Drive leg action through hip rotation


#1

In a few recent posts people have been instructing to not “pull” the back knee through and try to rotate it on it’s own axis. While I think this leads to a good trunk position at release and is an overall good trait I see many pitchers who are very successful do just the opposite. See videos below. All these players exhibit extremely elite velocity yet have very upright release and the back knee firing through. What are your thoughts on this mechanical trait?


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#2

[quote]In a few recent posts people have been instructing to not “pull” the back knee through and try to rotate it on it’s own axis. While I think this leads to a good trunk position at release and is an overall good trait I see many pitchers who are very successful do just the opposite. See videos below. All these players exhibit extremely elite velocity yet have very upright release and the back knee firing through. What are your thoughts on this mechanical trait?
[/quote]

EXCELLENT observation. Anyone who says triple extension of the rear leg is required to throw elite velocities should really watch more of Matt Harvey, who is awful at said concept.


#3

kyleb,

I agree with your post on harvey, even though he doesnt really triple extend and that is obviously a loaded phrase in order for brent pourciau to help sell his product, harvey and all of the hard throwers have a common denominator: their hip to shoulder separation.

however, I think that a guy like harvey can get away with not fully extending because he is such a physical specimen at 6’4 220lbs. If you look at a guy like Bryan Villareal on the tigers, he most certainly has to use his lower half to full capacity.

If you look at the pitchers posted, they are all huge. PRice is 6’6, verlander 6’5, and Ryan 6’4. Koufax was only 6’1 and as you can see at 42 seconds, he is fully extended.

so overall I have to disagree with the original poster for the most part.


#4

Harvey was also throwing like mid-70’s his junior year of HS until he started taking lifting and throwing seriously. So I wouldn’t call him a genetic freak.


#5

If you want an example of a small guy who does it see Yordano Ventura. He has one of the biggest fastballs in the minors and started the futures game for the world team last year. He is listed at 5’11" 180 and looks to be smaller. Also see the two Bobs that go by Gibson and Feller. Also Nolan Ryan is listed at 6’2" by many sources.


#6

Kyleb,

I agree 100% with your statements on Harvey.

irunSTL,

As far as Yordano Ventura is concerned, he clearly extends his back leg at 29 seconds in your clip. Just because he is extending does not mean he needs to have a 6 foot stride. You are looking at the ends, not the means. I have posted below a picture of Yordani.

concerning Feller: Look at 24 seconds in the video. Feller clearly isnt throwing hard as that looks like 80 mph. It is obvious that mechanics change when people do not throw with intent.

Concerning Gibson: here is a mechanical analysis on GIbby. he gets exceptional separation and even though he doesn’t fully extend, he still extends his hip and ankle, though not his knee.

http://www.chrisoleary.com/projects/PitchingMechanics101/Essays/PitcherInjuryAnalysisProject/PhotographicAnalyses/PitcherAnalysis_BobGibson.pdf

What I am saying is that the biggest proponent of velo is hip to shoulder separation, and using drive leg extension is one of the best ways to enhance it.

rob


#7

Robertvilla,
I was referring to the back leg action, specifically the knee firing through resulting in a more upright release point and less forward trunk flexion. If you look at Chapman at 10 sec you see he keeps the back leg almost straight and has a very forward release. The Ventura photo below show how the knee is firing through with an upright release point, but manages to produce insanely high velo. Here he is listed at 140 lbs.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1460190-ranking-the-top-10-prospects-in-the-kansas-city-royals-farm-system/page/9


#8

We should be aware of the difference between actively pulling the back knee forward and having it simply come forward as a result of all of the other things happening. It does appear that Harvey is pulling it but I don’t see that in the others.

There will always be examples of certain mechanical items but that doesn’t mean we should recommend them. Extraordinary athletes can often make up for what might be less than optimal mechanics. Is Harvey compensating by putting more stress on his arm? Who knows?

Kyle
I’m with you that triple extension isn’t an absolute requirement for velo. Nothing is, really. However, if a pitcher doesn’t use all of the “tools in the toolbox”, is he raising the risk of over-stressing somewhere else because of the need to make up for it?


#9

Glad someone has gotten some use out the videos I put together of Feller and Ryan! :smiley:

Interesting discussion. I’m going to look more into this more and give my thoughts later.


#10

Dm,
I would agree that Price, Ryan and Koufax have alot less “leg pull” than the others and I agree with your point. The rest do seem to fire it through. Another underlying thought was the back leg action affecting forward trunk flexion and a late launch. All of these guys have a somewhat upright release, but all show elite velo from big guys all the way down to tiny. IMO it’s from rotation, but the late launch is probably more sound from a health standpoint. However this is far from the only factor that may attribute to injury.


#11

[quote=“dm59”]Kyle
I’m with you that triple extension isn’t an absolute requirement for velo. Nothing is, really. However, if a pitcher doesn’t use all of the “tools in the toolbox”, is he raising the risk of over-stressing somewhere else because of the need to make up for it?[/quote]

It’s not a bad thing to teach, necessarily. Here are some of the better mechanics on display in our facility, IMO:

And he gets awesome “triple extension” of the rear leg.

In general I just don’t like the movement to “simplify” pitching mechanics. All we need is pronation, all we need is triple extension, all we need is separation… blah blah.

If pitching mechanics were so simple, we’d all be throwing 95! :slight_smile:


#12

[quote=“kyleb”]In general I just don’t like the movement to “simplify” pitching mechanics. All we need is pronation, all we need is triple extension, all we need is separation… blah blah.[/quote]Completely, completely agree!

[quote=“kyleb”]If pitching mechanics were so simple, we’d all be throwing 95! :)[/quote]Agree again.


#13

kyleb,

hit the nail on the head. people think there is one quick fix.


#14

http://www.perfectgame.org/players/playerprofile.aspx?ID=21890
this page says he hit 96 in 2006 (the summer after his junior year). so i think you could say that he is genetically gifted to some extent


#15

Id like to read more about Harvey throwing mid 70s his jr year? Where is an article to read about his development?