Every pitcher must understand that the back leg drive is one of the most essential components of great pitching mechanics and for producing above average velocity.
In many low velocity pitchers, there is usually inadequate back leg drive. There are many factors that are responsible for pitching velocity, and by simply corrected your drive leg motion, you can add at least 2-3 mph on your pitches.
I’m going to explain step-by-step how to improve your back leg drive, and to start seeing greater velocity starting today.
1. It all begins with the “balance point”
I have discussed the many problems with the traditional balance point countless times, and Brent Pourciau from 3X Pitching Velocity agrees.
The traditional balance point is a velocity killer, and it can actually inhibit your ability to achieve proper back leg drive.
The traditional balance point puts a pitcher in a perpendicular position, which leads to ineffective weight shift, and subsequently weak back leg drive.
In order to achieve your desired back leg drive, you must first correct your balance point position. At the peak of your leg lift, your weight should already be shifted towards home, and your drive knee should be inside the drive hip. This position will lead to optimal rear leg drive and stride speed.
2. You need to correct any leg lift faults
Some people don’t take the leg lift into account, but it can really affect your ability to generate rear leg drive and stride speed. The most common mechanical fault with the leg lift is bringing the leg out and around into the stride.
This tendency can lead to early hip rotation, and will force you to lose power from the drive leg.
You must focus on dropping the lift leg and foot directly down towards the ground and out into your stride. This will increase the fluidity of your motion, and is very important for achieving proper drive off the back leg.
3. Avoid over-collapsing the drive knee
This is the most important step to seeing velocity increases from your back leg drive. The most common mechanical fault is when a pitcher collapses the drive knee past the drive foot.
I’m sure you have heard many pitching instructors toss out this line: you must “drop and drive”… And they are right, pitchers should drop and drive, but not to the extent that most do.
The key to the “drop and drive” is to DRIVE TOWARDS HOME.
When a pitcher over-collapses the drive knee, they are significantly decreasing their power towards home. This tendency leads to an inability to achieve triple extension, and thus will decrease your velocity.
If you achieve proper back leg drive you will increase your stride speed and length, and will stay closed for a longer duration of time. This will lead to an explosive transition into your hip to shoulder separation, which is responsible for about 80 percent of potential pitching velocity.
Focus on shifting your power and weight towards home, instead of leaving it behind at the rubber!