Working the Front of the Rubber

There is no litmus test that points to working the front of the pitcher’s rubber that IS or IS NOT for everybody. Why? Because we’re talking about the human body and a self-signature style of performance, which injects a ton of variables.

My post was a suggestion to try the option as a matter of “let’s see how it works for you”. So, the next time your tossing BP or you have the opportunity to live fire in practice, going through your repertoire along the rubber from different locations and see what effects, if any, results. Specifically, where the ball goes off the bat( more often than not) for the batting styles that your facing. If you have to bring a notebook with you to the mound – do it.

Some pitchers find it a real added benefit – changing the angle of attack
for some of their deliveries and others find it of no use what-so-ever. Yet
other pitchers find that settling into one spot and planting there is just the

In any event, what you’re doing basically is investigating your OPTIONS . In that regard I suggest that you keep an open mind as a competitor and as an amateur coach. And when your trying this technique, make sure you have a reasonable surface to pitch off of. Trying different things on a mound that offers absolutely no surface integrity will do you no justice to the experience and your improvement.

Coach B.

“Specifically, where the ball goes off the bat( more often than not) for the batting styles that your facing.”

–Another excellent point. Although CADad is basically correct that the actual radar velocity of pitches cannot vary significantly soley because of location changes in the strike zone, it is certainly also true that location changes in the strike zone, and changes in the angle of pitches, can affect their “effective velocity”, i.e., whether the hitter has to hit the ball out in front of the plate versus waiting more and hitting the ball late.

Perry Husband has some very interesting thoughts about this topic.

[quote=“laflippin”]Good points, CADad…and derived from real trigonometry using the relevant diamond dimensions.

I very much like the concept of finding the optimal spot on the rubber for each individual pitcher and sticking with it (and I also like the drag-line as a diagnostic for finding that spot).

My reason for wanting a consistent starting spot on the rubber for each individual pitcher is similar to why I’d like each pitcher to develop a very consistent release point for all of his pitches, and it does basically boil down to a trigonometric reality…(sorry, guys, I can’t help myself).

Anyway, if you make an isoceles triangle that has the pitcher’s release point at one vertex, and the 17" base of the triangle is the front edge of home plate, the two long sides of this triangle will each be about 54 feet long.

So far, so good. Here’s the trig quiz: How much of an angle change at the pitcher’s release point will account for 17" of difference in pitch location at HP?

Trigonemetry says, (are you ready for this?): About 1.5 degrees of lateral (left-to-right angle) change at the release point will cause 17" of difference in pitch location at home plate.

You guys are friggin’ surgeons without even knowing it![/quote]

Great point with the trig and the 1.5 lateral degrees difference to cover the whole plate.

Most kids don’t understand how small of a difference it actually is at release to go from the inside to the outside.

If I was moving on the rubber, say for instance to throw a slider i moved to one side and to throw a fastball to the other would a good hitter not pick up on this and know what you are throwing before you even release the ball?


Very good point. Yes, I think at most levels of baseball after LL, and in some LL programs for that matter, your pattern of movements would be picked up and analyzed pretty quickly by your opponents if you consistently threw your slider from one side of the rubber and your FB from the other side.

That would not be good. If you ingrained a habit like that, and found that you needed to change the habit because your pitches were being picked up, well…it’s also not always so easy to change these kinds of things about your delivery immediately. Most changes need lots of reps to be successful.

That’s another reason why I prefer my pitchers to find their optimal spot on the rubber, and work from there to control their release point.

Also, as I thought about it I began to think about which side is best to throw a fastball on. I’ve heard many times pitchers have an advantage if they are on the same side as the batter because it is harder for the hitter to judge the speed of the ball (watching a car go by you, you can somewhat judge the speed, but if the car was coming straight at you, you’d have a hard time judging it’s speed theory…i guess). As i thought about it though if I were on the same side of the batter and I’m right handed and was trying to throw an outside fastball would this not take away from the tail of my fastball since it would have to almost backup. However if i was on the opposite side of the hitter my fastball would have a better angle to tail and add to the movement of my fastball. In my opinion, i would choose movement over the judging of my speed because once you get to a certain level…most fastballs get hit no matter how hard they are thrown. Any thoughts on that?

pitching from the same place on the rubber would increase the effective velocity difference between inside/outside pitches

Precisely word for word exact.

That’s the purpose of opening up the plate for sinkerball pitchers. Again, I feel it’s best to know what the pitcher has in his arsenol, and make a decision from there on which side of the rubber to stand on.

Personally I feel that the difference between a great hitter and a very average hitter is what they can do to the fastball. Especially fastballs up in the zone catching the middle part of the plate. That being said, command and movement remain vital in getting hitters out, regardless of velocity.