Dick Mills momentum pitching/ Pump and Drive


Momentum Pitching With “Pump and Drive” Described permalink

Myself and my coauthor Dr. Brent Rushall made a discovery recently on how to improve pitching velocity by increasing forward momentum. This technique I now refer to as Momentum Pitching.

When done correctly it will increase a pitcher’s stride length to a minimum of 100% of his height instead of 90% minimum which was previously recommended . I have had success getting pitchers to stride over a foot beyond the height of their body. This added stride length is an indication of their momentum and speed of movement…the two most important elements for improving velocity.

This technique allows the build up of more kinetic energy (movement energy) that converts to more elastic energy upon landing. This stretching out of the pitcher’s body like a huge rubber band produces elastic energy and is how the body “sling shots” the arm into ball release at very fast speeds.

You can now accurately say that velocity is produced before the pitching arm even moves because this energy is stored once the pitcher lands. After landing it is released.

Besides more velocity production, control can also be improved because pitchers will be landing on a flexed leg and will be closer to the plate.

It will also reduce the risk of arm injuries because the pitcher’s body will be doing much more of the work in producing energy. Currently too many pitchers are trying to gain velocity with their arms when the role of the arm is for control only.

If a pitcher currently has good mechanics and has good posture and balance there is no reason not to have him use this technique…whether the season is in full swing or not. Do not wait for the season to be over. When done properly and smoothly this should easily add a minimum of 5 mph to a pitcher’s fastball. Some may go above 10 mph.

Remember what kills pitching velocity today is hesitation. Much of this is the result of emphasizing a “balance point” and doing all sorts of foolish drills. There is no such point to get to in the delivery. A pitcher is either balanced or he is not.

The point to get to is landing as fast as possible and in a good mechanically sound position. This is why you must use a camcorder for “every” lesson with your son. I video tape every lesson with every pitcher including professional pitchers so I know whether we are making progress or not. If you are trying to guess you will lose.

Also the first thing I do at every lesson is draw the mid-line from the ball of the pitcher’s foot to the plate. I want the pitcher to land on the line or to the open side of the line but not ever across the line. We want to make sure there is room to fully rotate the hips and trunk.

I also draw a line where the pitcher lands and then a line at 100% stride length. That 100% stride length is the minimum goal but I usually want much more depending on the level of the pitcher. I continue to check the pitcher’s stride length throughout each lesson as well as his landing position and his posture. There should be no leaning to one side or the other. That is not acceptable and reduces velocity and control.

Explosive Pitching is still a sound method of pitching. I believe Momentum Pitching simply adds a turbo-charge effect and is more advanced for producing velocity. If you don’t want to change what you are doing then that is your personal choice. But this is “the” only way to improve velocity. I know of no other way.

I will soon be providing a DVD on this new method and hope to have it ready by mid April.

Here is a description of Momentum Pitching with “pump and drive”:

The key to increasing velocity is maximizing forward momentum using a new "step back"technique where the pitcher steps straight back as far as he can while staying under control. Most pitchers today use a small start step back or many more take a small step to the side.

I call this “step back” technique “pump and drive” where the pitcher starts in a slightly bent over position with his foot on the back side of the rubber. He then takes a big step back while at the same time lifting his hands up to a comfortable height.

I refer to this new style of pitching as Momentum Pitching. This is a natural style that was used by many pitchers decades ago such as Nolan Ryan, Sandy Koufax and Bob Gibson…all Hall of Fame and high velocity pitchers. They all did this naturally because they felt it allowed their bodies to build momentum going toward the plate.

Taking a short step to the side or back does not help the pitcher gain forward momentum which is the most important element for improving pitching velocity. You can see on the video How To Analyze Any Pitcher’s Mechanics that Matt Kinney would easily add another 5 mph to his velocity.

Most pitchers today are trying to gain velocity much too late in the delivery and thereby end up using their arm too much.

This new Momentum Pitching using the “pump and drive” technique forces the pitcher to develop momentum as early as possible with the added benefit of starting his body further away from the plate which also improves force production. The further away you can start the mass of an object while producing adequate movement speed the more force that is produced.

The result of this, when done correctly, is that the pitcher will end up with a very long stride, normally much more than 100% of this height…not 90% or less as has been previously recommended.

The faster a pitcher moves into landing and the longer the stride the more kinetic energy gets converted to elastic energy which is the over-riding factor in producing arm speed. This is what whips the arm through at high speed.

From the step back point, where the pitcher drives off the lead foot into the pivot and then the positioning the body sideways to drive away from the rubber is an important transition. This transition must be made smoothly and without hesitation.

In order to accomplish this we recommend that the pitcher not lift his leg higher than waist height. Lifting higher slows forward momentum. Another positioning factor is to have the lead knee when lifted to waist height point half way between home and third (RH pitcher) instead of having the knee pointed at third base. This allows the pitcher to gain more speed of movement into landing as long as he is still leading with his front hip.
This will not cause him to open up too early as most would probably believe as long as the lift leg foot stay positioned under the knee.

The hands can go over the head, up on top of the head or up to the face, chin or chest height. That is a personal thing…whichever is most comfortable. For younger pitchers I would recommend that less is better and more simple.

The key is the timing of this transition so that the hands are coming down to break at the bellybutton as the lift leg is ready to move down from waist height. You don’t want the hands and the lift leg to meet because this will slow things down.

When the lead leg is lifted up make sure the foot remains positioned “under” the lift knee. Then just continue driving sideways to landing. Do not swing the leg out and around.

Upon landing you still want the pitcher with his head between his two feet and you want his back foot to stay on the ground all the way until ball release. Drag the foot.

The head and chest must be in line with or out over the lead knee at ball releases when viewed from the side angle. If it is not this just means the pitcher is moving too slowly. In other words you must get the trunk to rotate up and over the lead leg.

This is what the mechaincs are sopose to look like this kid is a begginer.


I’m going to say wow thats crazy and will not work. Also that is in my oppion going to make you less explosive and I feel that normal pitching ways are better then that as long as you move the momentum and rotate fast

Dick Mills posted this

The main idea being to develop more forward momentum by increasing speed of movement (overall tempo) and driving away from the rubber (yes pushing) thereby increasing stride length to 100% of body height instead of the recommended 90%.

Now for those who have been involved in these Momentum Pitching discussions since the very beginning, and knowing what you know by reading these posts, if someone did not want to make a complete change to Momentum Pitching from Explosive Pitching (the DVD’s) , which many may not want to do right now, then what would you advise them to do so they could enhance their velocity and control using Explosive Pitching?

You might want to look at Nolan Ryan as an example of a pitcher using both Explosive and Momentum Pitching at the same time.

except Nolan didn’t stride an absurdly long length…
Dick Mills is full of it imo

First of all, that kid would be all over the place because he never has control over his body, hes just whiping his body around and trying to go as fast as possible to home. I don’t see how much energy can be built using that(of couse, he was a like 9 year old kid, I don’t expect much)

Second of all, his stride was nowhere near 100%, more like 60% if that.(Again, little kid, but still)

The idea of using a faster tempo to build momentum and energy to transfer up the body and out the arm to the ball is a good idea. House also pushes this idea. But, in my opinion, Mills is simply taking the idea to an extreme.

Regarding the kid in the video, I have two comments.

First, I believe the rules state that the pitcher is allowed one step backward and one step forward in delivering the ball. The stride is the step forward. (I’m guessing the placement of the pivot foot against the front of the rubber does not count as a step or it is ignored because it the pitcher doesn’t gain ground toward home plate when doing it.) The kid in the video is inconsistent in his footwork but sometimes the placement of his pivot foot against is more than just a pivoting of the foot. Instead, it is actually a step forward in addition to a pivot. So, in effect, the kid is taking 3 steps - 1 back and 2 forward. I could see an umpire calling that an illegal delivery.

Second, the kid in the video can’t get his hips closed off or, more importantly, loaded up to create hip and shoulder separation. So, instead of using momentum to create more energy to add to the mix, there really is instead a trade-off - more momentum but less separation.

Of course, the kid in the video is just that - a kid. He may not have the functional strength and flexibility to perform the Mills mechanics well.

in my opinion dick mills is chocked full of bowel movements

During the mid fifties there was a Schick razor blade commercial with the expression “push-pull, click-click.etc” In the winter of 57-58 I taught a motion to a great sr. pitcher who finished his career with the NYY. What Mills has given a new name we called pull-push, click-click. It started with the usual windup, a step back, a pull sensation with the lead foot using the front set of spikes. The rear foot continued to a long stride aided by the strong push forward from the rubber. Of course the pivot , closed position etc. was eliminated. It obviously did everything that Mills now suggests as new. The pither increased his speed considerably with no side effect. We agreed this would not be used in a game and would cause us both to be crackpots if exposed. It was fun, productive and experimental…The pitchers picture is in the main corridor of Clarke H.S East Meadow, N.Y. where he is in the school HOF. I visited the school in May after re-locating in 1965. What a great coaching memory…Good luck Dick Mills you are living in changing times.

The video you posted is not even close to what Mills is preaching. Any conclusions drawn from this video would be erroneous. This kid has all sorts of issues. I’ve seen better examples, such as a board member here, DotheBartman16.

Nolan Ryan had a stride length of 100% or more, supposedly.

Yes Nolan had a stride around 6 feet, but to aim for much more than 100% of ones height is just ridiculous because as Roger pointed out, it inhibits the natural hip rotation as one delivers the ball. I’ve only ever seen one guy with a stride >100% who had exceptional hip/shoulder seperation, and he is the much debated Tim Lincecum. Mills in my oppinion is trying to squeeze more out of the human body than can be taken. You can’t expect guys who already throw with good mechanics to expect a 5mph leap in velocity just be speeding up their mechanics.

Mills is full of it. All these pitching coaches are just trying to create a new way to deliver the ball, when the most effective way is the one that has been used for the past 100+ years. A rocker step, a leg raise, and then a sideways stride. People vary these steps slightly, and thats how mechanics become unique. But to try and chuck them out the window and create a completely new way? Thats just ridiculous. Mills, House, and Marshall are all full of it.

[quote=“FSTBLLTHRWER”]Mills, House, and Marshall are all full of it.[/quote]How do you really know that? There’s not one person on this board who can say that. Each one of them is having their own successes with what they’re teaching or they would stop.

Nolan Ryan had a stride longer than his height. So did Tom House. No doubt there are others.

While I do think it’s a bit silly to strive for an arbitrary stride length, I do agree with the idea of increasing tempo to build momentum. A longer stride is often a byproduct of this. But, ultimately, everything has to remain within the tolerances that can be supported by the pitcher’s functional strength and flexibility. That’s why striving for an arbitrary stride length doesn’t make sense, IMHO.

Wouldn’t stride length be more dependent on the length of your legs, not your height? What if you have short legs, and long torso, or vice versa?

Here is Nolan Ryan’s stride length, found it in the SetPRO forums.

Leg length would figure into it. But so does tempo and momentum. And flexibility. And front leg strength (to put the brakes on). And core strength to maintain posture and balance. Etc., etc., etc.

All more reasons why I don’t think it makes sense to strive for an arbitrary stride length.

dm59, I just think these guys are flipflopping their oppinions on certain things every other year, and hoping that one day they are going to hit jackpot with an idea.

Actually, I think a longer stride enables the pitcher to release the ball closer to the plate which any pitching coach worth a grain of salt will tell you is a really good thing. This adds velocity without actually adding velocity - it cuts down on reaction time. Further, it stands to reason that a person could practice a long stride enough to become really good at staying closed the whole way until just before foot plant: this momentum would tend to create a bigger whip like effect on the delivery.

[quote=“FSTBLLTHRWER”]dm59, I just think these guys are flipflopping their oppinions on certain things every other year, and hoping that one day they are going to hit jackpot with an idea.[/quote]I haven’t seen him “flip flop”. Yes, he’s changed his tune a couple of times, in quite a big and embarrassing way for him lately (remember “push - no push”?) but he hasn’t gone back to those older things. Now, say what you will about someone who changes his story. It’s very in vogue to blast Mills for that and also House. What I see is progression. Whether it’s a productive progression is up for discussion but it’s been a progression for both of them.

Are you stating that they should never change? Now that would be questionable.

NO I just feel that their oppinions on pitching keep changing every year or two, and I think that is really conterproductive. Especially now, when they are preaching things that really no major leagures do(I’m sorry, no MLB pitcher rushes their delivery that much)

You’re right in saying that no major leaguer does what Mills is recommending but I question your definition of “rush”. Just because you move quickly doesn’t necessarily mean you are “rushing”. That term would imply that something is hampered by the rushing of something else. For example, leading with the upper body before the front foot has planted and the shoulders have begun to rotate would be a negative due to “rushing”.

What, in his recommended approach, is rushed to the point of negatively impacting mechanics and timing? I have my own concern on this but I’ll let you give me your thoughts on it first.

No, I don’t mean that he wants pitchers to rush in a negative way, I just think his whole idea of going as fast as possible while maintaining solid control of ones body is a stupid idea, because A- It’s something I think few if any will be able to do to his level, and B- I don’t think that it will make the kind of impact hes saying it will. I mean 5mph immidietly? Thats ridiculous.
But hey, you know what, it he is in the end right then I know what mechanical change is going to vastly improve my pitching game lol

American Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition - Cite This Source

In physics, the property or tendency of a moving object to continue moving. For an object moving in a line, the momentum is the mass of the object multiplied by its velocity (linear momentum); thus, a slowly moving, very massive body and a rapidly moving, light body can have the same momentum. (See Newton’s laws of motion.)

So if you increase the velocity then you can throw harder. It’s basic physics dick mils is right but I don’t know if i would use thoughs mechaincs. But if you do increase the velocity of the body when throwing then you will be able to pick up MPH and maybe 5MPH is possible.