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COACHES CORNER | When Should Youth Players Learn the Change Up?

By Staff Post, 05/02/17, 11:45AM EDT

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One of the questions we always get at Diamond Kings is "when should my child start throwing secondary pitches?"  Stay away from the slider and curveball until the big diamond, and we ALWAYS recommend a change up-- one of the hardest pitches to read and hit in the game. Take a look at the suggestions below, and give Diamond Kings a call if you think its time for your pitcher to begin developing a secondary pitch!

Lance Stevens- DK and New England Knights Coach
The best time to start learning a changeup is around 10 years old when their hands are big enough. I say hand size because it really depends on when they are big enough to throw with only three fingers instead of four. That could happen between the ages of 8-12 years old. But, when pitchers learn to throw with three fingers, that’s when velocity will increase. Most change ups call for five fingers. The 3 finger fastball to the 5 finger change up will have the proper changes of speed for youth players. Good change ups are anywhere from 6-10 mph difference from your fastball. All of our 10u pitchers developed a changeup this winter. I think that’s a good age to start.

John Varrone- DK Director of Baseball Operations
I would say 10 years old. You throw a changeup with normal mechanics so it does not put any pressure on your arm or shoulder. I will however say that pitchers need to have fastball location first! That should be the first goal- to throw strikes with a fastball. Once pitchers achieve this, then they should add in their changeup.

Mackenzie Freeland- DK Director of Softball
I cannot comment on baseball, however there is a right time for softball players to start learning the changeup. Youth softball players should first focus on their fastball and learning proper mechanics. Once pitchers have sound mechanics, some speed on the ball, and can hit their target at least 90% of the time, then they should learn how to throw a changeup. Often times pitchers will learn a change up along with many other off speed pitches before they have perfected their fastball, ending up with a bunch of mediocre pitches come game day. Focus on your fastball, hit your spots, gain some speed, and THEN implement the change up.

Mike Church- DK Owner and Coach
Players at the age of 9 or 10 years old can start developing a changeup. The key is to be able to throw strikes with a two seam and four seam fastball before moving on to other pitches. Everybody wants to have a trick pitch, instead of mastering the most important pitch in baseball. The changeup is key as you climb the baseball ladder, but it is most important to perfect the fastball first.