Finding the release point for the backhand change

One of the challenges of learning the backhand change is finding the correct release point. Let it go too early and it either rolls in or flies in too fast. Let it go too late and there’s a tendency for it to arc in.

One trick I often use during lessons is to stand in front of the pitcher with my arm outstretched about shoulder high. The arm is placed approximately where the hand will reach as the pitcher comes through with the pitch. I tell the pitcher to hold the ball under her hand gets under my arm, then release. If she follows this direction, the pitch will usually come in low and slow, with a kind of floating effect.

That’s great for practice. But as I remind the pitchers, I can’t exactly stand in front of them with my arm outstretched during a game. Even if it wasn’t against the rules, which it is, it would be kind of obvious when the change was coming — which would defeat the purpose.

There is another way to do it, though. Tell the pitcher to hold the ball until her hand gets to where her stride foot has planted. If she takes it there, and keeps her arm loose, she’ll throw a perfect change every time. Over the front foot is the exact release point needed. Give it a try!

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About Ken Krause

Ken Krause has been coaching girls fastpitch softball for nearly 20 years. Some may know him as a contributing columnist to Softball Magazine, where he writes Krause's Korner -- a regular column sponsored by Louisville Slugger. Ken is also the Administrator of the Discuss Fastpitch Forum, the most popular fastpitch discussion forum on the Internet. He is currently a Three Star Master Coach with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), and is certified by both the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and American Sports Education Program (ASEP). Ken is a private instructor specializing in pitchers, hitters, and catchers. He teaches at North Shore Baseball Academy in Libertyville, IL and Pro-Player Consultants in McHenry, IL.

Posted on May 7, 2008, in Pitching. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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