matter. Generally speaking you should wind up with the spin going backwards (6-12), but if the pitcher turns her hand somewhat it could have other spins.

The way I teach the backhand change, there's no wrist snap. The pitcher brings the ball through the zone knuckles first and just sort flings it toward the plate. You can think of it as dragging the ball through the release point, which is out in front of the front leg. The elbow is slightly bent as the arm comes through. This puts the arm in a weak position, allowing the pitcher to maintain arm speed. It also helps keep the ball down and creates a "floating" effect, somewhat like a soap bubble. It's very disconcerting to the hitter. When done correctly it tends to freeze the hitter.
Jan 13, 2009
Aren't there two variables to control on a back-flip change?

First is release point, the second the ferocity of the wrist snap. Both can be used to determine speed and location of the pitch.
Nov 6, 2008
As Ken mentioned, take the wrist snap out of the equation. Release the ball with the fingers. The speed of the pitching motion and arm speed remains fast and the release is "soft" for lack of a better term. If she is unable to lock the wrist sufficiently, have her grip the ball harder. There are other ways to teach the back hand change, but this is what has worked best for me.
Aug 21, 2008
Ok, I'm going to throw my 2 cents in.

-we all agree that the change up should be kept down in the zone, right? as low as possible in my book.

- forget the riseball debate of if it goes up or not, while most people do not do it correctly the optimal rotation is backward rotation, right? Backspin will keep the ball up longer than any other type spin.

So, why on Earth would anyone want to throw a change up with backspin on a ball that will keep it from falling out of the zone? Doesn't this sound contradictory to anyone?

Aug 4, 2008
Not a fan of the back hand change up. At the younger levels batters are learning to read this as no yellow at the hip , change up. I was at one of Bill's camps that Dave Paetkau had a drill to teach kids to read this pitch. We had a 13U pitcher throw this pitch this weekend and we could read .
Nov 6, 2008

The rational behind throwing a change up with backspin is two fold:

1. A ball that is traveling slowly but spinning fast looks faster than a ball traveling slowly with little or no spin, thereby throwing off the batter’s timing more effectively.
2. The ball is spinning backwards slower the longer it travels. At a point somewhere near the batters box that reduction in spin will cause the ball to lose altitude.

I doubt that either of these theories have ever been objectively tested. A pitcher who played with my daughter in college threw a back hand change that had all kinds of backspin and seemed to have the bottom drop out as it approached the plate. She threw that pitch against many top 20 teams over the years that I was watching and nobody ever figured it out. Whether the pitch worked because of or in spite of the spin I couldn’t tell you for sure.

May 12, 2008
I like the change Lisa Fernandez threw with a late down and away break. Ragan Blake's change did the same thing for Texas State.

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