Which Change-Up Grip is Right For You?

Written By: Kyle Wormington

Which Change Up Grip is Best For You?

Four-Seam and Two-Seam Change-Up Grip

Last week I made a video talking about three finger fastballs and how a traditional two-seam or four-seam grip can be affected by hand size. And how switching to a 3 finger grip can be efficient for young throwers.

Usually the second pitch every pitcher learns after a fastball is a changeup. Most pitchers throw some form of a circle change. Which was most effective for me as a pitcher. However, there are a couple of different ways you can grip that pitch.

I would pinch the index finger with my thumb (seen below). Some people make a circle and others grip a two-seam with the middle and ring finger on the seams.

Four-Seam Circle CH Grip
Four-Seam Circle CH Grip
Two-Seam Circle CH Grip
Two-Seam Circle CH Grip

The Claw Change-Up Grip

For some of my younger throwers with smaller hands, one of the issues with throwing the circle change is that their hand really is not big enough. Because of this, we see them start to push the ball instead of throwing it. This causes the ball to come out of the side of the hand.

Other young throwers use the claw grip for a change-up. Or something that looks similar to the three-finger fastball. What a lot of them don't realize is that there isn't really a difference in velocity.

The Claw Change-Up Grip
The Claw Change-Up Grip

The Foch or Fork Change-Up

Most young throwers don't get much time with a radar gun. We are fortunate enough to have one at our indoor facility. The adverse effect of having that information and being able to see that there is not much velocity difference between those two pitches.

That brings me to my next point and probably the most important.

The change-up has to be thrown with intent.
  • Pitchers have a tendency when throwing offspeed pitches to not maintain intent. Which is probably the most important step that's missed.
  • Pitchers start to develop this sense consciously or subconsciously that in order to be effective with their off-speed they have to slow the pitch down and they do so by slowing down their motion which of course is not something that we want.
  • I believe for our younger throwers this inefficiency can hurt their fastball development, most young pitchers need to focus on throwing their fastball with intent to different parts of the zone.
  • We need to establish the idea of intent or that we're trying to make everything look like a fastball both with our body and our arm action and then letting the grip, hand placement at release and finger pressure dictate the path and the speed of the pitch instead of slowing our body down. 

How Hand Size Can Factor

As pitchers get older and their hand size changes, then they can really start messing with different breaking pitches or change-ups. We have been playing around with a few different grips and allowing them to figure what feels right and what works best for each individual.

The Foch or Fork change is a grip that has helped throwers both young and old maintain intent while becoming more consistent in the zone with their change-up.

The "Foch" Change-Up Grip
The Foch Change-Up Grip
"Foch" Palm Ball Change-Up Grip
"Foch" Palm Ball Change-Up Grip

For my older guys who have bigger hands, we have them take their ring and pinky fingers off. The while younger throwers keep them which is a more comfortable variation of a palm ball that gives them a better feel. This allows them to get their hand to a better position at release.

Don't be afraid to mess around with different grips. One of the best things about the change-up and pitching is that it's okay to change and try new things. Take control of your stuff. Figure out what feels good to you and what works best to produce the outcome you are looking for. 

What I would like everyone to take away from this is are you creating and setting up a foundation for a pitcher who's going to be successful with what they're doing now when they're older? Do not get caught up in allowing inefficiencies to exist because they are having success at a young age.

Throwing a change-up that meets a standard velocity difference that everyone knows is coming. If the pitcher slows down does nothing for their overall development. It only creates problems that might be hard to break as they get older.

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A look at how hand size and intent affect a pitchers ability to throw quality change ups and some alternative change up options for young and old throwers alike.

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