Leg Lift And More

Good morning everyone,

My son pitched again last night. He pretty much has been pitching every game and I noticed that something is a bit off. It’s almost like he’s swinging when bringing his leg up. He used to just bring it straight up and then stride. I think he’s doing it to try and get more velocity but he seems to be pitching inside now. Could that be the cause of this? Also do you want your knee lift to be straight up and if so how high? To be honest I think he’s pitching well but he had two walks last night and a hit batter and for some reason he couldn’t shake it off. I guess he’s losing some confidence which is exactly what I’m trying to stop. I do have video but am uncomfortable posting on YouTube. However I can e-mail it to anyone who would like to see it or who would like to help.

Once again thank you to everyone for such a wonderful site.

Well—I don’t pretend to be an expert on leg lifts (I myself used a slide step), but it’s quite possible that his lift may be a little too high. What would happen if he lowered it a bit, not used such a high kick? Also, and this I can tell you with certainty, he has to make sure that he’s pointing square to the plate with that foot as he’ss about to deliver the pitch, and he also has to make sure to complete his pitches. I’ve seen a lot of pitches go haywire because the pitcher didn’t follow through! 8)

Check to see if his knee lift is affecting his posture. It’s common for young kids to lean back slightly (towards 1B for RHP, 3B for LHP) when going into knee lift. Leaning back while moving down the hill will often lead to early shoulder rotation and that can lead to inside (usually up and in) pitches (“inside” meaning to the throwing arm side).

If this is happening, have him bend his knees and waist to get into a more athletic position (think “batting stance”) to see if he can stabilize his posture while still accomodating his knee lift. If not, then toning down the knee lift might be in order.

duck I have to guess you folks are early into it. Inside is good 8)

You say he plunked a kid, how did he react? How did you react? The reason I ask, is that hitting a batter is part of the deal. It shouldn’t be altogether traumatic, it should be looked at as a matter of course and (While making sure he’s just not throwing at the batter…which you can bet does happen…just shouldn’t at an early age) you should be really ignoring it and working to bring his focus back…A former major leaguer who is a very good friend of mine was a catcher, it was his philosophy to approach the pitcher and to “break” the spell so to speak…he usually did it with a wise crack (I have a couple of photo’s of him at the mound and both he and the pitcher have grins on their mugs). Your purpose should be getting your guy to move on and not worry about it…like I said to the point of almost ignoring it…(Ask him where he was trying to throw it and what he thinks made him miss…he may not know but the “process” will redirect his thinking back to the task at hand).
It sounds like he’s trying to “load”, which, yes is a method of increasing momentum and if timed correctly will increase velocity…I would guess he picked it up watching (What he thinks) better pitchers and is trying to “gas” up. My son does that but as Roger pointed out it needs to be properly done…things that can happen from doing it improperly include a loss of accuracy (Hummmm), what happens is that by doing it in an uncontrolled manner he may be making his mechanics erratic (May not for example get his front foot down with the right timing and in the case of being late he’ll end up inside on a righty if he’s a righty). One of the goals of who-ever “teaches” a pitcher is to make efficient mechanics…that are repeatable everytime.
Back to the early part…if as you (Sorry for reading stuff into it but this isn’t a conversation so I have to create a premise) are as early into this as you sound, first off…relax (I wish I would have learned THAT early :lol: ) you have plenty of time and worrying about a bit of a “bad” (No such thing for a young kid…just another opportunity to learn and teach) outing is unnecessary…yes everyone wants success, but one has to crawl to walk, walk to run…He will have “moments”…even after he’s done great for long periods…My boy had the lowest era in the history of his high school…but in college that didn’t impress anyone :lol: and he got lit up a couple of times…I for one would rather forget…(As a good pitcher he of course was tic’d afterward but soon left it behind).
Pitching is a process of development that never really ends until you do. So during this process there will be the good and bad…as with life, we’d all like for our kids to never fall short of their dreams…but in the end all we can really do is facillitate the learning, have a shoulder when it’s tough and love em…while we get to enjoy watching them grow in a healthy way.

Thank you again. You are correct. He does that to gain momentum and I do need to relax. It’s been just him and I in this process and I am not very athletic. His coaches are great but they actually asked the other kids to try and mimic his mechanics. These mechanics were learned from reading on this site and watching you tube videos. I can honestly say I have no idea what I’m doing but think I have done well doing it. Last year was an absolute nightmare. Every bad “outing” I would be a mess. This year not so much. And he has had a great season so far due to both of us maturing…
Back to the pitching. Is there a way to let him continue to “load” and gain some control back? If he is opening early, would a shorter leg lift help? Wouldn’t it be the opposite? Thank you again.

Plenty of drill work on this site and YouTube…I just posted a couple in the mechanics forum he;


In answer to your question, no doing the “opposite” isn’t necessarily “the” answer, what you want is to continue to develop a proper repeatable mech…sometimes a higher leg lift…sometimes a more controlled load…it would depend on the pitcher and how he delivers before it would be best determined.