The Hip Slide To Pitching Velocity
by Brent Pourciau · February 12, 2009
The biggest problem I find in young pitchers is that they have poor separation in their hips to shoulders. There are many articles on this site covering the pitching component “Separation.” It is so important because having separation from your back hip to back shoulder before the shoulders rotate to the plate, is critical for velocity and the health of your arm. What “Separation” does is it builds core torque. It puts more torque in the big muscle groups of the core, instead of mainly in the small muscle groups of the shoulder.
The Key to Separation is the Hip Slide
Most coaches do not coach “Separation” because it is a challenge. The only way to coach this component and to perform this component correctly you must focus on the “Hip Slide.” What I mean by “Hip Slide” is that your hips should be seen as a slide or car and when you first lift your leg to start your delivery, the slide must start down the mound. Everything else on your body must stay back while the slide is heading down the hill. Therefore the faster you can get your slide down the hill while holding everything else back, the faster your velocity. It is also just as important to velocity if the slide comes to a complete stop at front foot strike. The hips slide must stop, so the momentum it generated, is transferred up the core, into the shoulders, into the arm and finally the ball. The reason you must focus on the hips to develop “Separation,” is because if the hips move faster than the shoulders, you will create good “Separation” naturally.
Accelerating your slide down the hill as fast as possible and slamming the hips into your front leg to completely stop its momentum is your best opportunity to generate your potential top velocity. It is also just as important the distance the slide covers before it is stopped by the front foot strike. This distance is called your stride. A good stride is at least your body length. A good stride means that you had more time to generate momentum before front foot strike.
When your slide is building momentum down the mound while you are holding everything else back, which is called “Loading,” this will increase your stride length. The best way to perform this is by loading hard on your back side until your back ankle to back knee is pointing towards your front hip. Once your back leg lines up into a good linear position, then you must triple extend your back leg to add that last push to your slide which will build more momentum and increase your stride power. Read my article “Lift for Show, Load for Doe” to learn more about the “Load.”
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