Okay, so in my last post I discussed some of the reasons why I’m not a big fan of young pitchers being forced to use the slide step with runners on base.
If you missed it, click here: Should Pitchers Slide Step
And if you read it, you know why I think it’s backwards for coaches to have young pitchers focus on the runner at the cost of sacrificing the quality of the pitch. So wouldn’t you know it, last night I work with a sophomore pitcher and what does he tell me? His fall ball coach wants him going with a slide step.
“All the time?” I ask him.
“No… just with a runner on 1st base.”
Now I have no problem working with this pitcher on being quick to the plate. And that’s what we did. And I showed him how guys slide step effectively, and why most young pitchers have a tough time doing it well (usually results in throwing “all arm”). But one thing I won’t do is start by recommending he routinely go with a true “slide step.”
Because unless you can slide step really well – see Fernando Rodney – not only will you lose momentum and power, but you’ll likely stride slower (from lack of momentum) and won’t actually be that much quicker to the plate (if at all) than if you just took a quick “load and go” approach.
And this is one reason you just don’t see that many guys “slide step” at the big league level. The quality of the pitch comes first. I’m not saying it can never be done, and it can be a nice tool in your toolbox if you can learn to do it well. But for coaches at the JV level to be suggesting young pitchers go with a slide step whenever they’ve got a runner on 1st base… well that just doesn’t make much sense.
If you’re looking for an example of how you can be quick to the plate while still getting loaded up, just watch how Zack Greinke does it here…
Notice how well he leads with his hips. And it really starts with early weight shift, getting the center inside the back foot and starting that move to the plate. And this way, you can easily get loaded and gathered, and you’ll still be plenty quick to the plate.