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One of the biggest mechanical pitching flaws that occurs during the leg lift is when pitchers bring their lead lift leg out and around, as opposed to down and out as they begin to lunge sideways and stride toward the plate.
By dropping the lift leg down and out, you will stay balanced and be able to achieve better stride speed and length. You will also be able to achieve greater hip-to-shoulder separation.
Bringing the leg out and around forces a pitcher to open their hips prematurely, and makes it difficult to obtain the necessary hip and shoulder separation at foot strike.
Check out this pitching GIF of Roger Clemens:
Clemens brings his leg directly up, then directly down, and out to the plate.
It's up, down, out. Not up, out, down.
His pitching mechanics and especially his leg lift were excellent.
Fixing this mechanical flaw is essential for staying balanced throughout your entire delivery, increasing velocity, and being able to throw with accuracy.
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One more thing:
It's important to remember that a pitcher's stride leg is not passive in his pitching delivery.
The pitcher adjusts the momentum and the length of his stride by controlling two things:
- How long it stays off the ground (the longer the stride foot stays off the ground, the more profound the effect of gravity on the pitcher's momentum)
- The forward extension of the stride leg, either a short distance (bad) or a long distance (good) is controlled by the pitcher.
If you took a 6ft board, stood it on one end, and let it fall forward you could say it's "stride length" is 6ft.
But if your 6ft board had an extensible part, another 3ft length of board with a motor to make it extend beyond the original length, then your contraption could start at 6ft tall and have a 9ft "stride length" by the time it hit the ground.
In this example, think of the motor as being analogous with a pitcher's hip flexors.
Therefore, the proper way to lift and lower the leg is to drop the leg directly down to the ground and out, instead of out and around as this will help increase a pitcher's stride length.
Keep working hard. No off days. No excuses.
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To get to the next level, preparation is everything. Big league pitchers spend far more time preparing to pitch than actually pitching.
If you believe adding velocity could be critical to your success, check out my latest strength training, conditioning and throwing programs for baseball pitchers of all ages.
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