PITCHING 2.0 Helps Young Softball Pitchers Trust Their Change Up

The following article was written from a coach’s perspective. Coach Katie Griffith is the head softball coach at Webster University and uses Rapsodo PITCHING 2.0 with her pitchers.

Using Rapsodo to measure the velocity of each pitch thrown is valuable to all pitchers. All of the pitchers I work with are fixated on getting to 60 mph on their power pitches.

Interestingly, in my first few weeks using Rapsodo technology, the velocity gauge helped improve the speed of change ups rather than power pitches. (It should be noted that most of my pitchers throw the flip change with backspin.)

It is sometimes difficult to convince young pitchers that they can “go hard”, “move fast”, and “sell” a change up as their fast ball or another power pitch. No matter how much I try to convince them, they all tend to hesitate just a bit in hopes of helping the change up slow down. 

Using Rapsodo, I am able to prove to these pitchers that they can work hard when throwing a change-up and trust that the pitch will still be 8-10 mph off of their hard pitches.

For example, the Rapsodo technology only picks up velocities 35 mph or higher. My pitchers who throw 53-55 mph became frustrated when Rapsodo wouldn’t show data on their change ups. This showed us that their change ups were consistently below 35 mph – too slow! 

This told me, as their instructor, that they were trying to “help” the ball slow down rather than trusting the backspin would slow it down. Essentially, I proved to them that they had 10 mph to play with being aggressive and the change up would still be plenty slow compared to hard pitches.

After learning this, we experimented with pushing off the mound and being aggressive in their pitch delivery when throwing change up. I had the pitchers go by what they felt and had them guess whether it was closer to 45 mph or 35 mph before I let them look at the Rapsodo data on the iPad screen. They were able to learn what it feels like to really move and trust their change up, which creates the 8-10 mph off speed that we hope for. Using Rapsodo, these young pitchers gained trust and courage to throw the change up aggressively and let batters miss hit it.