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Here’s a topic. When a pitchers right foot (rhp) releases from the ground and is in the air at release, what causes this?



Good to hear from you

The back foot can lift due to a late posture shift, early shoulder rotation, or failure to get the low back extended and into a momentary isometric load before the arm whips forward. And these can be traced to strength issues or other mechanical issues.

In addition to what Roger said, Mariano Rivera offers a good picture to answer this.

Here’s a picture of Mariano Rivera. His balance posture at the end of his Pitch is textbook balance, which is what the back leg of every pitcher is part of.

The human body in this picture is divided into three simple parts here. Each part of the human body during motion and controlling that motions intent, has a certain mass/weight to movement influence on how the body manages itself.

When finishing a pitch, the hips/pelvis acts like the center of concentration for balancing the top and bottom portions of the body’s mass/weight management. In our picture, consider this part of Mariano Rivera as a balancing point for a fulcrum – that yellow wedge shape thing. The yellow red line going up and down Rivera’s body is where the body is divided in half at the end of Rivera’s pitch.

Thus, bending forward with his upper torso – head, pitching shoulder, chest and abdomen – all with mass/weight movement, has to be balanced off somehow, or Rivera will fall forward and on the ground. That’s not good.
So, Rivera’s balance system elects a non-solicited response of has his lower
body – buttocks, pitching arm, glove arm with glove, and the heaviest part of that lower body, the leg that extends out to compliment this balancing act.

Those pitchers that cannot – either because of a plus or minus to this balancing act, solicit an equilibrium to mass/weight during movement, usually Peter Pan off one side of the other of their pitching mound and/or encounter other management issues - some small, others not so small.


Roger, when you say posture issues you mean the shoulders get stacked too far in front of the hips?


First off, welcome again. Good to see you posting.

Your question(s) seemed to be open ended. By that I mean it seems that you’re going in a specific direction for a reason(s), without saying so. Perhaps it’s because of an observation or a technique used or suggested by someone - I’m not sure. Can you be a more specific? On the other hand, I can be completely off base on this.

For example:

  • is it a good thing to raise the pivot leg?
  • should the pivot leg be straight out, or belt high up, over the head, etc?
  • does the back leg do the same thing for every pitch - even the knuckleball?
  • what about those pitchers that stay upright during and after delivery?

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Also I might add, the body in motion on a slanted surface, or a surface that’s in so-so condition for pitchers, has a multitude of scenarios that’s really hard to nail down by focusing on just one body function.

In this regard, I’m not all that familiar with youngsters and what they have to deal with - so, my observations on that is somewhat useless.(I think)

So, your question about shoulders is kind of hanging out there by conditions that (might) come before that, perhaps not after. Again, this can be a question answered by others better than myself.

By the way, your question is outstanding. I tried to correct a guy who had this mule kick in his back leg - a lefty at that. (lefties are not my favorite to coach) He believed that his mule kick actually gave him that extra “umph” to throw harder. Finally after months of working with the man, and convincing him that he’ll hurt himself (for his age) if he continues, he glides through two weeks of spotless preseason form. First shot on the mound in a game, doesn’t he go right back to his old self - bingo, groin sprain.:glare: So as much as the rest of a pitcher’s progression and posture is not all that bad, certain things enter the mix that are self-convincing for reasons other than posture and form alone.

I can’t say I’ve ever seen anyone get the shoulders stacked too far in front of the hips. This is assuming the stacked position is that which occurs when the shoulders square to the target. Most younger guys don’t get stacked enough. In fact, that’s one characteristic that to my eyes separates the pro guys from the younger guys - the pro guys get the upper head/shoulders/upper spine stacked with the chest forward and a good arch in the low back whereas younger guys don’t.

Getting the shoulders ahead of the hips early in the delivery will certainly cause problems (hips and shoulders rotating together) and could lead to the back foot lifting early. But that’s not what I was referring to. Rather, I was referring to a late tilt to the side.