The batter digs her front foot into the ground, shifting her weight in preparation to crush the ball. Everything looks normal except for the timing. The ball approaches but not at a normal speed. This is what comprises the devastating softball pitch known as the changeup.
Here's how it's done:
CSU pitcher Jessica Strickland palms the ball with her middle finger on one of the laces. The reason for palming the ball is that it allows for very little spin on the pitch. Strickland winds up normal, so not to give away any clues to what pitch is on the way.
"That's probably the most important thing," she said.
The key to slowing down the ball is all in the wrist; Softball pitches normally include a lot of wrist snapping. With the changeup, snapping is still required, but with less oomph.
Softball pitches usually travel around 63-65 mph, but the changeup is drastically slower, at around 45-48 mph, Strickland said.
When to use it:
If a batter is showing some aggressive signs, maybe swinging at every pitch, throw them off with a changeup. Even if there is contact, the ball is likely to be popped-up or grounded to an infielder.
How hard is it:
Obviously this depends on the pitcher. Everyone has their own favorite pitch. Strickland uses the changeup as her 4th or 5th option. Her other pitches include: drop-inside, drop-outside, rise ball, screwball and curve.
* Be sure to check out the softball team's first home games of the season at noon Tuesday. The double-header will be against Northern Colorado.
– Compiled by Scott Bondy