Pitching Windup

By Steven Ellis, former Chicago Cubs pitching pro

Just as I've discussed in my article on Little League pitching mechanics, the simpler you can make the pitching windup, the easier it is for younger pitchers to pick up how to do it correctly and repeat it.

Here's a four step system that I teach to younger pitchers to be used primarily for mental imaging. In other words, mentally picturing their windup. Keep in mind that this system is from the windup.

Pitching Windup - Step 1

To set up, both feet need to be in or around the middle of the rubber. What I mean by this is that your insteps should be on the rubber. At most you will want the ball of your big toes to be hanging over the rubber. Now this first step is so important. It is called the "Rocker Step". This involves your left foot (RH pitcher) to come back off the rubber to start your motion. The key to the rocker step is to make sure that it is NOT a weight transfer, it is merely a momentum shifter. So at no point should your weight be transferred completely over your left foot. This momentum then creates the rest of the motion.

Pitching Windup - Step 2

The second step is minor. It is the requirement of the right foot to go in front of the rubber to be used as a push off and stability in the next step.

Pitching Windup - Step 3

This step is probably the most important of all. This is the post position. At this position, the pitcher's left leg is raised at about a 90-degree angle from the knee. What is crucial at this point is the balance. The pitcher should be able to stand "A post" at this point for any period of time. If he cannot then his balance is not good enough and he will either have a tendency to rush his delivery or his arm will drag. You want all motion to be gathered and ready to explode all at once into the fourth and final step.

Pitching Windup - Step 4

Step four is the explosion of the hip and release of the baseball. This is where you want to make sure that the left leg is on line with the instep of the right foot on the rubber. If it is to the left, then the pitcher is opening up too much and his arm will not catch up to his front side causing high pitches. Just the opposite is true if the left leg lands to the right of that instep line. The arm will have a tendency to be ahead of the front side and will more than likely adjust by throwing across the body.

As discussed in other drills, you want to keep the front side of the pitcher closed until he begins to touch the ground with his left foot. At that point the pitcher may begin to explode his hips to bring his arm through.

Warm Up To Throw, Don't Throw To Warm Up

It is very important to allow all your players the opportunity to stretch and loosen up before allowing them to play catch. This is especially critical in the cold weather of March and April. Five minutes of baseball-specific exercise will get the blood flowing and help protect the arm and shoulder


 

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