Changeup in a softball game is a necessary maneuver for any player who wants to make an impact on the pitch. Not only does it put you the pitcher in control of the game, but it also intimidates the batter of your opposing team. The batter will forever be on toes trying to guess your next throw.
If well executed a changeup technique can improve your game level by a whopping 50%. Learning these skills depends on your motivation and the amount of time that you put the skill under practice among other variables.
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You can utilize 20 to 30 percent of your training time to learn and perfect a method. So, it may take an average of between three to six months to master a skill that you can apply during a competitive match, assuming you have a training regime of four to five days a week.
Several techniques do exist regarding changeup. Therefore, it is a matter of what works best for you, as the adage goes ‘one man’s meat is another ones poison’ ( if you get the gist).
Different players and coaches prefer various techniques for a changeup. In this article, you are going to get informed with some of these skills. Without further ado, let’s dig in!
Types of techniques
Stiff wrist / open palm: is one of the smoothest releases in a changeup in a softball match. On the contrary, it needs a lot of practice to perfect and takes deception to a higher notch if correctly applied. So here is the deal:
- Grip the ball deep inside your palm; these will stiffen your wrist.
- Your body movements, arm rotation, and wind-up should exactly be the same as the fastball lest you give a hint to the batter.
- Maintain the stiffness on your wrist as you get to the final part of your arm swing.
- Precisely at the release point open your fingers in a one swift movement pushing the ball with the heel of your hand.
The Flip/ turn around: A not so easy method to learn though commonly used in softball matches. Grip the ball as if you were making the fastball move. Then do the following:
- On your final downward movement of your arm before releasing the ball, you turn the wrist of your hand so that the outside of the wrist faces the catcher.
- In releasing the ball your hand should come through the release point and turn it around to the catcher.
- If you experience that this method is too fast for you, try gripping the ball using your thumb and your little finger leaving the other fingers loose.
Circle changeup method: It is a technique achieved by doing the following
- Hold your ball using the tips of your thumb and index finger forming some circle, with those two occupying the sides, and with the aid of the remaining fingers.
- Releasing the ball can get achieved using two ways. Firstly, when you are about to release the ball, turn your hand sideways so that the finger circle moves directly towards the catcher. Secondly, you can keep your wrist stiff when on your final downward swing of your hand just before the release.
Shove technique: also changeup method but not so popular among pitchers. It’s a kind of different form of the stiff wrist skill. The main difference is the way you move your arm during the final downward movement.
Instead of making your wrist tight, you just bend your elbow to shorten the arm you are using to pitch and then shove the ball towards your target.
Knuckleball technique: Another style that can get utilized in a changeup. You first need to hold the ball using the knuckles of your first two or three fingers against the sides of the ball (on the stitches) and is mainly practicable to those gifted with large hands. If you have a small hand, no worry, just dig in the nails of your fingers, onto the stitches found on the side. Release the ball as if you were using the stiff wrist technique.
The method does not make the ball to have a spin, or if it is there, it’s minimal. Thus when the ball makes contact with the batter, it does not get hit far. Not so useful during a windy day since the ball will wobble as it cruises through the air towards the plate.
Points to note
As far as changeup is concerned, no method can be said to be the perfect one. It all boils down to an individual’s preference. You need to try out a few of them and find out the one that befits you. Not to forget, you got to watch out for some these few things:
- Always maintain the same grip as you do with the fastball.You will also notice that the speed of the ball will be faster when you throw a fastball after a changeup.
- When winding up, keep the same speed as the fastball lest you send out a message to the batter and coaches about your changeup.
- All your movements including your swings, arm arch, and your looks should be the same as for the fastball to achieve the surprise factor.
- The length of your steps should be consistent i.e. in a fastball and changeup. Having a different stride length will make the batter aware of an impending changeup.
- The rotation of your arm should not slow down at all.
- Resist the urge to throw a series of changeups. These will make you easy to predict. Pull up a trick unawares, once in a while.
There you have it, folks! A proper changeup technique should be deceptively unpredictable. Make it look like a fastball, on the contrary, a worst changeup method looks like a change which allows the batter to predict your pitch and sit on it.
Although it takes time and effort to develop changeup skills are a must for a player who wants to go places.