Pitchers: Rapidly Improve Your Changeup

Dan Blewett here. I want to take a minute to talk about the learning process for throwing an amazing changeup So, personal story here when I was a sophomore I needed to learn a changeup; I was a fastball curveball guy and I had a great curveball – that was why I got to play college baseball, that was the little key that unlocked a lot of doors for me. But I didn’t have a changeup and unfortunately I didn’t have a pitching coach at my alma mater and there was really no one there to teach me. So I asked some teammates and I just kind of asked around I puttered around the internet and I settled on a grip that I felt made sense for me, and I tinkered and I found one that is the one I now teach. And I threw I think a thousand change ups from November to February first of my sophomore year and Everyday – I didn’t throw them hard But, I found a catch partner or I found a wall and I got my hundred throws in. So again, it wasn’t hard throws everyday – – usually it was just catch speed – 50% effort around 60 miles per hour. But I’d go fastball-changeup-changeup; fastball-changeup-changeup; fastball-changeup-changeup. So if I threw 90 throws, I’d throw about 50-60 changeups every day and I’d usually throw between 80 and 120 throws just playing catch and working on my mechanics and working on trying to get the feel of the couple things that I thought I was feeling for in my changeup and It’s always a numbers game It’s always a focus game and I put in a probably least a thousand really good really focused outcome, Outcome oriented change ups I didn’t just chuck them. I wasn’t just chatting through it. I was focused on every single one Getting on the inside the ball and getting some arm side sink and run through it. And again I had minimal instruction I had some catch partners that helped me that said “hey, yeah, that one looks good.” “That one was kind of flat.” I got feedback and I took it and I tried to make the next one better. No matter who you learn from no matter if you take my course if you you know You have a pitching coach with you every single day, it still comes down to YOU because they’re not going to be breathing over your shoulder. They’re not going to be forcing you to focus and be determined to make a better pitch on every single next throw, and one of the big things that I learned from high level players was that when they threw in pregame – especially relievers because relievers don’t throw bullpens when the seasons going They only pitch full-speed in games because they could pitch tonight and they could pitch up again tomorrow I pitched four out of six days. I pitched five, uh, I pitched eight innings in a week once – the last week of the season I pitched a ton. You could pitch every every day and you never know so you don’t throw bullpens. You really just play catch before the game. You throw flat grounds, you stretch out a little bit, but those throws – you learn – once you’re a full-time reliever in the minor leagues… They’re PRECIOUS. You only get so many even if there’s 60 miles per hour, you have to get something out of every throw. So you learn from that – I have to, I know what my perfect change up feels like I have to get on this one. I didn’t it wasn’t it was like a little bit here instead of there. This next one’s gonna be better. Oh, wasn’t quite perfect – next one’s gonna be better. It’s just so focused and you’re so determined and you’re so process and outcome-oriented that Every pitch is extremely valuable. So no matter what you learn from me and what you learn from other coaches It’s ultimately going to come down to How regimented, how process-oriented you are how focused and determined you are on really getting better and every single throw counts and when you make every single throw count They are going to aggregate, they’re going to add up – you’re going to make 10,000 throws in the calendar year on average So they’re not all going to be hard – they’re not all pitches, but just how times you’re going to throw a ball – and if every time you’re focused – it’s your mechanics and you’re determined to get a good outcome – a better outcome than the previous one – you’re going to succeed long-term because you’re going to sort of pull away from your competition, from your peers and one day you’re just going to wake up. You know, the funny term is like, oh it took me 20 years to be an overnight success It will just creep up on you. You focus hard today. You get your work in today. You make every throw count today and Then one day you’re going to wake up and you’re like, holy crap! My change up is good. It’s filthy. You’re going to start punching guys out. I’ve watched kids evolve this way. I’ve watched the evolution over a season where, beginning of the season he gets a couple ground balls. Then you start to see oh – you got a swing and a miss. That was a changeup… Then you start to see a couple swings and misses. Then you start to see the strikeouts come. Then, you start to see this kid throw it 3-1 2-O and you just see the progression – it just takes time, but it takes focused determined Very very very exceptional reps. Alright, so don’t give a single throw away and Long term you’re gonna wake up and you’re going to have a filthy changeup, a filthy curveball – whatever it is – if you just trust the process and go one pitch at a time and don’t give them away.

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