How To Throw A Circle Changeup

By Steven Ellis, former Chicago Cubs pitching pro

An effective pitcher knows how to throw multiple pitches, the most common being the circle change-up. The circle change is a very good pitch when properly thrown, however the awkward grip does take time and practice to get used to. Once mastered, the circle change can become a pitcher's best friend.

To grip the circle change-up, take your middle and ring fingers and place them across the horseshoe of the baseball. Next, make your thumb and index finger into a circle (like an OK sign), and place the circle on the inside part of the baseball. Your pinky should rest comfortably against the outside of the baseball. Make sure to tuck the ball deep into your palm. Doing so will cause a greater drop in velocity.

Throwing the circle change-up is similar to throwing any other pitch. Your pitching motion is exactly the same as for a fastball. You should use the same body and arm speed. The main difference is in the way you release the ball. With a fastball, you are releasing the ball straight off your finger tips creating straight back spin. For the circle change, you want to pronate your hand inwards in order to create drag which will result in a velocity drop. In other words, as you release the ball, the "OK" sign you made with your thumb and index finger should be facing the ground.

When you finish the pitch, your hand should be turned almost entirely over so that your pinky is facing the sky. Other than that, you should finish the circle change-up like you would any other pitch.

The circle-change up takes a lot of practice in order to master it. Get comfortable with the grip by using it while playing catch and in your bullpens. Don't get frustrated if you have trouble at first. It is a tough pitch to learn, but will be well worth your efforts! If you have any questions about this, or any other pitch, stop by the Let's Talk Pitching discussion forums!


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