The most misunderstood part of pitching………..for peak velocity and minimal arm stress!
Todays blog is on the topic: The workings of the “LOWER HALF” of Pitchers in “3 PHASES”
One of the things I’ve been searching for is the ideal model of a high velocity pitcher’s lower half pattern. I’ve watched at least 100 videos of this type (90+ mph) of MLB pitcher with a focus on what the hips, legs and feet do during their delivery. More and more they look extremely similar in these patterns that I understand. Here is a quick description of what I’ve observed. Once the 3 phases are understood it is tremendously easier to train the “Lower Half” ( I have 3 phenomenal drills that are included with my trainer).
Phase #1 Gravitational energy/Pelvic Load
Phase #2 Staying loaded like the Pros!
Phase #3 The Final Drive
Here are the 3 phases explained in my opinion.
Phase #1: Gravitational Energy/ Pelvic Load
While we are standing tall on the mound, our first initial movement forward is created by lifting your front leg – which puts an imbalance in your posture, and causes you to go forward. The movement forward shouldn’t be from the lift leg going “Up down and out” to start the movement forward. Notice how Randy Johnson is moving forward with his knee at peak height.
As you are going forward the higher your leg lift while moving forward the higher the center of gravity is, the more momentum you will create which is what we want. We do not create any force from our muscles at this point because we are not in a mechanical position to be able to…….yet. It is strictly Gravity.
Phase #2 Staying Loaded like the Pros!
Once our lift leg starts to come down (Still Gravity), we should be moving forward and at this point. Both knees need to stay as close together as possible while moving forward…almost looks like you are sitting. This is the LOADED PHASE. Look at the back leg on all these pitchers….. all are in a loaded state ready to explode! This sets you up for the next phase……..LEG DRIVE!
Phase #3 The FINAL DRIVE
At this point the pitcher is ready to create what is considered the “Leg Drive Phase” or “The Final Drive”!
The pitcher will create a force against the rubber and ground that thrusts the lower body forward into landing of the front foot. Without this “Final Drive” each one of the pitchers shown would not be able to stay loaded like they show in the pictures…their front leg would have to open up earlier in their stride which would take them out of their “Loaded Phase” for late hip rotation! The energy created by “Leg Drive” transfers directly to the pelvis and in turn, upon lead foot landing…forces the opposite hip forward. This is where the action called “Separation” peaks and supercharges the upper body from elastic energy, and turbocharges the arm whip to create peak velocity!
So in closing, lets look back at the way I described the pitching motion broke down into 3 major phases…
- Stride and Landing
- Upper Torso acceleration
- Arm action