Stride length


#1

My stride is about 3’6’’ and my height is about 5’8’’. After looking at several mlb pitcher’s strides I feel like mine is too short. Am I correct and what are the effects of having a short stride?


#2

i would think that you would lose velocity if your stride is too short but thats a good question i would like to see what other people have to say.


#3

Having a stride that is too short can lead to your upper body getting too far out front which can result in you throwing mostly with your arm. And that can limit your velocity and increase your chances of injury.


#4

How old are you?

Are you having any problems with your pitching?

Poor velocity? Elbow or shoulder pain?


#5

Chris,
I’m 16 and haven’t had many problems. My pitching’s been alright, nothign special. I’ve been slightly wild, but not anything rediculous. I have average velocity for my team, not sure what it is because I’ve never been gunned. I think this is pretty good because I’m below average size for my team. I’ve had arm troubles in the past, but none this year.


#6

I agree that striding short can reduce your velocity, but that is generally (but not always) more likely to reduce your risk of injury rather than increase it. The reason is that throwing hard puts more stress on the body. In general, the softer you throw the less likely you are to injure yourself.

Of course, as Roger suggests if you try to throw extremely hard using just your arm you are more likely to injure yourself because you are using your body in a very inefficient manner (e.g. not tapping into the power of your body).


#7

In general, and given your age (less than 17), I would say that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

You could probably pick up MPH by lengthening your stride somewhat, but that would also generate more force which would put more stress on your body. If you were to try to lengthen your stride, I would suggest that you also put some effort into a conditioning program (which will help your arm tolerate the added stress).


#8

I will probly try to lengthen my stride if it might increase velocity. Any extra velocity helps when your only 5’7’’. Also, In the offseason I run and lift, but not as much inseason


#9

The problem with increasing your stride too much is that it will lower your release point (which I think can be a problem).

If you end up having problems with guys hitting the ball hard, you might want to go back to the shorter stride.


#10

I’m 5’9’’ and 145 lbs and my stride is about the same as nd943, mine is just a little bigger, 3’10’’.

I read in some places that my stride should be 90% of my body’s length. So my stride should be 5’2’’.

Here are some examples of sites and/or people talking about it:

“The length for optimal results is approximately 90% of the player’s height, give or take an inch.” LINK
http://strike-zone.us/news/jan2004news.html

“The stride length should be same as your body length.” LINK
http://library.thinkquest.org/11902/physics/pitchr.html

Steven Ellis says, on his eBook, that you should have a stride that is 7 inches or so less than your height.

And many other say this. But I think 90% of my body’s length is waaaay too much. What do you guys think?


#11

Different people say different things (e.g. most say 70 to 90 percent but Mike Marshall says 50 to 60 percent can work). I’m not sure that any of these statements have any scientific basis.

As a result, I don’t think there is a rigid rule of thumb.

Some of the things to take into account are…

  • What feels comfortable.
  • What allows you to maximize how much your hips can rotate (which is the key to velocity).

Again, the problems with taking too long of a stride is that it can…

  • Lower the release point.
  • Limit the ability of the hips to rotate.

#12

[quote=“Chris O’Leary”]…Mike Marshall says 50 to 60 percent can work). [/quote]Let’s make sure that statement is put in the proper context. We CANNOT take Marshall’s advice on something like this and apply it to what he calls the “traditional pitching motion”. His advice only makes sense (and the jury’s even out on that one) as it pertains to his recommended mechanics, which you know has very few fans here.

[quote=“Chris O’Leary”]Some of the things to take into account are…

  • What feels comfortable.[/quote]I really think this one is a problem. If we simply allow a kid to do “what feels comfortable”, all sorts of non-productive things can creep in. I had a kid this winter who circled the ball down, back, up and in to his ear before throwing because it was “comfortable”. It was only comfortable because that’s how he’s always done it. It’s the same with stride length. Comfort is not a gauge for effectiveness and efficiency.

[quote=“Chris O’Leary”]…the problems with taking too long of a stride is that it can…

  • Lower the release point.
  • Limit the ability of the hips to rotate.[/quote]These things may or may not be true. The operative term here is “too long”. That’s the debate. We do want a stride that maximizes the ability to develop momentum into landing but we don’t want to limit hip rotation. How long is too long? The perennial rule of thumb that I’ve always been exposed to is 80 - 90% of your height. Anything more than that increases the chances of hip rotation issues. Flexibility and core strength are factors here as well. A short stride (50 - 60% of height as per Marshall) very often will not allow sufficient momentum to be built up. I’ll end by saying, as I’ve said before, “absolutes aren’t”.

#13

About 80% depending on the person. Shorter pitchers often do better with longer strides because they can’t get that much downward motion on the ball anyways and their high pitches become more effective because of the low release point.

Roy Oswalt is relatively short for a big league pitcher. Look at his stride length.

Increasing your stride length will almost certainly improve your velocity once you get used to it. On the other hand you may lose a bit of bite on your breaking pitches, especially on the 12-6. The higher release point is almost always more effective on breaking pitches.


#14

I’d like to hear a detailed explanation of why this is true. I hear this claim quite often without an actual explanation. Thanks.


#15

Roger
As we all know, there are many things that go together to result in velocity. Good athletes can often compensate for a deficiency in some areas. Regarding stride length, very short would increase the chances for velo to be negatively affected, as will very long. If someone has a relatively short stride and doesn’t “make up for it” in some other fashion, velo will suffer. The corollary to that is that lengthening the stride CAN, not WILL, positively affect velo IF it is used to assist in the build up of forward momentum, IF it isn’t so long as to inhibit hip rotation and ONLY IF this new found momentum is effectively converted into rotational forces in the hips and torso.

Variables everywhere!!! Fun isn’t it.


#16

Roger,
I don’t know why it tends to increase velocity. Probably a combination of increased momentum and increased loading on the legs, but I don’t know. What I do know is that I always had a short stride. 33 years ago I thought my motion was similar to Tom Seaver’s and was quite shocked to see myself on video with a motion much more like Don Sutton’s. Unfortunately, my motion was a lot more like his than my fastball.

I was dealing with the loss of velocity that comes with age, about 10 years ago and wanted to be able to throw hard enough for BP (~70) for the kids prior to 12yo all-stars (By the time they were 12 I realized it really wasn’t necessary.) so I experimented with a longer stride length and was able to add 5 to 8 mph to my velocity. Of course my velocity continued to deteriorate with age and it took a bit of long toss, etc. to keep my velocity near where I wanted it. Now, a couple years past 12yo all-stars, I’m lucky if I can throw mid to upper 60s and I can’t do it without pain, but when I do want to throw a bit harder I just increase my stride length a bit. It wasn’t the 12yo season that finished off my arm. It was the next season when I had the Pony 13 team that did it. I was no longer trying to throw as hard as they could, but I threw a ton of BP and also threw them a lot of curves because they saw those almost every game.


#17

Thanks for the replies. What I’m hearing is that there is an appropriate maximum stride length for each pitcher that, when reached, allows for potential maximum velocity to be realized.

But the trick is to figure out how to optimize one’s mechanics to allow the appropriate maximum stride length to be reached. That is, you don’t do it by simply trying to stride further. Nor do you do it by pushing off the rubber extra hard. All of the pieces of the mechanics puzzle must come together to reach that appropriate maximum stride length.