After my lift leg, I load in to my back leg, but when I load, it feels as though I’m taking a big dip and makes my pitching motion feel choopy instead of fluid. What can I do to load properly without feeling so mechanical?
Pitchers do a lot more dipping on the post leg than in years past. Most of this, I believe, is due to the change of direction of the free foot step. Pitchers used to step back then come forward–aiding in momentum. Now pitchers barely step at all except to shift weight to their free foot just enough to pivot on the rubber. Some even tap, tap, tap, during that pivot like they have serious OCD.
Without the back to front momentum of the step back and step forward, pitchers dip on their posting leg to initiate movement toward home.
If you want to smooth out that dip, stop stepping to the side and step slightly back with your free foot and allow that free foot to create momentum.
Biggest thing is you want to move forward and down at same rate rather then just dropping straight down.
Dipping is simply your body adjusting into a more athletic position - one in which it has the strength to do what you’re asking it to do. If it wants to get into that position then why not start in that position and eliminate all of that movement during your delivery? Start with your knees bent.
I see this all the time with the way pitching is taught, everything coming to the balance point, stopping and starting momentum all over again. The pitching motion needs to be one fluid motion, not chopped into “steps”.
That’s only done for teaching, but too many can’t put the motion fully back together without unconsciously thinking Step 1, STep 2… etc.
Whether you take a small step to the side or small step back at a 45 degree, don’t stop at the top of your motion to balance and then “dip”, break towards home with your front hip and “dip” SLIGHTLY with you back leg all while moving down the hill. figuring out the timing will put it all together.
Ps. 100% agree with Coach Paul, I hate the no windup step to the side or worse, step forward, I hate when short cut solutions are made to solve for a problem, that could easily be taught correctly. Wasted motion, ha, there is no wasted motion in a pitching windup, it has a purpose, momentum and deception. Batting averages are through the roof today because pitchers make it easy for hitters to pick up the ball. You will constantly hear when a hitter is asked why he hits a certain pitcher so well, “I just see the ball off him well”
Think about your hips falling down and out at the same rate. The “out” should help you feel more natural in your delivery.
Best of Luck
OK, a lot of good responses about mechanics. I agree fluidity is really important. Might try knees bent at beginning and flowing through balance point for a while.
Another solution might just be relaxing and listening to some fluid music on headphones. Pitching is a lot like dancing, playing an instrument, or martial arts. Every movement has to find it’s rhythm.