College Sophomore: Bracing Front Leg

I am working on my lower body mechanics. My big issue is that I don’t brace enough on my front leg. My pitching coach identified this problem for me because I didn’t really notice it, but I can’t work with him due to conference rules until Feb. 15th.

Below is a video of a 50% effort bullpen that shows what I am talking about:

And another video from last summer at a different angle:

Hopefully the video works. Please ignore my awful leg drive in the first video, which has since been corrected although I have no video to prove it. What I am concerned about is that after my stride foot lands my body continues to come forward, and I think this is due in large part to my back leg. My back knee comes forward and sometimes in front of my hips, and as a result my entire body comes forward and decelerates my arm.

Has anyone seen/had this problem before? Am I striding too laterally as opposed to downhill? What can i do to fix it? I sit at 82-84 but I feel like this flaw is costing me major velocity.

looked at videos. i guess im not sure what u are asking? u think ur not getting out on the drive leg? Curious if you have control issues? seems to me you might want to bend your knees a little more befor you start ur motion. curios to see what others think.

What do you see that would infer control issues and why bend your knees more before starting? Just curious.

I don’t see much intent to get it going. Very passive.

I think what your coach is getting at is that your left leg stays bent after foot plant. If you look at Verlander’s fron leg in the article below, you will see that he straightens his fron leg after foot plant. By doing this, he changes the center of rotation from his hip joint to the center of his pelvis and by doing so, increases the velocity of his hip rotation.

This article by Brent Poreau talks about it. I don’t always agree with Brent but on this I think he is right.

http://www.■■■■■■■■■■■.net/3x-2x-factor-pitching-velocity/#more-4609

At least when it comes to what high-level pitchers do.

It implies that you need to purposely stiffen your front leg. What is mistaken for bracing up is the effect of properly rotating in the foot plant.

Bracing up occurs because of the scissoring action of the pelvic area. Many years ago I coined a term for this call pelvic loading and pelvic unloading. Brent Strom, minor league pitching coordinator of the Cardinals did a presentation at the ABCA on pelvic loading and unloading several years ago.

What happens is as you rotate into foot plant the natural action of trying to complete the rotation will straighten the front leg. What helps create this pulling action is what I have termed the “step over” and move. The step over move is named to create a picture of stepping over an object into foot plant. The stepping over move predisposes the pelvic area to a proper unloading/rotation into foot plant.

One of the better examples of this action can be seen in this clip of Trevor Bauer.

Hope this helps.

What do you see that would infer control issues and why bend your knees more before starting? Just curious.

I don’t see much intent to get it going. Very passive.[/quote]

I agree with your last point. Im seriously asking if there are control issues because to me it looks like his eyes are lowering and that is why i said try bending knees. but its hard to tell in the video. I may be way off lol

I totally love his first warmup throw, just a bit of intimidation there? DOn’t know? Looks cool.

Thanks guys, some good insight that has helped me figure some things out. From the side angle in the first video it looks like I’m landing on my toe most of the time…could this be something to fix to help keep my weight back?

Funny you should mention that. My son’s pitching coach has been trying to get him to land on his toe rather than his heel. I couldn’t figure out why. This weekend I was at a baseball clinic in which Rob Walton (head coach at ORU and pitching coach for Team USA) was talking about mechanics. He had several examples of pitchers landing on their heel. This causes the shoulders to get ahead of the hips and causes a loss of velocity. He recommends landing on the toes or flat footed.

Funny you should mention that. My son’s pitching coach has been trying to get him to land on his toe rather than his heel. I couldn’t figure out why. This weekend I was at a baseball clinic in which Rob Walton (head coach at ORU and pitching coach for Team USA) was talking about mechanics. He had several examples of pitchers landing on their heel. This causes the shoulders to get ahead of the hips and causes a loss of velocity. He recommends landing on the toes or flat footed.[/quote]

Many MLB pitchers land on the heel and still get good separation. I’m not saying it’s harder or easier if you land on your toe or flat footed, but it’s definitely not impossible.

Personally, I’ve tried to “keep my weight back” and it has done absolutely nothing for my velocity. I believe you actually need an aggressive weight transfer onto your front leg which will make your front leg brace up after landing. A lot of times by trying to stay back, people don’t use their lower body enough and thus, their front leg doesn’t brace up.
I believe the biggest thing is shifting your weight forward aggressively while keeping your shoulders from rotating. For me, this really clicked after doing some Wolforth stuff at my college. I lengthened my arm action which allotted enough time for my aggressive (and later) weight transfer. Also, I captured that feeling easier because I already had a a good feel for scap loading from multiple drills.
Ultimately, you will need a little bit of trial and error until you find something that works for you. Hope this helps.

After viewing your mechanics video (although you said you’ve fixed your lax leg drive) it looks like you don’t drive with your front leg at all. It’s great for velocity if you use your back leg and hips to gain more momentum, but it doesn’t matter unless your front leg uses that momentum to drive forward into landing (which causes your front leg to brace).
This is something I have had trouble with in the past, but recently I have fixed it and I gained about 6-8 mph.

On Friday I will have two 13 year old pitchers posted. Both will have side shots from the fall and I am updating video on Thursday. In the fall video you can see that there weight doesn’t transfer until after release. In my most updated video the weight on both pitchers is coming forward BEFORE release and after. Your weight is not transferring until after. You are leaving 8-10 MPH behind.

BenFA- It looks to me like verlander gets little to no separation

Yeah, in the clip it really does look like Verlander doesn’t get great separation. However, don’t let that fact take away from my point. Look at Lincecum and many other high velocity pitchers and you can find many pitchers who land leading with their heel. I don’t believe it makes any difference. I believe the reason this is believed to be a big factor in velocity is because you can land easily with your heel without your weight shifted forward. Landing leading with your toe without your weight shifted forward is much harder. Thus, people make the assumption that landing on your heel causes a lack of weight transfer before landing and thus, lack of separation or velocity or whatever.
Also, I agree with the point made by the titans. We are both stressing the same point.

How do you walk?

toe to heal or heal to toe ,it will not add 10 MPH to your delivery. This young man could add 10MPH if he shifts his weight properly.

Everyone is different. I can’t think of many that are able to transfer energy when landing toe first.

Baseballthinktank, do you have them videos you said you would send me?

[quote]I believe the biggest thing is shifting your weight forward aggressively while keeping your shoulders from rotating. For me, this really clicked after doing some Wolforth stuff at my college. I lengthened my arm action which allotted enough time for my aggressive (and later) weight transfer. Also, I captured that feeling easier because I already had a a good feel for scap loading from multiple drills.
Ultimately, you will need a little bit of trial and error until you find something that works for you. [/quote]

Ben,

Mind sharing those Wolforth drills you did? I have The Combat Pitcher…

Trying to determine how much my son is getting from his hips/legs.

Velocity up one week, down the next… Playing Rec basketball can’t be good for your fastball.

Thanks,

Ed

[quote=“oldman”]
Ben,

Mind sharing those Wolforth drills you did? I have The Combat Pitcher…

Trying to determine how much my son is getting from his hips/legs.

Velocity up one week, down the next… Playing Rec basketball can’t be good for your fastball.

Thanks,

Ed[/quote]

Gladly, although some of the drills require some special equipment and setup. I will share some drills that can be done with more common equipment. However, without any video of your son pitching, I can’t be sure what the problem is with his lower or upper body.
All of the following drills are done with a medicine ball (not sure on your son’s age, but my college uses 6-8 lb medicine balls) and a wall that you can throw the medicine ball against. These drills help with getting a feel for using your lower body to drive towards the plate.
1st drill: Start in the position right after your front foot lands. Your son should have a long stride with his weight on his front leg and his front shin behind his front foot. His torso should be behind his front leg (stacked vertically). Take the medicine ball in both hands over the head. Stretch backwards with your upper torso while keeping your weight on your front foot (this is important!). When he feels a stretch, snap your torso forward and throw the ball against the wall. His front leg should remain stable throughout the throw because his weight is on his front foot.
2nd drill: Start in the same position as drill 1. Take the medicine ball in both hands and reach the ball towards the ground to his pitching arm side. Take a large circle with the medicine ball simulating his arm action when hes throwing. At the end of his arm action, the medicine ball should be over his head. At this exact moment, your son should shift his weight to his front foot (make sure his torso is stacked still and his front shin is behind his front foot) and throw the medicine ball in the same fashion as the 1st drill. His front leg should remain stable throughout the throw because his weight is on his front foot.
3rd drill: This drill is the hardest to perform and it may take awhile to get a hang of it. Start 30ish feet from the wall. Get a running start towards the wall with the medicine ball in both of your hands in front of you. When you are about 15 feet away from the wall, jump up with your drive leg (not the front leg) and take a long stride towards the wall (like you are crow-hopping from the outfield. Your son should shift his weight onto his front foot BEFORE landing with his front leg while remaining upright with his torso. The medicine ball should be held above his head when he begins his crow-hop, and when his front leg lands, he should throw the ball at the wall just like Drills 1 and 2. His front leg should remain stable throughout the drill because his weight is on his front foot.

  These drills are just a portion of the drills Wolforth teaches.  We use these in junction with many others to improve our mechanics.  If you want a more comprehensive look, upload a video of your son's mechanics would be helpful.  There are many people on this site would could give you some suggestions for improvement.