The Basics of Throwing a Change-Up
The only extra pitch a good strong pitcher needs at the start is a change-up. And the best change-up (off-speed pitch) is the one thrown off the fast ball motion. It is more deceptive and does a better job of throwing the batter's timing off., which is what a change-up is meant to do. The curve ball change-up is less effective because most batters automatically adjust to a slower pitch when they think a curve is coming.
The fast ball change-up is a simple pitch to throw. The speed is taken off the pitch by simply removing the spin. The spin on a ball is provided by a good tight grip with the fingertips. If you loosen the grip, the spin will be far slower and the ball will lose most of its speed. You grip the change-up, not with the tips of the fingers but with the middle joints of the fingers and first joint of the thumb, right where the flesh creases.
Practice holding the ball this way and you will see that the fingertips and the thumb tip hardly touch the ball at all. You deliver the ball with exactly with the same motion you use on a fast ball but at the moment of release, you lift your fingertips free completely. This loose grip results in a pitch that looks mighty good to a batter but just does not get to him as soon as he expects it.
When you begin to practice this pitch you must take care not to shove off the rubber as you do to deliver a fast ball. In fact, it would be a good idea when you first try the change-up to leave your pivot foot against the rubber as you deliver the ball. After you have got the hang of the pitch, you can practice taking that foot off and bringing it up alongside the front foot. But lift it off. Do not give a shove or you may get too much speed off the pitch.
The fast ball change-up should be especially effective on the long-ball hitters, who keep looking for the fast ball. When the change-up pops into view it looks as big as a melon and many heavy hitters just cannot wait to tee off on it. And that is what you want them to do--not wait. They stride into the pitch, swing before it is quite there, and often pop it feebly into the air or dribble it back to the mound, if they do not miss it altogether.