Getting the feel of the legs working together
There’s a of talk in the pitching world about the need to get good leg drive in order to get good speed. But I’ve always found the books and videos to be a little lacking on the “how” end of things. They will offer drills and such, which work if the pitcher naturally uses her legs correctly in those drills. But what if she doesn’t?
By that I mean what if she doesn’t use both legs together? Some will push hard off the back side, but won’t necessarily use the front leg efficiently. Others will drive out hard with the front leg, but will allow the back side to lag.
Tonight I was facing the latter with a girl named Justine. Her mom is a reader of this blog so I’m sure she won’t mind her being named, at least by first name. Justine was using her front leg to pull, but the back leg was late, and she was not only not throwing as hard as she should, she was also ending up in a forward leaning position. We tried a couple of different things to give her the feel of her legs working together, but it was still a struggle. Then I came upon an idea.
She is right handed, so I had her stand on her right leg, with her left leg slightly up — in what is often called the “stork” position. I then had her move her front knee forward slowly, to see how far she could get it before she lost her balance and wouldn’t be able to push off the back leg. She was surprised to see that she couldn’t get it all that far out. We did it a few times, and I had her push off before she hit the point of no return. Then we went back to pitching full out, with a noticeable jump in speed.
The key to this is the two legs have to work together. If the front leg gets too far away from the back leg it is impossible to get a good drive off the back leg. You need to push off the back foot as the front knee is going forward, not after it’s already as far as it can extend. Doing that moves the whole body together as a unit, which is more powerful than going one piece at a time.
So thanks to Justine I have yet another new drill to bring to my students. I love new stuff!