If you buy the general conclusion that came out of House’s research a few years ago, i.e., that 80% of velocity arises from hip-shoulder separation and delayed shoulder rotation, then only about 20% of a pitcher’s velocity arises from his stride. And, if the stride forward is primarily driven by the gravitational force once the pitcher has shifted his weight and lifted his stride leg, then it is somewhat pointless to teach “push off the rubber”. Proper sequencing to get the correct timing of weight shift, yes, but “push off the rubber”? That is vague, at best, and a classic misdirection at worst.
This post by Laflippin deserves more attention that casual reading. A lot more.
I’m going to qualify my next remarks to the mature payer, say eighteen and above. A player that has the skills and concentration to deliberately focus on proper sequencing of body motion and the platforms, sequentially and deliberatly builds the body’s progression. And by platforms, I’m referring to feet platforms that support and build for the legs, the legs that support and build for the pelvis/hips, and so on.
A pitcher’s load and release of any pitch – any pitch, starts and finishes with a energy level that actual builds and releases said energy from the pitcher’s body TO the ball. And since the pitcher, unlike a fielder, has a very limited space to work with- area wise, the pitcher has to use all the body’s efficiency that will promote all the forward momentum that he/she can, leaving none of that energy behind.
Now the human body has unique senses to do this, and some athletes are more pronounced in this area of coordination and momentum then others. This is especially true for the playing segment eighteen years of age and older. Weight – height – tolerance – perception sensitivity, coupled with other factors like maturity, natural endowments and one’s attention span all play a key role in this managing coordination of forward momentum to release the body’s energy.
Now consider this – the concentration necessary to focus on doing everything necessary to accomplish all the proper body movements, and in the proper sequence(s) mind you, are a lot to ask of any human being – amateur and pro alike. Hence, the pitcher’s attention span can have a conflicting imprint overshadowing good sequential form and postures, as brute force(s) tries to dominate the emotional and physical delivery of the pitcher. In short, when a pitcher delegates his pivot leg and foot to do nothing more or less than provide a stable platform for the rest of the body’s progression, and allow that body’s progression to simply pull the pivot foot off the surface its standing on – a lot more energy can be focused on the pitch (per say) then would be otherwise.
The bottom line here is that pitchers PITCH off their front leg – not their back leg. There’s no sharing of the pitch with feet and legs. The Transfer of energy is smooth and complete once the pitcher has planted that front foot (stride) and his/her natural body signature takes over.
Pushing off with the back leg will hold back a pitcher’s senses of transferring momentum by stretching out the release phase of his/her delivery. If you happen to waatch two players in the act of releasing the baseball – a pitcher Vs a fielder… say a short stop, you’ll see what I mean.
The pitchers PITCH is off the front leg, the short stop has more a level, stable, both feet in balance type of THROW. The short stop is using his back leg/foot for stability and push, thus this throw draws accuracy and some velocity from it. But notice, the short stop is not on a mound or anything close to it - also, the short top doesn’t have any space restrictions to his fielding the ball, setting himself up to throw the ball, and then releasing it.
Nice post Laflippin.