The importance of a pitcher’s stride is often overlooked in developing proper pitching mechanics. There are several drills which can help the pitcher develop a proper stride which will allow them maximum velocity, and minimum injury.
A pitcher’s stride length should be about 100% of their overall their height. This length allows for maximum extension on the throw. The stride should also replicate a straight line towards home plate. Directing the body on either side of the line will force the pitcher to compensate one way or the other, causing extra stress on the arm.
If a pitcher is stepping over the line glove side, it will cause his arm to fly open and the hand will drag causing the ball to sail high, and tail inside.
If a pitcher is stepping over the line hand side, he will have to crank his hips at an awkward angle to compensate for the mistake, forcing a lot of strain and making the outside corner very hard to locate.
The first stride length drill a pitcher should practice involves just the pitcher’s mound. The pitcher should draw a line in the dirt parallel to the pitching rubber at a distance equal to his height. Then, connect the two parallel lines with a straight line which should be equal to his height, creating an "I" shape.
The pitcher can now practice his stride length by throwing with or without a ball with an optional catcher. The main goal of the drill is to make sure the pitcher is stepping even with the dashed line down the center of the mound, as well as planting close to the drawn parallel line (his body length).
Mastering these concepts will allow the pitcher to maximize the use of his legs, and take a lot of strain off the arm.
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