(4) Target Areas for Pitching Biomechanics at Foot Touch
If you’re being taught any of these Traditional Coaching Cues, it’s flat out wrong and it will hurt your performance while increasing your risk for injury. Let’s educate our baseball community and provide our young players the best opportunities o reach their goals.
Green Box (Bold):• The Elbow does not “Get Up”. The throwing elbow never raises above the shoulder. When you hear, “Get your elbow up”, please correct this coach immediately as it will make you throw worse and add more risk of injury.
Green Box (Small): • The ball does not Raise to stand vertically above the back elbow until the weight is fully accepted by the front leg.
I’ve heard this called many things: “Ball Up”, “L-Position”, “Power Position” and even combined with “Keep your weight back”…as if to suggest more velocity will come from it?!
At this moment in the delivery, just before Front Foot Weight Acceptance (see Yellow Box and you’ll notice the foot isn’t flush to the ground yet), the hand is still very much on top of the ball and what we really see is Scapula/Shoulder Abduction. The kinetics just haven’t made it into the forearm or hand just yet, so a more intelligent teach or cue for the hand/ball/wrist would just be to STAY IN NEUTRAL.
• The ball does not “Point to the Wall”. This is an incorrect and forced posture that is popular teach by many “Pitching Coaches” and it will take players out of Neutral way too soon. See the explanation above for the correct posture at this moment in the delivery.“Ball To The Wall” needs to stop being taught ASAP!
Yellow Box:• We don’t “PUSH OFF or AWAY from the rubber.” Now, we do Drift & Drop the Hips toward the plate and then Rotate the back hip towards the plate. This Drift & Drop Posture combined with Rotational Forces will then PULL the back foot away from the rubber (dragging the back foot, called a Drag Line). But don’t be confused, the back foot is PULLED away from the rubber by these forces and it happens a bit later in the sequence, but never before Foot Strike.
• We also don’t “Stay Tall” on the backside. We do get Internal Ankle Flexion (inside of the ankle lays down flat) at this point. Again, Laying Down the Ankle happens as you get pulled and rotated away from the rubber. It’s a REACTION to events occurring ahead of it. It’s not something you force yourself to do, but rather allow to be an EFFECT.
Blue Box:• We do not “Block The Chest With” or “Point the Glove”. These are both horribly incorrect teaches. The Front Elbow simply raises to just under the Shoulder Line as it begins to create we call Positive Disconnection. Because the Front Elbow raises away from the rib cage and the forearm isn’t activated just yet, it means the Glove will PRONATE (turn Thumb Down).
•The Front Arm (Glove) never Points at the target. If anything, the thrower would look over his Bicep toward his target at this point in the delivery in order to be Aligned.
Red Box: To be clear, the front foot has not Accepted Weight at this point in the above picture. You’ll see that the front foot isn’t flush with the ground yet. Once the front foot accepts weight, the Upper Body Biomechanics will change…but that’s for another discussion.• The Front Foot must Rotate Open and Point at the target. This allows the front leg to accept the Rotational Forces about to come. We do not “Land Closed” during you’re pitching delivery.
*Now, Infielders and even Catchers may land front foot closed in many cases when they throw across the diamond. This is similar to a Hitting Stride landing closed. That’s simply a Biomechanical Adjustment made due to the lack of available TIME to throw the ball. It’s incorrect for efficient and optimal delivery, but it’s Competitively correct due to the actual play that’s being made.