I think I'm on to something

I’ve been studying some film of me and some top pitchers trying to compare hip/shoulder separation and I think I found a key element to creating more separation.

If you notice in the first picture my front foot has landed and my back foot has barely rotated. My belly button is pointing towards the wall and should be facing straight ahead when talking about optimal hip/shoulder separation.

In the picture of Lincecum his back foot is rotating before his front foot lands and his hips are opening up while his top half stays closed. The difference of our back foot positioning could be because he is throwing off a mound. But even if I do get on a mound that is a dramatic change in timing.

If you get into the landing position with your back foot parallel to the rubber your hips can’t move quite as easily compared to your foot perpendicular to the rubber. Maybe why when we see these pro guys warming up they kind of point their back toe slightly at the target to over emphasize open hips and closed shoulders?

Just a thought and something I will be working on.

1 thing to remember is that Lincecum has a unique delivery that some may not be able to replicate

You can find numerous examples in pitchers who efficiently separate their hips and shoulders. Notice their back foot.

Huskie

That is something that Wolforth teaches. Look how Andrew has his foot angled on the rubber. He should not turn his foot back to parallel as he does in this video.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Slewbacca?feature=mhum#p/a/u/0/HhcvO3IL0Yc

Somewhere on this forum, it was said that Sandy Koufax angled his foot that way also.

koufax stuff is from his book sandy koufax:a lefty’s legacy in the first chapter. professional pitchers go into rotation much later than amateur pitchers, i think you are describing the same thing in different terms which is good. whatever terms and explainations get a player to perform effectively are the best to use. some coaches do not want players listening to them when they talk to other hitters/pitchers because they will tell them something different as they try to get them in the same general positions

Don’t forget that stride and momentum play a role in the behavior of the back foot as well. Do this poorly and you can find your pivot foot still on the ground generally parallel to the rubber at or near foot strike.

Elite pitchers create hip and shoulder separation in different ways. Some are aggressive with the shoulders and “neutral” with the hips. These are the big “counter-rotators” that “show the numbers” to the hitter as part of the delivery. With lefties you’ll see these guys with their belt buckle pointed more toward first base at foot strike.

Others are more aggressive with their hips and neutral with their shoulders. Their shoulders pretty much stay on a line from home to 2nd base but their hips rotate aggressively to create separation. When compared to the “aggressive shoulder" guy the hip guy’s belt buckle will be pointed more toward home at comparable points in the delivery.

Both styles can create the same degrees of separation just by different means. Both styles can create comparable high velocities as well. But in the end it’s likely the back foot will look slightly different for each depending on how they did things leading up to that particular point in time. BTW these examples are sort of the extremes. I think you’ll find most guys somewhere in the middle drawing varying proportions from each style.

A pitcher’s physical maturity, physique and dexterity all contribute to the human anatomy in parts and in total, as he/she pitches. And when comparing pitchers, some pitchers, because of their heavy girth, can show little signs of any kind of discipline that can be nailed down - pivot foot or otherwise.

Taken one step further, a pitcher can influence his/her pitch a lot, by either keeping their pivot foot parallel with the leading edge of the rubber, or angle the toe towards a baseline, or even slightly away from a baseline. Thus a lot of body angles - torso and shoulder platfroms in particular, receive muscle and tension dynamics that can uniquely pass on a different movement and report 60 feet away.

Pitchers with an injury that’s being nursed will sometimes give little thought to the pivot foot and its role in getting back into the swing of things on the field. In every single case that I’ve worked with, a raised heel, a toe straight down very early in their stride forward means one part of their body is being favored over all others. Can’t be 100% back in shape without going back to basics.

There is however a tendencey to rush a pitch - sometimes, when the pivot foot is not kept parallel along the rubber. Raising the heel up too soon and pushing off the toe can place a bit of strain in the muscles along the pivot’s leg, and up the back. Some pitchers actually feel that this is preferred technique to their forward delivery by actually “launching” themselves. I hesitate to coach that way only becuase of the stress load that the entire body must endure, pitch after pitch. There’s also the tendency to attempt and finish an pitching arm cycle before the stride leg is completely planted and ready to accept the entire body’s weight. In any event, a good pitching coach with a keen eye for detail can prolong a career of a pitcher who favors this style.

If the position of your pivot compliments comfort and ease of control - so be it. Then THAT is as individual to you as is your own signature on a contract. So, start off with a solid foundation that gives you both control and balance all the way through your pitching cycle - THEN you can dial around for better reception to what you’re trying to tune in on.

Either way, your placement and discipline of that pivot foot is unique to you and you alone. Careful judging yourself next to a matured adult in the professional game.

Coach B.