- Rock/ Pivot/
I think that stepping back with the free foot is better than stepping to the side. I always have and I always will. If a pitcher feels comfortable stepping to the side, I will not stop him, but I will do my best to explain why I believe keeping the distance to a minimum helps to avoid drastic weight shifts outside the target line. Every time you move away from the target line, it will result in another movement back along that same line to get back to the rubber. When these two movements are not on the target line, momentum must be stopped before future momentum can get on the proper line. Essentially, everything not on the proper line is a complete waste of time and can only really help establishing tempo, if at all.
Of course, the pivot foot must pivot. I would keep it to a simple turn or a lift, turn, and place. Too many people moonwalk from one side of the rubber to the other during the pivot. Keep it simple.
- Rock/ Lift/ Push
Now we are ready for a forward rock into the leg lift. I would recommend the upper leg to get to parallel with the ground or slightly higher. I would limit it there. Again, lifting the leg any higher requires it to come straight back down before it can move forward, effectively cancelling out any extra momentum gain. This momentum into the ground is effectively increasing the force required by the pitcher to push his body down the target line. If it helps the pitcher with tempo, then I won’t change it, but it’s really seems to be a waste from a mechanics perspective. Sometimes a high leg lift does help some pitchers set the drive leg at the proper knee bend angle to deliver an effective and explosive push. I’d have to evaluate the push before deciding to limit a pitcher’s lift.
- Stride/ Align/ Plant
The stride and upper body alignment along the target line is where we are really culminating the kinetics of the delivery. It’s the piston stroke of the whole delivery. Balance and coordination of this phase allows for maximum efficiency. Get that stride leg down the line with the outside of the ankle facing the target as early as possible and for as long as possible. Break the hands as late as possible also on the target line. A late hand break forces it to be a fast hand break. Keep the shoulders and the arms equal and opposite through the stride and foot plant. You are about to ignite all that powder you have stored in the barrel.
- Drive/ Rotate/ Release
The plant and back side drive should result in energy flowing forward into the plant leg. The back side unloading all of its stored energy beginning with lower body rotations firing up through the body toward release of the ball and the upper half catapulting over the lower half.
If everything is done properly, the follow through takes care of itself.