After creating increased mobility and range of motion (ROM) in the ankle/foot– we want to next create stiffness and strength in the leg. We do this with getting a “feel” for how the take-off position should feel by holding this position, then rocking back into the start of the motion, and re-finding the foot/ankle position, then accelerating through it.
Some pitchers roll through this VERY important part of the pitch that dictates how the foot, ankle, and glute fire–which equates to power and velocity on the ball, as well as improves efficiency and alignment of the body throughout the pitching motion.
Here’s how you work on it:
- Set up on the rubber in your semi-squat starting position of a pitch.
- Bend the knees. Push the hips back and make sure the knee is tracked over the middle of the foot.
- Make sure you feel equal pressure on the floor with the foot (think about feeling the floor the same with the big toe as you do the little toe).
- Lift the heel higher than the ball of the foot and hold it in that position for :10-:20 seconds, you should feel the glutes burning and the quads tense up. If you do not, press the toes down into the floor and make sure the knee/hip is in alignment.
- After holding for the designated time, rock back into the wind-up of your pitch. Then as you roll back through to the ball of the foot again, try to quickly re-find that glute burn before accelerating your body forward off the rubber. Repeat this 3-5x.
Exercises to Work on This:
Hold 3 x :30 seconds per leg on ISO Holds, and complete 3 x 5 on Single Leg Deadlifts.