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Stride Line and Center of Gravity
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Brent Pourciau USAW Certified
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November 16, 2011 – 3:02 am
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Z, thanks for bringing up the article. I would suggest everyone reading this article first.

I have to say these are some great questions and because of these great questions, this is the first time I have ever linked to NASA to help define an approach, so this is a pretty cool moment on this site. If you really want the scientific answer to how to find the center of gravity of an object then here is the full description.
http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/k-…..ne/cg.html

Below is the second sentence from the NASA page and it pretty much sums it all up but I would recommend reading the entire page because it is full of valuable information.

The center of gravity is the average location of the weight of an object.

To hopefully answer everyone's questions here we need to look at the sequence of events in the stride which is shifting the pitchers “Point of Balance” from drive leg to landing leg with pitchers who have explosive 3X strides.

During the set position in the stretch before the lift leg begins, the body is balanced up perfectly over the drive leg and lift leg. Once the pitcher lifts his lift leg his average location of weight shifts slightly more over his toes during his stride because the lift leg is hanging out over his feet and toes. During his launch, through triple extension towards the target, his hips rotate and like an ice skater he lands on that new average location of weight or his new center of gravity to establish balance which is now just to the inside of his original drive leg and lift leg set position. This isn't the case for every pitcher because some pitchers do not swing their lifts legs out as far or do not create a dominate linear movement with explosive 3X, so their center of gravity moves back to the original drive leg position as their lift leg opens early in their stride. Does this make any sense? The point is a leg lift with explosive 3X will not put you landing on line with your original drive leg position, so forcing pitchers to land on line is of no benefits to the pitcher.

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Coach Robo
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November 16, 2011 – 9:29 am
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Wow – You don’t get NASA on many pitching sites. I think there’s more to talk about here in terms of practical application once you understand the concept. I’m on the road today, so I’ll check back in tonight.
In the meantime – the question is what do we do with this information? (No surprise – I’ve never seen this discussed anywhere else.)
Are we saying that Lincecum (for example) is landing where he should based on his specific center of gravity? And if so, how do you determine that?
Or are we saying that if you triple extend it doesn’t matter where you land? (which is pretty revolutionary)

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MSTRRYAN2

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November 16, 2011 – 10:15 am
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Brent Pourciau USAW Certified
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November 16, 2011 – 1:18 pm
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If we are going to be able to determine each pitchers center of gravity then it gets complicated because our bodies are not symmetrical and our structure is always changing through our delivery.

NASA article:
If the mass of the object is not uniformly distributed, we must use calculus to determine center of gravity.

The other complication is how the pitchers “Point of Balance” changes as he moves from a lateral position during the stride into a more linear position at front foot strike with his hips open. I don't feel that it is necessary that we define the complexity of this concept but we need to at least understand the overall concept and how it applies to the pitcher. Here is a great video that helps simplify the concept.

Get the Flash Player to see this content.

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Darrell Coulter
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November 16, 2011 – 5:51 pm
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Who would have thought that all we needed was the Wright Bros and NASA to finally understand how to pitch.

This is awesome.

This does add a unique insight though.

Good stuff.  Keep it coming.  

And I thought this was an boring old pitching forum.

You guys are good.

I love it.

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Coach Robo
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November 16, 2011 – 7:27 pm
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Hey, Darrell – Let me know if you need any help with those NASA formulas.  I think I've got them down.  And Joe – what was your question again – ?

Brent – I know we went farther down the rabbit hole on this one than I'm sure you intended.  But, I think it was worth the effort if we came to the conclusion I think you took us to.  I think the ratio of what a coach should understand to what he should tell a pitcher is probably at least 10-1.  I think we covered the spread on this one…

If I understand what I think I just learned from all of this, the takeaway is that where a pitcher lands is purely a function of his specific delivery and his moving center of gravity, and a coach should never teach landing on-line – he should pay all his attention to whether he achieves triple extension before front foot landing.  Do you agree with that? 

A few observations if that's where we wind up on this issue:

I must admit to having worked with some pitchers over the years to correct the direction of their stride – almost never with any success.  It's a very difficult thing to change – and now I may have learned that I never should have been trying in the first place. 

I just did an unscientific study of 25 Major League pitchers (all All-Stars) that I have a catcher's view video on.  Of the 25 pitchers, 17 (68%) landed to the arm side of where they started – and 8 (32%) landed more or less on-line.  None landed on the glove side.  Not a large sample – but surely a clue that striding to the arm side of center is a common characteristic of hard-throwing pitchers; probably because of (as you pointed out) the leg lift moving their center of gravity in that direction.  Also confirmation of what I have observed – landing too open (to the glove side) is almost strictly a characteristic of low level amateurs. 

To be fair, I've seen a few pitching guys say that striding a little open or a little closed is no big deal.  But, I've never seen anyone come to the conclusion we reached above – or try to explain it in such detail.  As you know Paul Reddick did a webinar a few months ago in which he predicted eventual doom for Tim Lincecum's career partly because of his off-line posture at landing.  I think he also used Sandy Koufax as an example of a premature career end because of the same issue.  I tried to look it up, but I think he's taken it down.  (Do the guys in the Pitching Guru Club read each other's stuff on-line to see what people are saying about them?  Hey, Paul – I'm a customer – love your stuff.  Shortly after I made some very mildly critical comments of Dick Mills on your site I stopped getting Dick's daily e-mails.  Coincidence?  I'm a long time customer of his and I respect his work – but he thinks he's the only one on the planet who knows anything about pitching and he does not like to be challenged.) 

Sorry this got so complicated.  But, that's how I learn anyway.  Wade through a bunch of complicated stuff to eventually boil it down to something simple.  Good stuff.  Thanks for the time.  I'll leave you guys alone for awhile.         

  

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Brent Pourciau USAW Certified
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November 16, 2011 – 8:05 pm
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Coach, you nailed it again! I know pitching isn't as delicate as keeping a plane in flight but it is close. It is amazing how most pitching coaches don't try to understand this stuff. They just want to take the easy way out. I admit, this level of science cramps my brain but everytime I go down these rabbit holes I always come out with a new perspective of pitching. Which is cool!!!

As for the pitching gurus I am still trying to figure them all out. It is very political though, this is why I want to stay out of it now!

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singtall

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November 17, 2011 – 12:34 am
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i too am guilty of trying to correct little league pitcher’s landing spot.  after a single A minor league pitcher/turned coach commented on a couple of my best pitchers throwing across their bodies or landing closed, i tried to fix them…with very little success i might add.  what i found is that the pitchers that closed off the most landed the most right of the line (for right handed pitchers).  the one guy that landed left was a quarterback and he had the slowest ball velocity.  the other guys that landed fairly close to the line weren’t as powerful as the two that landed closed.  the other thing of interest that i noticed is that the guys that landed closed also had a curved drag line.  further video review shows that they also didn’t have much separation.

i posted a question about landing closed a few weeks ago and i don’t remember getting this much information about it.  Brent was really busy at the time though.

i just rechecked my earlier post and it looks like i worded it wrong, so i didn't get the answer i was looking for. 

 

to explain myself better on “landing closed”, i mean landing right of the target line with the foot pointed at/or slightly right of target.  i was thinking that keeping the front foot closed until foot strike was one of the reasons that my son and others with similar mechanics tend to land a little more towards 3B.

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