Great drill for learning the backhand change

Changeup drill

This post is somewhat of an excerpt from my latest Softball Magazine column. I say somewhat because while the general information is the same it’s a rewrite for this format.

One of the keys to learning how to throw the backhand change is making sure the ball/hand hits a stopping point before the ball comes out. That momentary hesitation in the ball’s forward progress allows you to maintain arm speed throughout the motion, yet still get a roughly 15 mph drop in speed.

Consider it this way. Suppose I tie a 30 foot rope around your waist and tell you to start running as fast as you can. If I let go after you’ve run 10 feet nothing will happen. You’ll keep running. But if I hold it until you reach 30 feet, let it tighten momentarily, then let go, you will stumble forward slowly.

In order to achieve that momentary hesitation the arm has to reach an end point. That means keeping your front shoulder in until after release, because if the shoulder flies out the hand will keep moving as you release and you won’t take off enough speed. Getting the feel of it can be tough, though, so here’s a drill to learn to get the feel.

Have a partner stand facing you. Stick your glove arm out toward him/her and have the partner grab your wrist. Then bring your arm down and throw underneath your glove arm with a normal motion. Having the partner hold your wrist will keep the front shoulder in, helping you achieve the stop of the hand’s forward progress.

As the next step you can do the drill without the partner, just holding your arm out yourself. It won’t be long until you get the feel and can throw a great change from the regular pitching position.

Editor’s note: The drill is still valid, but this is a really old picture. Both of the kids are in their mid-to-late 20s now. Kind of fun to bring it back.
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