Using legs while pitching

I hear everyone say you generate power by using your legs yet i dont see “tall and fall” getting power from the legs…drop and drive i can see it…any thoughts…I know i dont get much power from my lower half…im just wnating to get some more velocity

I could be misinterpreting Steve’s advice on this, but “drop and drive” is exactly what it implies…you bend the post leg and explode toward home. The apparent problem with this is you lose the advantage of the mound by making the ball come across on a flat plane. However, with “tall and fall” I don’t think it means, literally, you “fall” forward. According to the info I read from Steve, you still generate power by pushing off the rubber, you just don’t “drop and drive”. You still have to push off the rubber.

That’s how I understand it…of course, I could be wrong in which case, sorry! :lol:

I am in no way an expert but after studing and working with pitchers in little league and travel ball for the past 4 years, I have found that pitchers that bend the posting leg a bit then stride out as far as they can get more power from their hips, but picthers that drop a bit but bend their back and do not stay tall tend to lose a bit of pop in their pitch.

So I think it is a combination of both forms.

  1. “drop” bend posting leg a bit.
  2. 'drive" stride length.
  3. “stay tall” do not bend the back on landing.

pedro and many other players that throw hard bend at the waist the their back knee bends a whole lot…

I understand the stride length is a key. I read that a pitcher should stride out 90% of his height. So a 14 yr old 5’8" should stride out 5’1" and thus use his legs to drive off the rubber and then rotate his body.

I do agree that you need a combination of the both. Im around 6’6/6’7 and I have always been taught to use my size. I do believe that you dont need to drop where your back knee is running the ground. But if you watch the good players like maddux/prior/clemmens. You do see their back knee flew a little and then they get good extension and drive with their back leg.

Ideally from what I read in the Nolan Ryan Pitchers Bible, is that all your power comes from your back leg and IDEALLY your arm is just suppposed to come through the zone, thus putting less stress on the shoulder/elbow.

Here at Indiana State our pitching coach does a very good job with teaching the combination. I think you need to stand tall on the mound, yet flex a little to get that drive.

what should i focus on with my lower body?..Do you play for indiana state?..I would be interested in going there…how is the program

Your best friend would be a video camera. Tape yourself throwing that way you can slow it down as much as you need and you can critique yourself and see what you have to work on.

Yes I play at Indiana State, and I love it here. The team is great and we play in a tough tough tough Conference (MVC). Steve is a fellow MVC alum.

If you are interested in playing here EMAIL ME and I can give you some contact information.


Many moons ago I went to Yankee Stadium every chance I got, and I saw something that really impressed me. The Yankee pitchers, especially the Big Three rotation, were driving off the lower half of the body, using the legs, the hips and the torso to generate the power behind their pitches—and in doing so, they took a lot of pressure off the arm and the shoulder. I watched them, and I realized “Hey, that’s how not to get a sore arm!”, and I made a note of this and started working on it on my own. I had been playing for a couple of years already, and when I saw this I knew what I would have to do, and so I worked on it and incorporated it into my own pitching. Not only did I NOT get a sore arm, I also got more speed into my delivery—I was a sidearm pitcher who wasn’t very fast but who threw hard and used a slide step, and I used that move to excellent advantage.
You may have heard of the guy who was my pitching coach for a few years. His name was Ed Lopat, and he was a finesse pitcher whose specialty was beating the Cleveland Indians to a pulp, and he saw what I was doing and helped me refine the move—including the crossfire. I will always remember him for what he did in taking me in hand and helping me become a more effective pitcher.

I consider this, the “final” refinement a pitcher normally goes through and i think one of the toughest to teach. Many that I watch simply bring the lower half along for the ride instead of using it to develop the velocity it takes to compete at varsity and beyond levels. The savings to the arm are so substantial that I think most of the guys who finally get it…can’t figure out why it is that “all of a sudden” 90-100 pitches seem effortless. My own son, when he throws at his highest velocities does so when he completely integrates his bottom half…thusly the effortless feel.
I recommend trying it…do some drill work designed to use your bottom half…it WILL blow your mind.
One excercise is, to use weights and a balance beam, 3-5 lb in both hands, slowly go through knee lift to foot strike (Here’s the fun part), then draw it backto set…mmmmmm you’ll feel the burn…in places you’ve never thought would burn…now no fair bouncing back, use you booty and you abs and leg strength to pull it back to the stretch position…man will you be aware of that bottom half :shock:

A really good way to tell if you are fully utilizing your lower body is to watch what happen to the trail foot after it turns over. If it turns over and drags an angle directly into follow through then you would be minimally utilizing your lower body. If however this drag line drags straight towards home plate and then out to an angle to follow through, you are using your lower body. Finally, if your foot angles slightly the opposite way it would go into follow through and towards the plate before approaching follow through you could be considered maximally utilizing your lower body. Also you should notice that are you are throwing that the distance between your knees should decrease before you follow through. If you can get a hold of some old school Orel Hershiser video footage then you will see this very well.

I tend to disagree regarding the toe drag. The fact is the drag takes place following the trunk rotation which generates velocity in the first place. What your back leg does during the follow through is more of a result of applying proper mechanics and using your core to the fullest extent. The way lower body mechanics contribute to an effective delivery has more to do with the back hip, thigh, and buttock thrusting open while keeping the shoulders closed. As far as physics is concerned this allows the most tourque and provides the most power, as the shoulders and arm will follow (in that order). Perhaps I misunderstood your point, but I don’t see how using your legs during follow through (which takes place after the ball is released) would have any sort of positive effect on one’s delivery.

I’m not sure I agree with this. But, before going there, how do you define “trunk”?

Trunk is another word for core. I put it into context later on in my post when I talked about thrusting the back hip (part of the core) and buttock (also a minor core muscle) while stabilizing the front side and keeping the shoulders closed. Of course, the shoulders will follow miliseconds after the hips are opened due to the torque created in opening the hips first. According to the laws of physics, power=torque x rotational speed. I can go further into depth, but I’ll let you respond rather than deviate further from the the original topic.

I’m not in a league, and have no idea how fast I throw. That said, I do throw often. I’m primarily working on long tosses now to strenghten my arm. I’m starting to find that my front leg is very … weak. Actually, both legs are weak. How did I figure this? Well, when I threw I felt as if I’m not stable. I can throw the ball far, but I’m landing all sorts of ways. A few weeks ago I started running more than throwing. Exercising my legs helps out a ton with my velocity. Well, I’m throwing much farther now.

How does this translate to this topic? Well, when I throw and land my front leg, I tend to put more pressure on it. Basically, it’s more of a stomping through motion than placing my foot down. I’m using my leg to apply force to the ground, which then transfers more energy to my arm to whip that ball a long distance.

What I’m trying to get at is that since my legs are much stronger, I’m able to explode my hips in such a way that it feels like I’m stomping through the ground. In reality, I’m just moving my lower body with more force.

So ya, exercising the legs and visualzing stomping through the ground helps me a lot. I’m not sure if anyone agrees, but this is the way I can make this explosion work for me :oops: .

the tall and fall is utilizing the legs because it is flexing your upper body over a flexed front leg which provides you with downward momentum

tusk, i got a buddy goin to isu next year, he went to the juco i am currently going to…

Brent Strom and Tom house to name two guys talk about getting the lower half going. House says “higher, farther, faster” and he teaches to begin moving out as soon as leg lift begins (I think he uses Nolan Ryan as an example). Strom calls it pelvic loading and wants the hips to tilt and then maintain so as to carry the mass down the hill. One drill they use is to stand about 6-8" away from a wall, lift and tilt until your hip hits the wall. You should feel yourself falling forward and a tension in the hip area.

Properly using your legs during follow through is critical so that you can properly decelerate your arm across the body, otherwise you will suffer from recoil, causing reduced velocity, accuracy and additional stress on the arm.

I’m not completely familiar with the House approach, but that sounds like drifting through the balance point, which will certainly generate more energy than the other approach. I like to take the view of, drop and drive while staying tall. Which is basically, drift through the balace point while maintaing good balance an posture. There is no bending of the back. It is a shifting of your weight forward while thusting your torso forward as you rotate your shoulders. This in turn will pull your arm through. You should end up with your chest over your GS knee with your torso in an upright postion at release. Follow through pulls you up on to the GS leg while decelerating you arm across your body. Over course I’m making it sound easy, but this is just a basic way of putting it.