Baseball Magazine

A Common Mistake on a Change-up

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard
Although the change-up, in my opinion, is the second best pitch in baseball - the first would be a good fastball, it can be a difficult pitch to learn for some players.  There are many different grips that can be used and each one can be altered slightly to match the pitcher's comfort level and even the size of his hand.  Sometimes it can be a lengthy process to figure out which combination works best.  Early on in the process of learning a change-up, many pitchers make a common mistake.  It is a mistake I see at every level even with veteran pitchers who have been throwing a change-up for a while.  I call it flat-wristing.

A common mistake on a change-up

What the arm, hand, and wrist are doing from here to the
release point go a long way to either deceive or help
the batter.

Flat-wristing is when a pitcher locks his wrist and doesn't let it be loose and flexible to go back and "snap" forward on the release like he would on a fastball. This usually occurs because the pitcher is thinking change-up instead of fastball. A couple previous posts dealt extensively with change-ups.  I highly recommend you go back and check them out.  There is a lot of info in both.  Click HERE and HERE to go back to them.  One thing I emphasized in these previous posts was the need for every pitcher to make their change-up look exactly like their fastball in every way.  Flat-wristing causes batters to immediately know that something other than a fastball is coming because he will notice the flat-wrist prior to the pitcher even letting go of the ball.One major key when throwing a change-up is understanding/remembering that it's not so much the speed of the pitch that fools the batter. It's the arm speed and overall mechanics that get the batter to think a fastball is coming. The same applies to every other off-speed pitch as well.  To prevent these mechanical differences, I tell pitchers to "think fastball but grip it like a change-up." This typically helps the overall mechanics of the change-up mirror those of the fastball because every ounce of the pitcher's body and mind are geared towards throwing a fastball.  Only the grip thinks change-up.

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