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Fixing sprinters posture using the foot hyperarch mechanic

Mar 23, 2011
475
16
Noblseville, IN
Hi all,

I wanted to start a topic to discuss sprinting posture improvements without actually working on sprinting posture... This relates to pitching in that we expect to see sprinting like motions within a pitchers drive mechanic. I've said for a while now, how can my DD have sprinting posture when pitching if her sprinting posture is bad to begin with???

I started discussing the foot hyperarch mechanism by Chong Xie in a couple other threads (1 and 2), but it wasn't really the right place to introduce the topic.

Background

A while ago, I discovered a late push pattern in DD's drive mechanic. The late push pattern is a pattern in-which her drive leg delays applying force to the rubber until well after her hips get out front of the rubber. This is a result of using the quads instead of the glutes to drive. The delayed push is not only slow, but it forces her foot to stay on the rubber for an extra long period of time. Staying on the rubber that long then makes it very difficult to acheive a key pitching checkpoint, drive foot separation from the rubber at or before the arms reach 3 o'clock.

Here is a visual of poor rear hip extension due to the late push pattern (hip does not extend, rear leg extension is late, using legs for forward motion instead of glutes):




This discovery has taken us on a long journey into the world of glute activation (glute activation thread, model pitcher database). We spent several months working with glute strength experts to strengthen DD's glutes and made great improvements in strength. However there was minimal improvement in running or pitching mechanics.

Through the help and guidance of the good Lord, the search for a solution continued. I came across Chong Xie's research on foot hyperarch (HA). After doing a lot of research on him and the mechanic, we took the plunge and began working with his mechanics. We are only 7 weeks into the process and are starting to see great results that I wanted to share. It will take some time for this to roll into pitching and sprinting mechanics, but I am confident in the next few months, we will see it.

The underlying basis of his research is that people's feet have both a relaxed and active state. In the active state, peoples glutes fire automatically based upon nerve sensations in the foot. The active state isn't well suited for daily walking and activities so the foot goes into a relaxed state in which the glutes are not active. Unfortunately in today's world of comfortable shoes, paved sidewalks, and general comfort some people learn to do athletic movements with their feet stuck in the relaxed state....

With this in mind we learned the HA mechanic and began working on exercises to strengthen the feet. I am very happy to show the results thus far.


Results

Here is an overlay of her running with and without the mechanic <link>.... There is an obvious difference.

[video]https://youtu.be/WS7SOu8MOEU[/video]

What might be less obvious is that she is running with about the same cadence. This means she has become faster without even changing her running turn over rate <link>.



[video]https://youtu.be/LR22m2YfhCo[/video]


This jpeg shows the difference in distance between the two after 20 steps.





This jpeg shows the improvement in running form, and I can't stress this enough. We did absolutely zero work on running form improvement.



While her feet aren't strong enough to do this when sprinting or in her drive mechanic, I have high hopes that soon the changes will creep in.


Conclusion

With all this, I say to you. If your pitcher is not making progress in her drive mechanic or maybe she is heavy footed or slow, consider that maybe she has an underlying problem that is bigger than pitching. She might generally be "quad dominant" and her glutes might not be activating correctly.

Look into Chong Xie's research. It could be rewarding even beyond pitching improvements.

Chong Xie's instagram site

The Secret of Athletecism Please manually fix the link!!! The site is HTTP not https!!!

The Secret of Athletecism Please manually fix the link!!! The site is HTTP not https!!!

For some reason the link keeps adding an (s)...

Index
How to assess quad dominance? Originally discussed in this thread (link).

How to do HA and see it's working
How to train HA

The late push pattern description
The late push pattern graphic
Digging in using toes vs. pushing from ball of foot
Example of locked ankle vs not
Two ways to propel forward (good vs. bad)
Graphic of two different sprinting mechanics
Key pitching checkpoints
Unexpected symptoms of a poor drive mechanic

How the glute issue affects a hitter
 

Last edited:
Mar 23, 2011
475
16
Noblseville, IN
Here is a comparison of "the late push pattern" next to an excellent drive leg push. Notice how Ueno's drive push continues to flow throughout the sequence all the way through to the calf while DD's push appears to pause and wait for the hips to get out front:






More info on the late push pattern. The drive foot becomes a pivot point as it looks like the pitcher posts the drive leg and simply pivots from behind to in front without getting any boost... The lack of boost forces a few bad symptoms:

1. The legs will spread as the stride leg is forced to reach out while the rear leg is left on the rubber (a lot of PC's try and correct this with knee-to-knee emphasis)

2. The reaching front foot can also tend to pull the hips sideways. This is what tends to give the appearance of "driving open". This can be manually overcome with heavy focus and the athlete can resist driving open. For a student with some foot-glute linkage, they will improve, but for those with minimal linkage it will only mask the condition.

3. Since the glutes are not reactive the quads are needed to supplement the power. Since firing the quads will straighten the leg, the brain knows it is necessary for the hips to be in front of the foot before engaging them (otherwise you would pop up instead of out)...hence the pivot pattern which is a stall for time. This series of events is the late push pattern.

4. The result is that the drive foot stays on the rubber for a long time. This makes meeting the checkpoint of drive foot release from the rubber by 3 o'clock incredibly difficult.​
 
Last edited:
Mar 23, 2011
475
16
Noblseville, IN
Also notice in the clip, DD's drive foot heel did not hit the ground. This particular video was taken in the middle of a full workout focused solely on fixing drive mechanics (her wrist was hurt so she couldn't pitch that day). I had told her to drive off her toes and to stop letting her heel hit the ground.

To date, this is the best drive that she has ever accomplished. Despite that, her foot separation from the rubber was still one frame too late as her arms had just passed the 3 o'clock position when her foot separated.





What this examples shows is that despite working hard on drive and not letting her heel ground out, she still was not getting the same level of drive as the elite pitchers. It told me that something else was missing.

Turns out it was glute drive.
 
Last edited:
Mar 23, 2011
475
16
Noblseville, IN
The late push pattern hinders brush contact too...

I also believe that the late push pattern makes brush interference much harder... Since the drive foot is late, it means the arm and upper body is effectively "ahead" of the legs. Because of this DD's hip does not get into position in time for the brush mechanic to happen. As a result, her arm passes by the hip just before it turns, and she loses brush as well as the rapid arm deceleration that would have occurred with it. This kills whip and reduces speed.

Since the hip doesn't stop the arm, the arm has to stop itself which then makes the release late or "out front". Releasing out front keeps the hand on the ball longer and tends to create more of a corkscrew spin than a typical offset 12 to 6 o'clock spin pattern.

Futhermore this makes her fastball less of a peel drop and more of a fakie riseball (cork screw spin) since there are less downward forces on the ball.
 
Oct 4, 2011
92
0
Very interesting. Thanks for sharing. Does his ebook explain in detail about "how to" perform HA? Is it just squeezing the toes together and arching the foot? The reason I ask is in an earlier post you said that there wasn't much to his ebook, so I am wondering how to get all the info on HA. Thank you.

Hi all,

I wanted to start a topic to discuss sprinting posture improvements without actually working on sprinting posture... This relates to pitching in that we expect to see sprinting like motions within a pitchers drive mechanic. I've said for a while now, how can my DD have sprinting posture when pitching if her sprinting posture is bad to begin with???

I started discussing the foot hyperarch mechanism by Chong Xie in a couple other threads (1 and 2), but it wasn't really the right place to introduce the topic.

Background

A while ago, I discovered a late push pattern in DD's drive mechanic. The late push pattern is a pattern in-which her drive leg delays applying force to the rubber until well after her hips get out front of the rubber. This is a result of using the quads instead of the glutes to drive. The delayed push is not only slow, but it forces her foot to stay on the rubber for an extra long period of time. Staying on the rubber that long then makes it very difficult to acheive a key pitching checkpoint, drive foot separation from the rubber at or before the arms reach 3 o'clock.

Here is the late push pattern (notice the delay in extension and drive from the drive leg):




This discovery has taken us on a long journey into the world of glute activation (glute activation thread, model pitcher database). We spent several months working with glute strength experts to strengthen DD's glutes and made great improvements in strength. However there was minimal improvement in running or pitching mechanics.

Through the help and guidance of the good Lord, the search for a solution continued. I came across Chong Xie's research on foot hyperarch (HA). After doing a lot of research on him and the mechanic, we took the plunge and began working with his mechanics. We are only 7 weeks into the process and are starting to see great results that I wanted to share. It will take some time for this to roll into pitching and sprinting mechanics, but I am confident in the next few months, we will see it.

The underlying basis of his research is that people's feet have a relaxed and active states. In the active state, peoples glutes fire automatically based upon nerve sensations in the foot. The active state isn't well suited for daily walking and activities so the foot goes into a relaxed state in which the glutes are not active. Unfortunately in today's world of comfortable shoes, paved sidewalks, and general comfort some people learn to do athletic movements with their feet stuck in the relaxed state....

With this in mind we learned the HA mechanic and began working on exercises to strengthen the feet. I am very happy to show the results thus far.


Results

Here is an overlay of her running with and without the mechanic <link>.... There is an obvious difference.

[video]https://youtu.be/WS7SOu8MOEU[/video]

What might be less obvious is that she is running with about the same cadence. This means she has become faster without even changing her running turn over rate <link>.

[video]https://youtu.be/LR22m2YfhCo[/video]


This jpeg shows the difference in distance between the two after 20 steps.





This jpeg shows the improvement in running form, and I can't stress this enough. We did absolutely zero work on running form improvement.



While her feet aren't strong enough to do this when sprinting or in her drive mechanic, I have high hopes that soon the changes will creep in.


Conclusion

With all this, I say to you. If your pitcher is not making progress in her drive mechanic or maybe she is heavy footed or slow, consider that maybe she has an underlying problem that is bigger than pitching. She might generally be "quad dominant" and her glutes might not be activating correctly.

Look into Chong Xie's research. It could be rewarding even beyond pitching improvements.

Chong Xie's instagram site

The Secret of Athletecism
 
Oct 4, 2011
92
0
Very interesting. Thanks for sharing. Does his ebook explain in detail about "how to" perform HA? Is it just squeezing the toes together and arching the foot? The reason I ask is in an earlier post you said that there wasn't much to his ebook, so I am wondering how to get all the info on HA. Thank you.

Hi all,

I wanted to start a topic to discuss sprinting posture improvements without actually working on sprinting posture... This relates to pitching in that we expect to see sprinting like motions within a pitchers drive mechanic. I've said for a while now, how can my DD have sprinting posture when pitching if her sprinting posture is bad to begin with???

I started discussing the foot hyperarch mechanism by Chong Xie in a couple other threads (1 and 2), but it wasn't really the right place to introduce the topic.

Background

A while ago, I discovered a late push pattern in DD's drive mechanic. The late push pattern is a pattern in-which her drive leg delays applying force to the rubber until well after her hips get out front of the rubber. This is a result of using the quads instead of the glutes to drive. The delayed push is not only slow, but it forces her foot to stay on the rubber for an extra long period of time. Staying on the rubber that long then makes it very difficult to acheive a key pitching checkpoint, drive foot separation from the rubber at or before the arms reach 3 o'clock.

Here is the late push pattern (notice the delay in extension and drive from the drive leg):




This discovery has taken us on a long journey into the world of glute activation (glute activation thread, model pitcher database). We spent several months working with glute strength experts to strengthen DD's glutes and made great improvements in strength. However there was minimal improvement in running or pitching mechanics.

Through the help and guidance of the good Lord, the search for a solution continued. I came across Chong Xie's research on foot hyperarch (HA). After doing a lot of research on him and the mechanic, we took the plunge and began working with his mechanics. We are only 7 weeks into the process and are starting to see great results that I wanted to share. It will take some time for this to roll into pitching and sprinting mechanics, but I am confident in the next few months, we will see it.

The underlying basis of his research is that people's feet have a relaxed and active states. In the active state, peoples glutes fire automatically based upon nerve sensations in the foot. The active state isn't well suited for daily walking and activities so the foot goes into a relaxed state in which the glutes are not active. Unfortunately in today's world of comfortable shoes, paved sidewalks, and general comfort some people learn to do athletic movements with their feet stuck in the relaxed state....

With this in mind we learned the HA mechanic and began working on exercises to strengthen the feet. I am very happy to show the results thus far.


Results

Here is an overlay of her running with and without the mechanic <link>.... There is an obvious difference.

[video]https://youtu.be/WS7SOu8MOEU[/video]

What might be less obvious is that she is running with about the same cadence. This means she has become faster without even changing her running turn over rate <link>.

[video]https://youtu.be/LR22m2YfhCo[/video]


This jpeg shows the difference in distance between the two after 20 steps.





This jpeg shows the improvement in running form, and I can't stress this enough. We did absolutely zero work on running form improvement.



While her feet aren't strong enough to do this when sprinting or in her drive mechanic, I have high hopes that soon the changes will creep in.


Conclusion

With all this, I say to you. If your pitcher is not making progress in her drive mechanic or maybe she is heavy footed or slow, consider that maybe she has an underlying problem that is bigger than pitching. She might generally be "quad dominant" and her glutes might not be activating correctly.

Look into Chong Xie's research. It could be rewarding even beyond pitching improvements.

Chong Xie's instagram site

The Secret of Athletecism
 
Good stuff j.
Have you studied Abbott's drive/push pattern.....she gets just about the most significant brush interference of any pitchers I've video'd......and her offset timing is amazing which IMO is one of the keys to her speed.
I've been doing a drill I call "Quick Sprinters Split Jump Drive"....it does basically what you are describing. I've seen some nice speed improvements with kids who are diligent in performing the drill in their practices.
 
Mar 23, 2011
475
16
Noblseville, IN
Very interesting. Thanks for sharing. Does his ebook explain in detail about "how to" perform HA? Is it just squeezing the toes together and arching the foot? The reason I ask is in an earlier post you said that there wasn't much to his ebook, so I am wondering how to get all the info on HA. Thank you.
Thank you.

I meant it more as to say it's not exactly 150 pages of content like you'd see in an actual book. It's short and concise with the details of the mechanic and includes background information to support his position. The book purchase also comes with a good set of videos that complement the ebook. It will also explain how to ensure that you are performing the mechanic correctly. Once you learn the mechanic from the book, the videos teach you how to strengthen and develop it. Unfortunately as far as I know, the specific details of the mechanic are not public knowledge, and I don't feel comfortable spilling the beans.

I don't get any ebook royalties or anything so I'm not trying to drum up book sales. I'm just incredibly grateful to see that the mechanic is changing DD's sprinting mechanics in such an amazing way that I had to share it.

I've found that sprinting, softball, baseball coaches spend lots of time teaching sprinting characteristics (knees up, dorsiflexion, drive extension, running on toes, running gait stuff, etc). It was astounding to me to find that many of those teaching points are actually "no teach" items for people who have correct glute activation.

I hope that some day soon those charateristics will become "no teach" items in her pitching drive mechanic as well.
 
Mar 23, 2011
475
16
Noblseville, IN
Good stuff j.
Have you studied Abbott's drive/push pattern.....she gets just about the most significant brush interference of any pitchers I've video'd......and her offset timing is amazing which IMO is one of the keys to her speed.
I've been doing a drill I call "Quick Sprinters Split Jump Drive"....it does basically what you are describing. I've seen some nice speed improvements with kids who are diligent in performing the drill in their practices.
Thank you Rick. I can't tell ya' how much I appreciate such a compliment from a guru such as yourself :). I am not familiar with that drill and would be very interested to check it out.

It's funny that you mention Abbott's drive mechanic, I've been communicating directly with Chong on the topic of pitching drive. When I initially approached him about using HA in a pitching drive mechanic, her clip was the first one that I shared with him.

An interesting fact about using HA, there is a very specific way to tell that you are using the mechanic in explosive movements. I can tell you that before learning HA, that tell tale sign was not present for my DD or myself when we did explosive things such as the two step drill. Without activating HA, it is very likely that all those hard earned reps and offseason workouts were not strengthening her posterior drive chain. Instead her quads and other inefficient muscle groups were just getting stronger.
 

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