Getting hips started early

people always talk about doing this but i dont entirley understand how you do it or what it looks like. Also who are some pros who do this?

This is a good question for Roger.

Charles, getting the hip going early in the context of the question could be clouded by semantics. People describe things differently and understand them differently. Most high level pitchers do get the hips moving early. Getting the hips /c.o.m. going early is all about the time the pitcher actually starts moving his body forwards to the target while leading with his hip. It is also critical to maintain good posture, that in part can be described as keeping the weight balanced over the center of mass or staying stacked over the center while moving out and into footstrike quickly. There are obviously many more issues that make up a good delivery. In short what this does is create momentum/energy into footstrike which should create more energy that will ultimately be transferred to the ball. Its all about “timing” as a well as the ability to maintain “posture” while moving, much much more could be said Ill leave that for Roger. He describes this very well. One sign that is a pretty good indicater is seeing when the pitcher starts moving his body forward in relationship to where his stride leg knee is at that time. If you watch closely you will see that many pitchers are moving out before the knee reaches its apex. .

This is more easily explained from the stretch position - simply push your hips sideways towards home plate sooner than you currently do. For example, many pitchers don’t start their hips forward until their knee has reached the apex of their knee lift. This is because they’ve been taught to “stay back” and “get to the balance point”. In these cases, I suggest starting the hips while the knee is on it’s way up just before it peaks. This adjustment will feel awkward so you have to stick with it and give it a chance. You might find it beneficial to bend the knees a bit more than you normally do. It’s also important to not sacrifice your knee lift. If you get your hips going sooner and you maintain your same knee lift, your stride leg will be forced to be quicker to get out front into foot strike. This helps build more momentum and lets you put more into your throw using your body.

There are a number of drills you can do to practice this including the towel drill and the cross-over drill. To do the “cross-over” drill, start in the stretch position. Cross the front foot over in front of the back foot making sure the front foot heel is touching the ground. Bend the knees a bit and go from that position. This puts you in a position where your hips are already out ahead of the rest of your body. The head and shoulders need to be slightly behind the front hip into foot strike but they should otherwise stay as upright as possible.

I’ve seen pitchers who have been working with the NPA actually start their hips forward before their knee lift starts (i.e. before their stride foot lifts off the ground). These guys have very nice mechanics. But that’s probably too big of an adjustment to start with. Especially because it does take some functional strength in the lower body and core to perform this in an optimal manner.

From the wind-up, it’s a little more complicated - you want to keep the hips moving toward the target starting from the point of first forward movement. Nolan Ryan is a great example of this. He stepped back and then once he started forward, his hips never stopped. A lot of pitchers will slow down or even stop the forward movement of their hips as they rotate into the closed position to place their pivot foot against the rubber and lift their knee. Ryan kept moving forward through all of this.

EDIT: Chin, looks like we were typing our posts at the same time - yours wasn’t posted when I started mine. But it looks like we hit on all the same points. 8)

is this what its suppose to look like?

Yes, that is a pretty good example from the wind-up. That pitcher steps back and then once he steps forward, the hips never stop going forward - not even when he turns and lifts his knee.

Here are 2 very good examples.

Closed side view of Nolan Ryan from the windup.

Open side view of Billy Wagner from the stretch.

Here are some more good examples:


Kevin Brown

i think the best exemple would be randy johnson. I’ve seen i’m throw and it’s really easy to notice

I agree.

You can see this in most great pitchers (e.g. Ryan and Schlling).

Also, this is the one place where pitchers definitely push off with their PAS foot. In this case, they push off with the side of their PAS foot in order to get their COM moving toward the plate.