FAQ Search Memberlist Usergroups Profile Log in to check your private messages Register Log in

Ask Questions. Share Answers. Pitch Better.

A pitchers drag line a result of efficient mechanics
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    LetsTalkPitching.com Forum Index -> General Pitching Advice
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
chew1109
Major League
Major League


Joined: 03 Jul 2008
Posts: 305

PostPosted: Mar 23, 2010    Post subject: A pitchers drag line a result of efficient mechanics Reply with quote

I've heard that a pitchers "drag line", the line he leaves with his pivot foot, gives a good idea of how good/efficient ones mechanics are. Is the drag line suppose to be a straight line or curved? Is is the longer the drag line the better? How long (in inches) should an effective drag line be starting from the rubber?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
laflippin
Superstar
Superstar


Joined: 05 Nov 2007
Posts: 1478

PostPosted: Mar 23, 2010    Post subject: Reply with quote

There was recently a long and entertaining discussion of this very topic at the HSBaseballWeb site...

I think there are a few conclusions that most people can agree with:

1. The vast majority, but not all, of elite pitchers have a drag line. For those that do have one, it is not random from pitch to pitch but rather it is a highly reproducible pattern that is associated in some way with an individual's particular mechanics.

2. For those that do have a drag line, it can be almost any shape, and can even be interrupted by a brief moment when the post foot comes off the ground and then returns to the ground before the ball is released.

3. Pitchers' drag lines, measured from the edge of the rubber to the last point where the post foot leaves the ground (somewhere around the time of ball release), can vary widely in length but may average out at about two feet.

Here are some ideas that some people find value in while others do not:

1. Young pitchers who do not have a drag line may sometimes benefit from making postural changes that usually will result in a drag line. This is not to say that a pitcher should ever focus conciously on dragging his foot. The idea is, by adopting a stable, dynamic posture through to ball release, the pitcher will automatically develop a drag line....so, a drag line may be a signature or symptom of certain postural changes in a delivery, but not a "cure" for poor mechanics.

2. For pitchers who have a drag line and are having trouble controlling the east-west dimension of the strike zone, picking a starting place on the rubber that causes their drag line to finish on an imaginary line from middle of the rubber to middle of HP, may help them. Many people believe that the end of the drag line can give information about the direction of the pitcher's total momentum at, or near, ball release.

Hope this helps some....

P.S. Here's a video of one of my personal favorite drag lines: Laughing

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnehldvI04Y

Before the start of this delivery, you can clearly see the drag line that Oswalt has already carved into the mound on previous pitches. Then, watching his post foot throughout the current delivery, you can see that he produces the exact same drag line perfectly. While every pitcher's drag line will look superficially different, I don't think you can ignore the drag line as a diagnostic for a controlled, reproducible delivery.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Roger
Administrator
Administrator


Joined: 22 Mar 2006
Posts: 6692
Location: Phoenix, AZ

PostPosted: Mar 25, 2010    Post subject: Reply with quote

Applause All Good Great post, la!

Chew, keep in mind that the goal is not to have a drag line but to do well those things that usually lead to having a drag line. Oh, and the length of the drag line is also affected by doing things well (e.g. good posture and balance, staying closed and rotating late, good momentum, etc.). Coaches like me who pay attention to the drag line use it as an indicator but we never work on it - at least not directly.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Hired Guns
Minor League
Minor League


Joined: 02 Dec 2005
Posts: 152

PostPosted: Mar 26, 2010    Post subject: Reply with quote

One should be aware that not every coach or instructor will be as open-minded as the gentlemen in the above posts.

Indeed there appears on the western horizon an ever-increasing number of fanatics, attempting to convert the young, not so young, but all impressionable, to the gospel of drag. What better way to impress than to point at the obvious visual in the dirt?

This reminds me of a previous inquisition only of a few decades ago when the position regarding drag was just the opposite. Certainly some of the elder members here can recall that crusade.

Instructors, for whatever reason, decided drag was a mechanical evil, the new Commandment at that time, “thou shall not drag.” A number of tortuous devises were created to prevent this evil. Bricks and chairs in front of the rubber, cords attached to the leg to pull it up, almost anything that would eliminate the dreadful drag, was considered good.

And so…. the inevitable forward march of progress continues….La de da de dee, la de da de daa

But be shamed not…those of inferior drag…you may be growing up in the wrong decade, but all is not lost! A little research will reveal there are many professional pitchers who have little if any dragline, many are Cy Young winners, and many are in the Hall Of Fame. Be warned however, if you’re a college prospect and don’t drag, it might be wise to find out if your future coach is a dragger before you commit.

Should you need further encouragement…here is a young man doing quite well in an area hot on drag, yet lucky for him, drag rules are apparently not being enforced….



A link for those desiring a closer examination
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wO7K_CjX2Mw

Incidentally looking at drag lines is not the panacea some would have you believe. Get a copy of Bob Shaws 1972 PITCHING bible…page 51 Shocked

Quote:
“If the toe of your right foot makes a long mark of more than 1 ½ feet on the ground, the chances are you are not pushing off on the back foot correctly. If you check, you will notice that you are probably stiffening the back leg or just not pushing off hard enough.”


And the “theory of drag” beat just goes on and on…. Wink
http://popup.lala.com/popup/360569449467746476
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
|J3|
Minor League
Minor League


Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 206

PostPosted: Mar 26, 2010    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hired Guns wrote:
One should be aware that not every coach or instructor will be as open-minded as the gentlemen in the above posts.

Indeed there appears on the western horizon an ever-increasing number of fanatics, attempting to convert the young, not so young, but all impressionable, to the gospel of drag. What better way to impress than to point at the obvious visual in the dirt?

This reminds me of a previous inquisition only of a few decades ago when the position regarding drag was just the opposite. Certainly some of the elder members here can recall that crusade.

Instructors, for whatever reason, decided drag was a mechanical evil, the new Commandment at that time, “thou shall not drag.” A number of tortuous devises were created to prevent this evil. Bricks and chairs in front of the rubber, cords attached to the leg to pull it up, almost anything that would eliminate the dreadful drag, was considered good.

And so…. the inevitable forward march of progress continues….La de da de dee, la de da de daa

But be shamed not…those of inferior drag…you may be growing up in the wrong decade, but all is not lost! A little research will reveal there are many professional pitchers who have little if any dragline, many are Cy Young winners, and many are in the Hall Of Fame. Be warned however, if you’re a college prospect and don’t drag, it might be wise to find out if your future coach is a dragger before you commit.

Should you need further encouragement…here is a young man doing quite well in an area hot on drag, yet lucky for him, drag rules are apparently not being enforced….



A link for those desiring a closer examination
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wO7K_CjX2Mw

Incidentally looking at drag lines is not the panacea some would have you believe. Get a copy of Bob Shaws 1972 PITCHING bible…page 51

Quote:
“If the toe of your right foot makes a long mark of more than 1 ½ feet on the ground, the chances are you are not pushing off on the back foot correctly. If you check, you will notice that you are probably stiffening the back leg or just not pushing off hard enough.”


And the “theory of drag” beat just goes on and on…. Wink
http://popup.lala.com/popup/360569449467746476


I've got a feeling we'll get some good responses to the bolded text...

My thoughts (assuming I am correctly interpreting stiff):

How would a pitcher maintain his balance, posture, etc. if his back leg isn't stiffened? Surely he would collapse under his own weight if that back leg was not taking on the load while the lead leg is off the ground. And I don't mean straight-legged, as the knee can be bent while the leg is "stiff" holding the weight that both legs usually share (like when one is doing one-legged squats for example).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
jdfromfla
Administrator
Administrator


Joined: 20 Jan 2006
Posts: 5620
Location: Green Cove Springs, Fla.

PostPosted: Mar 27, 2010    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Indeed there appears on the western horizon an ever-increasing number of fanatics, attempting to convert the young, not so young, but all impressionable, to the gospel of drag. What better way to impress than to point at the obvious visual in the dirt?


One of the real beauties of this site is the lack of dogmatic fervor...we don't do "drag gospel" Shocked ...someone spouting that sort of gibberish would be challenged..I do recognize your prose though and someone must have really pissed you off...or maybe it's the west aspect...I've never heard of drag line as more than a single way marker amongst hundreds..like La said..and I reiterated in the thread he referenced. You make it sound like it is a "cult" that excludes players, like Marshall has been "excluded" from the bigs. I know D-1 pitching coaches and CC coaches and none of the 10 or 15 that I've had serious pitching conversations with ever even mention it, other than the way La and I've described..if they mention it at all.
I really don't think that, presented with the pitcher you use for an example, the vast majority of coaches at that level would be concerned at all with drag line or lack of, with the quality of mechanics he displays. Are you saying that the kid was black-balled or changed and forced to drag his foot??? If so lets hear it.
_________________
So what? You prove them wrong
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
jdfromfla
Administrator
Administrator


Joined: 20 Jan 2006
Posts: 5620
Location: Green Cove Springs, Fla.

PostPosted: Mar 27, 2010    Post subject: Reply with quote

For the record this is what House trains..coming from a House trained instructor;

Quote:
Coaches like me who pay attention to the drag line use it as an indicator but we never work on it - at least not directly


It's not a "teach"...if anyone has a kid whose instructor is using it as such, they may want to reconsider and perhaps shop around a bit..or at least question him.
_________________
So what? You prove them wrong
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Hired Guns
Minor League
Minor League


Joined: 02 Dec 2005
Posts: 152

PostPosted: Mar 28, 2010    Post subject: Reply with quote

JD,

Quote:
One of the real beauties of this site is the lack of dogmatic fervor

Funny you should respond with the above statement, as the primary impetus for posting is that nearly everywhere I visit, apart from this site of course, I see birds of like feather flocking together in alarming numbers…



Quote:
we don't do "drag gospel" ...someone spouting that sort of gibberish would be challenged


Pleased to know I’m among the open minded yet critical. Obviously, welcoming different perspectives is one way of avoiding like-mindedness.

Quote:
I do recognize your prose though and someone must have really pissed you off...or maybe it's the west aspect...




Aside from that early childhood Oz trauma I can’t imagine why I should be west phobic, although I do have an innate fear of becoming gator bait. Laughing

Seriously though, no ax to grind against anyone personally, rather I’d prefer to examine only the ideas. The impersonal nature of Internet discourse has its strengths and weaknesses like any medium. The advantage to its impersonality is the possibility of discussing ideas in an isolated manner. Obviously, this can be difficult to do, given the inevitable associations we make between certain ideas and specific individuals. Nonetheless, I’m more interested in the responses an idea has received, how it is being implemented, and what influence it is having. No matter who the alleged originator, ideas do indeed “take on a life of their own” especially in a large group, which is why all these similar looking birds gathering on our playgrounds has attracted my attention.

Quote:
I know D-1 pitching coaches and CC coaches and none of the 10 or 15 that I've had serious pitching conversations with ever even mention it, other than the way La and I've described..if they mention it at all


Perhaps I’ve just been looking in all the wrong places
http://popup.lala.com/popup/360569449467838261

And yet… I’ve heard MANY members associated with recent cults of drag (again, historically there have been many pro and anti movements) state that rule number one is to determine ones place on the rubber based upon their drag line. Just so I know I’m not totally deaf and blind I would encourage all those who have heard or read something similar to chime in…

To quote chew 1109

Quote:
I've heard that a pitchers "drag line", the line he leaves with his pivot foot, gives a good idea of how good/efficient ones mechanics are.


Yes it’s definitely something being discussed out there...

http://www.onbaseball.com/pitching/pitching-dragging-the-back-foot/

So what I’m questioning is whether this is a good starting point, in knowledge of all the elite level pitchers who have little or no dragline, whose draglines don’t end up on a centerline, and without substantial proof that those who drag are mechanically superior.

Could it be, that this procedure is really about ensuring a certain desired appearance a priori?

One starts from the unproven premise that draglines are a necessary component of good mechanics and before a student even throws a ball we are asked to be looking out for his dragline so he can find the right place on the rubber?

What if there is no dragline…what do you think your average Dad schooled in drag is going to do next with his ten year old?

One more final witness and thought…would someone please tell Mr.Maddux that according to where his dragline finishes in this video that he is standing about two feet toward the wrong side of the rubber?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9THIJD49Vc

I rest my case.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Steven Ellis
Administrator
Administrator


Joined: 08 Aug 2005
Posts: 3177
Location: Wellesley, MA

PostPosted: Mar 29, 2010    Post subject: Reply with quote

Roger wrote:
Applause All Good Great post, la!

Chew, keep in mind that the goal is not to have a drag line but to do well those things that usually lead to having a drag line. Oh, and the length of the drag line is also affected by doing things well (e.g. good posture and balance, staying closed and rotating late, good momentum, etc.). Coaches like me who pay attention to the drag line use it as an indicator but we never work on it - at least not directly.


Exactly as Roger says here. In pro ball, I never once had a pitching coach say, "Ellis, you're a little wild today, let's fix that drag line." Like your follow through, it's a byproduct of other parts of your delivery and not something that any pitcher should spend a lot of time focusing on. The fix, if one's needed, needs to come earlier in the delivery.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
jdfromfla
Administrator
Administrator


Joined: 20 Jan 2006
Posts: 5620
Location: Green Cove Springs, Fla.

PostPosted: Mar 29, 2010    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well the Johnny Lee song didn't play..so I'll offer one of my favorites..a bit of a cautionary tale, by a band I consider the best ever...
Let everyone remember..if they are "preaching a gospel", they may actually be performing what we, who grew up in an urban atmosphere, might term a "Wallet dive" Wink


Link



Honestly though I haven't seen the coalescing of morons and bozo's you hint at...HSBBWeb is somewhat "long toss" centric maybe..BB Fever is more inclined towards hitting...haven't seen what I'd consider "great" pitching discussion over there, Joe on the site you pose as an example, used to post over here, he seemed more mystified by the examples he ran across...the one poster who commented in the affirmative about it seemed like the sort that may also recommend "dragging the foot" in order to produce a change-up as well. Not that it (Dragging the foot) hasn't been "trained" before, it's just a shortcut to inefficiency..much like a kid can produce a slider by getting their hand outside of the ball..they also get a poor fundemental mechanic and an increased opportunity for a sore shoulder/elbow.
You sir have allies in your noble quest...and believe it or not it's the same La and Roger and coaches like them that you addressed originally over on the other thread this topic was examined (In your interesting and creative way of illistrating the absurd with sarcasm and analogy..you really are a creative writer, I tip my cap)...Not that House or the House family of coaches end the discussion..He doesn't seem to believe that nor teach it...no his approach is more of a learning/evolving teaching experience, more Socratic, one that will take "conventional wives tales" such as this and apply real world thought to the subject. Paul Nyman was/is similar in his approach just way more bombastic, even Mills tries to be more scientific and less dogmatic..he just gets all tangled with his desire for image.
I'll share some wisdom of the ages in conclusion....very pertainent in this current time...


Link

_________________
So what? You prove them wrong
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
laflippin
Superstar
Superstar


Joined: 05 Nov 2007
Posts: 1478

PostPosted: Mar 29, 2010    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think Hired Guns makes some good points, and always in a clever and amusing way, but... it's too easy to be clever and sarcastic so much of the time, without carrying more of the burden of critical thinking about one of his favorite subjects--which Hired Guns/TG3 is certainly capable of doing, when he wants to.

By now, though, I think much of the sarcastic wit expressed above has kind of degraded into "grinding water" as an old friend of mine used to put it.

Don't get me wrong: I'm for skepticism, not against it. But, unrelenting mockery suggests something different than skepticism--it suggests that the person doing the mocking may have made up his mind (i.e.; closed his mind), may have an axe to grind, and is more interested in shaming others away from their point of view than really trying to plumb the subject.

I may be wrong about this, but I'm guessing that part of Hired Guns' issue really has more to do with the basic nature and the limitations of communication on the internet than it has to do with drag lines.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Roger
Administrator
Administrator


Joined: 22 Mar 2006
Posts: 6692
Location: Phoenix, AZ

PostPosted: Mar 29, 2010    Post subject: Reply with quote

As DM said in another thread, there is no reason for a coach not to use all of the tools in his toolkit. Doing so doesn't necessarily mean that all teaches in the coach's toolkit are to be applied as absolutes. Forcing any teach on a pitcher is usually "cookie cutter" (i.e. wrong).

It is well understood that some pitchers don't have drag lines. In fact, I consider Curt Schilling the poster boy for not having a drag line. And noone would argue with his success. But just because some pitchers don't have drag lines doesn't mean you should avoid the drag line concept completely. If moving a pitcher on the rubber based on his drag line helps improve a postural issue, then it would be foolish not to do so. Similarly, if a pitcher lacks a drag line due to some mechanical issue, it would be foolish not to use that as an indicator to look elsewhere or other possible issues.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    LetsTalkPitching.com Forum Index -> General Pitching Advice All times are GMT - 4 Hours
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Related topics
 Topics   Replies   Author   Views   Last Post 
No new posts Long Toss question? 14 newbiethrower 5236 Jun 23, 2013
Turn 22 View latest post
No new posts Pitchers and Long Sleeves 23 terprhp 14368 Apr 24, 2013
jamezbond View latest post
No new posts The Long-Toss Debate... 27 Steven Ellis 15299 Jul 10, 2011
buwhite View latest post
No new posts long toss and weather 14 raiderbb 7143 Oct 31, 2007
Hammer View latest post
No new posts Long Toss 2 coachalex 3337 Feb 02, 2006
coachalex View latest post