back toes touching ground on release of ball

Question for you guys.

My guy continues to be inconsistent with keeping his toes on the ground at ball release…ala Curt Schilling like, but not quite as bad.

Can it be that he’s stepping closed a little vs. on a straight line from his post foot (middle of it)

I’m thinking if you step a little open from a straight line to the catcher then it may help

Also his drag line goes to the forward and to the right towards 2 o’clock

again if a pitcher is stepping a tad bit closed I don’t see how his back toe can drag in a straight line from the rubber…wouldn’t it tend to go towards 2’oclock?

I’ve been watching the drag lines lately ofa lot of pitchers and havn’t figured this out yet what causes some to go forward, some to bear off to the right before coming up etc.

Not keeping back toe down
It’s definitely not a strength issue with the kid as he can squat 325 and dead lift 400. (He’s 5 foot 9 and 160 pounds) He has plenty of momentum going to the plate as well and his stride length is 6 of his shoe lengths long…which equates to near 6 foot or about 100% of his height.

[quote=“joearnz”]Question for you guys.

Not keeping back toe down
It’s definitely not a strength issue with the kid as he can squat 325 and dead lift 400. (He’s 5 foot 9 and 160 pounds) He has plenty of momentum going to the plate as well and his stride length is 6 of his shoe lengths long…which equates to near 6 foot or about 100% of his height.[/quote]

toes on the ground should not just occer at release, it should occur when your front foot lands, it is cause by the hip opening it drags the back foot, if this didnt happen your knee would be severely dislocated, but fortunately its only natural that forward momentum plus good hip/shoulder separation causes this to happen…


note how the hips have not opened yet… and so the foot is still pretty much completely on the ground…

then when he opens his hips powerfully while keeping the shoulder back causing the back foot to be “pulled” off the ground, it is a natural movement cause by good mechanics…

here are more examples…

there is no hard trhower that does not do this… at least i havent seen,

try to stay closed as long as possible the opening up rapidly before landing

just keep in mind that the problem isnt the back foot…its the hip opening, the back foot is just an effect of it

i think i may have misunderstood your question… let me know if i am wrong… but if you are saying that his foot is not “on” the ground at release, some pitchers do that do maximize how much their hips rotate… i believe its uncomfortable for me… other people would rather extend their front knee, but some people say it can lead to knee and hip problems, which i doubt but im no pro…

This is not a problem and can even be good because it implies good hip rotation.

Ok well I’m gonna say something about the back foot that may start some disagreement among some or most of you, but it’s what I believe to be true.
The importance of keeping the back foot/toes on the ground at release is that it allows the pitcher to keep a relatively upright posture with his torso. This in turn allows him to stay behind the baseball and get extension out front.
Now I know some of you are cringing at my terminology because you think i’m saying to “stay back” and stay tall when you throw. Not at all.
By staying behind the ball, I mean not allowing the head to get way out front and dragging the arm behind. Many times when a guy’s back foot comes off the ground before or at release his posture gets “forward” too much and doesn’t get great extension. Here are some guys that illustrate staying behind the ball with their back foot on the ground.



throwinched,

You are definitely on the right track. Most elite pitchers have a dragline that is equal in length to about two of their own feet, and the toe usually does not come off the ground until the ball is released.

When the pitcher’s hips, and then shoulders, are violently rotating open the dragging post foot helps to stabilize the pitcher’s momentum toward the plate and, as you alluded, provides some vertical stabilzation as well. The correct physics analogy for the dragging post foot is: The keel of a sailboat. Keels are not absolutely necessary on sail-boats, if you don’t mind capsizing pretty often, but they certainly do stabilize against sudden unwanted momentum changes from side-to-side.

The pictures you showed are exactly on target, in that they represent what >95 % of elite pitchers do. On the other hand, the single picture offered by O’Leary represents what <5% of elite pitchers do. There must be a lesson in there somewhere.

I want draglines to be as long as possible.

I just don’t think it matters if the back toe is on the ground or not.

Stabilization on the front side is much more important than stabilization on the back side.

Also, if you artificially try to keep the foot down for stabilization purposes, you can impede hip rotation.

A better analogy is what a hitter’s back foot does as they swing the bat.

95 percent of great hitters have little to no weight on their back toe (to the point where their back toes are often up in the air) at the point of contact. That means they are demonstrating good hip rotation.

The same principle applies to pitchers.

Just because Marshall agrees with something doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

You’re also DRASTICALLY overstating the percentage.

Curt Schilling for one also has his back foot up in the air at the release point.

Here’s Josh Beckett with his back foot up in the air at the release point.

Here’s Nolan Ryan with little to no weight on his back foot at the release point…

Here’s Kevin Millwood…

Seriously, you ought to research things before you make statements like the one above.

[quote=“Chris O’Leary”][
A better analogy is what a hitter’s back foot does as they swing the bat.

95 percent of great hitters have little to no weight on their back toe (to the point where their back toes are often up in the air) at the point of contact. That means they are demonstrating good hip rotation.

The same principle applies to pitchers.
[/quote]

I’ve always had a problem with comparing pitchers to hitters. The method of weight transfer is very different. For one, the width of the stance that a pitcher throws from is much wider than that of a hitter. Secondly, almost every pitcher throws from some variation of the lunge position, whereas a hitter is much more upright and typically hits against a stiff front leg. Third, a pitchers hips shift foward and rotate whereas a hitter’s hips stay relatively fixed and rotate around a fixed axis. Then just look at the follow through of a pitcher where all his weight ends up over his front foot as opposed to hitters whose weight ends up distributed on both feet.

I’m also not sold on your theory about the hitter’s back foot coming up either. I’ve seen some guys that do, frank thomas being the most notable. Frank Thomas doesn’t seem like a good example though becuase he has mammoth strength.
Here’s a couple of the best hitters in the game with their back feet down at contact.



[/img]

I was just bout to ask that because my back foot drags too when i pitch.

Very good discussion guys and I appreciate Chris showing some other examples of guys who also have that foot up. It’s weird, but sometimes the toe drags at release and sometimes it’s up as he’s rotated hard.

My guy reaction is that I also think most pitchers do have the toe down so there is something to the balance issue. I guess since my kid doesn’t have control issues that’s a good thing.

I just havn’t quite figured out why he gets that back toe off the ground at release yet…from a physics standpoint at least. Like I said, I’d be surprised if it’s a strength issue since he power lifts for football.

Also, since I brought this up, I went back and looked at some slow mo’s of pitchers drag lines. And to my surprise most were not in a straight line towards the plate. Like Rivera’s, his is also towards 2 O’clock…as it’s pulled forward and to the right before releasing up into the air. This is consistent at least with what I’ve seen from my kid…when his toe is dragged forward it’s about towards 2 oclock, and I’m thinking that has something to do with a slight closed front foot at landing.

If you had a slight opening front foot, I think the drag line would be more straight line at the catcher.

The differences are much smaller than you think, especially when you compare good pitchers to good hitters.

[quote=“throwinched”]I’m also not sold on your theory about the hitter’s back foot coming up either. I’ve seen some guys that do, frank thomas being the most notable. Frank Thomas doesn’t seem like a good example though becuase he has mammoth strength.
Here’s a couple of the best hitters in the game with their back feet down at contact.

[/quote]

Manny’s back toe is actually up in the air in this photo.

Here are some other photos of hitters with their back toes up in the air.

ARod…

Pujols…

His back foot is still dragging though. I (I don’t want to speak for laflippin) never said that there is a signifcant amount of weight on the back foot. I would agree that >97% of someone’s weight at release should be on the front leg. The minimal amount of weight that is on the drag foot is what helps provide the vertical stabilization that Ryan is exhibiting in the picture.

A side note is that Chris posted the ryan picture while i was writing my response. I didn’t intentionally use the same pic.

[quote=“Chris O’Leary”]
Manny’s back toe is actually up in the air in this photo.

Here are some other photos of hitters with their back toes up in the air.

ARod…

Pujols…

[/quote]

I personally think Manny’s toe is on the ground. It’s close. As for A-Rod, the first pic you posted he’s fouling the ball off. The second pic, his toe is on the ground. I’ll concede Pujols to you. I think in theory we agree on how to hit though. Squishing the bug is not correct. I think that there must be some semblance of contact between the back foot and the ground. I don’t think the guys like pujols try and hit with their back feet up but rather the force with which they swing pulls it up. I don’t think it would be sound to teach someone to hit with their back foot off the ground. If it happens as a result of good powerful mechanics, so be it.

Also in regards to the Beckett picture earlier, i think his back foot comes up not from his hip rotation, rather as a result of transferring his weight through a very long stride. Also his foot is barely off. Put that in real time and it’s almost undetectable to the naked eye. The picture of Nate Robertson however he hasn’t even released the ball and his back foot is well up. I have much more of an issue with that as opposed to Beckett.

I would generally disagree that allowing the back foot to lift in the air prior to ball release is ok. When looking at still photo’s you have to be very careful. Not maintaining foot contact with the ground can cause a couple of problems, the biggest being early rotation of the rear hip, which in turn can compromise power production. Remember, to maximize your power, rotation must occur over the front leg, not the back. In most cases I have seen, an early foot lift indicates premature rotation.

One last point. It’s ok to look at professional pitchers and compare mechanics but be open to the concept that many of these pitchers do not have great mechanics. It seems counter-intuitive but just because they are pro’s does not mean they have good mechanics.

[quote=“chazman”]I would generally disagree that allowing the back foot to lift in the air prior to ball release is ok. When looking at still photo’s you have to be very careful. Not maintaining foot contact with the ground can cause a couple of problems, the biggest being early rotation of the rear hip, which in turn can compromise power production. Remember, to maximize your power, rotation must occur over the front leg, not the back. In most cases I have seen, an early foot lift indicates premature rotation.

One last point. It’s ok to look at professional pitchers and compare mechanics but be open to the concept that many of these pitchers do not have great mechanics. It seems counter-intuitive but just because they are pro’s does not mean they have good mechanics.[/quote]

sounds like a reasonable thought, but when I go frame by frame of the kid I see him taking the side of the front foot to the plate and pretty late turning over of the front and the post foot (actually the post foot is pulled open just at or slightly after front foot lands…so I don’t see early back hip rotation. However, getting out front too much could be an explanation where pitchers aren’t staying back quite enough. We’ve tweaked this by allowing his shoulders to tilt slightly back, like many MLB pitchers do and Dusty D. recommends. It could just very well be a posture thing…who knows. I just can’t quite figure it out from a physics perspective yet because the timing seems to be there…he’s throwing hard, and accurate

albeit it’s never good enough, as you have to keep trying to improve and make strides…I still wonder if it’s the front foot stepping slightly closed or on the line, vs. a little open (ie from a straight line to the catcher) which seems would be much easier to keep that back foot tapping down.

I am trouble by the fact most MLB players do it …that’s an indication, that it is probably somewhat important from some kind of stabilization effect

I also believe in what Chris O. is saying in that he’s getting very good hip rotation and I don’t want to take that away as well

Just curious. When you are looking frame by frame, and you freeze the frame just at foot plant is his head still centered over his belly button or is it out front a bit, and is his belt buckle (belly button) still parrallel with the target line or has it already began to turn towards home?

It’s hard to say for sure without seeing video of him, but it sounds like he has a good stride and proper momentum. If his back side is beginning to rotate to early you will see this when you freeze the photo at foot plant. If his belt buckle is already turning towards home then he is probably opening just a bit early. If his head is centered and not out front any then it’s probably not much too be concerned with. It sounds like he is a compact and powerful young man so perhaps the momentum he is creating is causing his foot to come up, as long as it is slight he is probably ok.

Do you have any video you can post?

chaz,

good questions

I went back and looked at the frames right at foot plant…his head still appears to be right over the belly button area. HOWEVER, I thought the same thing a few weeks ago and have since had him slightly tilt back the shoulders to keep his top from getting too far out forward. But looking at the pre-tilt video he still seems to have the head over belly button at foot plant but then he goes forward quickly with the top half, prior to release

Also I went and found my shot where I was facing him (catchers view) and he appeared to be closed up top yet at foot plant…i.e parallel yet

so I guess it’s something I’ll keep looking at and see if it leads to any issues…but the control seems good

maybe it’s just a que of let the back foot go and don’t worry about dragging it…I know I always used to be guilty of telling him to drag the back toe on a changeup only…but since I’ve gotten smarter and see that most pitchers drag it on any pitch
:stuck_out_tongue:

By the way, a few of his videos are on sophomore pitcher on this same topic, too bad we all can’t freeze frame by frame with youtube

thanx for the input though

He’s actually not that compact but more sinewy. He’s a football player so his core and legs are extremely strong for his size…he squats 320 and can dead lift near 400. He’s about 5 9 and 160.

[quote=“joearnz”]chaz,

good questions

I went back and looked at the frames right at foot plant…his head still appears to be right over the belly button area. HOWEVER, I thought the same thing a few weeks ago and have since had him slightly tilt back the shoulders to keep his top from getting too far out forward. But looking at the pre-tilt video he still seems to have the head over belly button at foot plant but then he goes forward quickly with the top half, prior to release

Also I went and found my shot where I was facing him (catchers view) and he appeared to be closed up top yet at foot plant…i.e parallel yet

so I guess it’s something I’ll keep looking at and see if it leads to any issues…but the control seems good

maybe it’s just a que of let the back foot go and don’t worry about dragging it…I know I always used to be guilty of telling him to drag the back toe on a changeup only…but since I’ve gotten smarter and see that most pitchers drag it on any pitch
:stuck_out_tongue:

By the way, a few of his videos are on sophomore pitcher on this same topic, too bad we all can’t freeze frame by frame with youtube

thanx for the input though

He’s actually not that compact but more sinewy. He’s a football player so his core and legs are somewhat strong for his size…he squats 320 and can dead lift near 400. He’s about 5 9 and 160.[/quote]