Nov 19, 2021

There are many different types of swing/mechanical adjustments that can be made to hit different types of pitches: IN or OUT, UP or DOWN, and FAST & SLOW.

Let’s take a look at hitting a change-up or OFF-SPEED PITCH.

The at bat above, was Kelsey’s final collegiate at bat; hitting a three-run home run in the 7th inning of Game 2 of the NCAA Norman Super Regional to trim the Oklahoma lead to 7-6. Kelsey was 3-for-3 with four RBI that night vs. the Sooners.

Let’s take a look at Kelsey hitting a home run on velocity, up & in.

Now, let’s compare Kelsey’s home run off of the change-up versus her home run off of the riseball.

How do hitters adjust to off-speed pitches?

Are there different options available?

Are pausing or swinging slower (bat speed) or staying back (not moving the center of mass forward) viable options for a hitter to adjust to hitting a change-up or off-speed pitch. Pausing, swinging slower or staying back are very inefficient ways to adjust to an off-speed pitch or CHANGE-UP.

Let’s compare Kelsey’s home run off of a change up versus her home run off of a fastball by looking at side to side still frame photos of three different positions of the pelvis in relationship to the location of the ball:

  1. Pitcher at 12 o’clock and the start of Kelsey’s pelvis load,

2. Right after pitcher’s release and Kelsey’s “moving her middle” while recognizing the type of pitch,

3. Kelsey at touch and the start of her swing/launch.

When the pitcher is at 12 o’clock, Kelsey has started to load her pelvis. She did not wait longer to start her pelvis load.

On the left is Kelsey’s home run off of Paige Parker in 2016 Super Regionals in Norman, Oklahoma and on the right is Kelsey’s home run two weeks earlier off of Randi Rupp in the 2016 finals of the Sun Belt Tournament Championship.
Here is a side by side comparison to look at where Kelsey’s pelvis load is right after pitcher’s release.

At this point, Kelsey is continuing to load her pelvis and “move her middle” as she picks up information to recognize the pitch type. No major adjustment yet in either sequence or tempo. No difference in where her center of mass is either, in other words, on the left is the change up and she is not “hanging back” or “striding slower” or “pausing”. She is not staying one legged and tilting rearward, even on a change-up.
Kelsey at toe touch. This is where she made her swing adjustment.

On the right against velocity up & in, Kelsey “opens her hips”, & “rotates into toe touch”. On the left against the change-up, her hips are still “closed” as she maintains her pelvis load (“tension”), and maintains “torque” or separation between her lower & upper body.

Did she “stay back”? Absolutely not; in fact, her center of mass has continued to “shift more” for the change-up.

The “buffer” she creates to be able to adjust to the change-up is as a result of her ability to maintain and increase her pelvis load as she recognizing the pitch type against two very elite pitchers —this is the sign of a very good hitter. (In the photo on the right) Home run on velocity up & to left field; and (in the photo on the left) home run on the change-up to right center field.

Kelsey is from Tomball, Texas and the daughter of Cathy and the late Bobby Vincent.