Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Pitching Stage Seven

Wall of Resistance

Actually, Dr. Tom House is credited for illustrating this stage with his National Pitching Association (NPA) research.  The Wall of Resistance is an imaginary line drawn through the pitcher’s foot upon touch, after the leg kick.  This straight line passes through the plant foot and extends to the sky.  At foot plant, the pitcher’s head should be behind the line.  During release, the pitcher’s head must pass through the line and ahead of the plant foot.  If the pitcher is able to execute this action, proper directional force has been applied.  Also, forced apply toward second base allows the pitcher to release his pitch closer to home plate.  Furthermore, maintaining forward momentum with the lower body greatly reduces upper arm stress and chance of injury.  If the pitcher is not able to generate an opposite lower body push, their arm will have to generate much of the force behind the ball.  Pitchers that isolate their arm to produce force may experience problems with extreme arm soreness, injury, and fatigue.  Above, left handed pitcher David Wells has just reached foot plant.  His head is clearly behind his glove leg on foot strike.  Like all Major League pitchers, Wells will explode through the “Wall of Resistance” during release.     

One oral cue that our team uses for pitchers to create lead leg push is “Get some air under your heel.”  This has helped our pitcher visualize transferring their weight forward and freeing their rear leg.  Also, the oral cue “Finishing on your toe” has helped our pitchers visualize proper weight transfer during their delivery.  As a coach, the best way to measure if players are breaking through the Wall of Resistance is that watch the pitcher’s back leg.  If their leg achieves full extension through release, the pitcher has activated and used the appropriate force production mechanics.  If not, coaches need to incorporate drills that promote lead leg push and opposite directional pushes.    

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