Higher Leg Kick and Stride Length

Would having a high leg kick and long stride length benefit a pitcher?

[quote=“Johnny Cello”]Would having a high leg kick and long stride length benefit a pitcher?[/quote]The high leg kick and long stride provide power if done properly yes, but some people can overstride and lose balance, etc. So it depends. A pitcher should be able to drive 100% of his height.

I’m going to respond to your question relating my experience with mature athletes, accustomed to physical and nutritional workloads, routines that sustain said workloads, along with a coaching and training staff with the competency to manage these athletes.

The leg lift can be either an unsolicited or deliberate response by an athlete’s mind/body to “prep” the next stage in his/her pitching cycle. Notice the phrase pitching cycle.

No two pitchers deliberately mirror the same leg lift, either in height or direction. More on direction later.


The physical attributes of each athlete’s physique, mental focus, health - injury or not, and a few other things, injects a ton of variables that are characteristic with the human condition. Take for example a husky physique compared to a tall slim physique. These two opposites normally have slightly different body styles as each progress through their pitching cycle. Add to that, the duration of physical tolerance and stamina, each physique may change in subtle ways as time goes on even in the same inning. Even more of an impact is the athlete who is adjusting after an injury.

So, a leg lift - although part of the pitching cycle that the body experiences, can be just a few inches off the ground, or highly animated.

I use to work with pitchers coming off rehab and I always had a bench marks to judge my work.
In other words the before and after. I’d use 16MM to show the before, then I compare the actual “what I’m seeing now”, before applying any opinions. In variably, without exception, the leg lift was a telltale sign of one part of the body picking up the stress loads for another part of the body not pulling its weight.

For instance, a leg lift that was shallow, only ankle high, for a man who use to vigorisly compress his stride leg’s knee into his chest on the lift during his full windup, told me to halt the sessions and start a meeting with our trainers.

But, to answer you question more directly, your leg lift in amateur ball has to compliment your overall ability to manage the surface that your pitching off of, then not “short stride” yourself by planting your stride foot down with a “thump”, then staying upright during and after your release.
On the flip side, overextending your stride due to a highly animated leg lift will open all kinds of injury related problems - groin sprains, knee stress, overloading shoulders, and so forth.

You are unique, alone and to yourself when it comes to athletic performance - but, you should share the common traits of proven repetition.

Here’s my suggestions:

on level ground mark a distance from your pivot foot that’s about four feet away.
draw a line, from left to right
without throwing the ball, simply stride to that mark
how does your balance and overall sense of stability feel? ** make note of that in a notebook**
extend the line about 6 inches
repeat the drill
how does your balance and overall sense of stability feel?make note of that in a notebook
extend the line about 6 inches
repeat the drill

Sooner or later you’re going to reach a point where everything stops - no sense of balance and absolutely no sense of stability. ** make note of that in a notebook**
Now take that measurement where everything seemed to click, take that to a mound with reasonable surface conditions, and workout the distance - STILL ONLY RAISE YOUR LEG LIFT ON ANKLE HIGH.


If you want to see the effects of a higher leg lift, start from the ankle height, then go up to the shin, then the knee, then the thigh. Just remember to keep the leg lift straight up, then straight down. As time goes on, try experimenting with a leg lift that slightly points the knee back. Then try the leg lift where the stride leg glides forward, stretching out to home plate – just remember your mark on the mounds surface for distance.

Sooner or later you’ll arrive an YOUR optimum for not only height, but for style (leg lift), and distance. Again, remember that this is very personal and to you, not to a cookie-cutter style use by others.

With respect to direction, if your toe of your pivot foot is pointing down in a hole, that’s in front of the rubber, you’ll be striding off to one side or the other and not directly towards home plate.

Coach B.

I should note that the leg lift is not a stand-alone point of coaching or performance for a pitcher. Other factors of the human condition enter into the picture - but then that goes well beyond the space available here.

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Coach Baker I would pay you to analyze a video of mine. Please post more of the knowledge you know. Thanks for the great read.