How to lenghten your stride?

Anyone have some tips on how to lengthen your pitching stride? I have been working on it for a while but haven’t really made any progress. I throw around 85-88 and have a goal to throw 90-92 by this spring.

Start your hips forward sooner and get them going faster without sacrificing your knee lift. This should cause you to increase your momentum to lengthen your stride while making sure you get out over the front leg. Also, make sure you don’t compromise posture and balance.

Is throwing off a mound the only way to improve your stride or is there anything I can do in my spare time on flat ground that can help?

You can certainly practice doing what I described on flat ground. The infamous towel drill would be usefull for making the initial adjustment since you don’t need to throw the ball and since, with the towel being lighter than a ball, you can get in lots of reps without trashing your arm.

Can you describe a bit more about your existing stride? Have you measured it in relation to your height. Just take a tape measure from the rubber to the end of your footstrike. For a six footer, 5 feet five inches is good (90% of height). If you are throwing in the upper 80s, I would be surprised if you aren’t at the 90% range. If so, don’t worry. The towel drill, if done right, can get you the extra 7 inches to 100% of height (for a six footer–I don’t know what your height is). You should also measure the line your posting foot drags during your pitching motion. 18 to 24 inches in length means you are getting good distance.

Finally, the goal is for a 90 to 100% stride length and a long drag line to lead to a release point about 8 inches in front of your knee and front toe. The long drag line is created by late torso rotation (you are holding back until you have moved directionally to rotation at about 75 to 80 % of stride length). At this point you generate substantial rotational momentum to build on your directional momentum to release point. For every additional 12 inches closer to home plate your release point is, your pitch appears 3 - 4 miles faster to the batter. And by being consistent in your motion and release point, with at least three pitches delivered to four different locations, you can keep the batter guessing.

Good luck.

take a piece of athletic tape and stretch it from the point on the rubber where the ball of your back or post foot touches the rubber and stretch it toward the plate for about 7 feet. now take some short pieces and mark along the tape at you height and then 3" beyond your height and 6" beyond your height. nolan ryan and linscum (the little guy flame thrower for the giants {i’m sure i mispelled his name but you can look him up} stride about 6" FARTHER than their height.

to work on this, set a target (an atec pitching target is ideal) about 15 to 20 feet from you so you don’t have to worry about hitting it, and look at the pieces of tape while you throw. see how much effort it takes in the lower body to stride that far. the guys that throw hard for a long time really activate their lower body to throw the baseball.

another thing that many instructors will tell you not to do that will lengthen the stride is to get tilt when you reach balance point. if you lead to the plate with your shoulders at release point, it is extremely difficult to generate your maximum velocity. take your front shoulder and tilt it straight up (verticle) to the sky. this will feel strange but let your hips lead and your shoulders delay going forward as long as possible.

think i’m crazy? i saw a professional pitching instructor do this with a million dollar first round sign who had lost his velocity, and it was amazing. he immediately jumped back to low 90s (he has a gift).

you can check out a detailed explaination of this pitching mechanics explaination from sandy koufax in his book. the old timers swear by it and it is coming back in professional circles (it never really left).

check video clips of guys who throw hard for a long time. check out bob feller and sachel paige if you want the extreme.

feller threw 100+ and stood under 6’ tall.

good luck,

dusty delso