Full v. slide step

Without reviewing video… Any theories on why my son’s slide step produces significantly higher velocity (3 mph) than his full windup or normal stretch… Arm action (path) is identical, stride length same. Not looking for answers, just theories as an objective way to investigate and eliminate or hone in on potential places to look.

I have my theories, looking for others.


I’m not a mechanical guy what so ever but from my experience, he probably gets more momentum or something? Usually for some people it’s the other way around.

guess #1 - he may just have better timing when going from the stretch and is able to sync all the moving parts to produce more velocity.

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Then just pitch from the slidestep at all times. I was the same way when I was younger, I only pitched from the slidestep because I was a lot more comfortable that way. You may think it’s a bad thing but being better in the slidestep is actually a blessing, you’re going to do most of you’re pitching with runners on from the slidestep so it’s good to be good at it. Also as to why that is happening, I dont know why it could just be a matter of comfort.

I’ve seen this before. Some kids actually lose or compromise their momentum when they bring their front leg back while working from the stretch or windup because their leg lift is flawed. They balance up, stall, and have a hard time powering down the mound like they need to. The slide step eliminates the flawed and inefficient leg lift. It forces them to use the drive leg more powerfully because they know it’s the only way to get going down the mound. In other words, the thrower focuses more on creating lower half momentum during the slide step. That said, the kid should work to improve the efficiency of the leg lift, not simply rely on the slide step. A good slide step is a nice thing, but part of its effectiveness stems from the variation in timing. A well rounded pitcher should be able to work from a traditional stretch and windup as well.

You have all hit on some of my thoughts, timing, intent with lower half, I also think some is arm speed as he may think he doesn’t have the momentum to use. Your comments have given me the idea of filming each motion and trying to sync them up from hand break using Technique/coaches-eye to compare mechanics and potentially intent if it can be determined.

I do not think this is a bad thing. Recently Stephen Strasburg has gone entirely to slide step because of its simplicity. My kid’s pitching coach has had him throwing slide step from the beginning.

yeah, my take is the lost art of the windup has messed with timing, not improved it. (having to time the upper half from a dead stop to a moving lower half vs having the upper and lower starting together, etc) It’s also messed with initiating forward momentum. (stepping sideways rather then back and forward or even just starting back and just moving forward, balance point rather than getting inside drive leg, trying to re-initiate forward progress after dead stop, etc).

Some pitchers are going back to a version of a full wind-up also, initiating the hands moving over the head again.

I hate my son’s concept of the full windup… Hands vertical in front of face peering over glove, stepping to side to set drive foot, etc. But it’s what he’s comfortable with…although I do believe it is the contributor to his timing issues… I’d rather he’d model after Nolan Ryan. Smooth, Fluent and relaxed.