How long should your stride be? That is a question that we get from many coaches, parents and pitchers. Many coaches give their opinion of how long a stride should be; some say as long as you are tall, some say longer and some say 75% of your height.
The answer is as far as your body will allow you to while maintaining proper pitching mechanics.
You don’t want to jump to foot strike (loosing balance and posture) just so you can add a foot to your stride. You want to push off the ball of your pivot foot while maintaining a closed posture to foot strike. Don’t jeopardize your pitching mechanics at the expense of gaining distance. There is a way to do it right.
How can a longer stride help you?
One is to gather enough momentum to foot strike so your fastball has pop.
The most exciting reason is that 1-foot = 3 mph perceived pitching velocity. The closer you are to home plate when you release the ball the better. To the batter’s eye the ball appears to be going faster than it really is.
Furthermore, when you throw inside, the batter has to react that much quicker to the pitch as well. In order for him to hit the ball on the fat part of the bat, he has to react much quicker to get the bat around.
How do you get a longer stride? Maintaining a proper strength and flexibility pitching workout is important. For example, if your hip flexors aren’t conditioned to handle the demands of the workload pitching places on them, it will affect your distance and you will be more prone to injury. To add distance, try a delayed shoulder rotation. Some pitchers gain an extra 6 inches to a foot delaying their shoulder properly. Pushing off the ball of your pivot foot not only keeps you balanced, it also helps you to explode to foot strike adding some distance and momentum along the way. Demonstrations of all of these and more pitching techniques that will help you add velocity and more movement are found in our Pitching series. Take advantage of today’s opportunity and save big!