What is the drag line in reference to pitching? We get this question a lot. Perhaps it was Tom House that invented the word but many power pitchers who have been in the major leagues used to do it without knowing it did them any good. After awhile the drag line became a mechanical must for most pitchers in the major leagues.
Here’s what it is. When a pitcher rotates after foot strike, the pivot foot (back foot) stays on the ground until release of the baseball. During this process, momentum and energy still have to continue forward toward the plate, therefore, the back foot stays on the ground and “drags” forward causing a line to be drawn on the dirt; hence the word drag line.
Here are some Major League pitchers to watch that all have a drag line. Its important to note that you don’t use your pivot foot as a plow to slow yourself down; even when you throw a changeup. As you will see its a more natural movement to ensure that your energy “flows” forward toward the plate, nothing is forced.
Here we go:
Nolan Ryan: Again, you are watching his back pivot foot, the rotation and the drag before release of the ball.
Justin Verlander : About 29-30 seconds into the clip watch his pivot foot rotate and his drag line. He is a complete stud!
Brian Wilson: Perhaps this is the best view of the drag line.
Not everyone in the major leagues uses this mechanical tool. However, more and more pitchers are realizing its importance and are making the mechanical change. This helps the pitchers release the ball later as well, bringing them closer to home plate before release. That is known as perceived pitching velocity. We will talk about that later.
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