Proper Mechanics For Holding Runners On Base


#1

I am a right handed high school pitcher and throw with the same velocity and accuracy either from a wind up or stretch which I believe should be normal. My problem is when pitching from the stretch with a runner on first base my coach insist I do away with my leg lift and rush my delivery to the plate as he calls it. I lose velocity and accuracy as do the other pitchers on my team. My hips fly open and i’m throwing only with my arm as throwing batting practice. Is my coach correct?


#2

First off, welcome to the forum!

Your coach is having you use a “slide step”. This allows for a faster delivery towards home plate. Some coaches teach it, others don’t.

If you don’t like the slide step, try doing a shorter leg lift than normal. It should still help hold the runners on without compromising accuracy and velocity.


#3

I remember the time when my pitching coach asked me how I was doing with holding runners on base. I didn’t have a real answer for that, because I usually did not have to contend with this situation—I was always keeping the runners off the bases, strikeouts, grounders, what have you. So he told me that the next time we met he would work with me on this. And he did. He told me about all kinds of base runners, starting with the “bump on a log”—the guy who wasn’t going anywhere—and working all the way up to the snap-throw pickoff moves. He told me about not even having to work from either the full windup or the stretch; the whole point was to step off the rubber, turn quickly (I was righthanded) and fire to first base. And he mentioned that one needs to keep an eye on the runner to see what kind of lead he’s taking. If the runner has such a big lead that he’ll steal second at a moment’s notice, the thing to do is to step off the runner and throw to second—and in all probability the runner will either be caught trying to steal or be trapped in a rundown! The worst that can happen is that he’d get back to first base—and you can be sure he’ll think twice before taking such a big lead. 8)


#4

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention—I was a sidearmer who used a slide-step all the time. :slight_smile:


#5

The slide step gets you into foot plant quicker but that reduces the timing that the upper half has to work with. As a result, you usually don’t get to do things like maximize hip and shoulder separation unless you do certain other things. For example, some pitchers really lead with the front hip leaving the stride foot behind. Others will add in some counter-rotation… These things actually make the lower half take a bit longer and give the upper half more time to do its thing while avoiding a leg lift.

The NPA used motion analysis to compare a pitcher using a slide step to a pitcher using a knee lift but also getting his hips moving forward sooner and faster. The result was that the slide-stepper got into foot plant quicker but the knee-lifter caught up by release point. And, since the knee-lifter was moving faster to catch up, that meant more energy to put into the ball and better use of the body in doing so.

I normally have my pitchers show a slide step early in the game but avoid using it as much as possible. In the mean time, they are working on being quicker to the plate USING a knee lift.

One suggestion you could consider is replacing the knee lift with taking the knee back towards 2B or even flicking the foot back towards 2B. The key is to make it look like you’re being quicker by not using a knee lift while actually taking about the same amount of time as your knee lift to give your upper half the time it needs. But you should also work on getting your hips moving towards home plate sooner and faster (unless your coach also teaches getting to the balance point :puke1: ).


#6

Bingo!
As an old friend used to say :slight_smile:
Go knee to knee and deliver, it’s what I hear most at the college level. It doesn’t mess with timing and it’s as fast as the slide with better mo…mo, mo…so to speak :nod: :greengrin: :bighair:
Have it timed and gunned and you’ll prove it, remember it’s delivery time…from 1st move. Also, forget all the hand movement…you know lifting and settling…all that does is allow the runner to gain ground…one quick move to set…differ wait times and make sure they know you’ll go over…the more you work on your move with your 1st baseman the more pics you’ll get.
The point is that you will show the coach you have a game plan for run suppression and generally they’ll let you work it unless you fail dismally anyway…then it’s “slide-step city”.


#7

Bingo!
As an old friend used to say :slight_smile:
Go knee to knee and deliver, it’s what I hear most at the college level. It doesn’t mess with timing and it’s as fast as the slide with better mo…mo, mo…so to speak :nod: :greengrin: :bighair:
[/quote]

I totally agree. Did this and it’s what they also taught in the Cubs organization coming straight down from pitching coach Larry Rothschild.


#8

[quote]jdfromfla wrote:
Quote:
One suggestion you could consider is replacing the knee lift with taking the knee back towards 2B

Bingo!
As an old friend used to say
Go knee to knee and deliver, it’s what I hear most at the college level. It doesn’t mess with timing and it’s as fast as the slide with better mo…mo, mo…so to speak

I totally agree. Did this and it’s what they also taught in the Cubs organization coming straight down from pitching coach Larry Rothschild.[/quote]

Love the knee to knee glide as well. Don’t forget to mix up your holds and work on various moves to the base. Make the runner uncomfortable and keep him wondering.