Bottom of Back foot pressure when driving down mound (Video's Added)


#1

Upon knee lift and hip drive down the mound my 14u RHP seems to get rotational when he pushes away from the rubber when all the push off pressure was concentrated on ball of foot. He has always pitched this way. Also, sometimes his front foot plant is several inches to the right of center line.

Someone watching him throw mentioned trying this…

When he conscientiously applied rubber push off pressure across the whole foot bottom (ball of foot, but moreso the heel) (the cue was to feel like his heel was nailed to the ground) he feels like he is be able to “sit” longer into the hip drive and is less rotational and more linear towards the plate…and his front foot plant was much closer to center…

Does anyone have any insight/thoughts on this?


#2

All pitchers “get rotational” at a certain point in their delivery so I’m guessing you mean he’s rotating early. Early rotation is a problem but, actually, it is a symptom of some other problem occurring earlier in the delivery. You mentioned that he plants to the right of the center line (which is ambiguous without further clarification) so I will say that stride direction coupled with set-up position can create postural issues that lead to early rotation. But this is all speculation without seeing him pitch. Got video?


#3

Thanks for taking a look Roger. These are the after videos.

See anything we should pay attention?

Bio:
Turned 14 in March
Going into High School in Fall
6’
135lbs
He loves to Pitch:)
His immediate goal is to make HS JV team next year.

Here are some looks from Sunday.

Appreciate any tips/insight/help.


#4

First - to qualify myself. I am not a mechanic’s coach. However, I have worked with reviewing rehab pitchers and listening to enough people who are professionals in the fields of medical and physical specifics, to pass on these comments.

I’m going to address your remarks and question relative to the pivot foot and its position during a pitcher’s choreography only.

  • Stability on the pitcher’s mound, regardless of his/her beginning posture - windup or set, is critical to everything that follows. Hence, where and how a pitcher stands is the foundation to address first. If a pitcher is standing in a hole, and the majority of pitchers performing before him/her, are right handed pitchers, and they dig a hole deliberately and/or push off with the ball of the pivot foot, then the hole will be angled on an incline, slanting toward third base. Hence, when a pitcher drives forward to deliver, most, if not all, of his/her body’s weight will be shifted off center - thus planting the stride foot to the pitcher’s right side, thus forcing the pitcher to throw across himself/herself.
    -Some pitchers get into a habit of changing their initial pivot foot position, just prior to the leg lift, by sliding the pivot foot along the rubber, then lifting the stride leg. For most pitchers who are not fully matured in their muscular development, this shifting presents some problems. First- it requires the balancing system of the body to “re-think” a starting point - balance wise, and second - it changes the pitcher’s expectations of where the body is going to land while going down the mound. These alterations can be ever so slight, but, not slight enough to avoid real control issues 60 ft. away. I’ve seen some pitchers that have no real issues with this conduct of the pivot foot, while others have remarkable improvements when they don’t move their pivot foot prior to the leg lift.

Ok, now to address your question more directly. When your walking, your normal gait, is to lead with the heel of one foot, and the back foot normally balances and puts energy to that gait with the ball of that foot. So, your upright position is mobile and balanced. In all honestly, there’s not much to think about here. To take this one step further, take a look at a sprinter. These people can really move, and while doing so, they’re always in a forward upright position.

Pitchers on the other hand, move forward -BUT, they have to go with the upper body’s movement, all the while turning (rotating) and managing both legs in a way that allows the upper body (shoulders & arms) to complete a pitch. So, the back leg and foot have to be accustomed to allowing a lot of flexibility for a lot of fluidity in the rest of the body, going down a incline at the same time.

So try this - on a flat surface, play a simple game of catch by stretching out your stride leg, and then use a walking posture with your back leg by standing on the ball of your back foot. Then, increase the stride of your front leg, slowly, a bit at a time, until you’ve reached the best distance that you can. NOTICE any stiffness in your upper body, any strain on the lower back - lumbar, and any stiffness in the base of your neck. Also take note of any restriction in your throwing posture. By that I mean can you follow through without fighting the restrictions of “going with the throws”.
Now do the same game of catch, but this time, place the instep of your back foot, facing the player that catching with you. Keep that foot position while gong through your entire throwing routine - but as you throw, collapse on the instep of the back foot, DON’T turn and push off with the ball of the foot.
Take notice at how relaxed your back leg is and how it doesn’t restrict/pull on the rest of the body to keep it upright. Also, your ability to rotate easier and quicker, increase in your stride, and your overall ability to control who your throwing at and where.

Why is the above possible? Well, when the leg muscles of your back leg are turn laterally, instead of directly in line with a walking posture, those leg muscles are more relaxed and relieve other muscles to move more freely.

I hope I’ve given you some reasons for understanding how and why the body is constructed and functions in he way that it does, sometimes. Also, the more you understand how and why he human body is designed to function and how not, the better you’ll be at improving your quality of life and your game.


#5

Thanks Coach for the detailed explanation. It makes a lot of sense. The more my son and I tweak with the weight distribution on his push off foot (with the force being applied across foot bottom evenly) the more he feels like he is able (to activate his glute) when he stays back while sitting in his hip drive and get more linear towards home plate upon hip/shoulder separation (and it also seems like front plant foot is closer to center line as well) vs pushing off the ball of his foot (and he feels like his quad is being used more) thus getting more rotational which is the way he was use to pitching.

In essence, the more he does it, the better he feels when he consciously pushes off (ground force) the entire foot during load and drive.

Hope you understand what I am trying to say…


#6

Your approach sounds correct. Most big league pitchers keep their drive heel on the ground as long as possible, rotating into ankle extension just before front foot strike. As you note, this allows you to use your strongest leg muscles to drive powerfully toward the plate. Keeping the heel attached longer also helps prevent early internal rotation of the back knee and hip. This allows you to rotate your hips later and more explosively into foot plant. So keep working on that.

The videos show your son leaning forward rather dramatically as he begins his motion. That makes it harder for a young kid to get good linear drive going. Aroldis Chapman can do it, but not too many 14 year olds (or other big leaguers for that matter). It tends to get you on the ball of your foot early and into your quads, instead of your glutes. The easy fix is to keep the chin over the belt. The more upright position will help his velocity by facilitating a more powerful leg drive. It should also help his command because he will be moving more directly toward his target. Good luck.


#7

BostonErik,
Your son is going through a growing spurt and his ability to command a lot of strength at his core will come about as he gets older. The trick here, is not to rush his wants - emulating the professional.

Tall and sender pitchers in the early stages of their career, then to over do it. Thus, this sometimes lanky choreography with pitching, can be a conflict between size, motor skills, and the body’s adjustment of dealing with growth and stability.

Your son, in my opinion, has a few more years to … sort of … fill out and stabilize. Give it time to let things go there course. He’ll do just fine.

By the way, I would suggest slowing him down just a bit and having more fun with his ability now. He has nothing to prove, no one to impress, and everything to gain. Relax and go with the flow for now. Next season, you’ll see a noticeable improvement in his athletic ability and his demeanor.

Could you keep track of his game experiences and post some short videos. I personally would like to see his progress, as I’m sure others would also. In addition, Roger is someone who has a wealth of experience and information on mechanics and related matters. I would suggest to PM him from, time to time, and get his input - it’s that good.

Best wishes with his baseball experience.


#8

Ernie: Thanks and great observation on his leaning. I agree with you and we will focus on this (chin above belt). He’s a work in progress and we’re having a great time together with it:)

Coach: Yes, periodically I will add videos over time. TY