Windup position

What is the Meaning of Windup Position?

The windup position is an essential aspect of baseball, particularly when it comes to pitching. One of the two legal pitch deliveries in the sport, the windup position is often utilized when there are no runners on base. It involves the pitcher standing on or directly in front of the pitching rubber, with their pivot foot in contact with the rubber and their shoulders facing the batter to some degree.

During the windup, the pitcher’s back faces center field, and they typically take a step back or to the side with their free foot before initiating the pitch. This strategic positioning allows the pitcher to generate power and momentum while maintaining the element of surprise against the batter. Mastering the windup position is crucial for pitchers as it can significantly enhance their overall performance and effectiveness on the mound.

Key Takeaways

  • The windup position is a fundamental aspect of baseball pitching, commonly used when no runners are on base.
  • It involves the pitcher standing on or in front of the pitching rubber, with their pivot foot in contact and shoulders facing the batter.
  • Mastering the windup position is vital for pitchers to maximize power, control, and deception in their pitch deliveries.

Windup Position Definition

The windup position in baseball refers to one of the ways a pitcher prepares to deliver a pitch to the batter. A pitcher is considered to be in the windup position when he places his pivot foot on the pitching rubber and has both shoulders facing the batter to some degree. In this position, the pitcher has the option to take a step backward or to the side with his free foot.

There are different variations of the windup position, but the most traditional one involves facing the batter, hands together, with the pivot foot in contact with the rubber and the other foot free. When the pitcher holds the ball with both hands in front of his body and keeps his pivot foot in contact with the pitcher’s plate, he is considered to be in the windup position.

It is essential for pitchers to notify the umpire when they choose to pitch from the windup position within an at-bat. This communication is particularly necessary in situations like a substitution by the offensive team or when one or more base runners advance immediately but before the delivery of the next pitch.

The windup position is an integral aspect of a pitcher’s technique as it affects the rhythm and pace of their delivery. A well-executed windup can serve to generate more power in the pitch and keep the hitter off-balance, ultimately resulting in improved performance on the mound.

Fundamental Components of Windup Position

Starting Stance

The windup position is one of two legal pitching deliveries in baseball, with the other being the set position. In the starting stance, the pitcher places his pivot foot on the pitching rubber and faces the batter with both shoulders to some degree. The pitcher’s other foot, known as the “free” foot, can be on the rubber, in front of the rubber, behind the rubber, or off to the side.

Hands and Arms Setting

In the windup position, the pitcher brings his hands together while facing the batter. This can be done either at the chest or waist level, depending on the pitcher’s preference. It is important for the pitcher to establish a comfortable and controlled grip on the ball during this stage.

Front Leg Lift

After setting the hands, the pitcher begins the windup by raising his front leg (the leg opposite the pivot foot) into the air. This leg lift helps to generate momentum and balance while the pitcher prepares to throw the ball. The height and timing of the leg lift are vital elements for an effective pitch delivery.

Stride and Hip Rotation

As the front leg begins to descend towards the ground, the pitcher strides towards the batter and rotates his hips. This stride and hip rotation are crucial for generating power and transferring that energy into the pitching motion. The stride should be long enough to reach a comfortable and efficient balance point but not so long that it compromises control and accuracy.

Arm Extension and Follow Through

The final stage of the windup position involves the actual throwing of the ball, arm extension, and follow-through. As the stride foot lands, the pitcher transfers the energy generated through the leg lift, stride, and hip rotation into the arm. The arm snaps forward, extending towards the batter, and the pitcher releases the ball with a controlled and well-timed motion. After releasing the ball, the pitcher’s arm and upper body should follow through to ensure proper deceleration and avoid injury.

Importance of Windup Position in Pitching

The windup position is a critical aspect of pitching in baseball. It refers to the initial stance and movements a pitcher goes through before delivering the ball to the batter. In the windup position, the pitcher stands on or directly in front of the pitching rubber, with their feet pointing toward home plate and the ball held in their throwing hand.

One of the primary reasons the windup position is essential in baseball is that it allows the pitcher to generate the momentum and power necessary for a successful pitch. As the pitcher moves through the windup, their body shifts, storing energy that will be released when they finally throw the ball. This transfer of energy from the windup to the pitch is crucial for achieving high velocity and accuracy.

Additionally, the windup position provides a foundation for consistent pitching mechanics. By starting in the same stance for each pitch, the pitcher is more likely to maintain a consistent throwing motion, resulting in better control and location of pitches. This consistency is critical for keeping the batter off balance and preventing them from making solid contact with the ball.

Furthermore, the windup position acts as a means of deception for the pitcher. By incorporating various movements and adjustments into their windup, a pitcher can make it more difficult for the batter to predict the type of pitch and its location. This element of deception can give the pitcher a crucial advantage over the batter, contributing to a higher likelihood of inducing poor contact or a swing and miss.

In summary, the windup position is a vital aspect of pitching in baseball, as it provides the necessary foundation for generating power, maintaining consistency, and adding an element of deception. Mastering the windup position and its intricacies can significantly contribute to a pitcher’s success on the mound.

Types of Pitches from Windup Position


The fastball is the most common pitch thrown in baseball. It relies on a pitcher’s ability to generate velocity and overpower the hitter. There are several types of fastballs:

  • Four-seam fastball: This pitch is thrown with maximum backspin, creating a straight and fast trajectory.
  • Two-seam fastball: Thrown with less backspin, this fastball is known for its lateral movement as it approaches the plate.


A curveball is designed to deceive the hitter with its sharp break and movement. Pitchers typically grip the ball with their middle and index fingers on the seams, then apply top spin during the release. The pitch drops as it approaches the plate, making it difficult for hitters to make solid contact.


Often used as an off-speed pitch, the changeup is thrown with a similar arm motion to a fastball but at a slower velocity. This pitch is mainly used to disrupt the hitter’s timing, as its slower speed and movement can catch the hitter off guard, causing them to swing too early.


The slider is another breaking ball that has a combination of lateral and vertical movement. This pitch is generally thrown harder than a curveball and has less dramatic movement. The key to a successful slider is late break, resulting in the hitter swinging over the top of the ball or making weak contact.

Common Mistakes in Windup Position

The windup position in baseball is a fundamental aspect of pitching, and it’s essential for pitchers to master this technique. However, several common mistakes can hinder a pitcher’s performance and control of the pitch. In this section, we’ll discuss these common errors and provide insights on how to address them.

One common mistake pitchers make is rushing their windup. This can lead to a loss of balance and control during the pitching motion, resulting in decreased accuracy and power. To prevent rushing the windup, it’s essential for pitchers to maintain a consistent rhythm and timing in their delivery.

Another issue arises when pitchers do not properly set their pivot foot on the pitching rubber. According to the rules, a pitcher’s pivot foot must be in contact with the rubber, and both shoulders should face the batter to some degree. Failing to position the pivot foot correctly can make it challenging to generate power and control the pitch effectively.

Misaligning the body is another common mistake in the windup position. Pitchers should ensure their body is aligned towards home plate, with their shoulders, hips, and knees pointing in the same direction. Proper alignment allows for better balance, more accuracy, and increased power during the pitch.

Lastly, inconsistent or excessive movements during the windup can disrupt the pitcher’s focus and adversely affect the pitch’s outcome. Pitchers should practice a smooth, controlled delivery and avoid abrupt or deceptive actions that may disrupt the batter’s timing or balance.

By identifying and addressing these common mistakes in the windup position, pitchers can significantly improve their performance and accuracy on the mound.

Tips for Improving Windup Position

The windup position in baseball is crucial for pitchers as it sets the foundation for a successful pitch. To improve your windup position, consider the following tips:

  1. Proper foot placement: Ensure that your pivot foot is in contact with the pitcher’s plate and the other foot is free. This positioning will ensure your lower body is in the correct alignment to generate power during the pitch.
  2. Maintain balance: Practice keeping your weight centered and balanced over your back leg during the windup. This will help maintain control while transitioning into the pitch, increasing overall accuracy and efficiency.
  3. Slight body closure: Start with your body slightly closed off to home plate, allowing for a proper foot placement on the mound. As you progress through the pitching motion, your body will naturally shift to a more perpendicular position, which helps with alignment and control.
  4. Consistency in movement: Maintain a consistent and fluid motion during the windup. Any sudden changes or interruptions can disrupt your rhythm and potentially affect the outcome of the pitch.
  5. Stay relaxed: Keep your upper body relaxed and loose throughout the windup. Tension in the shoulders, neck, or arms can hinder your ability to generate power and maintain control. Focus on deep breaths and steady movements to maintain a relaxed state.

By implementing these tips into your pitching routine, you’ll develop a more effective windup position, which can translate to better overall performance on the mound. Remember that practice and repetition are key to mastering the windup, so stay committed and trust the process.