When you first take the mound, if it has been properly leveled out and smoothed over, that space in front of the rubber should be flat, hard and relatively easy to balance on. But, sometimes because of your pivot action(s), or the pitcher that worked off that mound before you - there's a hole dug on a slant. That hole made by a right-handed pitcher without fail, will be pointing downward so that the toe of the pivot foot is on an angle down.
Here's how a pitcher - right or left handed, digs the hole. When the pitcher is driving forward down the mound, either by shifting his weight alone or by shifting his weight and pushing off the leading edge of the rubber, the pivot turns up prematurely and the ball of the pivot foot grinds around, thus the hole is started, and gets deeper and deeper.
How does this impact your pitching? See for yourself how this simple pivot foot discipline can increase your appearance, inning after inning:
- Play a game of catch with someone standing, oh about eighty (80) feet away. Just make sure you're properly limbered up and ready to toss. Don't pitch - only toss back and forth at a relaxed arm strength.
- Deliberately stretch out gradually with your glove side leg, then raise your heel and deliberately gently push off the ball of your pivot foot while throwing. ( remember you're not pitching)
- Continue this game of catch and take special note of how your body feels while under the influence of this back leg (pivot leg) and what it's doing to your overall flexibility and comfort while tossing. Take note of how your shoulders turn, or not, how your back feels - especially your lower back (lumbar) and how the muscles along the back of that rear leg (pivot leg) feel. Any stiffness? Any tension(s)? Any lack of flexibility?
- Now your going to change your back leg's( pivot leg's) influence on your body by totally, and deliberately, collapse on the instep on the pivot foot, and continue your game of catch. Keep that back foot (pivot foot) collapsed and heel down for as long as you can. Don't forget to stretch out slightly with your glove side leg.
You should instantly notice a relaxed feeling all along your back leg, up your buttucks, along your spine, across your lower back (lumbar) and so forth, while tossing.
Think of the difference in your body's movement and how easy it is to follow the diagram and arrows that I made, how easy it is to exchange your glove shoulder with your pitching shoulder, and how easy it is now to drive forward and keep you head in the pitch.
I know these pitching mounds that you have to work off of are difficult to deal with. I know that this entire learning process is rough for you, especially putting all this together. But I sense a quality in your work ethic Wyatt, and reasonable amount of wanting to learn and put that learning to work. Just be patient with yourself and don't reach out too far and too fast. This stuff is not for everyone. But then, you don't impress me as just anyone.
I should point out that there is Steve, Roger, Coach Paul, and others that'll help you a lot more than I can. I'm not from the youth/amateur game and I'm really uncomfortable giving advice to a youngster like yourself who shows so much promise. My suggestions are purely basic and not beyond that point.
Wyatt, you're doing very well.