Okay, so mixing it up a little with today’s post. I get asked a lot about pitching mechanics…

“Where should the front foot land in relation to the back foot?”

“What’s the right way to break your hands?”

Drop and Drive or Tall and Fall?”

“What about the back foot?”Pitchers-Drag-line

That last one can be a little tricky… As I’ve written before, people often make too big a deal about the back foot lifting early (before ball release). That said, it CAN be very telling.

It can tell you if a guy is “jumping” instead of driving down the mound…

Whether he’s blocking himself off and not getting his hips open (a nasty little breakdown that compounds as it moves up the chain).

Or whether getting out over his skis or stuck back on his heels…

And you can tell a LOT by a pitcher’s drag line… That line in the dirt created when the back foot leaves the rubber. You can often tell the same thing by looking at a pitchers spikes after a game… Where is the toe getting scuffed – more over the big toe, or off to the side of the foot by the pinkie?

And here’s where it would be easy to get bogged down in technical jargon… Rather than go down that path, I thought it might be helpful to show some examples of guys with pretty good track records…

See any similarities?

Different pitchers with different styles… But some important things you see with all of them.

Oh, and be sure read to the end…

I’ve got a surprise in store for the FIRST person who can correctly name these big league pitchers:

 

Mystery Pitcher #1 (his nickname wasn’t “spaceship”)

Clemens-Back-Foot
 

Pitcher #2 (no hints, you should be getting to know this guy by now)

Arrieta Back Foot
 

Pitcher #3 (the lanky lefty slinger)

Sales-Back-Foot
 

Pitcher #4 (not Kong)

Felix
 

Pitcher #5 (I hear he’s a mean golfer)

Smoltz
 

Pitcher #6 (POWER… ’nuff said)

Synd-Back-Foot

[h3]FLASH QUIZ! Can you name these pitchers?[/h3]

First to nail it (in order) wins free Lifetime Access to the Ballistic Pitching Blueprint.

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Head over to the BetterPitching facebook page and find this post
  2. List the MLB pitchers in the clips above (in order)
  3. BOOM – if you’re the first one to get it right, the program is yours!

Head here and post your answers to enter!

Okay, that’s all for now. In my next post we’ll dive in a little deeper on the back foot… Specifically on your drag line and what that can tell you about whether you’re leaking power. Hint you see some of it in this high school pitcher below… More to follow…

Back-Foot-Spin-Out

In the meantime, enjoy the pitching clips (props once again to @PitchingNinja for a couple of these). Soak them in… A good visual (mental blueprint) can go a long way towards developing a more powerful pitching delivery.

So this is something I see a lot…

Pitchers and coaches using perfectly good drills… but performing them in a way that only further ingrains bad habits. Making the pitcher stiff, overly linear, and robbing him of rotational power.

See, that drive to the plate – that powerful move down the mound – is important… But it’s all for naught if you don’t convert that to rotational power at foot plant. It’s why you see the game’s best, the elite of the elite, doing one thing exceptionally well.
[h5]Getting Over and Around Their Front Leg/Hip[/h5] Pitching-Mechanics-Hips

Because after all… Pitchers are ROTATIONAL Athletes…

Just ask Jake Arietta…

Arrieta HomeRUn
(Estimated roughly 442 ft. MOON-shot…)

arrieta front view
Above gif courtesy of Rob Friedman (aka @PitchingNinja)

He’s got a great DropBox library of pitching mechanics clips – well worth checking out.

Anyway, I could go on… but instead I thought I’d share a video. This one comes straight from the BetterPitching Academy video lessons vault (it’s the paid members-only pitching site where I share what’s working right now with my pitchers). In it you’ll see exactly how I modify two very popular pitching drills to ensure a pitcher maximizes momentum and rotational power.

Yep, I’m giving you a complete sneak peak… because good drills done bad are ruining way too many young pitchers out there… But I won’t be keeping this video up forever.

So do me a favor:

  • Click Play…
  • Check it out… And if you like it…
  • Hit one of those buttons below to share it with other pitchers/parents/coaches who could benefit.

Front-Hip-Video

This video is no longer available – to learn more visit BetterPitchingAcademy.com

[h3]Limited Time BetterPitching Academy Discount[/h3]

Finally, I’ve got a special thank you for being part of the BetterPitching community…

For the next 5 days you can become a BetterPitching Academy member for 70% OFF.

Just use promo code BPA-HIPS at checkout. There’s over 3.5 hours of cutting edge (but practical) pitching information waiting inside. Click below to learn more.

Discount/Promo Has Expired

BPA-header

Until next time…

Committed to Your Pitching Success,

Phil

Okay, so let’s pick up where we left off…

Step TWO in my no-nonsense, step-by-step guide to building your personal “velocity program.”

So in Step ONE, we addressed the importance of getting those baseline readings… Tough to get where you wanna go if you don’t know where you’re starting from.

What’s that, you missed that post? Read it here: Step One for Building Your Velocity Program: Get A Baseline

As you know from that first post, this 5-Part series is an audio-post series where you’ll actually hear me walking you through this process, step by step, the same way I would if you were one of pitchers here in CT, or one of my remote coaching clients.

[h2]Step TWO: Drill Work, Dry Work and Having a Goal[/h2]

Okay, so let’s assume you’ve completed step one. You’ve done your motion analysis. You’ve gotten that initial radar reading…

The next step, once you’ve identified the key areas that need to be addressed in terms of mechanics, is setting up a plan… What will you do to actually develop more powerful movements in your pitching delivery? Now that starts with understanding how big league pitchers move because there’s not just this one set of big league pitching mechanics. It’s something I’ve said many times before:

[h5]There’s no one set of “perfect pitching mechanics”[/h5]

But if you look at all hard throwing big league pitchers, there are certain things they all do within their pitching deliveries, and those are the things that you want to borrow and bring into your own delivery if you’re a young pitcher. If you’re aspiring to get to that level… If you want to maximize velocity in your delivery.

high-velocity-pitching-mechanics

It’s recognizing, “What key areas is he missing? What are some ways that he can work on developing those movements in his delivery?” Now I’ve got a system of drills I like to use based on what that pitcher needs to work on…

  • Whether it’s to get his lower half into his delivery
  • Whether he needs to learn how to engage his back leg more
  • Whether he needs to work on better early weight shift in his delivery to get his body moving down the mound more powerfully
  • He might not be firming up as well as he could with his front leg in his finish
  • Maybe he’s getting sloppy in his finish and leaking out power or his flying open with his glove side

Alright, so all those things are important in understanding what are the key things he can work on to maximize power, and then giving him some specific drills to work on getting the feel for those movements and essentially blending that in with his full pitching delivery so it starts to become natural… And that really happens through time and repetition.

Time… and repetition. And dogged determination. There’s no substitute for it.

Okay, so that’s the next step – Once that pitcher knows what to work on and has a plan:

“Here are the drills to work on these things and here’s what you want to focus on in your delivery…”

At that point, you want to break it down:

“You’ve got to do X-amount of reps on daily basis of your delivery.”

Dry runs getting comfortable with these movements, getting in front of a mirror and working on it… Just working on the motion every single day for that first week or two.

mirror-work2

So that’s a question I get asked… How often do I need to work on my motion?

Well, at this stage… the only honest answer I can give is “every day.”

That’s probably the biggest key at this stage, that consistency. Because think about it – that pitcher has to replace a lot of old muscle memory, old motor programming, old ways of moving. And reprogramming those movements and that happens through repetition…

[h4]Key Ingredients: FOCUS, AWARENESS and a sense of URGENCY[/h4]

And it’s not just mindless repetition, but repetition with FOCUS… with concentration… with a sense of urgency… That really is key, that sense of urgency in your mind… that this is something that’s really important to you.

Alright, so having that goal is key.

And that’s something I should have mentioned, too… probably the FIRST thing I would say is once you know that baseline, set your goal…

“Alright. I throw 75 miles per hour right now…”

My goal then might be:

“Within a month, or within a month and a half, or two months, I want to get up to 80 MPH.”

Well, put that down on paper.

Have that goal concrete in your mind.

Have that crystallized vision of that goal, of that radar gun reading 80 MPH – BOOM! – in your mind with a particular date and understand WHY that’s important to you.

Is it to be you know to get on the radar of college coach?

Is it to take your game to another level?

Is it because it’s going to be a stepping stone, that I know from there once I get to 80 MPH I’m going to be able to get to 85 and keep that momentum going and then reach a dream of pitching in college or the pros or whatever it might be so that is a very critical step.

Write it down. Make a very concrete reminder… This is WHAT I want to do and this is WHY I want to do it.

[h4]And Finally, a Bonus Goal-Setting Trick[/h4]

Here’s a cool little tool for making that goal concrete (this is a great habit to get into, and it goes way beyond any “velocity” goal). There’s an online tool you can use called IFTTT (if this, then that), and you can use this to actually send yourself a text message every day direct to your phone, reminding of your goal, and more importantly, your WHY for achieving it (this is an excerpt from a video I shared with one of my remote coaching clients last summer).

Okay, that’s all for this installment… Stay tuned for the next step in this 5-Part audio series…

“The Missing Link…”

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