# Legs & Hips (follow up for baseballthinktank re 3x)

This came up in the Inverted W thread, but I wanted to separate this out, so we can keep that discussion on point.

Lantz’s post:

[quote=“Baseballthinktank.com”]Mcloven,

The 3x doesn’t work for me, personally. My idea of the lower body is different. I look at the legs having one very important function:

To transport the center mass at the highest rate of speed possible.

You could accomplish 3x with the lower body prematurely and it wouldn’t accomplish the goal of projecting the center mass efficiently.

Early hip extension which could give the illusion of proper 3x mechanics, could promote

1. excessive stress on the groin (typical of early hip extension)
2. crashing of the lower body at foot plant

The examples that i’ve seen are products of effective projection of the hips. In that case, the 3x is a product of effective transportation, not the reason they were transported effeciently.

In other words, 3x is a product, it’s not the reason for velocity.[/quote]

Lantz, I think to a large extent you and Brent are saying the same thing. Brent talks about the timing of triple extension here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JbpvV8u_Ok [at around 3:00…he talks about the problems of trying to triple extend to early or too late]
Or: http://www.■■■■■■■■■■■.net/3x-pitching-and-the-timing-factor/

And talks about the angle of your drive leg (he calls the force vector):
http://www.■■■■■■■■■■■.net/is-your-pitching-coach-teaching-the-force-vector/

[Apparently links to Topvel get starred out, probably due to previous spamming by someone. I promise I’m not spamming! I’m just trying to explore the differences. I’m sure you can track those articles down to see what I’m saying. :)]

It seems like if the force vector isn’t in line (the back leg isn’t moving correctly, down and out), you wouldn’t be transporting your hips down the mound.

This seems identical to what you’re saying at around 4:00 of your video:
http://baseballthinktank.com/pitching-drills-throwing-with-the-lower-body-is-hip/

3x for 3x’s sake isn’t the idea (it matters when it happens). It has to happen at the correct point. I think that Brent would say that the legs transport or project the hips as well, but once you “triple extend” powerfully into front foot, you will cause maximum separation between hips/shoulders. I think you both agree on the timing of this triple extension.

The only difference I see is that Brent’s program includes a ton of strength and conditioning stuff (including olympic lifts) and med ball drills to help achieve a fast, explosive/powerful transportation of hips to achieve maximum separation. I think you also would agree that projecting the hips at the highest speed possible makes the most sense.

So, I don’t see the disagreement, unless I’m missing something. In fact, it seems that what you’re both saying makes a lot of sense. Again, just trying to make sure I understand where the disconnect between the two techniques are.

I don’t see how your triple extension causes hip/shoulder separation.

“‘Triple extend’ powerfully into front foot” has no effect I can see on keeping the shoulders closed or in creating separation. If anything, I believe there could be more potential for the hips to fly open bringing the shoulders open early with them(the hips).

Triple extension doesn’t cause that in and of itself. I guess that’s the disconnect–everyone is focusing on the triple extension and not the timing and mechanics leading up to it (while T.V. takes all that into account in discussing the concept). Just because you “triple extend” that doesn’t mean you’re following that 3x theory. It’s more complex than that.

It only causes max hip shoulder separation if you do it at the correct time (triple extending at the correct time causes the hips to slam open, with the shoulders closed, creating optimal hip/shoulder separation). To me, it seems very similar to what Lantz is saying in his video about the legs transporting the hips and then focusing on being knee down into foot plant (see Lantz’s video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Bw_2MzrUnto).

At around the 4 minute mark, Lantz shows a drill and says the “only goal is that before my front foot lands that the back hip is completely open and the back knee cap is facing down.” [ie, triple extending into front foot strike]

More discussion here, and in the other articles above:

http://www.■■■■■■■■■■■.net/3x-2x-factor-pitching-velocity/
Triple extension (3X) – Is the extension of the drive leg knee, ankle and hip flexor and it will usually extended in that order. The 3X approach to pitching teaches us that achieving 3X before front foot strike will create hip rotation just at or just after front foot strike. It will also promote more explosive hip rotation which leads to optimal hip to shoulder separation. This hip rotation is occurring because when the drive leg achieves 3X, it pushes the hip flexor of the back hip forward before front foot strike. This will just open the hips a little, so when the front leg lands and stabilizes, the hips slam completely open towards the target. If the pitcher does not open the hips through 3X before front foot strike, hip rotation will happen late, reducing hip to shoulder separation.

Brandon Morrow has one of the best 3X moves in the game but he has a below average 2X move to support it. If you watch his front leg stabilization in slow motion you will see that it never flexes or moves after front foot strike, it is stabilizing and supporting his explosive 3X, like the immovable brick wall in the car crash analogy. This is allowing all that power from 3X to slam the hips open into his stabilized but not extended front leg, like in the car crash analogy.

I see your point but mine is, the focus isn’t placed on extension. I teach that 3x would be a product, not the primary focus. It would be similar to getting the arm up “timing” debate. By focusing on getting the arm up, you make that the primary focus instead of it being a product and now you have coaches teaching the goalpost drill.

I tend to think in products of efficiency, not so much of where you get but how you got there

I see what you’re saying, but I think there are far more similarities than differences between your approaches (which I think is good).

1. You both talk about early momentum, weight inside the drive leg.
2. You both talk about flexion in the drive leg, and even both use comparisons to jumpers.
3. You both talk about the back hip open and knee cap facing down before front foot strike.
4. You both talk about leading with the butt and driving the hips forward (by driving down against the ground).
5. You both teach against opening your front hip early.
6. You talk about projecting the hips, 3x would talk about the importance of the “force vector” of the drive leg being linear moving the hips down the mound (basically meaning the hips are projected).

There’s the concept of the ankle kick that I think you’d agree with. I know Lincecum talks about how he pushes/drives with the back leg/“Ankle Kick”(which is the push from the back foot)…basically triple extension.
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/tom_verducci/07/01/lincecum0707/1.html

I just think you guys explain it differently, not necessarily like your arm up example, I actually think you both describe the process of moving down the mound properly not just focused on the result but focused on the process of doing so.

Again, this totally is not a criticism, in fact, I think it’s very good and helpful when theories match up well. You both do a great job teaching and both clearly have a passion for it. As someone who is learning, my goal is to figure out what makes sense, and when things match up, that is the best result.

I think your video describing lower half mechanics makes a lot of sense, I also think 3x is talking about similar stuff. I just want to avoid a “camp” war, when it looks to me like you guys actually agree on most of the stuff, because that just confuses things for the “students” (of course, I don’t want to needless gloss over differences either).

Gotcha. I previously typed everything on my phone and realized I had made a mistake. My point with the goalpost, is because someone perceived the focus getting to a high cocked position, that’s the problem with still photos.

I haven’t spent much time on his site, maybe I should. You bring a lot to the table, thanks for sharing.

Likewise, I REALLY appreciate all of your help both on this forum and by email, as well as your willingness to both teach and field questions.

Your videos and articles at baseballthinktank.com are outstanding. They’ve been incredibly useful in teaching our pitchers high level concepts in ways they can understand…and your passion for the game is contagious. Love it!

If you guys dont mind i would love to get into this convo and would like to hear about how you teach your pitxhers on how they get this 3x extension that im reading about. Im also a pitching coach and believe about the back leg creating velo when used properly but watching the videos and reading it seems to be very confusing with all these drills and techniques…so if you dont mind how would you explain to a pitcher on how to create this

Thanks

[quote]3x for 3x’s sake isn’t the idea (it matters when it happens). It has to happen at the correct point. I think that Brent would say that the legs transport or project the hips as well, but once you “triple extend” powerfully into front foot, you will cause maximum separation between hips/shoulders. I think you both agree on the timing of this triple extension.
[/quote]

This is a fallacy. Unless the timing sequence has been built-in previously triple extending powerfully has very little chance of teaching the upper body to do anything with respect to synchronizing itself to the lower body.

There has been endless debate about how the body rotates i.e. back foot pushing, back leg pushing the hips, etc., etc. “Slamming” into foot plant is a fallacy i.e. that’s the last thing you want to do. Many years ago I heard the concept of the front foot landing as if it were stepping on rice paper without tearing it. After a few years of trying to figure it out it made sense to me. Pushing off the rubber i.e. triple extension is a fallacy.

If you really want to understand something about how to best transport the body into foot plant take a look at Brent Strom’s “pelvic loading” presentation which I helped him put together.

Paul, so you would disagree with the way Lantz describes the lower body in this video:

At around the 4 minute mark, Lantz shows a drill and says the “only goal is that before my front foot lands that the back hip is completely open and the back knee cap is facing down.” [That would be triple extending into front foot strike. The hips would be open and the shoulders closed. ]

Would you agree with Lincecum’s statement about his throwing:
"One secret, he explains, is what he calls his “ankle kick,” a snapping of his right ankle as his right foot, the back foot, leaves the rubber. Lincecum comes off the rubber with such snap that, upon the ball’s release, his right foot is more than a foot in front of the rubber, shrinking the distance – and thus stealing precious time – between him and the batter.

“My dad never taught me to lunge at the plate,” Tim says. “It kind of came naturally. That ankle kick that I get and the drive that I get from my back leg will make a big difference in how I get to the plate and how I pitch that day.’”

See 3x definition of the Ankle kick:
http://www.■■■■■■■■■■■.net/3x-pitching-and-the-critical-ankle-kick/

Also, look at this review of Brandon Morrow at around 7:10 (exploding out using knee extension):

By “slamming” into front let, we’re not talking about jumping or anything like that, and it’s not a push off the rubber. Also, the firm front leg is basically a brake, which would be finishing hip rotation (which started from the back leg), with the shoulders lagging behind, because the hips have opened explosively. This would cause the shoulders to then open explosively, following hip rotation.

See this discussion about it not being a “hop” or a Jump:
http://www.■■■■■■■■■■■.net/forum/talk-velocity/triple-extension/
“It is not a hop. All it means is that when your front foot lands your back leg must be extended. Triple extension should occur just before front foot strike. If you perform triple extension to early then you will hop.”

As well as this point re the hips that Brent makes, which seems to be what Lantz is demonstrating in his drills:
“The longer you can keep your knees together as you move into the load position which means your hips are leading you will then be able to 3X before front foot strike.”
[We can ignore the discussion on the inverted w in that thread. ]

Also, see this study:

"A correlation between braking force and ball velocity was evident."
Why is there a discussion of “braking” force and lower extremity injuries?

Why in your view would a pitcher want his front leg to be firm when he lands (if it doesn’t aid in rotation or the creation of velocity)?
If you’re landing like you’re landing on rice paper, then why generate any stride speed? Wouldn’t linear stride speed cause you to have force when you land and then tear the paper? Wy do smaller pitchers who throw harder generate more stride speed/longer strides in terms of % of body length, if not to put more momentum into front foot strike, generating more ground reaction forces?

Why can’t you generate stride speed and still land softly into foot plant?
It seems to me that the less slamming the front side does, the less chance there is for a hitch or a disconnect caused by that foot slam.

Also by this braking force generated by the foot slam, aren’t you slowing the forward momentum to the plate?

[quote]Paul, so you would disagree with the way Lantz describes the lower body in this video:

At around the 4 minute mark, Lantz shows a drill and says the “only goal is that before my front foot lands that the back hip is completely open and the back knee cap is facing down.” [That would be triple extending into front foot strike. The hips would be open and the shoulders closed. ] [/quote]

[quote]See 3x definition of the Ankle kick:
http://www.*****/3x-pitching-and-the-critical-ankle-kick/[/quote]

Totally disagree. Not even close to what I consider efficient or fo that matter teachable.

More opinions later.

If you’re focused on landing softly, aren’t you impacting your stride speed?

When you drive a car and want to slow down to not jar passengers and come to a smooth stop, aren’t you affecting how fast you’re going?

It seems that more stride speed into a firmer front leg, translates into a more sudden/explosive hip rotation, which would then trigger a sudden shoulder rotation, leading to maximum external rotation in your arm, makes some sense from a physics standpoint. Everything in the pitching motion affects everything.

To your question: You would be slowing the forward momentum for the lower half suddenly, which would lead to the chain reaction (just like when you hit a brick wall with a car, the participants get jarred forward quickly–bad analogy because you do want some control/accuracy in the process, but you get the idea).

Just the word “push” sends cold chills down my spine. I could see how that could be perceived in that manner and it hurts, ouch. Guys that push release tension early and often crash at foot plant.

My goal for the “knee” down was more of a cue or measuring stick of the back hips position at foot contact or brace. I wanted to stress the importance of the hips rotating into foot plant

My goal was to get the hips opening prior to or at foot strike as fast as possible. I agree with Paul that a push is very ineffective in unloading the hips.

With the hips, my primary goal is to place tension, crush the hips while moving forward. .

Here is a cue that I often use to try and teach pitchers to project the hips after showing the butt:

Driving down on a scale, “trying to weigh more” while moving forward. Once the butt is out and the tension is placed in the region, I want to project the hips forward. Basically, it’s sitting while moving forward and maintaing tension in the region.

Thinking about all these mechanics and drills will drive you crazy out on the mound.

1. create momentum using body
2. knee passes ankle while still moving and as i said previous its just like your in a boat when the boat starts going down is when the fun happens
3. on the way down and your down the mound hand break occurs and knee bends but it happens at the same time. when and if you do this correctly is when the HIP IS LEADING but its ever so slightly Now you can either break with a tilt in your shoulders or a slight tilt. When you break its not tilt the shoulders and break its break while reaching back with the arm

if this is done correctly EVERYTHING else will take place naturally not like a robot

do me a favor stand next to a wall lift your leg and lead with that powerful hip of yours and tell me just how much you can push. now lift your leg while creating a little momentum and smack the wall with your entire body. foot calf hip rib cage shoulder… now push now make sure your knee is passed your ankle now push again and just feel that.

watch the body lead knee passed the ankle then hand break with either a slight tilt or like kershaw a big one and notice everything is timed correctly

RANDY JOHNSON

CLAYTON KERSHAW

Thinking about all these mechanics and drills will drive you crazy out on the mound.

1. create momentum using body
2. knee passes ankle while still moving and as i said previous its just like your in a boat when the boat starts going down is when the fun happens
3. on the way down and your down the mound hand break occurs and knee bends but it happens at the same time. when and if you do this correctly is when the HIP IS LEADING but its ever so slightly Now you can either break with a tilt in your shoulders or a slight tilt. When you break its not tilt the shoulders and break its break while reaching back with the arm

if this is done correctly EVERYTHING else will take place naturally not like a robot

do me a favor stand next to a wall lift your leg and lead with that powerful hip of yours and tell me just how much you can push. now lift your leg while creating a little momentum and smack the wall with your entire body. foot calf hip rib cage shoulder… now push now make sure your knee is passed your ankle now push again and just feel that.

watch the body lead knee passed the ankle then hand break with either a slight tilt or like kershaw a big one and notice everything is timed correctly

RANDY JOHNSON

CLAYTON KERSHAW[/quote]

1. I’m not sure where the accelerator is on this boat? What accelerates the boat, what decelerates it? What steers or directs this boat? This is my first time on a boat, I’m sorry.

2. Wow, I just tried the momentum into the wall and I think I broke my rib. It’s amazing how with just a little intent to “smack” the wall, I was able to smack the wall. I think my ribs may be bruised though, but you’re right, I was able to smack it once that was my goal.

3. While on the mound doing this, should I be thinking about the hands breaking as the knee passes the ankle or does it just happen. You told me to pay attention to that. I’m not sure when to tilt or how to? I think you’re the same guy that mentioned the tilt because of the angle of the hands at separation. Correct?

4. Last question, before I venture back out to sea. What is the role of the hips?

5. Sorry, one more. I don’t see Randy reaching back with his arm.

Someone cant take a little critisism i see didnt know we are back in high school…when you venture back to sea stay there with your four pitching drills that i just watched it was as cool as watching paint dry…and no im not the same guy about the hand break…the hips role are to stay closed right before landing right before landing they open and then seperate from the upper body to create tension…keep teaching to lead with the heel though…or if you knew what you were talking about the back leg controls the front leg and heel back leg collapses early then front hip opens up early causing to fly open…so in your videos when ur back leg is bent your hips are open well what do u know collaped leg causes your shoulder to fly open pretty sure that left shoulder is open ohhhh and looks like you reached back with that throwing arm…

Ayy yii mate

[quote=“schveen”]Someone cant take a little critisism i see didnt know we are back in high school…when you venture back to sea stay there with your four pitching drills that i just watched it was as cool as watching paint dry…and no im not the same guy about the hand break…the hips role are to stay closed right before landing right before landing they open and then seperate from the upper body to create tension…keep teaching to lead with the heel though…or if you knew what you were talking about the back leg controls the front leg and heel back leg collapses early then front hip opens up early causing to fly open…so in your videos when ur back leg is bent your hips are open well what do u know collaped leg causes your shoulder to fly open pretty sure that left shoulder is open ohhhh and looks like you reached back with that throwing arm…

Ayy yii mate[/quote]

Sorry, I know your post wasn’t cynical, I got a little out of hand.

1. So the hips do nothing but stay closed, that’s their only role?

2. So the back leg is to stay straight?

3. Yes, you are right I have poor arm action. Actually, I was taught to reach straight back. How ironic.

To quote you on a response April 3: ( The reason I knew this was because it actually gave me an idea for a post)

I didn’t know the hand break created the tilt and then because of the tilt, the back leg bent. I guess heavier pitchers will bend more, huh? Poor Broxton.

I have been thinking all along that the hips controlled direction, acceleration, deceleration, tilt, etc… I had no idea there only role was to stay closed.

Heck, I didn’t know flexion in my knees was a product of breaking at an angle that creates the shoulder tilt. Talk about everything affects everything, wow!

Throwing a baseball 95+ miles per hour and consistently hitting a spot no bigger than the catchers mit is not simple. Nor is a natural.

Maybe you are referring to six and seven-year-old recreational league baseball players. But I can tell you for the six or seven-year-old is nothing simple about trying to throw strikes. Pitching is a very complex task because it involves the entire body. There’s nothing really natural about it. It’s an acquired skill.

I have to do is watch several major league baseball games and you’ll see that no two pitchers throw the baseball the same way. If Pitching were so natural you’d see a lot more cookie-cutter pitching motion at the major-league level.

[quote]1. create momentum using body
2. knee passes ankle while still moving and as i said previous its just like your in a boat when the boat starts going down is when the fun happens
3. on the way down and your down the mound hand break occurs and knee bends but it happens at the same time. when and if you do this correctly is when the HIP IS LEADING but its ever so slightly Now you can either break with a tilt in your shoulders or a slight tilt. When you break its not tilt the shoulders and break its break while reaching back with the arm

if this is done correctly EVERYTHING else will take place naturally not like a robot [/quote]

Using this formula on 100 different kids and I guarantee you’ll end up with 100 different pitching motions and possibly, and I repeat possibly one out of 100 may come close to their genetic potential with respect to throwing a baseball with speed and accuracy.

schveen,

Have you ever played the game or pitched? I find it incredibly hard to believe that anyone who has ever taken a mound would see pitching in such a simple and robotic like activity. Then to further disparage men who have dedicated a large portion of their lives to teaching and studying the art of pitching. Seriously?

If you are/were a pitcher and found pitching such an easy and natural task. It must have been relatively easy for you to reach the big league and of course to win your Cy Young Awards.