Rope - On the rubber... I put emphasis on weight distribution. I actually encourage a slight bend at the waist... more of a get the 'lean forward' started with the head cue - this... in turn, gets the whole body moving.DD's pitching coach taught this by positioning her on the rubber and telling her to lean forward...not at the hips, but rather her whole body, bending only the pivot foot knee.... and when she felt like she going to fall on her face... push with the pivot foot to catch her balance. How do you teach it?
Great post. I've found that once a pitcher has matured a bit and has sound mechanics (about sophomore year in HS) they benefit much more from running/sprinting/agility training then they do from their actual pitching/softball practices. There are a lot of great athlete only training facilities around that help out with this.
Knightsb, Great questions. I would say there is an 'optimal' pre-motion.JS, thank you for this post.
DDs pitching coach calls this the Attack Posture, and says this is a critical position for DD to get in.
JS, in your opinion, is there a particular pre-motion that helps a pitcher get into this Running Start, Attack Posture, better than others? The reason I ask, is remembering back to an exchange between your and BM regarding overlap, and was also wondering how much overlap does or does not play into getting into a good Attack Posture.
Those are some great wall drills. Some of those I've seen and used but some are new to me, I'll definitely try them out.
Using weighted sleds also helps because they force the athlete to utilize that same posture. Expert supervision is strongly suggested here though, as we're talking about quite a bit of weight being both pulled by the athlete (with a harness) and pushed by the athlete.
I like Javasource's drills because they can be used by athletes of all ages. I don't suggest the sleds until after puberty.
JJ, I actually prefer that the opening be fully open by 12... meaning that what the feet/hips/shoulders open to is set at 12. The arm circle traveling around the top will influence this some more... but that violence you speak of in opening (and when) is something I'm quite certain many disagree on. My thoughts... Don't open too much while approaching 3. from 3-12, get it open. Early openers usually side-step (turn their foot inward too early). Late openers usually are long steppers. I like getting the foot down fast. All of this is going to be covered in much more detail... I need to get to work on it! I've been slacking... farkin' snow in NY is ridiculous...So if we take this one step further, past the drive drills and into plant. What are we looking for? My novices eye says we are looking for a pretty violent opening at the top of the circle, say from 1 oclock to 11 oclock and then quickly followed by a slight but quick closure to 45 as the foot plants. The tell tale thing I see in fast pitchers is a powerful open/close (but only partially closed) move right before and into plant. I will try to find a good clip of what I am talking about.
In a previous post, I listed some Wall Sprint drills. These drills require good postural fundamentals, and specifically isolate ‘lower extremity’ conditioning/programming. Furthermore, these conditioning elements are very specific to motions performed while pitching and running. I find that any conditioning regiment your DD or students implement should closely mimic motions they are training for… and I’ll quote Oliver again…“…lower extremity contributes 50–55% of the total energy generated by the body during performance of an upper extremity task. To transfer energy through the kinetic chain from the lower extremity to the upper extremity, a softball pitcher must have good neuromuscular control of the lower extremity. - Gretchen D. Oliver PhD, ATC, LAT
In other words, get you’re a$$ moving!“…clinicians should incorporate strengthening exercises that mimic the timing of maximal muscle activation most used during the pitching phase…
…there is a need for core strengthening to help properly transfer energy to decrease the stress placed on the shoulder when performing a successful pitch. Core strengthening should focus on gluteal activations and on trunk rotational activities.”
Little more about the Gluteal (butt) muscles, and the other main stabilizers located in the hip and pelvic regions. Activating these muscles regularly in conditioning routines should be a major focus, as noted. During the pitching process, the gluteal muscles are the most active muscles – throughout every phase of the pitch. Here’s a graphic of some of the key players in the pelvic region:“…the large muscles of the hips and trunk help position the thoracic spine to accommodate for effective movement of the scapula, which allows for functional shoulder motion - GRETCHEN D. OLIVER, HILLARY A. PLUMMER, AND DAVID W. KEELEY