Change Up Grips
Discover the different grips your pitchers can use to throw the Change Up!
Hi, this is Cindy Bristow. Welcome to another Softball Excellence extra. This is on pitching grips for the changeup. Couple quick things about the purpose for a grip. One is, a grip should be comfortable to the pitcher. Don't use what somebody else uses, use the grip that's comfortable for you. A grip also helps a pitcher hold on to the ball better. Grip helps a pitcher get better spin and snap at the release point. And a grip helps a pitcher use those seams at the release point to get better spin, snap, and release. Remember though that spins are what makes pitches move, not grips. Grips are just helpers.
So let's look at the some grips used in the changeup. There's two types of changeups. One is a front hand changeup, where the pitchers palm will be facing the catcher when they release the pitch, and the types of grips used for that type of changeup are the knuckle, the circle, the fingers off, creating a more off-speed pitch, and a palm. We'll look at each of these in a second. And there's the backhand change which, the types commonly thrown there are the flip or the back of the hand.
So let's look at some front hand changeup grips. A pitcher can grip a ball using curled fingers, which is simply taking either two fingers, the first two, the pointer and the middle finger, or all four if the pitcher has a huge hand, and curling them down so the fingernails rest flat on the ball as you can see here. The thumb will be on a seam. This is a fairly hard grip for pitchers to use as the ball will sometimes kind of shoot out of their hand. So, a more common grip for pitchers to use is a fingertip grip, where they actually take the tips of their finger and dig it into the ball. Just a word of caution, though, where you see that dotted white line, make sure that on all changeup grips that the ball is jammed deep in the pitchers hand. You don't want any space or light or air showing in that little dotted line area. You want the ball deep in the hand. Also, have a pitcher put a thumb on a seam for added control and don't put their fingers on a seam in these front hand grip types because that'll just get a little more pop on that ball than the pitcher wants.
Another type of front hand change grip is the circle grip, this is common in baseball. It's simply gripping the ball with all the fingers across the ball, except for the first, the pointer finger, and it is curled like a circle as you can see there. A palm grip is also used by some pitchers on a changeup. It can be a little harder for the timing for the fingers to release at the same time, but again, if you use this grip, the ball's deep in the pitcher's hand with no space showing between the ball and the palm. There's a top view of the palm. Fingers go across the seam but they don't rest, the ends of the fingers don't rest directly on the seam. And another front hand changeup grip is more for an off-speed pitch, which is a little faster than a changeup, slower than a fastball and it's simply lifting the first two fingers off the ball slightly as you can see here. Again though, the ball is deep in the pitcher's hand. There's the top view of the fingers off.
Now let's look at some backhand changeup grips. For the flip grip, pitchers simply gonna take their fingers and grip it across the seam, fingertips more along the seam, just like a fastball. This is commonly thrown using the pitcher's fastball grip. This one shows a three finger grip. The pitcher could also split her two fingers wider and use only a two finger grip for the flip release on the backhand changeup. A back of the hand changeup is a more commonly gripped with the ball deeper in the palm, as you can see here, and more of the hand on the ball.
In summary, practice and mechanics is what make pitches work, not grips. So pitchers are gonna have to put a lot of time into their fundamentals and in their mechanics and into the spins to make pitches work, not simply getting a new grip for a pitch. Pick a grip that is conformable and one that helps the pitcher get the proper snap. If you're looking for information on the mechanics and the details involved in throwing the changeup, other than just the grip, check out all of our books and e-learning products on our website, softballexcellence.com and good luck throwing the changeup.
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