Throwing over a stiff leg


#1

I have been told that I pitch over a stiff and straight glove side leg. Kinda thinking it led to some of my elbow problems. Read about it in another post. What kind of drill can make me break this bad habit?


#2

The leg should be bent at about 145 degrees at landing, but then it should straighten out as you follow through to allow for the arm to decelerate safely. I don’t know of any drills to correct it; you should just try to practice not landing stiff and it should straighten naturally as you follow through if everything else is correct.


#3

Ideally, you should NEVER straighten your glove-side leg. It should always remain slightly flexed so that it can serve as a shock absorber.

I don’t know of any drills to do other than to practice not stiffening the knee.


#4

[quote=“Chris O’Leary”]Ideally, you should NEVER straighten your glove-side leg.[/quote]Who says this and what evidence is there to support it? Tell Clemens, Nolan Ryan, Wagner, Kazmir, Brown, Oswalt, etc., etc. that they should “never” do that. They all straighten out the landing leg as the upper body comes forward. To attempt to maintain the bend could potentially inhibit the ability of the upper body to continue it’s forward and rotational motion. There are just too many examples of successful pitchers who straighten out that leg. Timing is key here though. If OklahomaLefty is actually “landing” on a straight leg, then I’d say he has serious issues. That would point to a sequencing problem where the upper body is very much ahead of where it should be. It might also indicate a stride that is much too short.


#5

Agreed. In addition, an upper body that gets too far out front will waste the engergy built up in the kinetic chain resulting in throwing with mostly the arm and that can lead to arm injuries.


#6

I would suggest doing the towel drill and, without seeing you, I would guess that you need to bend your knees more in your initial stance. If you do this and maintain the same knee lift, you will probably lengthen your stride and land on a more bent front knee.


#7

The degree to which the front knee bends varies from pitcher to pitcher. I prefer to see the front knee bent more than 145 degrees - 145 degrees is starting to approach being straight. But, again, it varies from pitcher to pitcher. It’s ok for the front knee to bend as much as 90 degrees.


#8

The degree to which the front knee bends varies from pitcher to pitcher. I prefer to see the front knee bent more than 145 degrees - 145 degrees is starting to approach being straight. But, again, it varies from pitcher to pitcher. It’s ok for the front knee to bend as much as 90 degrees.[/quote]

Yea, that’s why I said “about” 145. I agree though, it can be as much as 90 degrees, and it probably should be a little more than 145. It’s just that 145 will be a good starting point if he usually lands on a stiff front leg.


#9

This may sound nit-picky but we I believe the issue we’re talking about here is landing on a straight front leg - not a stiff front leg. It’s important to make this distinction because even when you land on a bent front knee, it must be stiff (or firm as I prefer to call it).

Note that at foot strike the body has built up momentum towards the target. If the pitcher lands on a straight front leg, it creates what I call a “cartwheel effect”. The front leg stops the forward motion of the hips so the torso bends forward at the waist. This wastes the energy created by the lower body and prevents the shoulders from rotating around an upright spine.


#10

I studied my most recent video of myself throwing, and see that I do not land on a straight leg. But once I hit the ground, it has no give to it. I hit the ground and stand straight up, dont follow through and reach out. Hope this information helps you guys.

I would post the video, but its on a old camera that does little tape things and I do not know how to load it onto my computer, sorry.


#11

[quote=“OklahomaLefty”]I studied my most recent video of myself throwing, and see that I do not land on a straight leg. But once I hit the ground, it has no give to it. I hit the ground and stand straight up, dont follow through and reach out. Hope this information helps you guys.

I would post the video, but its on a old camera that does little tape things and I do not know how to load it onto my computer, sorry.[/quote]

Then I stand by my earlier suggestion of starting with the knees bent more. Keep the same knee lift and get the hips going towards the target. It will feel awkward at first. You might even feel like you’re going to fall down. But what will happen is your stride leg will get quicker, you’ll build up more momentum, you’ll lengthen your stride, and you’ll land with a bent front knee. Keep your head over the shoulders and your torso upright and you’ll maximize velocity and move your release point closer to home plate.


#12

So what your saying is that this is causing be to lose some velocity? Thanks for the info. I will definitely have to work hard to fix this.

Also, will this significantly boost my velocity or just 1-2 mph.


#13

This is all mostly speculation without seeing you pitch but base on what you have described it does sound like you’re not fully using your body to throw, How much will this boost your velocity? That’s hard to tell but I wouldn’t expect a lot. Most adjustments produce small improvements. However, keep in mind that if you get your release point closer to home, then the batter will have even less time to see the ball. Every 4" you move your release point closer to home is equivalent to throwing 1mph faster. So if you add 1 or 2 mph to you velocity plus you get your release point 6" closer, that will seem like a 3 or 4mph improvement to the batter.


#14

[quote=“dm59”][quote=“Chris O’Leary”]Ideally, you should NEVER straighten your glove-side leg.[/quote]Who says this and what evidence is there to support it? Tell Clemens, Nolan Ryan, Wagner, Kazmir, Brown, Oswalt, etc., etc. that they should “never” do that. They all straighten out the landing leg as the upper body comes forward. To attempt to maintain the bend could potentially inhibit the ability of the upper body to continue it’s forward and rotational motion. There are just too many examples of successful pitchers who straighten out that leg. Timing is key here though. If OklahomaLefty is actually “landing” on a straight leg, then I’d say he has serious issues. That would point to a sequencing problem where the upper body is very much ahead of where it should be. It might also indicate a stride that is much too short.[/quote] D.M. good post. biomechanically the straightening or perhaps better put bracing/firming up of the frontside is what stops the pelvis from rotating and is what helps enable just what you eluded to about the upper.


#15

I think there is a difference between what happens at foot strike and what happens after foot strike. I think guys like Ryan stride and plant with a fairly straight front leg but then allow the front knee to bend before firming it up. Tell me if you agree with this:

Whether you land on a straight or bent front leg is a comfort thing that varies from pitcher to pitcher. Regardless of which you do, after you plant your front foot, the total body must continue to track forward while shoulder rotation is delayed. We want the shoulders to rotate around an upright spine so the torso needs to be kept upright while the body tracks forward. This is more easily accomodated by either landing on a bent front knee or allowing the front knee to bend right after landing on a straight front knee. In either case, though, the front knee must then firm up to slow down and eventually stop the hips from moving forward to create a more explosive rotation of the shoulders. Pitchers who land on a straight front knee and never allow the front knee to bend will be forced to bend forward at the waist and won’t be able to rotate the shoulders around an upright spine. They will tend to get their torso too far ahead of their lower body and won’t be able to optimally use their body to throw with thereby putting more stress on the arm.