There are a few points in a pitchers delivery that can be looked at as being the most important. Most pitching instructors would agree that the momentum a pitcher creates down the mound is top on the list. There are many common flaws that are associated with the first move of a pitching delivery. The biggest flaw taught by many coaches today is “sitting into the back leg.” They call this the load. It’s the beginning of a progression that ends with a push off the rubber. I believe the “Old School Windup” is the part of baseball that has changed the most. The movements of the pitcher have become, in my eyes, “Lazy”. The athleticism of the pitching delivery does not exist anymore. Sure, pitchers today have strong athletic body types for the most part, but fail to use their movements properly. What do I mean by this? Easily put, “Old School” pitchers were stronger through their deliveries.
The Problem in modern Pitching Mechanics
The problem with the way pitching has been taught for the last 30 years has to do with the growing number of kids in the sport. Mechanics are hard to teach, especially with a large number kids. Many coaches think if kids have too much movement in their pitching delivery and that they will tire out too quickly. They claim the movements are unnecessary to throw hard. Too many major league pitchers movements support their claim. Below are Three examples of pitchers with little to no momentum in the first phase of the delivery. The first video shows Chris Sale, one of the top pitchers in the MLB sitting into into his back leg. A common flaw on how to create drive down the mound. In the second video Dan Winkler of the Atlanta Braves leads toward his the catcher with his elbow and creates an inverted W. His lower half energy flawed because of the movement of his upper body. In the third video little leaguer Christopher Harbert is forced to throw sidearm due to the mechanics of his front half. His arm swing is smooth but the motion of his glove side and front leg pulling open hurt his arm angle & finish. All 3 are affective with their mechanics but will suffer command,repeatability and the health of their arms.
I believe that a pitcher should work hard and be tired after they pitch, especially starts. I want them to become physically exhausted from using their entire body to throw the ball pitch after pitch. I train kids in phases from upper body smoothness to their full wind up leg kick. The better students with our movements, the faster and more powerful the movements become. Once you begin to master the movements of your delivery, you can begin to master your velocity potential. In my experience so far with private instruction, I have found that kids are very capable of learning quickly and using more athleticism in every part of the throw. Working harder This is true with my online clients, in person lessons, and in a camp setting.
Recently I have been researching how to create better momentum of the lower half and utilize my pitchers leg kick to get distance down the mound. I have a few drills that start at the intermediate level and work up to the Full Windup. This drill is a simple yet affective way to train to drive your hips forward, maximizing momentum and staying down the hill, as long as possible, building a foundation of natural athletic movements. Again this video is all about how you can make the Baseball Rebellion way of pitching your own. I want my pitchers to be comfortable, creating a powerful, fast, and healthy delivery.
The Leg Kick With Barriers, pitching drill helps create rhythm, timing and the ability to build an efficient delivery that allows you to constantly repeat your delivery. Having the body and arm supported by all the parts working together we produce a healthier product through the throw. Creating speed down the mound, our body stays in motion which eliminates arm drag and a more efficient pitch.
Build Your Own Leg Kick Barrier
11yr Old doing the Leg Kick with Barriers Pitching Drill!!
Above is 11 year old Joey Chitla. He has been in the Baseball Rebellion program for six weeks and continues to improve as a pitcher and become more confident every lesson. Joey’s athletic ability comes out in this video as he drives his lower half over the Leg Kick Barrier and stays calm in his upper half to deliver a smooth aggressive pitch. The sound you hear in the back round at the end of the video is joey throwing a strike at a Tap Control Builder Target “our new target combined with a pitchers pocket”.
Have fun with constructing your own Leg kick barrier and incorporating an “old school” leg kick into your pitching delivery. Thanks for reading my article, and I hope you enjoyed learning a cool and effective pitching drill to help your lower half energy.
-Dave Shinskie, Leader of the Baseball Pitching Rebellion