Home Baseball Content Understanding Stride Foot Alignment: Subtle Changes Yield Big Results for Tim Collins

Understanding Stride Foot Alignment: Subtle Changes Yield Big Results for Tim Collins

Written on April 8, 2013 at 7:12 am, by Eric Cressey

In today’s guest video blog, Cressey Performance Pitching Coordinator Matt Blake talks about stride foot alignment and its effect on the pitching delivery.  Matt is an important contributor on the Elite Baseball Mentorships team, and in this post, he breaks down how Kansas City Royals pitcher Tim Collins’ stride foot alignment changed over the course of the past few years as he dramatically improved his K:BB ratio in the big leagues.

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10 Responses to “Understanding Stride Foot Alignment: Subtle Changes Yield Big Results for Tim Collins”

  1. Tony Says:

    Great video. I’ll make sure my son watches it! 🙂

  2. Sskolfield Says:

    That was outstanding. Thanks for sharing this information!

  3. Daniel Says:

    Something I noticed about the video, that i feel I should point out: In the left video, the red lines indicating open/closed/neutral, are not entirely correct because of tilt of the camera. Once you take that into account, his stride is actually to about the same spot as the video on the right, but without the foot being neutral.

  4. Justin Orenduff Says:


    When I first watched your video I noticed a drastic difference in the settings and intensity within the the two different deliveries. The video on the left portrays a group of athletes huddled around to watch a potential maximal velocity test compared to the video on the right which seems to be a pen with lighter intensity. I say this primarily because I see greater thoracic extension in the delivery to the left compared to that of the right.

    Because of the increased effort, there are likely to be more degrees of variance associated with the stride alignment and the ease of hip rotation which directly leads to the knee getting over the foot at contact. A more accurate portrayal would be game footage of last year or another intense bullpen.

    From the video I gather the Royals have changed his setup position which has led to his stride alignment being better? The biggest difference I see in the two videos which allowed his alignment to be better is the amount of relaxation in the lead leg going into foot strike. The video on the left you can see Tim’s foot being flexed upwards, compared to the right where the toe is relaxed and facing downward.

    Thanks. I’ll look forward to your thoughts

  5. Matt B. Says:

    I stand corrected on the 2009 alignment and agree with you on the camera angle here Daniel. The 2009 video is actually slightly off, and the landing is slightly more to the closed side than appears, but when aligned properly in other videos around this time, he still generally falls in the “Neutral” orientation category regarding his stride direction.

    I believe the integrity of the discussion in this video regarding the orientation of his ankle/foot alignment still stands, and is ultimately the crux of his adjustment between 2011 and 2012.

    By getting his foot into the more neutral alignment, he avoids compressing the ankle into a “locked” position, which in turn, forces the tibia to remain oriented in an exaggerated position of internal rotation. This forces multiple adjustments up the chain, and is really what what I would like to think the slightly inconsistent command was derived from.

    I appreciate you pointing that out though, because that’s actually an important point to consider when comparing videos between different pitches in different environments.

  6. Matt B. Says:

    That’s another important point to consider, Justin.

    I would agree with you that the level of intensity was different between the two bullpen sessions, as you’ll see the 2009 video being the week he finished his season and the 2013 video being the week before he left for Spring training, so definitely different levels of conviction in the two bullpens.

    Aside from the noticeable differences in his setup in these two videos, the level of Flexion at the ankle/knee/hip on the back leg are of a much more aggressive variety in the September 2009 video, which is something you’ll still see in Tim’s delivery as he gets up to game speed.

    The initial setup is definitely where the improved alignment at strike is initiated from, and I would tend to agree with you on the level of “relaxation” into strike.

    I think the important consideration with that is looking at the angle of propulsion of the back leg in 2009 and noticing how that changes the angle of descent for the front leg and foot into landing.

    As a result, that pelvis positioning is going to change the orientation for the lead femur and in turn the angle of the foot with regard to the neutral landing towards the target line.

  7. Christian O Says:

    Question for Matt regarding stride. I’m currently landing on my heel closed by about 15 degrees and that causes me to fly open. This isn’t necessarily causing me a ton of control issues, though at times it could. However, this definitely is a place where I am leaking a lot of velocity. I know that I don’t always get out in front while throwing and have less bend than most pitchers (regarding releasing out front). How would you go about fixing this issue? I personally am not weak at all so I don’t believe it is a strength issue. Please let me know as I would love to hear your response regarding the issue.

  8. Jeff Johnson Says:

    Great video. The thing I appreciated was your consistent reference to being neutral/neutral. You never once mentioned velocity and emphasized accuracy. We would both agree velocity will open doors that nothing else will, but accuracy is what gets results.

    You also mentioned how every pitcher has different strengths, stability and mobility, so what works for Tim doesn’t work for everyone. This is so consistent with CP doctrine.

    From a velocity standpoint, would you agree that in order to get the foot to align with the plate, such as in the second video, that a pitcher must open up earlier to make this happen? When I see a pitcher get this open at landing, I try to get them to stay closed longer. I may need to reevaluate some things! This is an issue I’m addressing with my own son, who has an HIRD issue.

    There is more stability in Tims knee in the second video. I would think this would help with velocity too, but you seem to indicate this is due to his ankle. Interesting.

    Great instruction for instructors like me. I’m sure I’ll discuss this video when I see EC in Frisco this weekend since he is presenting there.

  9. Mark Shires Says:

    The change also resonates up the kinetic chain. Shoulders become closer to parallel to the ground and the head goes from tilted to neutral.

  10. Matt B. Says:


    I appreciate the kind words. Velocity is certainly a hot topic, and obviously very important, but needs to be coupled with an appreciation for direction and repeatability, if one is going to succeed at the highest level. Ultimately, that’s where Tim’s adjustment needed to come from.

    If a player had good alignment, but no velo, then obviously that would be where the discussion would need to go for further development.

    I would agree with you in that the front foot does have to get open before the rest of the chain, but timing is certainly essential. I think there’s a common misconception out there with regards to what needs to “stay closed” for more power.

    The ability to rotate the lead femur independent of the pelvis is of tremendous importance for creating a level of tension and properly aligned stability.

    The Foot/ankle orientation would obviously be the first place we would start to create ground reaction forces and sets our joint dynamics up the chain, so it really is crucial to identify what’s going on there.

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