Most youth pitching coaches instruct left handed pitchers to stand on the first base side of the mound and right handed pitchers to stand on the third base side. This is a common myth meant to create a better angle at release point. However, this advice may actually be causing biomechanical inefficiencies. These efficiencies can affect a player’s performance. Unfortunately, many athletes receive this advice while they’re young and continue it throughout their progression in baseball. Instead, coaches should take a different approach to find the right place for young pitchers set up.
Where Should Youth Pitching Athletes Stand on the Rubber?
So, should youth pitching athletes switch to the other side instead? Stand in the middle? In fact, there are no hard and fast rules for where pitchers should stand based on their dominant hand. There are several issues with the advice, “lefties on the left and righties on the right.” While this pitching position can create difficulties for same sided hitters, it can also make it easier for opposite side hitters. Successful pitchers should be able to strike out all types of hitters. Using this conventional advice, most players simply can’t accomplish this.
Biomechanics of Youth Pitching from Extreme Sides of the Mound
From a biomechanics standpoint, this also affects posture during the pitch. Just after release point, a pitcher’s back foot drags down the mound, which we will call the drag line. The finish point of this line influences where a youth pitching athlete’s head and spine will be during release. Drag line finishing point should be right in the center line of the mound. This helps create a straight spine and shoulders that are faced square toward the home plate. In most cases, having a player stand on an extreme side of the mound will push the drag line further off center.
According to motion analysis data, when the finish point of the drag line is off center toward the pitching arm, this can create over rotation in the trunk. This over rotation may increase the risk of arm injury. By contrast, when the drag line is off center toward the glove, then the youth pitching athlete may not be able to take advantage of momentum. This can lead to pitching at a lower velocity than their potential. Over or under rotation in the trunk is the pitcher’s attempt to compensate when their spine doesn’t line up properly with the target.
So, where should a pitcher stand on the mound? The answer is wherever they need to to line up the drag line with the center line of the mound. You might be wondering how coaches can help players do this.
Finding the Right Position
Helping an athlete find the right position on the mound is an individualized process. Pitching lessons can help players find the right area for them. Every pitcher has their own pitching signature and drag line. Therefore, you can’t make strict rules about where all pitchers should stand on the rubber.
Instead, youth pitching coaches should instruct the player based on their specific biomechanics. A great place to start is having the pitcher stand on the mound in the most natural place for them. Beforehand, mark the center line of the mound. Then, have them throw a pitch and watch where their drag line finishes. If it’s off-center, then adjust position as needed until the finish point of the drag line hits the center.
At National Pitching, our pitching program is a health-first, science-backed program that helps pitchers learn how to become better rotational athletes. Our certified coaches teach athletes of all ages and skill levels strategies to become more biomechanically efficient, gain functional strength, and increase pitching velocity. We give players a toolkit to help them progress for years to come. Find a National Pitching coach near your or enroll in our V.I.P. online membership with access to a large library of video pitching lessons to get started in the only pitching program backed by the Institutional Review Board.