You have been getting our e-mails for the last few years you know we talk a lot about the importance of stride length. “Your stride should be a minimum of 100% of your height”. Why? Because, if done correctly with optimal balance, then you will create more momentum toward home plate.
This is great information, but there are those pitchers (very few) that pitch in the major leagues right now who throw hard and their stride is not much longer than an average high school pitcher. Here are two very valid questions that came in this week about stride length:
Question #1 I’ve been watching Heath Bell pitch, and noticed that he doesn’t have an
especially big stride. How is he able to generate so much velocity without that long of a stride?
Question #2 How does Ubaldo Jimenez generate such high speeds on his fastball while having an extremely short stride length?
To help answer the questions let us first drop in a few pics and a video of these two pitchers.
Looking at Jimenez (pic 1 and 2 below) you will notice a couple of things that help with his velocity. First of all his head is directly over his center of gravity which is his belly button. This is important because his momentum isn’t going back and he is not leaning forward. You will also notice that both of his arms (equal and opposite) are in a great balanced position. His pivot foot (back foot) remains on the ground until release of the baseball. Proper balance towards the plate allows him maximum power in the proper direction of the throw.
Perhaps the most important in regards to his velocity is his excellent delayed shoulder rotation. Look how his hips rotate well before his back shoulder. (better pic on second picture) He is creating massive torque here which allows him to engage his core which in turn helps rotate his upper torso around quickly all the way to release of the baseball. I explain this thoroughly in this video clip:
Heath Bell’s mechanics are very similar to Jimenez. Notice his arms are also in a great balanced position, head over center of gravity just like Jimenez; shoulders delayed like Jimenez but not as extreme in these two pics. However if you watch the below video you will see that his delayed shoulder rotation is identical to that of Jimenez at 1:33 seconds. Check out how his hips rotate well before the back shoulder.
Heath may also receive help with that nasty padres camouflage uniform he wears.
Do you think both pitchers could throw faster or use less of their throwing arms for velocity if they lengthened their strides?
There is much more to say about how to increase velocity in some upcoming e-mails. We also spend a lot of time talking about increasing velocity in our new DVD series that is soon to be available to you. Meanwhile, you can pick up our Pitching Mechanics DVD if you would like to see this concept taught.
Let us know how we can best serve you!