This series is all about standards – that is movements that Major League baseball players all do that make them successful. Dan and I are not interested in teaching personal philosophy if it isn’t what guys in the Bigs are doing.
The first standard you must be aware of as a pitcher is the importance of leading with your hips. We’ve got a video that will explain this in some more detail down below.
Unfortunately, we still see too many coaches teaching their pitchers to have a balance point at the top of their leg left. That is, they are instructing their pitchers to left their leg, some to a slight pause at the apex of the leg lift, then begin their movement towards home plate. The problem then is that most pitchers begin the momentum towards home plate the wrong way.
This is NOT a pitching standard, since the majority of MLB do this. Dan Haren of the Angels would be an exception to this rule. The problem with the balance point philosophy, as mentioned above, is that it forces young pitchers to create momentum artificially. That is, kids will have to employ dropping and pushing tactics that will affect their mechanics and arm adversely later on in the delivery.
For that reason, teach your pitchers how to lead with their hips. That’s why this standard used overwhelmingly in MLB. Here are some benefits:
* Increases velocity since the body is working to create most of the energy instead of the arm.
* Encourages pitchers to stay closed longer (more on this in a future email) since the upper body doesn’t have to work early in the delivery process.
* Allows pitchers to throw deeper into games.
Some resources for you:
Video by Dan explaining how to lead with the hips
Justin Verlander – watch how his hips are moving forward as he moves into his leg left.
Mark Buehrle – Even from the stretch position leading with the hips works.
David Price – Mixture of Haren and Verlander – you will see him come to a slight pause, but he still understands that leading with the hips is important.
This first pitching standard is must to make sure your pitcher is beginning his delivery the proper way. While most instructors mean well, not all are created equal. Find someone who buys into teaching standards vs. personal philosophy and stick with them.
If you want some more standards, we’ve packed them all into our Pitching DVD. We’ll be in touch soon with another pitching standard.