Should you "push" off the pitcher's rubber?


#1

I contacted Dr. Glenn Fleisig today at the American Sports Medicine Institute in Alabama. Thought you’d appreciate his words on “pushing off the rubber,” “proper stride length,” and “proper foot landing.”

Should you push off the rubber? Fall? Glide?

ASMI’s pitching research is based on:

* principles of biomechanics
* data from many elite pitchers
* a focus on shoulder and elbow motions and loads

Because of this basis, the push or fall issue is not a big focus of ours since injuries do not occur during the stride phase.

What’s important in our analysis is that the arm and body are in the proper position and coordination at the time of front foot contact, when significant loading of the elbow and shoulder really start. We have quantified the position used by healthy, elite pitchers at the time of foot contact. We don’t care too much how a pitcher gets to this position, and only worry about leg and arm motions in the stride if there is a problem at the time of foot contact or after.

On proper stride length:
The proper position at foot contact is for the arm to be on the way up. For a righty, the ball should be showing to the shortstop at the time of pitcher’s foot contact. For a lefty, the ball should be showing to the second baseman. The shoulders should still be closed, while the pelvis should be beginning to open up.

On proper foot landing:
At foot contact, the stride length should be between 78% and 88% of the pitcher’s height. Here, stride length is measured as the distance from the front of the rubber to the ankle of the front foot. Just as important, the front foot should land in front of the back foot or slightly to the closed side, with the front foot rotated slightly inward.

ASMI.org


#2

[quote=“Steven Ellis”]I contacted Dr. Glenn Fleisig today at the American Sports Medicine Institute in Alabama. Thought you’d appreciate his words on “pushing off the rubber,” “proper stride length,” and “proper foot landing.”

Should you push off the rubber? Fall? Glide?

ASMI’s pitching research is based on:

* principles of biomechanics
* data from many elite pitchers
* a focus on shoulder and elbow motions and loads

Because of this basis, the push or fall issue is not a big focus of ours since injuries do not occur during the stride phase.

What’s important in our analysis is that the arm and body are in the proper position and coordination at the time of front foot contact, when significant loading of the elbow and shoulder really start. We have quantified the position used by healthy, elite pitchers at the time of foot contact. We don’t care too much how a pitcher gets to this position, and only worry about leg and arm motions in the stride if there is a problem at the time of foot contact or after.

On proper stride length:
The proper position at foot contact is for the arm to be on the way up. For a righty, the ball should be showing to the shortstop at the time of pitcher’s foot contact. For a lefty, the ball should be showing to the second baseman. The shoulders should still be closed, while the pelvis should be beginning to open up.

On proper foot landing:
At foot contact, the stride length should be between 78% and 88% of the pitcher’s height. Here, stride length is measured as the distance from the front of the rubber to the ankle of the front foot. Just as important, the front foot should land in front of the back foot or slightly to the closed side, with the front foot rotated slightly inward.

ASMI.org[/quote]

IMO the push is the turning of the post leg foot against the rubber. This happens simataniously with the front foot turning over into landing. This is the boost that propels the pitcher into landing with power. This accompanied with proper post leg angle/line through ankle/knee/hip. At solid foot plant clemens hips are open around 25%. I have not seen to many professional pitchers that do not open their hips into landing to some extent. I totally agree with the arm actions/sync with the lower body. Getting the arm up any earlier is a waste of potential energy. The stretch shortening cycle is a clear benefit but only if its used quickly. Stored energy that is not used disipates as heat very rapidly. Getting the arm up later will cause drag problems. Basically the better sync/tempo/timing the pitcher has the better his potential is for performacne and injury prevention.


#3

I really get uncomfortable when coaches suggest striding to x% of height…maybe I’m too simple minded (I know, I am) , but I like to think of it as a maximum stride while still being able to transfer weight from back leg to front allowing for consistent finish ON BALANCE. I can just see dad’s out there measuring the desired landing point with a tapemeasure, and I just think that’s a dangerous interpretation of a well intended coaching point .


#4

I completely agree.


#5

There is a 10% window of discrimination here. fliesig did not say "the stride should be exactley this. I do totally agree with your way of thinking. The particular pitchers mechancis dictate how far he is able to stride and still remain constant with his mechanics.A longer Stride length does have a direct link to higher velocities at least according to the research.


#6

[quote=“ASMI”]We have quantified the position used by healthy, elite pitchers at the time of foot contact. We don’t care too much how a pitcher gets to this position, …[/quote]I know I can’t hold a candle to the boys at ASMI but I’d like to throw this out as a concern with this statement.

I believe we really should care how they get there because it’s a dynamic movement with a before and an after. How you enter into this position determines how you exit from it.

For example, if the hand is moving on an arc down, back and up on a plane that is in line with second and home, then it will move past this cocked position on that plane and then has to change it’s path to get where we want it to go. If the hand takes the path that the majority of MLB pitchers do, meaning on a plane more (but not exactly so) in line with 3rd and 1st as it approaches this same static position, it will move past it on that plane. These are 2 different after high cocked motions. Am I making sense to everyone here. It’s difficult to describe 3D motion in words. Any of you who have the videos I’ve sent around should look at the path the hand takes to get there and you might see what I’m so feebly trying to describe.

I’ve been working with a kid this winter who’s hand path is on that plane from 2nd to home. His hand then continues past the high cocked position and comes in close to his ear. He then has to change this path dramatically, losing any built up kinetic energy because he in essence has to start gaining momentum again.

Pitchers who use the “horizontal W” approach effectively have the hand on that plane that is more 3rd to 1st just as it approaches this high cocked moment. This hand path through high cocked promotes the looping action that facilitates a continuous build up of hand speed with a smooth transition and no pauses or herky jerky moments.

So, to make a long story short, I propose that it DOES matter HOW you get there. The motion approaching a moment in time dictates the motion exiting that same moment in time and can have an effect both on speed and safety.


#7

dm59,
They don’t care because it doesn’t affect the probability of injury. I’m willing to bet that Oswalt’s stride length is beyond their range and he manages to throw pretty hard for a “little” guy.


#8

[quote=“CADad”]dm59,
They don’t care because it doesn’t affect the probability of injury.[/quote]
But it does have the potential to affect this. If the path through high cocked is 2nd - home, the smooth transition into external rotation and beyond can be compromised, potentially causing pauses which then can lead to the arm doing more than what it should because of reduced contribution by the rest of the body.