For the House disciples a question

Ok, this has been explained before I think to me but obvoiusly I still don’t understand it.

MY kid went to a showcase where there was a House advocate regarding the importance of having a striaight drag line.

I guess I still don’t get how having a straight drag line is important with respect to increasing velocity as was told to my kid. My son thus started to drag his back foot like the instructor said and I can tell you he didn’t look near as fluid as before and his velocity died. I think my son took the instruction to mean he had to drag his back toes at release but he was putting too much weight on the PAS toe during release of the ball.

I’ve always been told that dragging your back foot is a method that pitchers can use to slow down the changeup. I can see this because by dragging the back foot it literally slows my delivery down when I try it myself.

I think the matter of dragging the back foot and having a straight line can if not careful reduce the rotational energy that you can get by not worrying about this. At least that’s what I see with my son.

Sometimes and it’s not consistent his back toe comes off the ground a tad bit before release of the ball. I guess I just don’t see the big problem with this and can’t see how dragging the back foot can increase velocity.

I’ve seen many pictures of pitchers on this site in the vid’s who have their back foot up and/or tap the toe down quickly prior to release (Pedro Martinez) which suggests there is no weight on that back foot, so I really don’t see the importance of having the toes down on release of the ball. My sons control is very good even when he has his back foot off the ground.

Any help in explaining this again would be appreciated. Schilling, Pedro Martinez and many others that I"ve seen do not have their back toes dragging like this instructor emphasized and if anything I think it can hinder rotation…ala Nyman’s focus

I emphasize tempo and momentum (House keys) with my kid but I do not emphasize the importance of always having the back toe provide a foot or so of a straight drag line. In fact I’ve noticed many drag lines are 45 degrees to the right, like Mariono Riveras and I believe its a function of how open or closed your front foot touches down from a straight line from your PAS foot. If you stride open you can achieve a straight line…if you stride closed there is no way you cannot have a 45 degree drag line …at least that’s what it seems to me

[quote=“joearnz”]Ok, this has been explained before I think to me but obvoiusly I still don’t understand it.

MY kid went to a showcase where there was a House advocate regarding the importance of having a striaight drag line.[/quote]
House’s book, The Art and Science of Pitching, says the following:

[i]Measuring the progression of the posting foot in both distance and direction will tell you how sound a pitcher’s mechanics are. Short or crooked draglines may indicate unstable posture, inappropriate strength recruitment, and/or premature rotation. … Also, the closer the dragline finishes to the imaginary center line between the rubber and home plate, the better the efficiency and effectiveness of the delivery at release point.

The correlation between distance/direction of the back foot dragline from the rubber and the distance/direction of the release point in front of the “glass wall” is quite strong.[/i] (The glass wall is the vertical alignment of front foot, knee and chin in a properly executed delivery. So releasing in front of the glass wall simply means releasing in front of the front foot.)

So, based on this, it would seem you do want a straight drag line. However, having gone through the NPA certification 3 times, I can honestly say that it wasn’t until the 3rd time that they actually talked about doing anything to try to manipulate the drag line. That thing was to get the drag line to finish 2 shoe lengths in front of the rubber. Note, however, that the tactic for doing this is to focus on increasing momentum - not to focus on dragging the back foot. To the best of my knowledge, the NPA has never recommended doing anything to change the shape or direction of the dragline.

The importance was explained above. But consciously trying to drag the back foot will kill momentum and reduce velocity. If that is what’s happening, focus has been misplaced.

Conventional wisdom. Really, look at most MLB pitchers and you’ll see they drag their back foot even when throwing their fastballs at 90+ mph. I don’t think dragging the back foot really took much off Nolan Ryan’s fastball. :wink: In your case, if you consciously try to drag the back foot, it will mess up your mechanics/timing and that will slow down your change-up. But that’s not a good way to be throwing a change-up because it will very possibly be detectable by opposing batters.

Agreed. Focus on good balance and posture, getting into equal and opposite at foot plant to buy the timing to stay closed, generate good momentum, etc. All of these things will probably result in the back foot dragging on its own without thinking about it.

If the back foot comes off the ground before ball release, he could be doing something wrong (e.g. poor posture or balance, early rotation, etc.) and that could increase wear and tear or rob velocity. But it’s not an absolute.

It’s not about putting weight on the back foot. It’s about maintaining good posture and balance, staying closed, etc. The last thing that happens before the arm goes forward is the trunk flexes forward. Right before trunk flexion, the head and shoulders are stacked upright and there is an arch in the low back. This posture usually forces the back foot down much like a see-saw.

I think the instructor is a bit off in placing focus on dragging the back foot. The focus should be on doing the other things correctly and letting the dragline happen. BTW, Schilling is a well-known example of a pitcher who lifts the back foot before ball release. No doubt there are others. But I think you will find they are the minority.

Emphasizing tempo and momentum is good. As I stated above, the NPA now recommends getting your dragline to finish 2 of your shoe lengths in front of the rubber. If you’re able to do that, then you are generating good momentum. And you will also probably straighten out your dragline.

However, you are mistaken on the direction of drag lines. Stride direction and dragline direction are not always the same. I actually had a pitcher that strides closed yet has a dragline that goes straight forward or a bit to the open side.

So, it sounds like the instructor is placing too much focus on the drag line. As a coach, I’ve taught my pitchers to select a position on the rubber that gets their dragline to finish on the centerline of the rubber. The dragline can change from one outing to the next so they need to take ownership of this. I’ve also taught them to generate enough momentum to get the dragline to finish 2 shoe lengths in front of the rubber. But I’ve taught them to do this by getting the hips going sooner/faster - not by actively trying to drag the back foot farther. I do use the back foot as an indicator to identify other problems. But, when I find problems, the fix is always something else - it’s never the dragline itself. The dragline is just a measuring stick.

[quote=“Roger”]I think the instructor is a bit off in placing focus on dragging the back foot. The focus should be on doing the other things correctly and letting the dragline happen.[/quote]Amen, brother!!

[quote=“Roger”]… when I find problems, the fix is always something else - it’s never the dragline itself. The dragline is just a measuring stick.[/quote] :applause:

Thanks Roger and DM

I was hoping you guys would chime in. It was obvous to me that the drag line is a very good indicator of other things going on, and the key to me is staying closed and not flying open prematurely. I was just a little miffed that my kid takes this advice right before throwing. He’s a good kid and the problem is if a coach tells him something he may try it without truly understanding it. Thankfully, the guys on this board and many others have made me smart enough to know when something isn’t right. In this case if he went forward with the advice he’d be throwing about 5 mph slower.

It’s intersting though, I just watched a Georgia Florida game where the relief pitcher was throwing 95-96 and his back foot was off the ground at release. Obviously a Nyman disciple because it was all rotation. It’s interesting how different many pitchers can be and still have success. Apparently this kid from Georgia has just figured it out lately because last year he struggled they said with his control. That possibly could be explained by how he flies his head and everything to the side with a rotation that is fierce.