MPH: Stretch out your stride


You can use muscles to throw a baseball faster, but you can also increase MPH by shortening the distance between the point you release the ball and the plate. 

This is accomplished by maximizing your stretch toward the plate; the range is a minimum of 80% of your height.

This is the one thing that will make the biggest difference in your velocity and control.

The distance between your back foot and the front of your plant foot should be about 80% of your height [SEE chart below.]

The Reds’ LHP Aroldis Chapman reaches 110-115% of his height.

That’s impressive, but you need to find the “sweet spot” where you are stretching out as far as you are COMFORTABLE.

When you land, your plant foot should be pointing straight toward the plate; your toe and heel are on the line from second base to the plate.  When you start to be unable to land in that position, it means you are stretching TOO FAR.


You should know your “number” and apply it on the mound at the beginning of each inning.  Since you will not want to take a measuring tape to the mound, take your number, say 57.6, and, using your own feet, determine how many of your feet = your number.

EX:  Say you wear a size 12 your shoe is about one foot long  You are exactly 6 feet 72” tall.

So, your number would be 57.6”

Starting with the heel of your left foot, count off the number of lengths of YOUR SHOE to get to your number.

This one is easy.  It would take a size 12 shoe 4 lengths 48”, plus 9.6” about ¾ of your  shoe length.


Draw a line from left to right in the dirt at your number point.

This creates the top section of your “T” target chart.

          _ TOE LINE

Now, go back to the rubber and get the line from the middle of it to the plate.

Draw a line from the bottom of your toe line back about foot to form your complete “T” target chart.


You want your plant foot to land on the mid line and the front of your plant foot touching the top line of your T target. toe line

When you find yourself missing your target, look at where your plant foot landed.

If you are throwing your pitches WIDE LEFT,  you a likely landing TOO FAR TO THE LEFT OF THE MIDLINE.

If you are throwing your pitches WIDE RIGHT,  you a likely landing TOO FAR TO THE RIGHT OF THE MIDLINE.

If you are throwing your pitches TOO LOW,  you a likely landing SHORT OF THE TOP OF THE “T” TOE LINE.

If you are throwing your pitches TOO HIGH,  you a likely landing PAST THE TOP OF THE “T” TOE LINE.

Using the “T target chart” you have drawn on the mound allows you to SELF CORRECT, when your control starts to waver.


Pitching instructor Steve Ellis:

One drill I did in practice to work on my stride was to head down to the bullpen and mark off in the dirt a spot that I wanted my front foot to attain when I strided.

I usually marked this spot slightly farther than my regular stride, to encourage me to really get out there. Then I’d perform 20 or 30 repetitions of my mechanics (without throwing) to work on striding out and hitting that mark with my front foot.

You can receive a free pitching tip from Steve by email every day: sign up here:

Go to right hand column…

[“Pitching Professor” will appear every THURSDAY here on the BSI website.]


HEIGHT                       STRIDE LENGTH

6’ 4” tall      = 76”  X .80 = 60.8”

6’ 3”tall      = 75”  X .80 = 60”

6’ 2” tall      = 74”  X .80 = 59.2”

6’ 1” tall      = 73”  X .80 = 58.4”

6’ tall           = 72”  X .80 = 57.6”

5’ 11”’ tall     = 71”  X .80 = 56.8”

5’ 10”’ tall    = 70”  X .80 = 56”

5’ 9”’   tall     = 69”  X .80 = 55.2”

5’ 8”    tall     = 68”  X .80 = 54.4”

5’ 7”    tall     = 67”  X .80 = 56”


At the end of 2011, Halladay was the best pitcher in the league. Sure, Verlander was rising, but Halladay had just polished off an 8.1 fWAR season in which he threw 233.2 innings with a 2.35 ERA. Just two years ago, Halladay was at the pinnacle of the sport. Today, his career is over.

But it wasn’t just the phenomenal 2011 season that makes this such steep decline. Halladay wasn’t just the best pitcher in the league in 2011, he was the best pitcher in the league over the previous decade.