Stance on the rubber

From the windup, is width of the stance on the rubber critical to mechanics?

Is there any advantage to stepping behind the rubber as opposed to more the side of the rubber to pivot?

[quote=“Turn 22”]From the windup, is width of the stance on the rubber critical to mechanics?

Is there any advantage to stepping behind the rubber as opposed to more the side of the rubber to pivot?[/quote]

The stance on the rubber is the same as the stance at the plate. Neither means a whole lot, and is pretty much up to the user, and what they feel comfortable with.

Where the pitcher steps is also pretty much up to him. Personally, I had my son step back because I felt it made more sense to keep his momentum parallel with where his target was. IOW, straight back, straight forward. A lot of modern pitchers like to step to the side, and I don’t see it as being such a big deal, except in one situation. If the mound isn’t built correctly, i.e. with the top having a flat surface extending to both sides of the rubber, I wouldn’t be comfortable with a sidestep.

re: “…From the windup, is width of the stance on the rubber critical to mechanics”

If you have any type of leg-lift in your pitching delivery, the width of stance is important to your mechanics whether you are starting your delivery from the set position or the wind-up.

Here is why:

From the set position, if your feet are much wider apart than your arm-pits then as you go into leg-lift you will not be able to remain balanced without cantilevering backward with your upper body. However, many coaches believe that any extra motions you must use to overcome balance problems are unproductive, at best, and counterproductive at worst.

If you pitch from the wind-up using a very wide stance, the rocker step in your wind-up will most likely serve to increase the width between your feet even further–again, this will most likely cause a real problem with your balance in the leg-lift

If you start either form of delivery from a very narrow stance, that is problematic as well–if your feet are very close together the less the chance that your center of gravity is stable.

From a human anatomy point of view, it makes a lot of sense to start every pitch delivery from what is generally recognized as an “athletic position”. That is, center of gravity evenly distributed over your two feet, about arm-pit to arm-pit wide, slight bend in the knees…this is often referred to as the “free-throw” position for very good reason…basketball players shooting free-throws also generally opt for a stance with superior balance.

Thanks for the responses.

The reason I asked is that my son’s HS coach would like to see him positioned with his feet closer together. His pitching coach likes his stance width as is, which is probably close to in line with his armpits. He steps to the side into pivot, with a high leg kick.

I guess the point is that he is comfortable and more importantly effective as is, but if the HS coach insists on changing him he will change. I don’t think it should change his timing but that’s adjustable too, right?

Many coaches want to minimize movement thinking that too much movement will lead to balance issues - which it very well may. On the other hand, many coaches fail to appreciate the importance of feet positioning. As laflippin mentioned, improper width will lead often to inappropriate head movement. And sometimes that can be very subtle. But it can set you up to fail before you’ve even started moving!

Sounds like your son’s coach has noticed some movement and wants to tone it down by narrowing the feet. And I’d say he is on the right track.

Regarding the step to the side, I don’t prohibit it but I may have a pitcher tone it down if I think it’s creating so much side-to-side movement that it’s leading to posture and/or balance issues.

Your comment about timing is very insightful. Especially when pitching from the stretch, a foot position that is too wide will often result in a weight shift back towards 2B as the pitcher goes into knee lift. That injects more time into the delivery and can lead to early shoulder rotation (a timing problem) as the “mechanics dominos” start to fall. It also makes the pitcher slower to the plate giving base runners more time to steal.

There is something you need to know about coaches, and especially someone he hasn’t worked with is that they always feel like they need to tweak something so that they feel as though they are doing something.

In this case it’s a little difficult since the HS coach has you by the ****'s, you want playing time/mound time, you will do need to do it his way, sometimes they do it just to see how coachable he is or how he adapts to different techniques. Best thing is to make the adjustments and move on.

He made the adjustment. Actually found that there was no real difference in his timing. He’s good with it and the coach is pleased, so all around win.

Thanks again for the comments.