Board Drill

My son has a tendency to “fly open” or “spin out”. He also lands with landing foot slightly open instead of pointed straight ahead or slightly closed. I have seen a drill striding out on a board suggested here and elsewhere. My question is if you are trying to stride on a straight line path to home, should it be a straight line from the heel of the pivot foot or middle or where?

stand sideways like your set to throw a pitch. aim your front shoulder at glove and theres your line. heal or toe of push foot really doesnt matter because the line would only be an inch off.

Board drill is a good drill - but we went to a parking lot and used the white lines to work on striding towards the target. I didn’t worry so much about stepping off the board.

Flying open can be caused by a number of things. For example, an unstable glove can cause the front shoulder to open up as can poor timing and postural issues. Which of these problems are addressed by the board drill? :?:

how old is your son?
what grade is he in?
what type of physique or build would you say your son is… tall/thin, stocky/compact, etc.
how long has your son been playing, and how long pitching?
has your son coached himself, had formal/private coaching, league coaching, etc.
who told you your son has the problem that he has?
what is the condition of the playing/pitching surface that he performs on?

Coach B.

He’s 13, 8th grade. He’s average height and muscular build. Pitching since first year of kid-pitch. He’s had formal private coaching for a few years…but one lesson with a coach who I think is a better much better at recognizing mechanical faults (he will continue with this coach). Both coaches however have identified this as a problem. There is sometimes some arm pain associated with his “flying open” and his arm lagging behind. As I said also, his landing foot is open rather than pointed toward his target or slightly closed.

Thanks to everyone for your answers. Any other advice of other drills he could do to correct this would be greatly appreciated.

Many times, what is perceived as a problem at one point in the delivery is really a symptom of a problem occurring earlier in the delivery. Based on what you’ve described, I would look at posture, glove arm action, and tempo/momentum (or lack thereof). Any chance you can post video of your son pitching?

As to your original question, the line is usually drawn from the center of the back foot, I believe. But take that as nothing more than a guideline. It’s not an absolute. Many pitchers even at the pro levels stride offline - usually to the throwing arm side of the line. This isn’t much of a problem if other things are all in order.

[quote=“EdmondDad”]He’s 13, 8th grade. He’s average height and muscular build. Pitching since first year of kid-pitch. He’s had formal private coaching for a few years…but one lesson with a coach who I think is a better much better at recognizing mechanical faults (he will continue with this coach). Both coaches however have identified this as a problem. There is sometimes some arm pain associated with his “flying open” and his arm lagging behind. As I said also, his landing foot is open rather than pointed toward his target or slightly closed.

Thanks to everyone for your answers. Any other advice of other drills he could do to correct this would be greatly appreciated.[/quote]

The arm pain associated is not surprising. A study in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine found “For every centimeter the stride foot lands toward the ‘open’ side, an extra 3.0N of maximum shoulder anterior force was found during the arm cocking phase. Further, if the stride leg was placed at an open foot angle, this too increased the maximum shoulder anterior force during the cocking phase at a rate of 2.1N per degree of open foot placement.”

An open stride is very common for youth pitchers who have a tendency to use their front side to pull the back side through. The problem is once it is a habit its not an easy fix. If he’s 13 and been pitching for 4 years, its a habit at this point. Its not going to feel natural or comfortable for him to correct this. He (and you) need to understand the repitition it will take to correct this and have the patience to see it through. It may take months before he can do it correctly without thinking about it. Essentially re-learning how to pitch.

A broader topic, but these are the types of things are wrong with pitching too early. Bad habits developed at a very young age to compensate for lack of functional strength. Not an indictment by any means, just saying.