Front Knee Stability

I have a RHP who is struggling with stability on his front knee. At landing and release his front knee is outside his ankle. not only does this hurt his command but it creates a leak that contributes to lower ball velocity.

Anyone have any ideas or corrective protocols that would help fix this that I may not be exploring?

In order to answer that properly, we would have to see what he’s doing leading up to that foot strike. Otherwise, we would just be guessing. He may be prematurely opening his front hip prior to foot strike. He may be swinging his stride leg counter-clockwise rather than striding forward with it. He may not have the strength to firm up on his front leg and it may be collapsing. He could be throwing across his body forcing his front leg out of alignment. His momentum may be taking his upper body to the left of the target line. I can go on and on, but it’s all just stabbing in the dark without seeing it. He can do dynamic balance drills and work on strengthening his lower half. He can work on keeping the outside of his stride leg ankle facing the catcher for as long as possible. He can work on keeping his ankles aligned through foot strike. He can work on keeping his upper half balanced over his lower half with equal and opposite drills or rocker drills. He can work on stability with medicine ball slams done with focus on keeping his landing leg vertical. Again, I’m not sure what would be of the most benefit without seeing his delivery.

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Welcome to the forum!

I agree w/ CoachPaul’s suggestions. Do you have some video perhaps?

I also agree with CoachPaul’s comments. Although I’ve found that the front knee usually aligns itself in the direction the pitcher’s center of mass is moving as the puts the front leg in the strongest position to support his body. Definitely look for something going on earlier in the delivery.

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He is video from behind. This is the most recent I have access to at the moment. This is a few weeks old as we have made some corrections but the lower half instability still exists.

Side view

I can think of a few things I would suggest experimenting with…

  1. Get the hips moving forward sooner/faster - just a tiny bit. He kind of looks like his hips start drifting forward during knee lift but not much. Committing his center of mass earlier/faster should get it going towards the target.
  2. Keep the head upright. This may affect his posture and keep it going towards the target instead of veering off to the glove side.
  3. Get the glove arm to an equal and opposite position with the throwing arm. Since it looks like he wraps his throwing arm behind him, extend the glove arm towards the RH batter’s box. This may keep him from flying open and dropping the glove arm which can pull him off to the glove side.

Getting down the hill quicker and better pelvic load is something we are currently working on. I agree better hip lead may help.

Keeping the head upright I find extremely tough to correct but you can see his posture is an issue and it starts with the unnecessary head movement.

I am not a huge fan of equal and opposite but we may experiment with getting some glove side elevation and see how that helps.

Elevating his front arm with a better glove turn over would be good.

If he takes his center to the mitt, (the spot between his sternum and his navel) his head will follow. His rotation should be around the inside socket of his lead leg, not his front side. Maybe these cues can help you get his weight going to the mitt.

Good luck.

Agreed. I think he seems to be holding his hips back instead of allowing them to flow forward. He also needs to extend rearward with the pitching arm. He’s sweeping the stride leg and perhaps in combination with the arm wrapping he’s got a bit too much rotational stuff happening at a point when he should be more linear. He’s got too much right to left momentum and he’s throwing himself off balance. He’s landing OK but the momentum puts his weight in the outside of the plant foot heel.

(I’m referring to the top video.)

In the video segment .12 his head is turned and focusing on something up in the air to his right. This tells me that he’s not concentrating on developing a pitching form and posture that you’re trying to instill in him. In other words he’s trying to “brute force” the throw … not pitch. In the .19 segment you can see that he’s really trying to launch the baseball will brute force.

Watch his pivot foot and you’ll see shortly after that .12 point in the video that his pivot foot is pushing is body off to his right, thus his body is “walking” off to his right, slightly, then as momentum builds down the ramp, he accelerates off balance, which his glove arm side tries to compensate for. Try to have him totally collapse on the instep of his pivot foot all through his pitching cycle - thus, this will reduce, if not totally eliminate his “walking” off to his right in the very beginning of his downward progression on the portable mound.

I think in the final analysis, this youngster is trying to throw way too hard for his ability to control himself. In short, he’s trying to run before he can walk. I would suggest going through some very basic posture drills to impress upon him body control first, step by step. His pitching cycle should be broken down into phases, where each phase sets-up and compliments the next phase … from his Setup Phase to his Release and Recoup Phase. His body has to learn how his balance and purpose evolves into something that’s doable and consistent. Take it slow and easy, learning by constant practice - over and over.

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Having this same exact problem with my 14 y/o brother.

First thing to look at is head positioning. Keep the eyes still and on target through the entirety of the delivery; take the nose straight to the catcher.

In the lower half, try hooking the rubber with the back foot (pigeon toe). Get the back knee inside of the ankle early, like during the descent out of the leg lift, and work down into the landing. Continue working on holding the front hip closed into landing. Work the rotation of the lower half from back to front; it will sync things up a lot better. Look up “rotational lateral bounds” on google to practice this movement.

Let the glove side work with the front leg. Try working north and south with the glove vs. east and west (pulling). Use the elbow to initiate up and swiveling back into the rib. Look up “pivot pickoff” throws on YouTube, to isolate the upper half and learn how to efficiently connect the glove arm with the throw.

The biggest thing I’ve learned is the length of the stride doesn’t mean anything if you can’t stabilize it. It looks to me like his stride length is near 100% of height. Experiment how far he can stride and hold his landing, work from 50% up, till he can no longer stabilize. I bet 85-90%, and he’ll be able to stabilize and control his finish. A drill I’m putting into practice I call “stand ups”. Knell in a split stance, close off your shoulders, initiate your glove, throw the ball and stand up into your finish. This will help teach him how to control his entire body to land and decelerate properly. One miscue like an overaggressive glove or head movement will make him fall off like he does off the mound.