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High Performance Pitching: The Change-Up

High Performance Pitching: The Change-Up

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with Melyssa Lombardi, Oklahoma University Associate Head Coach/Pitching Coach; 2013 National Champions; has coached five pitchers and three catchers to 15 combined All-American honors; five-time member of the NFCA Midwest Region Coaching Staff of the Year (1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, and 2012)

It is often said that hitting is timing, and consequently, pitching is disrupting timing. Oklahoma Associate Head Coach Melyssa Lombardi gives you an inside look at one of the pitches that has helped make the Sooners' nearly unhittable: the change-up. Coach Lombardi talks about three different types of change-up releases. She explains how to throw each, and offers drills to perfect the change.

Goals and Focal Points - Coach Lombardi opens her presentation with an explanation of the goals she has for her pitching staff. She identifies focal points for the change-up: release, arm speed, and the follow through. These are the keys to taking speed off the pitch, and allowing the pitch to have late break, which are important characteristics of a good change-up.

Types of change-up releases - Coach Lombardi introduces three different types of change-up releases-the flip, drop, and shove. She teaches each release using her own pitchers to demonstrate the mechanics of the movement. She emphasizes the importance of teaching more than one option to pitchers, stressing that different types of releases may work better for different pitchers.

Mechanics - Coach Lombardi moves on to the basic mechanics required to throw the change-up pitch. No matter which release the pitcher chooses, the grip should be fairly consistent. Coach Lombardi teaches two different grips for holding the change-up that will disguise it from opposing coaches and hitters. A good follow-through is important because it helps create the desired late break on the ball. The follow-through of the pitch will vary some depending which change-up release is used.

Drills - Coach Lombardi takes a pitcher through three drills that she uses when working on the change-up. These drills train pitchers use their awareness of body positioning to know when they're ready for the change-up. Lombardi also offers variations of these drills, and explains her philosophy of doing sets of small reps.

Troubleshooting - As with any pitch, things will occasionally go wrong with the change-up. Coach Lombardi discusses some of the common flaws pitchers encounter and offers corrections to help get her back on track faster.

The change-up is a crucial pitch because it makes other pitches look even faster. The change-up will help your pitchers dominate on the mound and will take your pitching game to a championship level. 41 minutes. 2014.