Backfoot lifting on release and other mechanical tweaks

Hey… please excuse the length of this post but I’m very serious about fixing my problems and I’m hoping for serious help. I’m concentrating on two issues at the moment. Scroll to the bottom for cliff notes.

I have known for a long time that what I was doing was wrong with my throwing hand after breaking (you’ll see in a second) was wrong but I’ve finally decided to devote this summer to fixing my mechanics.

Let me explain… For some reason, I’ve always “pushed” the ball directly down behind me. After watching teammates, I noticed that this isn’t the natural throwing motion. I have seen MLB pitchers with similar mechanics but never with the exaggerated “pump” that I have.

Here is a video of me throwing a few weeks ago…

Just notice how my back arm goes straight down. There’s no way I can do this and have my arm in the position to throw the most efficient way possible.

I’ve studied some other pitchers and I now I’m trying to extend my arm towards second. It feels very unnatural to me but I’m getting used to it the more I do it (obviously).

Here are 3 stages of my old mechanics and my “new” mechanics with my arm extending back. You can see the fix in the first frame in particular.



Does this look correct? I can’t tell because it feels so unnatural to me. I know it looks more correct to my eye.

Now, the second thing I want to fix is my back foot coming up at release. You can see that it’s already airborne before the ball is even released. What is causing this and how can I fix it? I haven’t seen anyone else that does this and I only noticed that I did it when I was watching myself in slow motion.

Summary:

  • I used to push the ball directly down after glove break and now I’m trying to break towards second. Is this right?
  • What causes my back foot to come up before release and how can I fix this?

Any input is welcome. Thanks a lot…

I don’t see why it’s a problem if your back leg comes off the ground. It means your hips are rotating more.

I want my leg to come up eventually but I don’t think it should be ~8" off the ground at the moment of release. I think the back foot should drag quite a bit before lifting. I remember reading that Nolan Ryan’s foot drag was 17".

What is wrong with your original arm action? Who’s told you that it’s wrong? Why do you want to change it? I personally like your original arm action. You’re not long in the back, and from what I can see, your arm is definitely quick enough. Also, as you said yourself, many major leaguers do the same thing! So arm action wise, I would suggest to leave it as is.

Your legs are what I’d work on. For one, you’re throwing across your body by, at the least, 6 inches. Notice how, on the rear view, your back foot starts on the far left side of the rubber. When your front foot lands though it lands to the right side of the line on the basketball court. This will cut off the rotation of your hips which is probably one reason why your back foot lifts prematurely. Try, for instructional (bullpen) purposes at the least, starting with your back foot starting on the far right side of the rubber. This will change your perception of where the target is. Subconciously you will probably notice that you are striding straighter (back foot, front foot, and target all in one straight line). Also to get more drag in your back foot, try building more momentum into foot plant by getting your hips/butt moving foward sooner and faster. This will build more kinetic energy towards the target and also lengthen your stride which will help create the back foot drag you’re looking to achieve.

Well, no one really told me it was wrong. However, after throwing, some teammates told me that I was short-arming. I filmed myself and saw how I was dropping straight down and up instead of breaking “down and out”. Technically, I don’t think I’m short-arming but it definitely doesn’t look efficient.

Also, since filming that session I had noticed that I was throwing across my body. I’ve since started digging a straight line from my left foot on the rubber straight down to my plant spot. It helps remind me to land straight and I’ve noticed a better break on my curve and less tightness in my back.

I guess I’ll consider sticking with my original way of throwing since I’ve never experienced any arm problems and I throw noticeably harder that way.

I will continue to work on what you suggested.

Thanks

I don’t see why it really matters if you’re short arming. I have heard, however, people saying that a long arm swing can protect your arm, so I dunno.

Also, I commented in your last thread about how your video was very nice, in terms of the quality, and how you had slow motion and different camera angles. Now, you have the picture divided into four parts and everything… nice. It makes everything way easier to understand.

Thanks…

Luckily I know how to edit video fairly well and have access to software that allows me to do that stuff.

With the bullpen, I just threw 20 pitches from each angle. When I was done I set it up in the next spot. Those are the 3 big angles for analyzing.

dropping your hand straight down creates what some are calling the inverted “W” in your pitching motion.

This in the long run will cause arm problems. Hard to say for sure, but there are major leaguers that pitch this way and they made it to the “show” pitching that way.

Also, if you pursue the revised pitching motion, don’t point the ball toward 2nd base. Point it toward shortstop or thirdbase.

The whole idea behind the new pitching motion, is to get your pitching arm ready to move forward as quickly and efficiently as possible. The inverted “W” causes a drag in the arm. Might not be as evident now as it might be later on.

Best of luck!

as for your back foot.

as long as your back foot lifts “after” or as you’re releasing the ball, it should be ok. The motion of throwing will lift your foot after you release the ball.

If you’re lifting your foot before releasing the ball, then you’re putting too much strain on your arm. you’ll need to work on using your legs and hips more when pitching.

why dont you just take the ball out of the glove with the elbow immediately instead of letting it drop down?

I’ve been experimenting more…

I decided to abandon the arm extension for now. It feels unnatural to me and disrupts my timing. There are too many conflicting point of views on what damages the arm and what doesn’t so I’m just going to go with what feels best.

However, I’m still trying to figure out how to fix my back foot. I started bending my back leg a bit more and while it doesn’t seem to fix my problem, it seems like I have more power behind me.

Here is a new video…

Any input is welcome…

use your hips more to pull your arm thru the throwing zone.

like a rubber band.

as you ‘uncoil’ your hips, your arm will ‘fling’ thru the zone.

looks good…almost there!

hips and legs!!!

goodluck!

your pulling your front side out in your new video… take a look at some pitching images on where you arm should be when your front foot lands and then look at your video and where your arm is at in relation to when your foot lands… Also your landing on your heal which will in turn put pressure onto your hips and slow them down… mechanics look pretty good other than some minor issues… I’ve read through the posts and from what I know the longer arm action will equate into a longer career on the mound because it takes stresses of the four rotator cuff muscles and off of your elbow.

The sooner you back foot is off the ground, the better. If it is on the ground it is slowing you. If it is driving to the plate, nothing is slowing you down. You have more momentum, thus more energy taking the ball to home. Watch Clemens.

your original motion is better than the new one in the first pictures. i really like the latest video. it looks to me like you lengthened your stride in the last video which i see as the biggest problem you had. people who talk about short arming really aren’t sure what they’re talking about. clemens, ryan and maddux are short armers in their definition. look at video clips of these guys.

stick with your latest motion and try to stride at least as far as your height. i think that will solve 90% of pitching problems.

Yes, watch Clemens, his back foot is on the ground at release. You don’t need to work on your back foot, but this is a great indicator of hard late hip rotation. In my experience, pitchers whose foot pops up before release open too early. Keep your hips closed as long as you possibly can, then rotate them more aggressively.

Here is a link to a video futurekazmir made of Lincecum. Check out the slow motion around 0:40

Hard, late hip rotation and that back foot flips over drags off the mound. Pedro Martinez has been known to wear out the shoelaces in his shoes from flipping his back foot over so hard.

About your arm action, just do what feels natural. I like that you tried the other way and felt that it was unnatural. Your command seemed to be good and you definetly were popping the glove. A question however: from the other way (down and out) did your ball flight seem to be better.

Just to clear things up, Clemen’s foot is coming off the ground as he releases. Due to his late hip rotation, (as you suggested RBish11) his toe is rotating up, and his leg then, an instant later drives forward. Watch game footage, not bullpens. The key being his foot is not dragging, he is driving to the plate. His upper body( mainly throwing arm) and lower body are in sync, one is not slowing the other down.

take a look at curt schilling’s back leg lift

Right, I think we are saying the same thing. I’m not suggesting the foot should stay on the ground after release and I’m not suggesting the drag is a conscious teach.

I would say though, a great majority of pitchers (Maddux, Lincecum, Pedro, Matsuzaka to name a few) most definitely have a drag of the back foot.