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Teaching Front Foot Strike
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structuredoc

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August 21, 2011 – 2:19 pm
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Brent,

Have you ever seen this before?

http://www.propitchinginstitute.com/

What's your take on it?  I'm not really undertanding what he is saying – he seems to use his own language and kind of speaks in circles. 

Thanks,

Stu

P.S. Did you ever receive the e-mail I sent you with all of the Structural Correction info?

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Brent Pourciau USAW Certified
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August 21, 2011 – 3:19 pm
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Dr. Stu,

Thanks for the email. I finally read it and it is good stuff. I believe in this type of correction and I could definitely use it myself. The problem is this type of correctional seems like it will be an ongoing process especially for an athlete. This is why it is also important to use strength and conditioning to help overcompensation as a backup plan to overall correction. I understand that structural issues are the cause of many injuries but the athlete can also force adaptations in the muscles as a solution to the problem. The example would be your example of the elbow pain being linked to the structural misalignment in the spine through the lats. If the lats could be stretched and elongated through strength training this would also correct the problem of the internal rotation of the humerus, or am I wrong? This would go along the lines of using strength training to promote joint flexibility which can have a positive effect on our structural issues.

As for the website you are referencing above, I have seen some of there stuff before and it is very scientific and it makes sense a that level but they fail to illustrate and understand the role of the athlete's muscular system as the driving force behind the “MLB” or “Cy Young” delivery. To me they sound to much like scientists and not enough like coaches and trainers.

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structuredoc

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August 21, 2011 – 3:56 pm
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Actually, as far as an ongoing process goes – I would say yes and no; ongoing to correct a structure that is “screwed up” (meaning severely twisted), but also VERY fast (meaning many times instant) with regard to pain relief.  In most cases, the big difference between structural correction and other work is that once corrected, it is corrected, meaning it is a permanent correction.

With regard to the elbow scenario, yes you could make a change through muscle work or other therapies but in most cases what is happening is one of two things: either, a) you were successful at releasing a compensation, or b) you were unsuccessful at releasing a compensation.  If “a” occurs, you may think it's a good thing and it most often is compared to “b” because you got relief, BUT the problem is that it is a compensation and compensations are meant to hold up the body against something it cannot self-correct.  Often times, the compensation will soon return (to continue to support the body), or the body sets up a new set of compensation patterns and disburses the pressure elsewhere.  So, the elbow pain is gone but the pitcher doesn't understand why his knee hurts now or he is getting headaches or etc, etc.  It still comes down to the anatomical fact that bones can shift in many directions and it is only when they shift in a direction in which there is no muscle to pull it in the direction needed to correct it do we have a problem.  Everything else the body CAN self-correct.  But, again, it is the compensation patterns that people feel – NOT the primary shift.

Based on my experience, structural correction is ideal for athletes – there is nothing better, in my professional opinion!

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propitchinginstitute

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August 21, 2011 – 10:00 pm
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Guys,

Over the past 15 years, I've yet to see two Pitchers with the same motion. However, for some unknown reason, every Pitcher wants to visually compare their motion to some other Pitcher.

This never quite made sense to me. Why would anyone want compare themselves to another athlete who has a different body type and a different level of body awareness? More importantly, to make their motion similar to another Pitcher’s motion, how could they or you possibly know what that Pitcher feels or what they think about as they perform their pitching motion?

On the flip side, don't you wonder how Tim Lincecum looks so different from Josh Beckett or Roy Halladay yet all deliver the baseball to their target with uncanny easy? Their similarities arise in their “Foot Strike Sequence”. Every one of these Pitchers, as well as all world-class Pitchers, instantly sequence all the energy stored in their Lower Body into their Throwing Hand to create a consistently tiny release window which in turn minimizes their target area.

When you compare how Lincecum's, Beckett's and Halladay's bodies respond at their Foot Plant, you find they all sequence their Hips, Trunk and Throwing Hand in the same way. The style each uses to move into their “Foot Strike Sequence” is totally unique to each Pitcher. In other words, even though these three world-class motions all look very different, they all land an ideal “Foot Strike Sequence” that consistently produces pinpoint command.

Here’s the dilemma … To train or coach a Pitcher, you need to measure whether your Student possesses an efficient “Foot Strike Sequence”? More importantly, you need to find out the corrective actions required to allow your Student  to end with an ideal “Foot Strike Sequence”?

I find these answers in the Pitcher's kinetic Pitching Chain … this one-page, stop-action pitching motion film-strip readily measures the delicate interaction between their Arm and Leg movements, shows the exact instant their Arms/Legs misdirect their energy and also points to the Arm/Leg adjustments needed to generate a high-level “Foot Strike Sequence”.

With your Pitching Chain in hand, the answer is not how similar your motion is to Lincecum, Beckett or Halladay, but the way your Student's Arms and Legs interact with their Torso to produce an efficient “Foot Strike Sequence”. Instead of attempting to copy someone else, when coaching or training a Pitcher, I ask myself what do I need to adjust in their motion to develop an ideal “Foot Strike Sequence”.

L.A. “Skip” Fast
Pro Pitching Institute

L.A. “Skip” Fast
Pro Pitching Institute

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Brent Pourciau USAW Certified
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August 21, 2011 – 10:44 pm
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Skip, I am glad you joined the discussion. You have a high level understanding of the physics of the pitching delivery. I too believe in the importance of the physics that occur at and after front foot strike.

The problem is most of the pitchers that find this site do not have the mechanics of the elite pitchers not because of their lack of understanding of the physics of pitching but mainly because they do not have the physical strength and power to move like these elite pitchers/athletes. This is why it is important to compare them to these elite pitchers in analysis because it motivates them to model themselves not only mechanically but physically after these top level athletes.

What I have learned through my career which lead me to develop the 3X approach to pitching which you can watch in this video here, is that there are two phases to the pitching delivery. The stride phase and the throwing phase. The stride phase is from leg lift to front foot strike and the throwing phase is from front foot strike to ball release. I have found in hard throwers that the stride phase is strictly used to generate power and the throwing phase is strictly used to transfer that power into torque and then into the velocity of the ball. This means you must develop your power in the stride phase because it is not effective to generate this power in the throwing phase. I do not have to explain the throwing phase to you because you have a very good understanding of it but the problem is most approaches to pitching fail to truly understand the stride phase. I believe the 3X approach defines it very effectively.

Skip, I like your style but I would like to hear more of your input on how you believe a youth, high school and college pitcher can increase velocity or transform himself into an elite pitcher.

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Darrell Coulter
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August 22, 2011 – 12:26 am
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Guys,

Had to jump in.  The problem with most young pitchers is that they are not robots.  Physically or mentally.  If pitching was purely about how to get to front foot strike the MIT engineers would be pitching in the big leagues.  Understanding isn’t the missing link.  Strength, Athleticism and Mental Conditioning is what separates Lincecum, Halladay and Beckett.  The fact that all 3 are of different, height, weight and athletic ability truly reflects their styles, not the fact that they understand what it takes to generate accurate throwing velocity and the ability to all have the same front foot strike reaction.  Understanding the physics of pitching plays a part in the overall mechanics, but strength and conditioning and athleticism is what sets them apart.  Brent’s program explains that better than any program that I have seen in 20 years and better than any pitching coach I ever had in the Minor Leagues.  Love the insight.  Thanks for the post.

Baseball will forever be played Between the Ears.

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propitchinginstitute

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August 22, 2011 – 9:41 pm
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Guys,

 

I'm not familiar with your pitching program … do you teach your Pitchers to actively stride during your “Stride Phase”?

 

L.A. “Skip” Fast

Pro Pitching Institute

L.A. “Skip” Fast
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Brent Pourciau USAW Certified
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August 22, 2011 – 9:51 pm
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My approach you can learn in the video I linked above and it is also linked here. I coach the stride using the drive leg to generate force production and also using the drive leg to align that force production towards the target. I have discovered the hard throwers achieve triple extension before or just at front foot strike. Triple extension is the extension of the ankle, knee and hip flexor. These three joints can produce more power through the body than any other joints in the kinetic chain. I believe this to be the key to developing optimal hip to shoulder separation at front foot strike which converts this power into torque which then converts to the velocity of the ball.

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