Softball Pitch Types: The Changeup

Your pitches don’t always have to be at full speed. Learn how to shift your at-bats with a changeup.

Sometimes an at-bat just needs a change of speed. A good fastball can keep batters on their toes. However, to truly throw opposing hitters off balance, consider adding a changeup to your repertoire.

The changeup is similar in style and execution to the fastball. However, it arrives at the plate at a slower pace.

“Even when not thrown for a perfect strike, this pitch is still very effective,” former professional softball player Jessica Vogel says. “It helps throw [a] batter’s timing off. And now [your] fast pitches look even faster.”


When pitching a changeup, you want the batter to think a fastball is coming their way. Because of this, you should treat this pitch like your fastball. Focus on being explosive with your arms and legs as they shoot forward.

The distinction between throwing a changeup and throwing a fastball is how you snap the ball. Rather than a frontward release where your palm faces out, the changeup requires you to turn your palm backward at the top of the arm movement.

As your arm comes down, prepare to snap the ball backward out of your hand and in front of your hips. To get a nice, tight spiral, pull back hard on the seams.

Finally, finish strong with your legs.


Practice your changeup with the “Changeup Snap Drill.” To complete this drill:

  1. Position your body five to seven feet from your catcher.
  2. Isolate your forearm and wrist.
  3. Focus on snapping your hand back and pulling hard at the seams.
  4. Repeat.

“Remember, when throwing this pitch, we want to have explosive arms and legs, making it look just like [a] fastball,” Vogel says. “We want to have a good release point and a strong finish with our snap.”

For more information on how to grip a changeup, check out these tips.