Live by the change, die by the change

Tonight in our game we had the opportunity to test something I wrote a few weeks back. In that post I talked about running on the changeup if you recognize it.

We were facing a pitcher with an excellent change. She maintained arm speed and the pitch was very deceptive. After seeing another pitcher who wasn’t nearly as strong, that change was pretty devastating. At first.

The problem was she knew how great it was too. She was absolutely in love with the pitch, and liked to throw it often. One of our hitters, a girl named Erin, led the way. First time up she struck out on two of the changes and one speed pitch. Next time up to bat, knowing it was coming, she just waited for it and then took a hack at it.

From there it was a slug fest. The pitcher kept throwing the change, and we just sat on it and pounded it. When our runners got on base they knew to look for it too and it was off to the races.

So the lesson here is not just for hitters but pitchers as well. There is such a thing as going to the well too often. It’s called a “change” for a reason. It should offer a change to keep hitters from getting too comfortable. But it doesn’t become much of a change if it’s happening all the time. Then it’s a “normal.”

Perhaps tonight’s pitcher’s plan was to work on her change. It was, after all, just a scrimmage game (or “friendly” as it’s called in some circles). If so, she certainly did. If not, however, she needs a new strategy. Doing anything too much makes you too predictable, and that can be deadly.

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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 June 30, 2010, in Coaching, Hitting. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Quite honestly, if the coaches are calling the pitches, which I have found is usually the case, especially at travel ball and high school, it is the coaches who have to learn not to love a particular pitch. I had a player on my team, Carlie, who woudl intentionally go up there and get an 0-2 count knowing that the coach was going to throw a change up. Sure enough, to a fault, in would come the change up, which Carlie would crush for extra bases … every time. So, coaches, players are pretty smart and understand tendencies also. Make sure you mix it up.– DanFastpitch Softball Coaching

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  2. The best change has late movement. Guess right and you still have issues. Fernandez and Ragan Blake for a couple of examples.

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