The Real Reason Why Do Pitchers Lift Their Leg? – 2023 Guideline

You must understand that as young pitchers begin their pitching training, they will first be taught how to make the proper steps in pitching motion. 

This is important as it will help them get used to baseball throwing mechanics. While all of these can be taught differently by various coaches, the basics of baseball remain universal.

And some of these basics of the pitching motion include: 

  • The drive
  • The step back
  • The release
  • The leg lift

However, this article will focus on answering the question of why do pitchers lift their leg. 

Why do pitchers lift their leg? 

When asked why do pitchers lift their leg, the simple answer is that they lift the legs as a part of their delivery process. In this delivery process, the pitchers can create balance and initiate the first movement toward the home plate. 

More so, lifting the leg enables pitchers to twist their torso. When they do this twist, it helps to get the ball very far from the starting point and assists in generating the additional torque that they need for heightened velocity. 

From there, the leg begins its motion toward the batter and stays planted while the other leg follows up behind in the air. As all these are happening, the pitcher’s throwing arm gets to snap forward and will cross over their chest. 

In giving you answers as to why do pitchers lift their leg, you best believe everything is all about physics and human physiology. 

The physics of pitching 

As stated above, physics is involved as to why pitchers lift their legs. We can further explain this below: 

The starting position 

Here, the pitcher is made to stand tall while his body faces the plate with his glove firmly concealing the ball. His throwing hand will be tucked below his chin while both feet rest steadily on the rubber, just shoulder-width apart. 

The Rocking motion

With the starting position already arranged, the pitcher will take a tiny step backward using his left foot. It is called the rocking motion as he will rock his body a little bit back though his glove and chin will stay centered on the right leg. 

Understand that this small rocking motion will open the flow of energy and momentum that will cascade the entire pitch. 

The balance and pivot movements 

Here, the pitcher will steadily transfer his weight by creating a small turn using his right foot, placing it parallel with the rubber. Note that this pivot turns the body so that only the shoulder and left hip face the plate. 

As he does this, he will have to move into a balanced position by smoothly lifting his knee until it gets to the same level as his waist. Again, his two hands are to remain together and positioned underneath the chin close to his body. 

The separation of the hands

In answering the question of why do pitchers lift their leg, note that the hand separation will help in storing his energy, which can be likened to a coiled spring. 

In a bid to unleash this energy, the pitcher will embark on driving forward with his hip and right leg. He does this at the exact time his hands separate, move down, and like a pendulum, moving back and up. 

At this point, his left foot off the ground will lead his body forward. 

The power slot posture

While his left foot is planted in front of his body and the right foot stays positioned against the rubber, the pitcher’s throwing hand will sit level with his hat while the fingers stay at the top of the ball. 

Here, he will leave his left arm bent at the elbow while the gloved thumb points at the ground. 

The square posture

As his left foot stays planted, he will rotate his trunk and hip. He does this by turning on his right foot’s ball. This will square his chest, hips, and shoulders while his throwing hand starts coming forward. 

The delivery 

Finally, he will drive his right leg forward to make the delivery. This will make the hip rotate around the front leg and rotate the torso, thus bringing the arm forward. 

The throw will be made when he whips his right arm from 11 to 5 o’clock. Then, he will follow this through so that the right foot will touch down with the pitcher’s body square to the plate.  He is prepared to field the ball batted straight back in this position. Now, the ball can carry the energy produced in the windup and delivery the pitcher made.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Do I need strong legs to be a pitcher?

You need a strong lower body to keep throwing the baseball at high speed. So, keep exercising those legs. 

Are the legs vital in throwing the baseball?

As you can read from the article, it is clear that the force pushed into the ground will result in how fast the baseball will go. So, yes, the legs are important. 


Are you still asking why do pitchers lift their leg? Then, you better stop and read this article. We have provided you with all the information you need to understand why pitchers do so and the physics behind it.

To have better pitching stance some players need the best baseball cleats for wide feet.

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