Pushing off of the front leg

Hi- My son has been instructed by numerous trainers on his pitching mechanics and recently he was given advice that contradicted what he had been told in the past. He was always told to push off the mound with his back leg pretty much as hard as he can but recentley he has seen a highly regarded pitching coach that has asked him to shorten his stride so that he can stay tall longer and push off of his front leg. This has added 3 to 5 mph on to his pitch but it seems to fly in the face of most everything I have heard. Any thoughts ?

justin verlander detroit tigers

he does the tall and fall
he has a very short stride
used to hit 100+

i think its is a height thing
verlander is 6-4 6-6 so he can stay tall and get on top of his pitches

if he is not six foot i wouldn’t recommend it
even if he is look at randy johnson
simple mechanics work fine for him

with the tall and fall you cant use your legs as much as in plain mechanics and drop and drive

If your son had contol issues or a very large stride that could be the reason. You don’t really have to push off the rubber to get good momentum anyways. Did his stride seem too big before?

He didn’t shorten his stride too much, and his control is about even but he would throw a 43 foot pitch every now and again and doesn’t seem to be having that problem now, which I thought at the time was him holding the ball to long. Thanks for the input. I will be posting some video of him pretty soon of both sets of mechanics and see what everyone thinks, again thanks

[quote]pitching coach that has asked him to shorten his stride so that he can stay tall longer and push off of his front leg. This has added 3 to 5 mph on to his pitch but it seems to fly in the face of most everything I have heard. Any thoughts ?


What do you mean “push off his front leg” exactly and is he still pushing with his back leg in the beginning? Go into a little more detail about what the coach said and if you have any video could you post some.

Brantley, thanks for responding

What the coach wants him to do is use his back leg to push off the mound and then transition into pulling his body through with the front leg similar to pulling your body towards your glove hand. I think my wording was a little confusing even when I re-read it, does that explain it better. The film I have on him does not show him doing this as he is just trying to incorparate this into his mechanics and we have not decided if this was the right road to go down. I will be posting some clips tonight, and thanks again for the response. The website Rocks

ok that’s a little more clear but if you do decide to continue with this concept post a video of it for us to look at to understand further.

Thanks for your response.

At what point in his delivery is he “pushing” with the front leg? Is it after knee lift? It sounds like what what you are describing can be also described as “spreading the legs”.

In this clip he thow a couple 4 seamers and a couple two seamers and finishes with a change up. He’s only 11 and still a little guy so I’m not going to pitch him into the ground and screw with his mechanics too much. I’m gonna post it via You Tube tommorow and hopefully it will come in clearer. But till then, and he’s definitley not 6’ …more like a shade over 5’

Pushing off with the back leg vs. pushing off with the front leg and staying tall. Hmmm…

Pushing off with the back leg is conventional wisdom. Often, when pitchers try to push off, they mess up their timing. That can rob velocity. On the other hand, shortening the stride, if not too long to begin with, can also mess up timing and it can definitely reduce momentum - more things that can rob velocity. Lots of variables in this equation with possibly the biggest being your son’s young age. Young kids often lack the core strength to stabilize the head and torso while moving faster down the mound. So stride length should be adjusted to be as long as possible while still maintaining posture and balance.

What’s appropriate for your son depends on where he’s at right now. Need to see video to comment further but your link says the video is private.

Give it a try now, sorry.

I don’t see a “push” of neither leg.

Based on what I can see in the video, I would not shorten his stride. I think as he grows older and develops more core strength, he will be able to build more momentum and lengthen his stride. And that should be the direction he works toward.

What I do see that I think he needs to work on is his glove arm. After he extends the glove out front, he lets it drop and that affects his posture and pulls his shoulders open early. Try to get him to keep the glove out front. As the shoulders rotate, the glove should turn over so the pocket faces him but it should remain up in front and he should bring his chest to the glove.

It scares me when coaches advocate that young pitchers “push” with their legs…I like to think more of generating maximum forward momentum while maintaining repeatable balance/finish . The body will figure out the role for the legs to play . This kid does ALOT of good things, at his age be careful not to try to do too much … but as Roger states, I would focus on staying closed longer ( glove side ) .

I’d suggest having him place his heels on the rubber before he gets in his wind up rather than the balls of his feet or the toes. Makes the footwork a bit easier with a simple pivot on the ball of his foot rather than stepping over the rubber.

roger, what do you think of verlander how he has a short stride and looks like he pushes with front leg. do you think he gets alot of momentum and whats the reason for his velocity. what are some of the positives and negatives of having a long stride and momentum, like you always say, or something like verlander does.

I don’t like the way Verlander straightens the front leg. Obviously, he’s very successful at it which just goes to show you can get good at doing things in many different ways with enough practice and enough strength and flexibility. But that’s not a good reason to teach what Verlander does.

In general, I think straightening his leg creates for a more violent delivery. I prefer pitchers to look smooth and effortless as that is usually a sign of effective use of the body. Violent deliveries just “seem” more dangerous.

Specifically, I think he straightens his leg early and that affects his timing -preventing him from delaying shoulder rotation as long as it otherwise could be. That prevents him from getting as much out of hip and shoulder rotation as possible. He has to make up for that elsewhere - probably witih his arm.

The timing issue also keeps him from getting his release point as close to home plate as he otherwise could because, without delaying shoulder rotation, he spins out early instead of tracking forward.