“What is a pitcher trying to do in that short distance of 5-6 ft or so? He is simply trying to move sideways as long as possible and then at the end he makes a 1/2 tur n with his front leg while his back leg remains planted down against the mound surface and back against the rubber…momentarily.
So the back foot heel remains down until the pitcher starts to make his 1/2 turn into landing.”
The above quote is from dick’s latest pitching insider newsletter. My question is about a point in the delivery that occurs a moment after the turn and before ball release. There is one angle at which a pitcher can still have his toe on the ground and be delivering the ball out in front… any further into the flat back though, and the pitcher’s toe either comes off the ground he collapses down on the front and/or the back leg to accommodate.
I note that there are power pitchers out there who at the moment of ball release are forward flexed and have their back foot off the ground. Cliff Lee is one recent example.
But I have been holding back my son and others I am working with, giving them the pitching off a skateboard analogy. I am not so sure about this anymore. There really isn’t much extra balancing or anything going on that is helpful once the heel is off the ground. Being up on the toe doesn’t add a thing to power. Questionable whether it adds anything to accuracy. But trying to hold one’s foot down going into forward flexion invariably causes a slowing action, acting like a tether.
Any thoughts on this???
My son, David, has been working on this lately to fix a blocked off front foot, so this topic is fresh on my mind.
As I understand it from Dick, the pitcher comes up on the ball of the back foot right before touch down to help stabilize the lower body so it can begin to brace up. There should be a slight push off the back toe into landing. That means that the pitcher is still pushing forward into landing.
The back foot must come up on the ball of the foot to release the hips so the front foot can point toward the target and the hips can square up to the target. After the hips have squared to the target, the shoe laces of the back foot will point down at the ground. Without releasing the back leg, there can be no separation of the trunk and hips that cause the trunk to rotate faster (unwinding of the rubber band). All of this happens as one continuous movement if all the parts are timed correctly.
Hope that made sense and hope you guys are doing well.
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