# Forward motion

At what point should the pitcher begin his forward movement toward home plate? I was told that the pitcher does not begin gliding toward home until his lift leg has come down and is nearly touching the ground. If this is correct then what purpose does a leg kick serve?

If the pivot foot is parallel with the rubber. the instep side on the dirt and the little toe side against the rubber, generally, the forward action starts by gravity. The rest of the movement is added by glove, leg. drive off rubber etc.

Interesting, so pitcher should use gravity as primary source? Sometimes my front leg swing makes my stride faster, is that bad?

I hope you understand my english

Sounds to me like you’ve got it figured out. If a pitcher doesn’t start forward until the lift leg has come down, then he’s wasted the loading and the energy built up by the lift.

Many “old school” coaches teach pitchers to “stay back” but that wastes energy (or it prevents the building up of energy in the first place). I prefer my pitchers to start their hips moving toward home plate before their knee reaches the peak of the lift. I was re-certified through Tom House and the NPA last November and they are now having pitchers start their hips forward before the lift foot actually lifts off the ground. That might be a bit extreme but it is doable with the proper strength and flexibility.

I think gravity is only a small part of it. The back leg normally bends a bit and there is a small sideways push against the rubber to initiate forward motion. Without the front leg swing, you won’t be able to build up as much momentum into foot plant. It is the leg swing that takes advantage of the loading and, therefore, the potential energy built up by the knee lift.

I think gravity is only a small part of it. The back leg normally bends a bit and there is a small sideways push against the rubber to initiate forward motion. Without the front leg swing, you won’t be able to build up as much momentum into foot plant. It is the leg swing that takes advantage of the loading and, therefore, the potential energy built up by the knee lift.[/quote]

Ooo. Looks like I missed something. So, after I lift my leg, my hips start going forward, then I need to swing my leg forward into the foot plant? My leg motion towards the plate was mostly slow.

I’m an old school coach with new school thoughts. For example we learned in Kineseology about Conscious Proprioception which relates to Feel and was always part of my instruction. Gravity is a feel in this case and occurs generally when one is off balance. The old schoolers had balance drills which prevented forward motion. There will be great responses coming on this subject. Tom House and Mike Marshall know all about the above mentioned CP.

I’ll be the first to tell you that getting the hips started as the knee comes to it’s apex or slightly before will result in another 3-5 mph. I’ve seen it with my kid in just the last few months.

It makes sense from an engineering physics standpoint, as you are building more momentum up which when you plant the foot is translated into rotational energy and a whip like affect on the arm.

What do you guys mean by getting the hips moving? as in begin gliding to the plate right before the apex of the leg lift…or opening up of the hips?

Gliding - not opening.

I went through the pitching coach certification clinic with Tom House and the NPA in 2005 and 2006. In 2005, House had pitchers starting forward motion before the knee reached the apex of the knee lift. In 2006, he had pitchers starting the hips forward before the front foot even lifted off the ground. That may sound bit extreme but it’s definitely doable as evidenced by the pitchers I saw doing it.

I agree.

You can also think of this as drifting or swaying forward toward the catcher just slightly as the knee lifts and peaks.

As an aside, I think this is the only time that a pitcher actually pushes off of the rubber.

Anyone have a video that shows what you are talking about? Sorry, I’m the visual type and can’t quite figure out how this works.

Check out this clip of Mariano Rivera…

Notice how his body starts moving sideways toward the catcher as he nears the top of his leg lift.

We tried to get my son’s hips moving as he started his knee lift (even before in some cases), but that caused control problems - especially missing high. We’ve now gone to moving forward just prior to the apex of his knee lift (even then it is rather subtle). As the knee starts to come down his move to the plate becomes much more aggressive. This has helped.

On the flip side, I watched Michael Main (high school prospect) throw this weekend 95 mph on the stalker consistently. He used the “stay back” method.

Thanks Chris, that helps me understand. I’ll take a look tonight to see what my son does. Not sure I will change anything because he has had much better control the last two games.