Back Foot Drag Line

Tom House talks briefly about this in his 2nd edition, but doesn’t go into much detail about ‘correction’.
My son’s (12 years old) drag line is angled toward third base a bit, maybe 30 degrees from straight to the plate. My interpretation is that he’s not getting the most out of his hip rotation, perhaps because of a short stride. His stride is straight towards home plate, but a little short IMHO.



I’m assuming your son is a righty…

The drag line heading off to the 3B side is an indicator that some energy is being directed at other than home plate. The cause could be the stride is in that direction as well. In that case, he could be limiting his hip rotation. Since you say his stride is torward home plate, then my guess is that he is spinning out to early. That could be caused by a stride that is too short, a posture or balance issue, a glove arm issue, or anything that messes up his timing and keeps him from staying online with the target.

As far as the correction is concerned, if he has one or more of the above problems, then they need to be corrected. Otherwise, try moving him to the left side of the rubber so that his drag line ends on the centerline between the rubber and home plate. This is a minor adjustment that can help make sure he is squared up to home plate at release. The last I heard (last November), House was not recommending any other corrections with respect to the drag line. You don’t correct it directly - you correct the mechanics from which the drag line results.

His stride is quite straight, and yes he throws right. I think you’re right about ‘spinning out early’. That’s exactly what I had in mind but used the wrong words. Probably a short stride. In so doing he loses some momentum from the hip rotation and subsequent shoulder rotation is slower/weaker. Do you see what I mean?
I realize the drag line is an effect or result of the culmination of all preceeding mechanics, and that’s why I wanted to look at it.
I’ve thought for awhile now that he needs to lengthen his stride. That’s what we’ll try. The rest of the timing, glove arm, and balance, that’s all in pretty good shape for now.
One of these days I’ll upload some video… time ya know…!



Spinning out of his delivery can be caused by posture or balance issues. It can also be caused by dropping the glove which makes the front shoulder want to open up before the back shoulder is ready to do its thing. Basically, anything that steals time from what other parts of the body need to do can cause the spin out. A short stride could be cause or it could be a symptom. Spinning out of the delivery usually shortens the stride.

The trick is to figure out the cause and effect.

Certainly, anything that causes premature rotation can cause spinning out. Opening up early is common in youngsters. I’ve always thought that a way to address that is to lengthen stride and ‘stride sideways’. Too many want to open up and step frontwards toward the plate. Too much arm, loss of velocity and control.
We’ll work on stride length and staying closed.



My son is a LHP that has been trying (again) to get his hips moving to the plate as House suggests. His back toe drags slightly off center toward the third base side. What does this indicate. Also, he stands on the right side of the rubber when looking at it from home plate.

A lefty’s drag line that veers off to the 3B side indicates that he’s exerting force in that direction - probably in response to exerting force in the opposite direction somewhere else in his delivery. (Think physics: for every force there is an equal and opposite force.)

If the drag line is only slightly off-center, then it might not be an issue. Just move him on the rubber so that the drag line ends on the centerline between the rubber and home plate.

Otherwise, I’d look for some other movement he’s making that causes him to push toward 3B with the back leg, analyze it, and make any appropriate corrections. However, if he’s not getting it going and building up a good amount of momentum, you might want to focus on that and see what happens with the drag line. Remember that the drag line is a result - not a cause - so don’t try to change the drag line directly. Instead, change the rest of the mechanics and, hopefully, the drag line will take care of itself.