The Three Finger Change-up Pitch is a type of change-up pitch that many famous baseball players have used. The three finger change-up pitch is thrown exactly the same way as a normal fastball but instead uses the pressure points on the fingertips to alter spin and movement.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to throw a three finger change-up pitch.
What Does it Mean to Throw a Three Finger Change-up Pitch – How?
Center your ring, middle, and index fingers on top of the ball to throw a successful three-finger change-up. Place your thumb and pinky fingers on the smooth leather directly beneath the baseball.
One strategy to enhance “change-up mechanics” while also increasing change-up velocity is to practice throwing your change-up as you would a long toss (throwing beyond 90 feet). Alternate 90-or-more foot fastballs and change-ups twice a week for about 20 throws.
The most essential player on the field is a pitcher who can execute his change-up under any circumstance. They’ll keep batters guessing and control the batting order from top to bottom.
For younger baseball pitchers, a three-finger changeup is an excellent off-speed pitch. It’s also beneficial for those with small hands. This helps take speed off of the pitch. This helps you gain ground on the field. Position your throw, grip the ball, then throw it like you would a fastball; same mechanics, same arm speed.
What is the Three Finger Change-up Grip
The thumb and the pinkie are in constant touch with the ball, tucked underneath. The change-up is held farther behind the hand than the fastball grip, in what’s known as “choking” the ball.
The change-up grip is a well-known one. The pitcher holds the index finger and thumb together and places the middle and ring fingers across the ball’s seams.
- The fingers are placed in different spots on the ball, depending on who is pitching. While the middle finger takes the lead with four seams, some pitchers put most of their emphasis on how much and where they curl their index and ring fingers around the front seam.
- The action on the pitch comes mostly from the wrist. The elbow barely bends and the shoulders do not twist much at all, so there isn’t any velocity lost by rotating or cocking too far. There is little to no pronation in the change-up grip either, so you aren’t getting any extra spin than what you would normally get.
- The change-up grip is actually more of a variation on the fastball grip. When you are throwing the ball, the fingers are tucked underneath it differently than in the fastball grip.
- Some pitchers choke up so much with their index and ring fingers that only the bottom tip is holding onto the ball with both sides. This will cause it to spin much slower than a fastball and because of the grip, it will fall off slightly to the side.
- There is no exact release point with the change-up. The pitcher should attempt to try and hide the ball from the hitter as long as possible. In general, you want to hold onto it long enough that your arm action has completed, but not so long that it is at the top of your delivery.
- The change-up should be thrown just like any other pitch, with the same mechanics as a fastball. You want to grip tightly and whip your arm forward quickly. The spin on it comes from the middle finger, so you must pronate your hand to create topspin instead of throwing it like a two-seam fastball, which would create backspin.
The change-up is essentially an off-speed pitch that appears to be a fastball but breaks in the opposite direction. To throw it properly, you must grip and throw it just like you would a fastball. Your index and middle fingers go across the widest part of the seams to create a tight grip.
Reasons Why a Three Finger Change-up Pitch is Perfect for Pitches
The change-up is the perfect “out” pitch for several reasons.
- First, it’s thrown with the same mechanics as a fastball so you don’t have to worry about changing your motion at all. It comes in at the same speed as a fastball but just as the pitcher begins his release of the ball, he pulls the baseball back. It’s such a subtle motion that most hitters don’t notice it and they end up trying to hit a fastball with an entirely different spin on the ball.
- Another reason why pitching coaches say the change-up is perfect for pitchers? It has incredible movement, even more than a curveball does, which surprises many hitters. The change-up not only breaks left or right, but actually has an up and down movement to it making it even more challenging for batters to hit the ball.
- Unlike other pitches, you’re able to accurately measure the speed of your fastball because you know exactly how many miles per hour faster than your fastball you want to throw it. A fastball is typically thrown at 80mph plus or minus 4-5 mph. A change-up should be thrown between 10 and 15 mph slower than that depending on the pitcher’s strength, age and experience level.
- With all of these reasons to use a change-up pitch it’s easy to see why they’re very valuable tools for pitchers in the game of baseball.
Are There Any Disadvantages of Using a Three Finger Change-up Pitch?
Although there are several advantages to using a three finger change-up pitch, there are some disadvantages.
- The first disadvantage is that it’s very difficult to master the change-up and even more difficult for younger pitchers to throw, especially if they’re naturally right handed.
- The second disadvantage is that hitters are able to tell when a change-up pitch is being thrown because it’s not as fast as a fastball.
However, if performed correctly and used often enough throughout the game of baseball, pitching coaches agree that the advantages certainly outweigh the disadvantages.
How Do You Learn to Throw a Three Finger Change-Up?
Most pitching coaches agree that the best way to learn how to throw a three finger change-up pitch is to stretch out your index, middle and ring fingers of your glove hand. This will make it easier for you to grip the baseball without straining or stressing any part of your hand.
However, instead of gripping the ball exactly like a two-seam fastball grip, you want to turn the ball so your index finger is running across one of the seams. This will give it a unique feel and allow you to properly grip the baseball.
- To get started with your three finger change-up pitch, start by standing on top of the mound.
- Hold the baseball in your glove hand, out over the middle of the plate facing the catcher.
- Turn the ball so your index finger is running across one of the seams. Be sure to grip it firmly but not too tightly.
- Make sure you are relaxed and in an athletic stance with your back straight, knee bent slightly and hips squared up toward home plate.
- As you begin your pitching motion pull down on the ball with your index finger.
- As you follow through with your pitch, keep your hand on top of the baseball as it drops away from you toward home plate.
As you release the ball toward home plate, only your index and middle finger should be touching the ball. Your ring finger and pinky should not touch the ball at all: this will ensure better spin on your change-up pitch.
How to Throw a Three Finger Change-up Pitch Without Slowing Down
Throwing a three-finger change-up is usually considered an advanced pitching technique, but there are many who don’t know it’s extremely effective when done properly. Here is how to throw a three-finger changeup pitch without slowing down your fastball velocity.
1. The first step is to take the proper grip. With your index and middle fingers pressed tightly together, and your ring and pinkie fingers just inside them, place your hand above and across the horseshoe seam. The pressure should come from the center of your palm – not with just three fingers – as you try to snap your wrist outwards upon release.
2. The next step is to keep your arm speed up; you don’t want any delay in your fastball velocity or else the change-up will be useless. Keeping it’s speed up, move forward like you would with a fastball delivery and go through all of your regular pitching motions except for the snap at the wrist (which comes at the end).
3. Lastly, release your pitch like you would with a fastball only to make sure that your wrist snaps outwards (the opposite of what it does for a regular change-up) and not downwards as this will produce an extremely nasty downswing.
Also, many people don’t realize there are actually two different types of three-finger change ups.
1. The first type is what everyone knows as the three-finger change up and has the index and middle fingers on either side of the horseshoe seam with your thumb behind them. Use this for your fastball location, then vary its speed with the second type which is gripping it like you would a regular change up and snap your wrist outwards upon release.
2. The second type of three-finger changeup is what I like to call the “split finger fast ball” pitch, which works great with a fastball location for righties or lefties (if you’re a lefty think about this pitch as an awesome cross-up pitch).
Grip your fingers over the seams where the horseshoe seam intersects with a couple of inches of extra space on either side, and your thumb will be right in line with the baseball – underneath where the index finger is.
Wherever you throw this pitch it’s going to have a sharp downward break at the end due to how much pressure you are putting on the ball with your fingers. This basically tricks batters into thinking it’s coming in at their eyes only to have it crash down upon them.
When throwing a three finger changeup pitch, remember the pressure should come from the center of your palm – not with just three fingers – as you try to snap your wrist outwards upon release. Follow these steps and soon enough you’ll see batters swinging at air or hitting them into ground balls.