The Leap Drag
A more advanced delivery method is the leap drag method. I believe that this method should only be attempted after the pitcher has at least a year of experience. Then, if the pitcher wants to try it, it should be an off season goal for them to perfect this style.
I think of this like a volleyball serve. You have the basic over head serve and the running jump serve. When you first start playing volleyball, you don’t start out doing the running jump serve; in fact, you may never do the running jump serve. Typically, you first learn to do the basic over head serve and once you have mastered that, if you want to, you move onto the more effective and slightly more difficult running jump serve.
Here are some definitions that will be good to know as we get deeper into the subject of pitching.
The power line is an imaginary line that runs from the toe of your pivot foot to the middle (for now) of home plate. The pivot foot for a right handed thrower is the fight foot, the left foot for a left handed thrower.
The pitching plate is the rectangular rubber starting point for the pitcher.
The pitching circle is the 8 foot radius circle around the pitching plate.
Here is a quick overview of the leap drag style of pitching.
The pitcher assumes her starting position with the heel of her pivot foot and the toe of the other foot on the pitching plate. The ball is in her pitching hand and her arms are at her side. She leans in slightly and takes the signal (or appears to take a signal) from the catcher. (ASA rule) When she has received the signal from the catcher, she brings the ball and glove together in front of her and pauses for a second, but not more than 10 seconds. (ASA rules) She then starts her hands in motion in, what I refer to as, her own personal style.
Her own personal style could be a circular motion in front of her, an upward extension of both hands followed with both hands coming down with the glove slapping against her thigh and her pitching hand reaching back toward 2nd base.
Her hand starts forward past her hip and at the same time the hand passes her hip, she will bring her non pivot foot forward and pivoting her shoulders and hips to about 45 degrees. With her front foot up off the ground, she will use a leap (not so much up as out)off her pivot leg to drive forward off the pitching plate. The foreword momentum of her arms will assist her in “launching” forward off the pitching plate to a point. Her non pivot foot will land with the toe on the power line some 6 feet in front of the pitching plate. When she lands, the momentum of hitting the ground should help her “slam the door shut”. I use this term to describe her hips and shoulders going from 45 degrees open to quickly being square with the catcher again. At the same time the “door is slamming shut”, the ball in her pitching hand should be reaching the release point. The added combination of landing on a ridged front foot and slamming the door shut should add to the power of the wrist snap, producing a faster pitch as it leaves the hand. At the time the ball rolls of the finger tips, allow the elbow to bend until she follows through with her fingers pointing at her shoulder and her elbow somewhere in line with the power line. She will then bring her glove up in front of her and flex her knees in an athletic position prepared to field (or protect herself) anything that may be hit back at her. She will do this with relaxed muscles all the way through the pitching motion. Relaxed muscles are quicker than tight muscles. Her toe on the pivot foot is supposed to be in contact (drag) with the ground without replanting it until after the ball has left the pitchers hand. Again, it will take practice to make this leap more out than up.
(ASA rule the toe of the pivot foot is supposed to stay in contact with the ground, most umpires do not call it illegal if the toe comes off the ground as long as it is not replanted somewhere in front of the pitching plate and re used as a new push off point aka crow-hop).
From The Leap Drag Return to Pitching Mechanics
From Leap-Drag Return to Coaching-Fastpitch Home Page