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How to Pitch from the Stretch

pitch-stretchMatt Whiteside is the owner of All-Star Performance Baseball Camps and Clinics, and director, pitching instructor, and coach of the St. Louis Gamers. He previously played in the MLB for six years over the course of a seventeen year professional baseball career. Additional educational resources for players, coaches and parents are available at gamersacademy.net.

Preseason Pitching Workout: Week 7

Since the majority of pitches are thrown from the stretch, it’s critical your pitchers perfect this movement early on in their careers. Starting from the bottom up, the feet should be shoulder width apart—any closer and your pitcher runs the risk of leaning or toppling over when he lifts his front leg—with 85-90% of a pitcher’s weight on his back leg, leaving the front leg light and easy to lift. The back knee should be slightly bent, with the hands centered on the torso, and the shoulders parallel to the ground (not the slope of the mound!) Now we’re in a solid starting position.

As the front leg lifts off the ground, we want to have it to come up and in toward the belly button at an angle. A front foot that’s pointed out leads to the knee lifting forward and toward the plate, causing the pitcher to open up prematurely. During the lift, the foot remains under the knee (no swinging!) and the hip in front of the shoulder. From here, the pitcher loads his hip, separates his hands, and pushes with his back leg.

The hands drop, and the glove goes out parallel to the shoulders/ground. As the front foot strikes, your pitcher enters the power position: shoulders parallel to the ground, front knee flexed, front foot flat, back leg straight, arm at 90 degrees.

From here, he finishes the rotation of the hips, extension and release of the ball, ending with the back foot elevated to hip height. The goals of this drill are to:

  • Prevent toppling or leaning
  • Prevent flying open
  • Prevent collapsing early
  • Prevent a short stride

 

Pitching from the Stretch

Stretch with Power Drive

Front view of the Stretch

Baseball

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