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Leap and drag Vs. Step

Jun 20, 2008
Boise, Idaho
I have been teaching softball pitching for quite a while. My major pitching influences/teachers are Doug Gillis, Ron Bouldin, and Bill Hillhouse, of course Jenny Finch. My question is regarding the stride.
I see many pitchers taught a violent leaping motion off the rubber. they are, taught to keep the trail foot on the ground, but it is very explosive. This is the leap and drag method. Many years ago I watched Doug Gillis pitch a laser across almost the entire length of a gym floor with a casual leg motion that was more of an up-down rhythm and snap. This is the step style. I pitch more of the step style...very rhythmic and builds from slow to fast, the same way a baseball pitcher does.
I teach my clients to be sure that they stride high and allow their stride length to "evolve" naturally rather than a violent leaping action. I know that both of these styles are successful but I feel like a natural, controlled up with a violent downward motion of the stride is safer and uses the entire length of the body. to generate speed.
When I try to leap and drag, I find myself planting and then coming down and forcing the ball with my arm...rather than being loose and snapping.
I would appreciate any input that you smart people can give me. If I can teach itbetter, I want to.
Jun 20, 2008
Boise, Idaho
Actually, I don't see anyone LEAPING off the rubber. I see a strong, powerful, up, and out stride without an explosive initial movement. I guess my take on this is that if you start off the beginning of the pitch as fast as you can, then at best you can only maintain that, or (at worst) slow down. I think some people feel that the massive leap gets added in to the speed of the pitch but we all know that no one pitches hard with the plant leg in the air, so the body is stopped. Just wondering what others think.
May 12, 2008
My suggestion is you look to how the elite pitchers pitch rather than theorizing or listening to the Redmer's of the world. Pitch like this. Windmill Especially Cat and Ueno. I consider them more efficient than Finch but Finch's mechanics certainly aren't stepping style either.


May 7, 2008
The feet do not show

Hi Mark. On all three of these videos, the camera does not show their feet or the rubber, until the stride foot touches down. Without being able to see their feet and the rubber until that point;

Osterman looks good and strong.

Finch appears to be illegal.

Ueno looks to be throwing with an aggressive step style.

Again, if the camera showed the feet for the entire motion and any pre-motions, it might appear to be different.


With all due respect to you and others who like to say "Watch the elite pitchers and do what they do". If people do not know what to look for in the motions, they will not know good mechanics from poor mechanics, legal from illegal, etc.

There are things to be learned from watching elite pitchers. There are also MANY things in their motions that an untrained eye will NOT pick up on.

Watching older, more experienced pitchers pitch in their games is how I learned to pitch. However, that process took many years and I watched hundreds and hundreds of adult male pitchers in their games, starting when I was 5 years old and a batboy on my father's team.

If you told the average 14-year-old to watch (Lets say) Jennie Finch and do what she does, she will watch the video, probably many times.

Then she will go out and do her best to imitate what she saw.

It is likely she will pitch a little faster than she did before that, however, it is highly unlikely she will get it right. The timing, etc, will not be correct. Th mechanics will NOT be right.

Now we have that kid out there praticing what she saw and re-enforcing BAD MECHANICS and thinking she is doing awesome because she IS throwing a little bit faster than before.

Until she gets to an instructor that knows what they are doing and what to look for, she will setting bad habits in concrete, that the instructor will have to fix.

I don't feel anyone is doing a pitcher a great service by simply telling them to watch elite pitchers and imitate what they do. It is just too general a statement and request for something that requires many specifics to do correctly.

I think it would be better to break the mechanics down and have that pitcher focus on one aspect at a time. IE: stride length, stride speed, pre-motions, etc. They have to know enough to be able to focus on that one thing and do that. That normally takes an instructor.
May 12, 2008
I don't intend a few videos of elite pitchers to be a pitching education. I intend it to answer CoachSteg's question of stepping style vs leap and drag or push and drag as Ernie prefers to call it. Bottom line, very few elite pitchers use stepping style and Redmer is, IMO, a fraud. I have to disagree with your assessment of Ueno as a stepping style. As to Finch being illegal, most are but the point of this thread is stepping style vs leap and drag. No contest at the upper levels.
May 7, 2008
I agree with MarkH! The video is not a substitute for good coaching. The video is very useful to compare anything you are told by so-called experts. If what they say doesn't pass the slo-mo video test...it's time to move on.


I just posted this on another thread, but here goes again.
A pitcher with good arm whip can generate 90% of her top speed simply throwing from the 12 o'clock/"K" position----no step and throw and no leap and drag.
The real question is how to get the remaining 10% because this separates the good from the elite. The key is to generate some energy that will transfer ultimately to the fingers. My experience is that a high energy thrust from the pitching rubber (leap and drap) aids in generating that energy---especially in girls.
As Mark has pointed out---check the elite girls in college, USA Team, Pro Fastpitch, and other International Teams----I have yet to see one that uses a step method. It kind of is like "where there is smoke there is fire".
My advise is to keep it legal---there seems to be a minor ground swell of umpires with enough __________to call those that are egregious.
Jun 20, 2008
Boise, Idaho

I appreciate everyones input. I am not being clear on the question. When I say step, I do not me a passive low energy movement. What I am speaking of is a strong movement that not only goes out but has a distinct upward movement and then accelerates as the pitcher descends down into the snap at the bottom so that all of the speed is generated at the bottom of the snap and transfered into the fingers.

The people I see teaching leap and drag are teaching a movement that is so explosive from the rubber, that they have maxed out by the time they are landing and the movement does not go up more than 8 inches off the ground with the stride foot.

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