Having a good fastball with good command is a great way to be successful in Little League. But, as kids get older, the hitters get better. It takes something more than just a fastball to keep the hitters off balanced.
The first pitch after a fastball every young pitcher should learn is the changeup. There are several variations to the changeup, and some pitchers may prefer one grip to another. The two most common changeups are the circle change and the three-fingered change.
The circle change is gripped with the index and thumb making a circle on the inside part of the baseball. The middle and ring finger are placed on top of the seams with the pinky on the outside edge for support. The ball is thrown with circle facing down, letting the ball spin off the middle and ring fingers.
The three-fingered change is thrown with the index, middle, and ring fingers all on top of the ball, like a claw. The thumb should be directly under the baseball. Make sure to put the ball deep into your palm so there is a good velocity decrease. This pitch is easier to throw than the circle change, but it doesn't have as much movement or as big of a velocity drop.
Learning a changeup is fairly easy, and can be a great second pitch for Little League pitchers. It doesn't put any strain on your arm, yet every advanced pitcher needs to have one in their arsenal. Learning it early on will be a big help as the pitcher gets older.
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