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From the Wind Up: Step back, to the side, or what's comfortable?

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  • From the Wind Up: Step back, to the side, or what's comfortable?

    I've been reading that 50 page pdf that is offered for free from Dick Mills and he suggests stepping directly back to begin your momentum forward for more velocity. He notes that not all great pitchers did this and some of them have in fact stepped towards first base, or to the side, rather than directly backwards.

    What have you experienced is the better mechanics, or is it just whatever makes you comfortable? Does it really increase velocity when stepping backwards? It doesn't seem that way for Tim Lincecum or others. Or are those few just so out there that they can do whatever they want and still have good velocity?


    Thoughts and suggestions are appreciated!

  • #2
    Like batting stances it's what makes the player comfortable. Like hitting with getting to the "ready" position, with or without stepping back the pitcher will get to the same point. I was taught to step back and have my arms come over my head. When I taught my son to pitch at age nine, I started him from the stretch in a very compact motion. In high school, even from a windup he's still very compact.

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    • #3
      My boy steps to the side (towards 1B) because it's much easier for him to get his leg up. I've seen kids step straight back but it looks like they have to bring the leg around their other leg and up.

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      • #4
        I don't think it really matters but more of a personal preference for which feels more comfortable. When I pitched I stepped towards first base because going back felt awkward to me.
        “If there was ever a man born to be a hitter it was me.” - Ted Williams
        "Didn't come up here to read. Came up here to hit." - Hank Aaron

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        • #5
          Stepping to the side is technically a balk but they allow it during games if you are consistent with it. Otherwise it's a step towards first.

          Practically however I don't want my kids stepping to the side because of all the crappy mounds out there. Stepping to the side will at times put you on a decline and when it's been raining it's doubly rough. However I give my kids the option of a small step back at about a 45 degree angle to help out with the foot plant. Some can't comfortably make that twist, plant and leg kick. Either way I encourage a "not large" step.

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          • #6
            you make a small quiet step directly backwards...keep your eyes ON THE TARGET LINE,,stepping off to the side brings them off target ..:candle:

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            • #7
              What have you experienced is the better mechanics, or is it just whatever makes you comfortable?
              Whatever makes you comfortable. Your stepback has to be something YOU can repeat.

              Does it really increase velocity when stepping backwards?
              IMO no. But who knows, maybe it will increase it for someone.

              It doesn't seem that way for Tim Lincecum or others. Or are those few just so out there that they can do whatever they want and still have good velocity?
              Much of Lincecum's velo is because of his mechanics, not in spite of them.
              My own signature is not impressive, so I selected one that was...
              sigpic

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              • #8
                Originally posted by wogdoggy View Post
                you make a small quiet step directly backwards...keep your eyes ON THE TARGET LINE,,stepping off to the side brings them off target ..:candle:

                Does stepping to the side bring your eyes off the target even if your head stays in line with your bellybutton and pivot leg? I can see if it you begin to lean back, but that could happen when stepping backwards as well.


                I asked this question because my son is starting to pick up pitching alot more this year and it seems that when we started him with the direct and short step backwards he wasn't able to turn on his pivot foot all that well and threw him off balance. We stated working on a side step to first and he has done much better.

                However, while doing this some of the material I've been reading is saying that this decreases velo and they should be using a direct backstep. From the opinions on this board it sounds like there is no link to the initial step and velo, though.


                Overall, I would prefer my son have accuracy over velo, but it would be great to figure out how to get the best of both!

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                • #9
                  The biggest problem with stepping to the side is that to come back his momentum is going toward third base..and that affects his balance. I agree with an earlier poster, the best thing to do is take a small step back, and get the foot turned quickly for balance.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jbolt_2000 View Post

                    I asked this question because my son is starting to pick up pitching alot more this year and it seems that when we started him with the direct and short step backwards he wasn't able to turn on his pivot foot all that well and threw him off balance. We stated working on a side step to first and he has done much better.
                    For my pitchers that have this problem I simply rotate about 45 degrees and take a small step at that angle. It helps get the pivot foot in position.

                    So the sequence is this:
                    - Take your sign fully facing the catcher.
                    - Simple turn about 45degrees and step "back" a short distance.
                    - Plant pivot foot
                    - etc.

                    I wish I could show it to you. It's a good alternative to straight back for those with the pivot foot problem you mentioned.

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                    • #11
                      At what age does everyone recommend having kids throw from the wind-up? I'm coaching a 9/10 LL team, and I'm encouraging the kids to throw from the stretch. When less experienced pitchers throw from the wind up they tend to lose balance and swing their lead leg toward first (for a RHP) instead of striding toward home.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jbolt_2000 View Post
                        I've been reading that 50 page pdf that is offered for free from Dick Mills ...
                        Would you have a link to this free pdf? I've looked through his site and couldn't find it...

                        Thanks.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by azmatsfan View Post
                          At what age does everyone recommend having kids throw from the wind-up? I'm coaching a 9/10 LL team, and I'm encouraging the kids to throw from the stretch. When less experienced pitchers throw from the wind up they tend to lose balance and swing their lead leg toward first (for a RHP) instead of striding toward home.
                          For the last two years I have been teaching my players beginning from the wind up. I have noticed this year though (with a few new players) that starting from the stretch gives them a little more understanding of how the body works and then slowly incorporte the wind up aspects of pitching.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by TrentThomas View Post
                            Would you have a link to this free pdf? I've looked through his site and couldn't find it...

                            Thanks.
                            I just looked and now it appears that he is selling it for $9.97. I don't see it being a free download anymore.

                            Maybe someone else has an idea????:noidea

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by jbolt_2000 View Post
                              We stated working on a side step to first and he has done much better.

                              However, while doing this some of the material I've been reading is saying that this decreases velo and they should be using a direct backstep. From the opinions on this board it sounds like there is no link to the initial step and velo, though.
                              Mills' recommendation to step straight back is part of his "momentum pitching" model. Mills claims that all energy created by the body and available to put into the ball is created during the stride and then transferred up through the body. Thus, the faster you move during the stride, the more energy you create and the faster you throw the ball.

                              I don't agree with this logic nor the model but, if we assume it is correct, it also requires efficient transfer of that energy through the body. Efficient energy transfer requires good mechanics, proper strength and flexibility to suport those mechanics, and, excellent timing. So, the velocity wouldn't just come for free by stepping straight back and then striding faster.

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