About a month into seeing a pitching coach-feedback please!

I’m about a month into seeing an NPA pitching coach (the school of thought of Tom House), and I have been working out an intense amount as well. My mechanics do feel like they are better than they were before (I was/still probably am a wreck mechanic-wise) and I know I have a long way to go, but I decided to video myself going through the pitching motion to see what it looks like. To me it looks like my stride is short, and my coach tells me this as well, but otherwise I don’t notice much. Although I know what I need to work on (a big one is getting torque and using my hips/lower half a LOT more), I have trouble pin-pointing it on this video. He also tells me to move a lot faster after leg lift. Please give me all of it, the good, the bad, and the ugly, so I can keep working. I’m still seeing my pitching coach, and plan on continuing, and I will continue to work hard, but the more well-educated/experienced opinions, the better. Thanks in advance. I know I’ve got a long way to go.

Lanky
You’re right about the lower half not really making its best contribution. Notice in your video how, after release, your back foot lands off to your left side. That’s not such a big issue but it’s the “why” that I’m concerned about. I believe you have a marked weight shift in that direction. This tells me that you aren’t getting enough “toward the plate” centre of gravity motion.

So, my suggestion speaks kind of to what your pitching coach is saying about moving faster from leg lift onward. I believe you should focus on moving your right hip at the target harder and for a longer period of time, sideways. That would be my main focus.

I also suggest that, while doing the above, you need to use the back leg better. It’s just turning over with not a lot of role. If you have access to some clips of Kevin Brown, Roger Clemens or Nolan Ryan, check out the way they use the back leg and how the knee points sideways (towards 3rd base for them as righties) during the early part of the hip move toward the plate, then, a bit later, it rotates under as the leg extends and the hips rotate. Check it out with an eye towards the timing of the parts.

[quote=“dm59”]Lanky
You’re right about the lower half not really making its best contribution. Notice in your video how, after release, your back foot lands off to your left side. That’s not such a big issue but it’s the “why” that I’m concerned about. I believe you have a marked weight shift in that direction. This tells me that you aren’t getting enough “toward the plate” centre of gravity motion.

So, my suggestion speaks kind of to what your pitching coach is saying about moving faster from leg lift onward. I believe you should focus on moving your right hip at the target harder and for a longer period of time, sideways. That would be my main focus.

I also suggest that, while doing the above, you need to use the back leg better. It’s just turning over with not a lot of role. If you have access to some clips of Kevin Brown, Roger Clemens or Nolan Ryan, check out the way they use the back leg and how the knee points sideways (towards 3rd base for them as righties) during the early part of the hip move toward the plate, then, a bit later, it rotates under as the leg extends and the hips rotate. Check it out with an eye towards the timing of the parts.[/quote]

We were just working on me delivering more towards the plate yesterday. My striding foot would veer off waaaay to the left and face between the first base dugout and home plate somewhere. I changed my windup stance and have been trying to fix that, as he said and I believe that I am delivering closed because of it and it’s keeping my hips from being involved even more. Regarding the right hip towards the plate, should I open it and pivot the back foot after my lead foot lands? Is that what you mean by “longer”? Wait longer to open up? Also, do you think explosive exercises such as squat jumps, med ball exercises, and sprints would get me to move fast toward the plate with the right hip?
My back foot should face first base and then pivot, driving the lower half at the same time that my hips open right (shortly after landing)? I’ve found a few slow motion videos, but it’s tough pin-pointing when certain mechanical actions take place when MLB pitchers move so quickly. I’ve also been told to not collapse the back leg.
Thanks for your detailed reply, I appreciate it. The people on this site know what they’re talking about.

I agree with DM and your coach.

Lefty, tell your instructor you’ve heard about the Hershiser drill and ask whether he thinks that would be a good drill for you. That will let you focus on getting the hip moving both sooner and faster.

Also, I’d recommend trying to eliminate the posture shift as you lift your stride knee. Right now you lean back (towards 3B) as you lift your knee and that can lead to inconsistent stride direction and control.

Your hips will probably start to open as necessary to open up the front leg/foot into foot plant (unless you’re flexible enough to open the front leg/foot without any hip rotation). Hip rotation will finish right after foot plant and after the front leg firms up and braces.

I’ve been trying to get rid of that rocking back towards third for a while, but I’ll keep working on it. It’s never looked or felt right to me. He showed me the Hershiser drill a couple weeks ago and I’ve been doing that along with what he calls the fence drill almost every day. In the beginning it was pointed out and I was able to feel that my back leg would pivot and I would land without really opening up my hips (probably partly because I would land closed with my landing leg pointed towards the stands on the 1b side), so I’m guessing I may be one of those few who is flexible enough…I do stretch every day, we’ve been trying to correct it. These are things I’ve been doing my entire life so it’s taking a bit longer to fix, but if I keep at it something has to give.

Your hips will probably start to open as necessary to open up the front leg/foot into foot plant (unless you’re flexible enough to open the front leg/foot without any hip rotation). Hip rotation will finish right after foot plant and after the front leg firms up and braces.[/quote]
I’m not disagreeing with you, but I would appreciate some clarification. If being flexible allowed you to open up your front leg into foot plant without hip rotation, then why would you want this? Hip-torso separation (big factor in velocity) is generated by your hips being open and your shoulders being closed, so does the maximum separation happen before you land or after (which would not be minimized by good flexibility)???
I appreciate the help!!

The “Hershiser” drill is one of the best there is, because it aims at getting the hips fully involved. The hips are the connector between the lower and upper halves of the body, and when that connection is fully established—well, that’s the real key to a pitcher’s power. It’s an integral part of what I’ve been referring to as “The Secret”—something I learned about a long time ago.
I used to go to the games at the original Yankee Stadium every chance I got, and I would watch the pitchers. I noticed that the Big Three—Vic Raschi, Allie Reynolds and Ed Lopat—were all doing the same thing: they were driving off the lower half of the body, using the legs, the hips and the torso in one continuous (and, it seemed to me, seamless) motion, and that was how they were getting the power behind their pitches, even Lopat who was not a fireballer by any stretch of the imagination. I realized that this was the key, and I made a note of it and started working on it on my own. As I practiced this maneuver I found that I was doing the same thing they were, and because I was a natural sidearmer I picked up on it pretty quickly. Maybe I wasn’t fast, but I could throw hard, and i got more snap and sizzle into my delivery—I could throw harder with less effort, as they were doing.
Then, at age sixteen, because of my curiosity about the slider, I met Ed Lopat, and when I said to him that I just wanted to ask him about that pitch his response was to draw me aside and show me how to throw a good one. That led to his becoming my pitching coach for almost four years, and let me tell you, he was one of the finest pitching coaches one could ever hope to work with. What I learned from him was priceless. I wish he were still with us; I know of a couple of major league pitchers who could use his expertise.
And he helped me refine the crossfire which I had picked up on my own. Because I was interested, really wanted to know and was willing to work at it, he had no reservations about teaching me some very advanced stuff he felt I needed to know! In short, he helped me become a better pitcher than I had been before, and for this I will always remember him. I wish there were more like him. 8) :baseballpitcher:

[quote=“BenFA”]
I’m not disagreeing with you, but I would appreciate some clarification. If being flexible allowed you to open up your front leg into foot plant without hip rotation, then why would you want this? Hip-torso separation (big factor in velocity) is generated by your hips being open and your shoulders being closed, so does the maximum separation happen before you land or after (which would not be minimized by good flexibility)???
I appreciate the help!![/quote]
Delayed hip rotation is likely more explosive hip rotation. It happens later but faster which maximizes the stretch-shortening cycle in the core to maximize shoulder rotation velocity. There’s still time to delay shoulder rotation long enough to achieve max separation.