Shoulders closed longer

My glove action is decent. I just think that I open up to quickly either with my hips or shoulders or both. could somebody give me some drills as to how to do that. Heres my mechanics, I know I’ve posted it like twice but just so its easier to find.

Really, nobody has any drills or tips to keeping closed longer?

no drills per se - but for keeping the hips closed longer - during your stride, think about leading with the side of your foot going toward the plate. Right before you plant turn the toes and GS knee to the plate.

For shoulders - concentrate on rotating them after foot plant. Exaggerate the difference between hip rotation and shoulder rotation at first. Then as you start to get comfortable with it - speed up the timing.

Initially at phase #1, your shoulders are angled back excessively and you’re pitching arm starts its motion from around your shoulder line then extends back. This initial “clothesline” posture is managed by many pitchers that have the upper body strength to control the rest of their delivery motion, but for youngsters who are still developing – strength and coordination wise, this “clothesline” start can ripple problems throughout the rest of the delivery.

At phase #2 notice your upper body’s posture … swinging your upper torso – in particular your shoulders, sideways, and with a slight downward look. When the human body starts ANY motion, it usually presets its balance and motion – in this case forward motion, by preempting that motion by setting the lead leg in motion and foot. Your stride leg is about to compliment your upper body’s signal of where it’s about to go, regardless of you intentions, so notice the two red lines – first with the shoulders then with your stride leg and that leg’s foot.

At phase #3, you literally planted and committed to the posture dictated by your initial shoulder angle as described in phase #1.

In phase #4, your legs cross, binding your inner thighs,your body is going to start its delivery motion to the plate in an upright position, and it will stay that way throughout.

In phase #5, you pitching arm will swing wide, like a whip, your body will remain upright as you bind at the inner thighs and you attempted to stay focused on your target at the plate. All of this is a continuation of the posture that was dictated in phase #1.

In phase #6, your release is whipped sideways, influencing a flat trajectory to you pitch and more often than not taking some pitches that you could develop, right out of your inventory. In addition, at this point your body is just starting to react to the binding of the inner thighs and the restrictive feeling forced by the crossing of the legs.

At phase #7, your entire body has to deal with the various push and pulls being forced on it, so – it compensates by thrusting out the right hip. Also, notice how upright your staying and how your shoulders
seem to be closing in on themselves. Soreness at the base of the neck and in the small of the back usually accompany this kind of delivery as time goes on.

There’s a video section at the start of this web site at the top right of Roger Clemens going through his paces. Pay special attention to the discipline that he addresses his upper body – the alignment of this
upper torso and shoulders. This posture not only affords strikes, but it’s also a delivery measure that instills a healthly form from start to finish.

BUT, as I stated in my very beginning – some pitchers manage your kind of form here very well throughout their entire career. These men are fully developed, matured body development, and continuously training with the best money can buy.

When developing a delivery, a personal signature of your “style” usually accompanies your progress in training and playing experience. Below is a typical delivery posture at its finish. Notice how a majority of this pitcher’s forward progess is energy that’s passed on to the baseball. But then again, this pitcher in this picture is fully grown, matured and without a doubt has had extensive professional guidence.

Coach B.

By “legs cross” and “binding at the inner thighs” are you referring to a closed stride (i.e. his plant foot lands too closed so that his back leg must swing out as his hips turn instead of forward)?

The picture below will give you some idea of what I’m ref’g to.

When the stride leg extends and plants the stride foot - more often than not with that stride foot is in front of the pivot foot, the stride foot forces all kinds of problems. But this actual planting of the stride in that position isn’t usually deliberate of and by itself. Usually it is the cause associated with somethnig else upstairs, the surface conditions of the mound itself, or some other reason.

In any event, as you stated – you referring to a closed stride (i.e. his plant foot lands too closed so that his back leg must swing out as his hips turn instead of forward)?

Basically, yes.

Below is a very basic control chart for reasoning upper and lower control problems of a pitch at the plate, that are passed on by the stride leg landing in various places off the direct line from the pivot foot’s instep to home plate.

Howevr, as any pitching coach will point out, this kind of observation with the stride leg is not a stand alone reason for anything, but one that’s used in conjunction with other observations.

Coach B.

Wow, Thanks alot Coach B. That is some awesome breakdown of myself. I have already attempting to adjust my delivery know, however it is in the very early stages.

I do have 1 question though, so basically the fault of my control is my stride and my glove action?

Glove action alone - no. Total shoulder alignment yes.

If you can go back to the #1 phase through the 3rd, you’ll get an idea of what I’m ref’g to.

This media is very hard to express “do-this-do-that”. So, I tried to breakdown some of the reasons for what I saw.

I must appologize to you for some of my wording. After reading some of it later, I may have confused you with some train-of-thought stuff on my part. That’s an issue I’m trying to do better with. I hope I didn’t cloud the meaning of what I was trying to get accross.

Again. if you keep your shoulders “IN LINE” with your target, break your hands so your ball comes out of the glove and drops down slightly behind - and not swinging way out to the side behind you, you’ll do fine. To drive this point home, refer to Roger Clemens in the upper right hand corner of this page and watch his hands break - his shoulder alingment, and then his delivery posture. It’s textbook.

You look as if you have the promise for some great pitching skills. Your deliberate, you seem to concentrate on what your doing, and if you keep at it - working hard on your delivery, you’ll have a bright future in this game.

I wish you the best with your baseball experience.
Coach B.

Thanks for that chart Coach. I have a “closed” stride (on the left of your chart) and have been trying to open it up. You mention that this plant foot position may be based on something else in the chain of events - what are your thoughts on a fix to an overly closed plant foot.

Thanks alot Coach B, you are one of the few coaches out there who truely know what he is talking about and can help extend a guys career.

BTW Thanks for thinking that I have potential :smiley:
My coach cut me me from Varsity because I was proclaimed “On the lower level of talent”. you are one ofthe few people who sees potential besides me.


I’m gong to offer just SOME of the reasons, to answer your question. To actually help you with your form, posture and style (mechanics) you need a pitching coach during live-time to assist you in this regard, or, post some video on the section of this site and take advantage of assitance there.

When the stride foot lands off to the front of the toe of the pivot foot, sometimes refer’d too as “closed” it (stride foot) landing like that can be caused by some of the following:
>Pivot foot points downward into a hole in front of the pitcher’s rubber.On many amateur ball fields, there’s usually a hole right in front of the pitcher’s rubber caused by repeated use. Rarely are these holes addressed inning after inning. So, since many pitchers are RHP (right-handed pitchers), this hole tends to dip downard at the toe for every RHP that performs. Now some pitchers have no problem dealing with this hole. For others it’s a different story - and can go totally by the boards. What happens is that for some, when the leg lift is completed, regardless how slight and regardless if its during the windup or set, trying to stride forward usually solicits an involuntary response from the body of shifting the body’s forward motion slightly towards the third baseline, instead of straight forward towards the target. Hence, the result is a foot that’s prematurely planted off centerline – compensating the body’s shifting weight due to the pivot foot deliberately leaning everything above it - in that direction.

By the way, try this as a deliberate act in your backyard. Dig a hole so your pivot foot’s toe actually points downward and go through your windup and set motion and see if this affects your stride forward in a direct line to your target. . 9 out of 10 times it will. Then, ever so slowly try and move your upper body to deliver a pitch and see if your inner thighs bind and you throw slightly across yourself.
>Leg lift is too high
Another problem that can contribute to this planting of your stride foot is when your leg lift is too high for your individual talent level (at that point in time). Trying different positions for your leg lift can offer up some surprising style changes. Also, it’s not all that unusual to find a very comfortable leg lift specifically for your fastball, then your slider, change-up, and so on. Now depending on what level your at – you could be unwittingly tipping off your pitches. However, if you’re trying to teach yourself the what-for’s of every pitch in your inventory, this is a go place to start.
>Visual appearance of your landing area
If I were to ask you to deliberately step in a hole, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if you told me what I could do with that hole. (now be nice). But, do you find a deep hole right where your stride leg is stretching out to AND your stride foot is going to plant itself at many if not all of the mounds that you work off of ? Of course you do. Well, this visual witness is not going unchecked by your subconscious, believe me. And this observation and decision process that’s going on in your mind is as natural as the blinking of your eyes and every breath that you take. In effect, what’s happening is that your body’s sensing mechanism is hesitating you from stepping into a hole – naturally, but you’re going to deliberately do it anyway. So, you stride short or off center. More often than not you won’t even realize it. And why should you? Your body is only acting in its own defense to avoid stepping in a hole and landing while your stretching your balance and confidence all at the same time … just when your balance mechanisms are need the most.
Again, dig a small hole in your back yard and see just how you feel stretching out and landing in this hole with your stride foot. Do this slowly now and don’t deliberately try and snap an ankle. FEEL THE LACK of confidence in yourself.
>Late breaking of the hands
A very common problem with mature pitchers is the late breaking of the hands. In this case, being too top heavy with form, committing too late with shoulder rotation, and a host of other issues compounds striding problems. I have found that stocky pitchers with a pronouced midsection-girth are prone to this.

Curling too far back during the windup
Some pitchers windup too far back prior to their delivery. What happens is that the body coils back so far that by the time the body’s foward motion goes into effect the pitcher is still uncoiling, late hand seperation, leg lift commits way too late going down … then plump! Foot hits the ground short and off center.
>Other problems
Pitcher mounds that are too high, oblong and poorly maintained, mounds composed primarily of dirt and sand offer no support for any constructive performance or follow up coaching.

Coach B.

I wanted to bring to your attention what the body does - beyond your attention span, with respect to your stride foot and where it plants itself. I meant to include this in my last post but somehow it got lost in the shuffle.

When I refer’d you to Roger Clemens above, in the far right corner of this site, I also wanted to direct your attention to just how precise the human body can be with respect to this subject of stride foot placement.

Focus on roger Clemens and his stride knee very carefully. Keep watching it because what I’m about to point out is a initial stage of knee wear-n-tear for pitchers that are stocky and carrying a lot of girth.

Watch how his stride foot actually PLANTS OFF HIS PIVOT TOE, then watch how is stride knee “flex’s” to his glove side for a split second, then stablizes straight up – supporting the final drive forward by all the weight that Clemens drives forward with. This “flexing” of his knee toward his glove side is his body actually wanting to balance itslef inline with his pivot foot’s instep/heel. In fact, thiat stride knee - just for a split second, is perfectly in line right where it’s supose to be In effect, he’s been doing this correctly for most of his career, but now that he’s a bit older in this picture, his body isn’t as responsive and flexible as it use to be. Age and the extra lbs have caught up to him. Nevertheless, his experience and ability does allow him to recover nicely.

This minor detail observation will yeild knee issues later on in his career if not addressed. For a pitcher of this size and weight - either tone down the “lubs” or correct the stride. No debate or conversations here.

So you see, even the pros … the very sucessfull pros, have issues that your dealing with right now.

Take video of yourself and notice if your stride knee does the same thing as Clemens. If so, you can start correcting the problem now. Just remember, your body has a balance mechanism that will not fail you. Trust it to guide you and don’t try to over come or act against with happens naturally. Use your body’s natural reflexes to guide your work.

Coach B.

Thanks for the in-depth response Coach - I’ll be sure to check out some video soon. As far as I know from video thus far, my stride foot plants in line with my stride toe, or at times even more closed off, in turn creating a curved drag line from my pivot foot. The problem I am having with fixing this is that when I “open up” my front knee sooner to compensate and stride more in line, I seem to lose some explosiveness (more of a pause at foot plant now), and a lot of momentum from starting my hips eary. Is this something that will just take time to work itself into a smooth delivery?

Thanks again for the reply - I really appreciate it.

Depends …

First off, more pitchers then not, rely on the very posture that you now have, as a first step in their improvement – and second – they realize that the tradeoff between having “pop” (as we call it) and reliable form that can consistently deliver strikes AND sustain their foundation pitch (whatever that might be) requires an attention to detail – slowly…ever so slowly.

I’ve seen exactly what your ref’g to over the years and many pitchers sustain and maintain a very successful career with what you’re doing right now – without touching anything. Yes, that’s right – “without touching anything”. No refinement, no tweaking, … nothing. Now, during their early years this isn’t a big deal. Their young enough and athletic enough to compensate all up and down the body … and smoothly I might add. And under these circumstances – when their winning appearance after appearance, inning after inning, it’s kinda hard to walk up to a guy and say,” ya know sport… I’ve noticed something that you might want to address …”

On the other hand, without fail down the line things just don’t seem to be as easy as before. Then I hear, “ coach, aaahhhh, ya know that thing you were going to talking to me about … what was it again…???”

So, as I did then, let me suggest to you here…
Take a video camera and place it directly behind you so you can get your total body in the picture without being too far way so you won’t miss details. Move your body in very slow motion exactly What YOU FEEL is the most comfortable delivery posture, and at the same time be deliberate as you can with the form and posture that you know is correct. Make this delivery action … oh about a dozen times. Now move the camera to your left, and repeat. Then in front of you, then to the right.

Before you actually watch yourself ( no cheating here) wright down on a pad of paper every possible thing that you know about pitching with a form and delivery that’s correct and 100%. DO NOT INJECT SOMEONE ELSES PITCHING STYLE – JUST YOU. Start With what your head is suppose to do, then the upper part of your body, then the lower part of your body, then the legs, and so on. At this point you’re the pitching coach. And next to every line item on the paper that you just marked down – make an honest appraisal of what you now see from each vantage point. Rewind the video many times and rethink the process over and over.

Now go back on the field, and in real time (not slow) go through you delivery. Use your camera to again take pictures from the same spots. Check out your notes from the first exercise and see just where you are. Again, coach yourself.

I’m making these suggestions because you impress me as an athlete that knows more than just the basics. You seem to be in touch with the fine tuning of one’s work.

Oh, by the way, this exercise is also important to you later on when you’re at a point of making adjustments during game time. THAT sir is when the true picture of a pitcher starts to come into focus – MAKING ADJUSTMENTS. So, in order to make adjustments you must have a baseline to draw on. THAT’S WHAT YOU’RE DOING HERE.

Coach B.

Another great post - thanks Coach.

I will definitly run through that video analysis and start making some adjustments.