Zach Greinke is one of the most dominant young pitchers in the game today. As you can see in pictures he has all the elements of the perfect balanced delivery. Greinke maintains focus and momentum throughout his delivery. His long stride and triple extension enables him to increase his velocity as if he is throwing down hill, and he maintains full momentum even upon follow through.
Adam Wainwright has been one of the best starting pitchers for the St. Louis Cardinals the last couple years. Above pictured are phases of his delivery which will be identified below.
In the top right picture you can see that as Adam is in the “stretch” position he is in an ATHLETIC POSITION . This is a position in which he is essentiallybalanced and ready to begin his pitching process. In this position Adam ispreparing mentally where he wants his pitch to be in the strike zone as well as what grip he will be using as he pitches the ball.
Next Adam exhales from a deep breath and begins to lift his front leg up as high as he can without offsetting his balance. Balance here is very importantas Adam picks up his target in his line of vision and begins the first step of linear direction toward the hitter. As he leads his hip toward home plate into about a 4 inch free fall his back knee also transitions forward toward the direction of the batterbeginning the next phase of delivery which is his strike and triple extension of the ankle, knee and hip horizontally toward home plate.
Adam’s momentum with his lower body is now “triple extending“ toward home play while as his momentum leg is going down,he leads momentum leg with his heal as far as he can towards the hitter, eventually landing sideways with front foot strike.
Adam’s upper body as his heal leaves his center towards home also aims to get back to balance and his lead glove arm extends toward his target while his throwing arm creates the “POWER T” behind in either a straight or cocked position with his thumb pointing down.
As the body reaches front foot strike andopposite and equal extension of the upper body the back hip begins to rotate which causes hip rotation to trigger the throwing arm leadingwith the elbow into a position to throw the ball.
Itsimportant that the lead elbow remain on the catcher and target for where the ball is going to be thrown and that the pitchers eyes also remain on target as the body rotates to throw. The front foot stays where its at but the body rotates fully and the throwing arm releases the ball as far in front of front foot as possible.
The final phase of delivery is to not only release the ball out front, but to make sure that the finger tips finish the pitch by moving down the ball, essentially if only by figure of speech, handing the catcher the ball.
As a result of such a forward release of the ball and the hip rotation and leg drive of the delivery the front glove will either stay in front of the front knee or end up in a position similar to putting the glove into the pocket of the front hip as the back leg follows through and the arm reaches full follow through and deceleration.
Important checkpoints of delivery at endpoint should be the nose of the pitcher, bellybutton and both knees be facing the hitteressentially in ready position to field a ground ball. The throwing shoulder should finish almost in the same direction as the catcher to ensure full follow through and acceleration toward the hitter.
Most pitchers reach opposite and equal at some point in their delivery. If they didn’t they would either throw it into the sky or throw into the ground. So wouldn’t you agree that the most simple approach to pitching begins with a balanced start on the mound, a balanced simple leg kick and keeping everything top center on the mound ready to explode inertia to the hitter. So the phase of pitching I’m describing today is basically the standing on the mound in a “athletic position”.
This position is one in which the knees are perhaps slightly bent but the pitcher could essentially stand there all day and someone could not walk over and simply push him off the mound as if he were standing straight up with no stability. From here the most simple thing a pitcher can do to maintain balance and simplicity is either “side step stride” toward the hitter and begin towards the power “T” or lift the lead leg straight up to the pitcher’s highest balanced point.
At this point things starts happening and we will go into that another day…Today’s message, simple leads to directional. You can’t go wrong by standing athletic on the mound and lifting your lead leg up centrally. God made us with only our body therefore there is no extra torque that can be generated by swinging your leg back, looking to the sky (Fernando Venezuela style) or any other of the various strategies. Pitching is repetition and to throw the highest amount of likely “strikes” one must keep it simple and leave the room for error to a minimum.