Baseball Throwing Part Three – The Pivot Foot
If I were to sit down with my foot straight out in front of me, it is doubtful I could throw a baseball to the back of the room. But, when you stand up and get your foot under you, then you are throwing from a position of strength and power, which just tells us one thing and that is we throw with our feet.
It is my belief that guys like Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan have endured or did endure for so long because of the strength they had from the waist down and proper mechanics, obviously.
So, when you start talking about mechanics you need to think about a few little basic things:
1) The pivot foot.
I think with younger players you have to overemphasize this. Especially in kids who are making a mistake. You have to square or turn the back foot so that the step is actually facing the person who you are throwing.
Kids will cheat on that. They will cheat because they will just point the toe and then throw.
What happens when you don’t square the back foot? It encourages keeping the front shoulder open. When you keep the front shoulder open it encourages throwing with a lower elbow and the hand behind the ball. It causes you to open up and you have placed yourself in a position of weakness.
If you want to know what I am talking about you look at the good third baseman that has a good arm and when they estimate that long tough throw, you check how they get themselves prepared to do that. They will square here, and they will close here and the shoulder and hip are pointed toward first base and they will throw to a position of power as opposed to this kind of a throw, which is a position of weakness.
So, it is very important to have the back foot squared and the front shoulder closed.
With young kids a lot of times what you want to do is get them squared. Start them off already squared.
Bragg Stockton works with kids on putting the hand together out in front lining the hip and shoulder up with the person to whom they are throwing and then skip and step and throw. When you are skipping on that back foot it is real hard to open that front shoulder prematurely.
It is good to get them lined up and skip like this to open and throw.
So, square the back foot, close the front shoulder and let the arm come on a downward arc. As players get better, you can shorten that circle but in the early stages it is better to have it long. You want them to come down, turn the hand out and get the body in position.