Most young pitchers do not have the leg power (power is strength and speed) necessary to generate the energy needed, through the pitching stride, to reach their top velocity. If you are a pitcher who uses mainly your arm to generate velocity then you will find yourself shortening your stride to quickly get your front foot planted. After front foot strike, you then will use your glove side and throwing arm to generate most of your pitching velocity. Not only is this approach to pitching not efficient, but it also puts unnecessary wear and tears on the rotator cuff. Learning how to use the stride to generate power to be transferred into the ball as pitching velocity is far superior to the latter approach.
The 3X Power Stride Approach
The best example of this approach is Aroldis Chapman for the Reds. He has the longest stride length in the MLB and also is able to move through his stride at one of the top speeds in the MLB. His stride speed to stride length ratio is probably the best in the world. This and optimal hip to shoulder separation is why he has the fastest pitch in baseball.
To develop an average to above average stride speed to stride length ratio you must first learn the importance and power of triple extension. Triple extension increases both stride length and stride speed. To learn more about Triple Extension or 3X read this article here.
To implement the 3X Power Stride into your delivery you must follow these 4 key steps.
- Lead with your hips.
- Load on your drive leg.
- Keep your front leg closed until just before front foot strike.
- Triple extend your drive leg just before front foot strike.
The 3X Power Stride ends at front foot strike and then you must efficiently and effectively transfer that energy into the ball to take advantage of the 3x power stride. If you fail to transfer this energy through hip to shoulder separation and front leg stabilization, you will see no increase in velocity and you could cause arm injury. Notice Chapman has achieved optimal triple extension and hip to shoulder separation at front foot strike.
Before you attempt to implement the power stride into your delivery you must first determine that you have the leg power to perform the movement. Here is a quick drill you can use to test your leg power.
3X Power Stride Strength and Speed Test
- Stand in a full stride that is at least 90% of your height. If you are 6 feet tall then your stride should be roughly 5 feet 4 inches.
- Make sure that both of your feet are facing forward in a straight line.
- Make sure that you are on the ball of your drive or back leg foot.
- Keep most of your weight on your drive or back leg.
- When you are ready to perform the test lift your front foot and at the same time fire and triple extend your drive or back leg. Triple extension is the extension of the ankle, knee and hip flexor.
- MAKE SURE THAT YOU TRIPLE EXTEND YOUR DRIVE OR BACK LEG BEFORE YOUR FRONT FOOT LANDS.
- You also want to hear the drag of your back foot just before front foot strike.
If you can perform this drill by getting triple extension before front foot strike, with a 90% and up stride length, then you have the leg power necessary to implement the power stride into your delivery. For more drills and information on learning the 3X Power Stride see the 3X Pitching Velocity Program and or attend a 3X Velocity Camp.