Long stride good?/bad? and leading with my elbow

Well I pitched the other day in a scrimmage against my schools varsity team, and I struggled getting the ball to the plate. Nothing felt right, and I had a little pain in my shoulder after the game, but that went away rather quickly.

I was told by some of the coaches that I was taking quite a long stride, which they said stopped me from keeping my weight back. They also said that when I came around, I was leading with my elbow.

So from what they said, when i throw, my forearm is trailing behind.

What should I do? Should I shorten my stride, and really try to keep my weight back? And what should I do about my arm?

[quote=“hovat”]I was told by some of the coaches that I was taking quite a long stride, which they said stopped me from keeping my weight back.[/quote]How long is your stride relative to your height, as a percentage? A long stride is what you want but only as long as it isn’t dropping your centre of gravity so far that it inhibits getting the back hip rotatiing fully around the fixed front one.

[quote=“hovat”]They also said that when I came around, I was leading with my elbow. So from what they said, when i throw, my forearm is trailing behind.[/quote]Congratulations!!! You’re doing it right. I think, not having seen you. Do you have video of your delivery?

Now, I’ll temper that by saying that the elbow should not get AHEAD of the shoulders. Bring that elbow, with the shoulders, and having the forearm go to horizontal as the shoulders have squared and the elbow is with them is EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT!!! Give me a PM with your email address and I’ll send you video after video of MLB pitchers doing this. If your forearm does NOT get to horizontal as the shoulders have squared to the plate, you’re NOT going to maximize your throwing abilities. It’s called full external rotation of the humerus.

[quote=“hovat”]What should I do? Should I shorten my stride, and really try to keep my weight back?[/quote]ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! This “keep the weight back cue” is really not a good one. They’re attempting to stop you from shifting your upper body forward too early and getting ahead of the lower. That’s a good intent. The cue causes, in some, the centre of gravity to stay back toward the rear foot much too long and can cause a collapse of the back leg before the stride. Now, those who advocate “drop 'n drive” like this idea. There are very few real drop 'n drive pitchers in the majors. You can always find examples of something but it’s not that common.

As most on this board are probably getting tired of hearing me say :lol: you need a more productive cue. I strongly believe that this cue is to aggressively drive the side of the front hip at the target no later than the point where the lift knee has reached it’s highest point. Now, don’t excessively lean the trunk back during this. Some is fine, just not excessively. Keep the heel down until the front foot is almost ready to turn over into landing, then fire everything from the belly button on down. Spin the back foot/knee/leg and rotate all of this hard INTO LANDING. Do NOT ROTATE THE SHOULDERS UNTIL THE FRONT FOOT HAS LANDED.

Man, they’ve given you some poor advice my friend. PM me and you’ll see that you probably aren’t doing too badly. Any problems you may be having are probably elsewhere in you delivery and the coaches are barking up the wrong tree and could just make things worse.

I agree with dm59 on a number of points.

First, what’s with this “keep the weight back” thing? You need to get it going. Pitchers have too much time and this leads to problems. Get it going quicker and faster and get into foot strike quicker. You’ll eliminate the extra time you have to goof up, you’ll be quicker to the plate and you might be able to eliminate the use of a slide step and just pitch the same way whether or not there’s runners on base. Now, if your coach was trying to keep you upper body from getting ahead of your lower body, then keeping your weight back is not the solution. Instead your problem may be that you’re too upright. In that case, you should start with your knees bent more. You might need to work you lower back strength and flexibility to help you maintain an upright spine into delivery.

Second, leading with the elbow is correct as dm59 pointed out. Late in the delivery, the shoulders square up to the target, the forearm lays back, the back bends forward, and the forearm snaps forward. (Ok, maybe “snaps” is not a good choice of words when talking about the arm. :lol: )

Third, I agree with dm59’s “cue” to aggressively push the front hip towards the target. But, to clarify the comments about rotation, there needs to be separation between the front hip and the back shoulder. That is, the hips should open up first and then there should be a delay before the shoulders rotate.

Finally, your problem could be a timing issue - not necessarily a mechanics issue. For example, you might need to adjust the timing of the events that make up your delivery. I’d bet getting to foot strike quicker might help.

I agree with the conversation on keeping the weight back. I find many pitchers have trouble understanding what coaches really mean when this is said. I tell pitchers to work on lateral movement with the hips into the plate, meaning that we want the hips to move laterally towards the plate as long as possible until foot plant. Another way of describing this is telling pitchers to imagine being pulled by a rope around the hips towards the plate. I also use the phrase, “get on the horse” to get the point across. If you try to “keep the weight back”, how many people describe it, you would fall off the horse.

I think there is a difference between what many describe as “drop and drive” and what I would describe as a collapsing back side. I don’t really subsribe to the drop and drive method but find many high school pitchers with collapsing back sides. They lose a tremendous amount of momentum and lateral movement into the plate and therefore lose unused kinetic energy or velocity. I beleive this often comes as a direct result of the cue “keep the weight back”.

Hey thanks. Ive only gotten to pitch once since posting and I hadnt checked this site. Ill post up feedback after I pitch a couple times after this.