Driving your body VS Tall and fall

I really want to distinguish whether classic driving body or NPA’s tall and fall is the most efficient way to move the body to throw the baseball. I’d love to hear words from guys like Roger and laflipping from House’s view and others who advocate push and driving the body

There are certain pitchers who move their bodies real fast, I doubt Tim Lincecum or Goose Gossage have accomplished it with tall and fall, but again, there are some tall and fallers who are really smooth… I’m guessing Randy Johnson is one since he refined his mechanics under Tom House

What do you guys think?

i’ll take the tilt and push side. my examples are sandy koufax, bob feller and nolan ryan. they all get the hips in front of the shoulders, stride as far as possible and throw the (^%%$%# out of the baseball.

who are some tall and fall examples (i think the npa has revised away from tall and fall) for those who advocate it.

If pitching could be summed up in 3 words (tall and fall, drop and drive, drive and drop) we probably wouldn’t have this discussion forum.

It’s a little more complicated than that and summing it up in a few words is useless. Plus the idea of tall and fall is so misunderstood it’s even more useless.

No arguments with palo’s comments.

I’d say that the NPA’s current teachings are NOT “tall and fall”. They’re probably closer to Dusty’s “tilt and push”.

There is no “drive” or “push”. The resistance you feel in the back leg is used to rotate that leg in addition to maintaining balance. If you are pushing, you are using linear mechanics. Linear mechanics would be what Mike Marshall teaches.

Drop and drive is a misnomer. I see it more as “ride the back leg swing/sweep the front leg”. Focusing on “driving” puts focus on the back leg. The front leg is an often neglected part of explosive lower body mechanics.

Pitching can be summed up in two words: rotational or linear. Just like hitting.

When I talk about a “push”, I’m talking about an internal push to get the hips out in front of the rest of the body to create an imbalance that aids gravity. In this context, the focus is on the hips - not the back leg or front leg.

As for being rotational or linear, that’s too “black or white” for me. I think all pitchers have elements of both but with difference amounts of each. It’s shades of grey to me.

What xv84 said…

Also, thanks for clarifying what you mean by “push”, Roger. Almost everyone else who talks about “push” means “pushing off the rubber” as if the post leg is used in some kind of mysterious pushing event that does not involve the post leg straightening. Your comments seem to fit in reasonably with DM59’s ideas–there’s no question that House and the NPA advocate a powerful forward weight-shift at the hips–it’s the “thrust” part of “lift and thrust”. Some of us (me included) have tried to talk Tom into changing that to “thrust and lift” because of the importance of weight-shifting toward the plate early. But regardless of semantics, powerful acceleration forward is a result of the gravitational force against an eccentrically loaded lever (that is, a pitcher on one leg with his weight shifted forward to the “tipping point”–that point where he can no longer stop his forward progress with his stride foot off the ground). Even so, that gravity-caused acceleration is not the biggest contributor to the pitcher’s acceleration of the ball. The biggest contributor to your pitch velocity arises from potential energy being stored in the separation of hips and shoulders in the stride, followed by explosive conversion of that potential energy into kinetic energy as your shoulders square up. This is the “twisting/releasing of a rubber band” analogy that you may have heard about…you can show this by throwing a fastball from your knees. Most everyone can throw a FB at about 80% of their maximum velocity from their knees–with no contribution at all from the gravity-caused acceleration into stride. Shocking perhaps, but it’s an experimentally demonstrated fact that folks can prove for themselves.

I discussed this issue of what the post leg does at length with House last December at USC because it is so widely misunderstood–he said it clearly and concisely, just like xv84 did: There is no “push”. If there were any significant accelerating force generated by the post leg, the angle of bend at the post leg knee would have to increase (as the post leg straightened…). That doesn’t happen–instead, lots of pitchers’ post legs actually bend down a little more as they go into their stride–the exact opposite of a “push” off the rubber. The best pitchers maintain the same angle in their post leg as they go from lift into stride.

There are some flawed pitchers who may start too low and “pop up” during their stride. Anyone who does that is certainly “pushing off the rubber” but you just don’t see it happen among good pitchers.

“Pitching can be summed up in two words: rotational or linear. Just like hitting.”

I agree with Roger. That this is way too black and white. No one is totally linear and no one is totally rotational. There are different degrees of each. Verlander is very linear yet it is the rotation of his hips that creates his hip shoulder separation that delivers his lightning quick arm. K-rod on the other hand is very rotational but he still is building a ton of momentum in the direction of home plate with his agressive leg swing. Thus I would say that pitching, just as is hitting, is a linear-rotation combining both components. When one successfully coordinates the linear and rotational coordinates the result is an efficient, explosive movement that will maximize one’s potential.

Based on what I know about Dusty, this is what I interpretted him to mean with his “tilt and push”. Tilt the pelvis and push the hips forward. Is that a correct interpretation, Dusty?

I understand what you’re saying Roger, but I just don’t like the word push. It implies pushing into the ground. And that implies extending the knee and ankle. The most efficient throwers “find” a comfortable knee bend and “ride” it into footplant. The goal should be to “maintain” the angle in the knee into footplant.

Brandon Morrow is one example I have seen who you can more obviously see demonstrating this. I paused the clips at two points, (1) peak knee bend, (2) and front foot plant.

Another thing I notice about Morrow is that he also maintains the same bend in his glove side knee from when the knee goes from pointed at 3B until footplant.

I agree the word “push” has a bad connotation. Maybe that’s why the NPA calls this push a “thrust”. I was just using the word “push” because that’s what Dusty had used in his “tilt and push”. I’d still like to hear from Dusty if I interpretted him correctly.

EDIT: Now that I think about it, I know Dusty favors leading with the hip. But I believe he also favors having the pivot foot straddle the front edge of the rubber to push against it. So now I’m not sure whether I interpretted him correctly or not. Dusty?

i think you should check out the quicktime of roy oswalt on the pitching clips. hold mouse over progress bar and watch him just fall to the plate in super slow motion. then watch the gif of his regular motion…i use to think he was mainly just driving the whole way by how it looks full speed. check it out

when you get to the top of your knee lift, your weight with then come down. when the weight comes down, you must be in a position to catch all that force in the ball of the back (or post) leg foot. when this happens the knee is typically bend in an athletic position. the back foot must be absolutely stable and in a position to catch and manage this weight shift into the ball of the back foot. i think sandy koufax is right and positioning the ball of the back foot just in front of the front edge of the rubber is extremely stable and lines up the bones of the ankle and shin so you do not lose force in the bones of the ankle attempting to manage this weight shift while the back foot is flat in front of the rubber (especially if the mound is made of sand or loose dirt or has a massive hole in front of it). it is much better to pitch from the front edge of a stable rubber lining up the bones of the ankle than trying to stablize the back foot flat in front of the rubber using the side of your foot on loose dirt. koufax asks if you were moving a 100 lb rock with your foot, you would push with the ball of your foot at an angle, not the side of your foot pushing in a straight horizontal plane.

when the weight shifts to the ball of the back foot, the hips are moved as far forward toward the plate as possible. this is leading with the hips and creates a < in the back side of your body. this is an extremely powerful position if you are strong through the core of your body (shoulders, trunk, and hips). it is not uncommon for hard throwers to also counter-rotate at this time, and tilt the front shoulder up much higher than the rear (throwing) shoulder. i encourage this position especially in young pitchers (the koufax clip shows this as well as it can be done).

after the bracing against the rubber with the ball of the foot, getting the hips out and tilting/counter-rotating as far as possible while maintaining balance, you begin to move toward the plate. as you move toward the plate, i think there is an additional push, shove. brace - (whatever is politically correct) by extending the ankle as you move down the mound. i think it is the only way a pitcher can stride farther than his height. this is the equivalent of pushing a moving merry-go-round while standing beside it to make it go faster. if you time the push correctly, you can get the merry-go-round spinning very fast through a series of small pushes. if you time the contractions of your body correctly, you can do the same thing to throw a baseball.

the back knee does not extend, but i see the ankle extend as pitchers move toward the plate. i do not see a passive fall toward the plate. i see placing torque on the core through counter-rotation, tilt and releasing this torque and force in a progression from the ball of the back foot, to the front foot, then through the body and into the throwing arm/hand and ball.

when the front foot hits the ground, you move the shoulders in front of the hips, and rotate as late as possible to maximize momentum and/or force into the throwing arm and hand. the front leg firms up and can extend to a locked position just after release to maximize the force coming from the ground through the front foot as it braces up.

i think this is how you throw using momentum, leverage, and force generated through movement and coordination of the big muscles of the body.

many will disagree with this, but i go by what i see, and has worked for me teaching pitchers for over 10 years now, and intensive study of video of pitchers who threw hard for a long time.

may be wrong but it’s what i use. you’re welcome to it.

ima have to highly disagree, i dont think your back foot does that much work. watch some videos, the back foot turns over do to the hips turning. the momentum starts after you start to bring leg down from apex. when you bring it down you have to direct the fall to home plate. the front foot catches your fall as it will have already started to open up right before impact. your shoulder moves throw the opening you create with hips and the momentum on the downfall carries through that point. to push would create a loss of fluidity and throw certain areas of body off…all the back foot does is balance until the fall starts…check out the oswalt video in super slow mo on quicktime. plain as day

o and the back leg does stabilize the fall to the plate. it helps control it, but doesnt push the body forward the momentum carries it forward. before anyone says something about me saying the back foot does nothing.

does oswalt stride farther than his height?
answer is yes.

how can you stride farther than your height without creating some type of force against the ground or rubber. the push happens before the stride leg foot is 1/2 way down the mound. then it turns over as you rotate. at least that’s what i see. i’ll watch oswalt. you watch the koufax clip and tell me what you see. in his book he specifically addresses that he pushes. even if he doesn’t, in his mind he was pushing. many big time pitchers and players explain what they do as a push. you can call dibble and kennedy on the show. i have asked them this question on xm radio and they both say the same thing "yeah, i pushed.

this is a constant argument back and forth and everyone is quite respectful so it’s not a problem. you can do a search for my posts and go through them. i wrote a long response a while back with references and all that good stuff if you’re interested. i’m not going to rewrite it. it was extremely long.

watched the oswalt video. i see him creating some kind of force before his stride foot is about 1/4th of the way down the hill. there is no push after that. it is dangling just like you said to turn over. i think the weight transfer has started to the front foot by that time and he is keeping his upper body behind that wave of energy. could be wrong.

One thing you guys haven’t mentioned yet is the momentum of the stride leg swinging out front. That’s 20% of your body weight right there. To initiate the delivery, you shift your hips forwrd to create an imbalance. Then, when you lift your knee, gravity kicks in but because the back leg remains relatively rigid, you don’t fall straight down. Rather you fall in an arc around he posting foot using the back leg as a “lever” (laflippin’s term). As the stride leg lowers from knee lift it is also swung out front. This momentum takes over for gravity to help carry the pitcher further horizontally.

FWIW, I prefer momentum to start sooner than that - before the knee even reaches the apex.

What force was applied to start opening up the front foot/leg? Was there a rotational force applied by the back foot into the ground/rubber?


I don’t dispute anything you’ve written about what Koufax does. But there is a major difference in what he does with his post leg compared to someone whose foot is parallel to the rubber. At the angle Koufax’s foot is on the rubber, he has to and can push (extend the ankle and knee) off the rubber. His knee doesn’t start facing towards 1B. His post leg is already internally rotated and pointing somewhere between 1B and home, therefore he can’t “push” sideways. He has to push towards home. Also he has to consciously extend his ankle whereas someone like Oswalt simply “rolls over” the ankle. Actually I prefer to just call it “internal rotation” of the post leg. The ankle rolling/turning over is just an effect of the internal rotation of post leg and lack of weight on that leg.