Stacking the Hips

By: Cameron Castro (@33Castro_)

Want to generate momentum and great direction down the mound? “Stack ‘em”!

This is a common statement our pitchers will hear me say. In our program, we talk often about stacking the hips (hip drive, pelvic loading, etc.). Now the first question to answer is why do we talk about it and what does it do for you?

In an ideal delivery, the hips work separately from the torso during the stride phase. A disconnection needs to occur for proper torso rotation to take place. The hips have to go first, with the torso close to follow. Some of the verbal cues (which I try not use a ton of) we use are, “show the back pocket” or “drive the back hip through the front hip”. For the record, I am more a fan of pitchers physically learning how to move, rather than learning how to listen [to cues]. When done correctly, the athlete should feel either a pinch in the back hip and/or pressure on the inside part of their lead leg.

In a recent #PitchingChat, Josh brought up Marcus Stroman and how his hips load before peak leg lift is achieved. I think Stroman is a great model for momentum, mainly because of the force he creates into the ground. He creates diagonal force into the ground, rather than vertical:

Stacking Stroman

On the flip side, Zack Greinke is a great example of stacking your hips after peak leg lift:

Stacking Greinke

Here’s a look at one of our guys doing the same (stacking after peak lift):

Stacking Hips amateur

What else does properly stacking your hips do for you? Blake Herring, pitching coach at Carson-Newman, who I had the opportunity to hear speak this past December, might have said it best:

Stacking Tweet

“A natural, shorter arm action because of quickness to foot plant.” One thing we talk a lot about in our program, and consistently work on, is the notion that the faster your feet work, the faster your arm can work. Essentially, the more athletic you are, the better chance you have of developing proper movement patterns throughout the delivery. As pitching coaches, I think we should consistently remind ourselves that we are not just training pitchers – we are training athletes.

Like what you read? Check out more of Coach Castro’s thoughts on pitching at:

Cameron Castro
Defiance College


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