Making the backhand change work

Most of you are probably aware of the importance of having a good changeup. It’s great for upsetting the timing of hitters, and even if it doesn’t work as it should (i.e. get thrown for a strike) it can still help set up the next pitch.

One of the most popular changes these days is the backhand change. It’s also called the flip change, but over the years I’ve found it’s better if you don’t flip the wrist.

I’ve talked previously about some of the mechanics, such as knuckles to nose and keeping a little bend in the arm as you bring it through. But one thing that bears repeating now and then is the importance of maintaining arm speed. Certainly it’s important for fooling the hitter. But it’s also important for taking speed off the ball.

That’s right. It may seem counterintuitive, but providing you’re using the right mechanics, the faster you go and the harder you try to throw it the slower the ball will go. And by the same token, if you slow your arm down you’ll throw it too fast, turning a good fastball into a crappy one, not a change.

Maintaining arm speed helps you get the ball past the fastball release point and out in front of the front leg. Slowing the arm down changes the timing, bringing the release point back closer to the normal fastball release.

If the change is coming out too fast, don’t slow down. Speed up. It’ll work a lot better.

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