August 2012-Tip of the Month

"Why not to offset your feet with a runner on base"

As the season winds down for many of us, we should be looking back at the season we just played through, trying to see which skill areas need immediate attention during the Falland Winter months. Very often, the skill area that will pop into most of your minds is throwing.

This Summer I spent more time watching baseball and softball than I ever had before (and I normally watch A LOT, so that is saying something). One of the biggest issues that continued baffle me throughout the summer was watching balls sail into center field on throws from the catcher, runners advance on balls skipping off poorly angled chest protectors and strikes being caught in a way that guaranteed they would be called a ball. All because the catcher was trying to gain a non-existent advantage by dropping their foot back.

Now the idea is fairly simple, and you can almost make some sense of it from an outsiders perspective. "If you drop the foot back, it will allow you to turn early, and since we need to turn to throw, we will be able to throw sooner."

Here's the problem - Our body and brain do not work like that. Every athletic movement we make behind the plate has a true efficient order, a best way, and when that sequence is broken or shuffled around, it can have a negative impact on the results of our throws.

When you offset your foot and you start turning your hips early, it forces your hips in a direction during the exchange that you do not want to be the side. This can have a number of detrimental effects on the throw.

This "pre-turn" can also effect your ability to keep strikes looking like strikes because you are now turned further away from your throwing-hand side of the plate, and will be forced to receive pitches deeper than you would if your feet were parallel to each other.

And lastly, by offsetting your feet with a runner on base, you are severely limiting yourself on balls in the dirt to the throwing-hand side of your body. It will almost be impossible to get your chest behind the ball, while still maintaining an angle back towards the middle of the field. This will most assuredly cause more balls to skip away from you and lead to runners moving up a base, if not scoring.

Do yourselves a favor and keep your feet parallel to each other and avoid the many problems that offsetting your feet bring to the table.

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From behind the mask,