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Should Pitchers Push Off The Rubber?

Written By: Justin Orenduff

Before I explore the reasons a pitcher should push or not push off the rubber, I would like you to answer the question below so I can gauge where most of you stand.  After answering the question below, watch the video to reveal my take on the topic.

[socialpoll id=”7934″]

WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW TO REVEAL THE ANSWER

What exactly is hooking the rubber, learn more here.

I hope this video clarifies some ongoing questions you may have regarding this sensitive topic.

Thanks for being a part of Baseball Rebellion.

-Justin Orenduff, Leader of the Baseball Pitching Rebellion

14 thoughts on "Should Pitchers Push Off The Rubber?"

  1. Aubrey Coker says:

    Justin,
    Great video on explaining how a pitcher should fall to the plate instead of jumping to it. I have never seen hooking the rubber as you explained it, but it makes very good sense for many reasons. I have taught my players to come set and at leg lift unzip with their hands, as if they had a zipper on their shirt and fall to the plate with their butts. I have struggled with getting my players to fall instead of push because they want to load or stand directly over the back leg and then jump to the plate. I am going to incorporate hooking the rubber with my pitchers because not only will it set their back leg angle and allow them to keep the double inside load, but also allow them to better feel the fall.

    I feel that hitting and pitching lower half mechanics are almost identical. This being said I see how a pitcher can anchor their back leg, as Chas talks about in hitting, with the inside ball of their back foot. The pressure that is exerted on the anchor can give some kids a sense of pushing off and make them feel as they need to push off the rubber. This can be corrected by explaining to pitcher what you just talked about in the vidoe.

    Baseball Rebellion is a great site with great information. Thanks for the time you and the staff at Baseball Rebellion take to inform and keep bringing it.

    Aubrey Coker

    1. Aubrey,

      Thanks for the comment! I like the “unzipping approach”, very clever. Falling is key, it will train the “right” components of the body moving forward compared to teaching the body to push forward to home plate.

      What age group do you teach? I’ve found that different cues work for different ages, let me know if I can help.

      If you haven’t already, please check out our “ying yang” article where we identify the similarities between the two disciplines. The lower half is almost identical with a few minor adjustments, but the concept is the same.

      I appreciate your value of our information and we hope you continue reading!

      Thanks,

      Justin

      1. Aubrey says:

        Justin,
        I coach Middle School Kids who are between the ages of 11-14. It is extremely dificult for me to try and correct what they have been doing for sooo long in the rec leagues here without any form of formal coaching. By the time they get to me the muscle memory has taken over and they really don’t have the work ethic or desire to change, which really frustrates me.

        Any suggestions
        ????

        Aubrey

  2. Caleb D. says:

    Hey Justin,

    Great article for explaining important pitching topic. Two questions, first what do you recommend for pitchers at the youth level to do when faced with a mound that is dugout and no possibility to “hook’ the rubber? Also, would you say that Tim Lincecum is a good example of the types of mechanics you teach and believe to be good? Or is there another modern day pitcher you like? I know you’ve mentioned some old school guys but it would be nice to relate this to modern active pitchers.

    Thanks.

    1. Caleb,

      Always appreciate the responses. Sorry for the delayed response, but I’ve been celebrating my 30th birthday at the beach.

      First thing to always remember….You can always call time and ask for the grounds crew to come in and fill the rubber in with extra dirt/clay, just say it’s an injury concern…should do the trick. But, if not, a pitcher will just have to make due. I know that’s a tough answer, but you may either have to shift to a different side of the rubber, or unfortunately stay flat footed in the hole. The last thing you want is to have the hole so deep, the pitcher rolls an ankle.

      As far as a modern day pitcher, I have yet to see a pitcher who encompasses everything I teach. I guess I will have to wait until my students become studs in the big leagues but I see components of my delivery in many of modern day pitchers. Tim Lincecum does many things right for me except for over rotating his body as he brings his leg up. I’m not a big fan of over rotating, just a move that doesn’t add much value. Trevor Bauer does many things well, but he is a bit rigid to me and I see potential problems repeating a delivery. In it’s most basic form I love Mariano Rivera and Hiroki Kuroda as a couple of examples. If you would like I can email you a list of current pitchers that I see doing things well.

      Thanks,

      Justin

      1. Caleb D. says:

        Justin, congrats on the bday hope you had a nice break. I would definitely like to see a list of guys you think are doing some things right. Thanks for the response and the great knowledge.

  3. Drags says:

    Hi Justin,
    Thanks for making this unique and valuable video instruction. Please help me understand the hook the rubber method:
    Does the back cleat actually bisect the front/top edge of the rubber? At frame time 1:14
    It looks like your cleat is at a 45 degree angle against the right angle of the rubber. Is your weight being supported by the rubber itself?
    If that is the case would a hole in front to the rubber cause any problem for using this method?
    I’ve had difficulty adjusting to dugout pitchers mounds and tried moving to either side to find some level ground. This foot position could make a big difference how I deal with bad mounds as well as how to correctly use the rubber! Thanks for your help.

    1. Various mounds (especially at younger ages) will make it difficult to be able to fully hook the rubber. You can always ask an official to come and fill into the hole in front of the rubber to make it more suited to your liking, and if the mound is still not advantageous to hook, you can stay flat footed but shift your weight to the inside of the foot.

      But to hook the mound in general, you will want to start by creating a about a half inch to inch degree of sep between the dirt and rubber. Take the entire outside of your foot and place over the rubber and let the other half (inside) wedge at a 45 degree angle with the inside portion touching the dirt. Feel the weight through the center of your foot as your move down the mound.

      Side note: If you have to be flat footed, make sure your knee starts inside of your back foot.

      Thanks,

  4. DaveC says:

    Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your material immensely. Very insightful. Not sure if you have addressed this before, what are your thoughts on pitchers from the stretch position using the “sidestep” ?

    1. Dave,

      Thanks for your comment and I’m glad you enjoy the information within the articles. I encourage pitchers to incorporate a slide step but there is a specific way the slide step needs to be performed to blend a quick time to the plate while maintaining power through the movement. Most kids let the lead foot immediately get ahead of the body and feel a tendency to rush towards the plate because of the runner on base. Handling the running game is one thing but understanding you can still be quick but still build your mass and leverage down the mound is something you must work to master.

      I’ll have to do an article on the near future and explain how to perform an efficient slide step.

      Thanks,

  5. dvd says:

    Hey Justin, can you comment on the position of the back knee while pushing off the rubber? It seems that it should be bending outward (not collapsing inward) as the hips go forward. thanks

    1. The back knee should be moving forwards to the target along with the rear hip.

      -Justin

  6. Matt says:

    Hi Justin, I enjoyed your video and explanation. Can you tell me if you also recommend pitchers “hooking” the rubber from the full windup, and not just the stretch?

    Thanks

  7. Don Ervin says:

    Justin, Along with your deep knowledge of pitching in particular you do an excellent job of explaining and demonstrating how to execute the proper body movements of the pitching movement from the rubber to one’s ball release and final finish position.
    In his comment above Aubrey mentioned muscle memory, My response to his comment is that there is no such thing as muscle memory, also there are still numerous coaches, parents and others who have contacts with aspiring young pitchers who are still under the {false impression} about lactic acid build up in a pitchers body while pitching a game, It would be great if people would seek out the proper information about the things they intend to teach to their students, there is entirely too much opinionated teachings within the baseball community’s out there.
    Great Base Ball-N
    Don Ervin

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