A short or non-existent drag line is usually an indication of too short a stride and too little momentum forward. An explosive 3X type delivery will produce a fairly long dragline that is healthy as long as it is followed by the back foot flying up off the ground in reaction to the front knee bracing and the torso rotating forward and over the braced knee. An overly-long drag line is often the result of a dead back side, with the back leg being dragged behind and along the ground well after ball release - usually because the pitcher drifted through his leg plant without bracing the knee.
The more explosive the pitcher, the longer the dragline. Tim Lincecum has a very long drag line. Cliff Lee has almost no drag line. Little guys usually need to have long drag lines because they need to be more explosive. Big guys don't have to be as explosive and can get away with short drag line. Big guys with long drag lines are Aroldis Chapman.
Tom House teaches that the drag line should finish on the center line between the middle of the rubber and the middle of home plate - as an indicator of the head and spine being on line to the target. He draws the center line down the mound and measures where the drag line finishes in relation to the line. He then moves the pitcher on the rubber whichever way causes the drag line to finish on the center line. I've experimented with this idea and found that it's application would move almost every pitcher to the far glove side of the rubber (right-handers to the left and lefties to the right - the opposite of conventional teaching). So, either that's where most pitchers should be pitching from or this theory needs more study. I'm withholding judgement and letting pitchers stand where they're comfortable or wherever the movement of their pitches makes them most effective.
There's not much need to pay any attention to the drag line when you're studying video of a pitcher because you can observe the movements just as easily as you can the drag line. But, I point out drag lines during mound work when we're not using video as an indicator of some of the issues above.
Most pitchers drag straight or toward their throwing arm side - right-handers to the right, lefties to the left. But, it's not unusual for a pitcher to have a curved drag - usually a short drag to the glove side followed by a longer drag to the throwing arm side. If as a righty you're only showing a drag line to the left without it curving back to the right, your foot might be coming up early - an indication of too short a stride or lack of momentum. No one teaches the drag, but as I said - sometimes it's an indication of something else. Have you posted a video in the mechanics/analysis section?
I have not posted a video yet I am currently working my way through the 16 week program and will definitely post a video when i'm done. I've only got 2.5 weeks left so it won't be long. From my own video analysis I need to start my hips earlier to help keep my front foot closed longer because it has been flying open very early.
The straighter the drag line, the earlier and faster triple extension has occurred in the stride before front foot strike. Aroldis Chapman has a perfectly straight drag line which is very difficult to do.
Brendan, can you post your 8 week 1 rep maxes here? I want to see how your are doing with the program. Also I would like to know how you have progressed with the med throws. Are you able to throw the 2lb med ball 45 feet with some speed? Please send in a video for analysis. Would like to help you stay on track!
Great job working the program. I looked you up and see that you're in your first year pitching in college. Boy, am I impressed when one of the young pitchers who come to this site commits to making himself better the way you have.
If you've observed your front foot flying open, you might very well not be generating as much momentum as you could be. If your drag line goes left then stops, your foot might be coming off the ground before it starts moving toward the target. I wouldn't worry about your drag line. If it's an indication of something it will show up when you post the video. And I don't know if you should necessarily wait to post the video until you're through the 16 week program. Brent's analysis will help you find out where you are in your progress and you can always start working on any recommendations he has. Brent can comment on when is the best time to post.
Kudos again for working the way you are. This is the best program you could possibly be on. It will pay off for you.
Well, while I was talking around the question Brent gave a great answer and right to the point. Makes perfect sense - the faster you're moving, the sooner your foot will start moving toward the target and the less time it will have to swerve left or right. As usual, Chapman is the model. It must be difficult, as Brent said - because even most major leaguers do not have a perfectly straight dragline.
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