Landing foot placement


I have always been taught that when pitching, your foot should be pointed to the target when you plant. A couple weeks ago I was watching MLB Network, and Pedro Martinez was on it saying that it should be at a 45 degrees angle and then rotate as you throw. He said that people planting their foot directly straight is a cause for arm problems. Thoughts on this?


Pedro is absolutely correct in my opinion. Opening too early can definitely lead to arm issues.


I agree that early shoulder rotation can lead to arm problems. But I don’t think front foot plant position necessarilly correlates to shoulder rotation timing. I believe if you look at MLB pitchers you will see some who plant pointed at the target, some who plant closed and some who plant open.


I’m pretty sure landing open forces the hips to open unless your hips are really flexible to begin with. Foot open leads to knee open, and in most cases knee open leads to poor front side stability, knee outside of vertical, and early hips. Major league pitchers are by definition exceptions because so few pitchers become MLB pitchers. They are gifted and can get away with poor mechanics for longer, but eventually it will catch up to them as their gifts erode over time leading to short careers or injury.


He’s saying the plant foot rotates or the hips and shoulders rotate?


He’s saying the properly timed opening of the hips will rotate your toes forward even after foot strike. Essentially your toe spikes will leave an impression in the dirt that looks a lot like the symbol for a strong WiFi connection :wink: In this regard you know your hips are not opening prematurely and you are not wasting momentum energy between foot strike and foot plant.


Thanks for all the help guys! I will definitely try fix this in my mechanics


Huh? That’s not what happens at all. For that to happen, it means the pitcher spins on his heel of that stride foot after contact, which shouldn’t happen. I mean look at any of the 150+ videos of MLB pitchers on this site and show me one pitcher who does that. Here’s Gerrit Cole as just one example. The stride foot lands and remains firmly in place:


I agree. But once the stride foot lands in any of these three positions it doesn’t spin. It remains firmly in place so that it can support the bracing action of the lead knee.


So Steven, you’re saying planting the foot straight to the target is the way to go?


I’m saying the planting foot should not move (or spin) once it lands. Literally not move one inch. Check out this top view of Brandon Morrow’s pitching motion and watch the front foot:

Better yet, check the dirt where he lands. See any wifi marks in the dirt?


BTW, I know you said Pedro said pitchers should rotate their stride foot following foot plant, but even he didn’t do that:

OK, that’s enough from me on this topic… I’ve shown you three MLB pitchers, including Pedro himself, that don’t spin their front foot following foot plant. There are, of course, even more videos of pitchers keeping their front firmly in place in the video clips section of this site.


I forget, this may not apply to people who pitch on clay. I can absolutely see how where one places their foot–regardless of being closed, straight or open, that it would hold position. Pros pitch off an extremely firm surface. That being said…99% of the pitching world does not enjoy firm, clay mounds.

I pitched almost exclusively on dirt where the rotation of your upper body during follow through combined with landing leg spikes in the ground over powers the dirt underneath you and your foot turns a bit to the glove side. Every single mound I see these marks. I’m not talking about crop circles. This is not an X-files like phenomenon. It exists. Even if someone lands straight on, their foot slides forward a bit, too. This is the dominant condition of nearly 100% of youth baseball field mounds I have encountered.

You only need to compare a youth mound to a pro mound after a game has been played on it, to see that these mounds do not hold up. The ground is literally shifting under your feet with every pitch. I was using this image to illustrate that the plant foot certainly lands closed for a lot of pitchers and the evidence of that fact is found in the marks from the landing foot that start with toes pointing toward the batter’s box and not the target.

EDITThis is not a critique for Zach Lutz or his mechanics. I’m just pointing out that the very first video I watched after responding on this thread…I see the landing foot rotating to the glove side during the end of the follow through. He’s pitching without spikes in a driveway. There is no way for him to firm up. This is what youth pitchers face–even on the field with most mounds. That foot motion creates the crop circles I’m referencing :wink:


As you can see, Baseball1771, from reading this topic that you posted there are a lot of interpretations to where-why-n-how-come.

So rather than pound the same ground here, let me offer this bit of an observation. If you’re like so many youngsters that I’ve seen, pitching off of this junk … a joke really, called a pitcher’s mound, where your stride foot plants itself is based on what you have to deal with prior to that foot plant. Do you see where I’m going here?

Explain how do you deal with the surface conditions of the mounds that you pitch off of, and does that impact how and where you plant your stride foot, repeatedly, inning after inning.


Many pitchers, pro and otherwise, rotate the front foot after the ball has been released and the posting foot is coming around. Scherzer, Gibson, Lincecum sometimes, Wacha on occasion, Nolan Ryan. Not saying it is good or bad, but it happens. The front foot probably shouldn’t move until well after the ball has been released though.


If the foot spins after ball release due to residual rotational momentum then there is probably no concern. But if it spins before that point then there is possibly (likely?) a misalignment between stride direction and the direction the center of mass is moving in which case it would be prudent to look for other mechanical problems or inefficiencies.


Agreed. However, in Scherzer’s gif on this site, it appears to move twice. Once during mid delivery. It may only be a one time thing. Everybody has pitches that are less than perfect on occasion.


It could have been a one-time thing or if there is some underlying issue then he may have learned to accommodate that in his delivery. The elite are elite because either they do things “perfectly” or they’ve learned to accommodate any “flaws” they may have.


15 sec. mark. I would say this is ideally the best way to land.