Queen of the Hill: Softball Leg Drive Product Review

Increase velocity with leg drive

Increase pitching velocity, reduce arm stress, shorten the hitter’s reaction time… all by more effectively using leg drive!

But how?

When I give pitching lessons to young pitchers including 8-year-olds or 10-year-olds or even some 12-year-olds it is not always easy to simplify certain parts of the explosive pitching motion into words that young pitchers easily grasp, and I would say that one of the concepts that is the hardest to translate for students is the idea that a lot of pitching speed comes from using their lower half, their legs.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said the phrase “drive out, don’t step out”, but when I look down at their young faces I can tell in their eyes that they don’t fully understand what I’m saying. And I know for sure as with most other technical learning opportunities for athletes that when they feel it,  they understand it. What I mean is: I can say to a youth pitcher again and again to “use your legs”, “use your legs”, “use your legs”, but until they feel what I’m trying to communicate they usually don’t actually understand how to do it correctly.

I’ve tried many drills to try and translate the idea of using the lower half to generate speed, but no drill has communicated leg drive as effectively for me as a recent product that I tested. The product is called The Queen of the Hill and it’s made by Ground Force Sports.

pitching leg driveTo test the product I used it for individual and group pitching lessons for girls ranging from 819 years old in a few different indoor locations, including on an indoor gymnasium floor (on the east coast in the cold winter months, which is a great time to focus on mechanics and drills and building better pitchers it is very common and inexpensive to utilize school gymnasiums). Since most school gym floors are highly waxed and buffed they are very slick, so anything you put on them slides. I would suggest if you’re going to use it on the gymnasium floor, which we used at a local elementary school where I give group pitching lessons that you buy a cheap roll of shelf tack and place a piece underneath it to add an extra level of stickiness. You can also use a bit of the shelf tack to wrap around the handle then as you carry the product (if you’re going to be carrying it for long periods of time); because the product is very durably made and has understandably for a durable product a certain amount of weight. It is not cheaply made, put it that way! I also used it at my two indoor hitting and pitching facilities for which I am a pitching instructor at in Gap, PA and Manheim, PA, which it was then used on a turf mat, and I also used it on regular AstroTurf. The product performed well on all surfaces, in any case.

help increase pitching speeds

So after having pitchers from 8 years of age all the way up to 19 years of age test the Queen of the Hill I’m satisfied to say that I recommend a product. I’d even go so far to say that this product is that missing piece that I’ve been looking for in order to help young pitchers understand the abstract concept of generating speed from leg drive. The product easily does this because the girls feel and hear a click that reinforces when they have used their leg drive correctly.

I also like the fact that the Queen of the Hill has a bit of a slant to the plastic pitching rubber, so the girls can become acclimated to digging the ball of their front into the mound to get a slight angle so they can drive out towards the 8 foot max range of the fastpitch softball pitching circle.

I also like that when the girls start to make the machine click correctly and start to feel the proper leg drive you can crank up the spring to help them take the leg drive to the next level and drive out even harder, which helps build more muscle, more acceleration, and more explosiveness to throw faster. And when they achieve the tightest compression of the original spring the designer has included an additional stiffer spring so that she work out at an even higher level.

Increase pitching velocity—THROW HARDER, PITCH FASTER!

I recommend this device be used regularly in those specific sessions or lessons that are designed to work on leg drive or for building lower-half power. This may be one lesson out of a four lesson monthly cycle or maybe two, but the opportunity exist to use it regularly as a training aid to get pitchers to use leg drive more consistently and therefor more naturally, throwing harder. Inconsistent use of proper leg drive (including foot angle) is one of the top reasons that girls have inconsistent speeds.

Speaking of foot angle… the other brilliant add-on to this product that I highly recommend are the walls, so that the pitcher will also start to feel and develop a leg drive that drives straight out, a leg drive that utilizes the power-line and the physics of the explosive pitching motion in the most efficient way. These walls are designed to help keep the foot straight as the leg drives out, which consequently uses the correct larger leg muscles (the quadriceps, which are the strongest and leanest of all the muscles in the body) and are extremely more explosive than the inner thigh muscles (AKA hamstrings), which get used more when a pitcher incorrectly turns her foot early before striding out.

increase fastpitch softball pitching velocityThe use of the product is pretty straightforward. You instruct pitchers to get on it and just pitch like they normally would. If they don’t hear the click, then it’s likely the girls are not utilizing their legs or they’re utilizing a drive off of the mound that may be going a little bit more north then out, like it should. Once they get it to click, like I said you can crank up the spring and continue to work on building their leg strength so they can continue to drive out harder and harder and continue to make the product click and give the reinforcement that it’s being done correctly, ultimately increasing pitching velocity.

On top of using the product as designed, I also had some fun and some success with teaching my young pitchers to do walk-throughs off of the leg drive machine. This adds another component of timing to the leg drive and to which it can at the very least also work on coordinating the upper and lower-half timing. One of the most powerful aspects of the product in general is that my pitchers have fun using it and ask to use it when they see I have it with me.

recommended pitching product

The Queen of the Hill can be purchased on www.groundforcesport.com. Use “FastPitcher” in the Coupon code section and that’ll save you $25 as a referral from this post.

If you have specific questions about this product or any of the strategies I discussed, then please feel free to leave them in the comment section below.

17 thoughts on “Queen of the Hill: Softball Leg Drive Product Review”

      1. Randall, I’m part of a 23 team travel ball club in Iowa. Can you send me a discount code? I would like to try one out

  1. My 16 yr old daughter has just started using the device and is getting frustrated with this as she seems to only be getting a single click. No paperwork came with it and we are just wondering what is she doing wrong. She is a strong girl so we were wondering if perhaps we are starting to low or high. We have set it on both 3 and 7 and get a single click only. Any suggestions.

    1. Hey Steve,
      I discussed this with Dennis to where many pitchers will create so much forward momentum that she pulls herself out of the sprinters position rather than drive out of it like the way we want them to. We have some really good drills on our website (www.GroundForceSport.com) that will help address any issues. Go to the Queen of the Hill Page.
      Hope that helps
      Rich

  2. Still no luck and I have a very frustrated 16 yr old girl on my hands who is about ready to give up on this device. Her pitching coach was working with her today, showed him the e mail, the videos. She cannot get the device to double click, either at the lowest, highest setting or anywhere in between. Could something be wrong with the device. This is very frustrating, having received no paperwork with it, no phone number to call for assistance. We really need some support here. She is not a newbie pitcher, she has been pitching for 6 yrs and had her speed timed by NFCA at 62-63, if we can get this device to work and pick up 3-4 mph, that would be worth it, but right now it’s a $300 paperweight. Thank you

    1. To answer your earlier question, 1 is the easiest setting and 10 (where the spring is coiled the most) is the hardest setting. Make sure that she is driving off of the ball of her foot into the angle of the mound in order to achieve the 45° angle sprinter‘s start. To quickly test to see if the device is working for a double click, put the spring at 1 and you should be able to push the mound back with your hand or with your foot to initiate a click and then when you let go you’ll get the second click. My recommendation at this point would be to work directly with the manufacturer info@trainwiththeking.com to resolve your issue. I’ve used this with 8-year-olds all the way up to 23-year-olds in college and they have all been able to initiate the double click when driving off the device correctly. Best of luck to you and your daughter with the pitching in any case.

      1. Thank you again. Will give it another shot. Problem with the info e mail address, I am not sure how often anyone monitors it. I had to send three e mails and over a week before someone got back. I really do appreciate your suggestion and time. Thank you

        1. In general, my advice is to start at the lowest setting, 0 or 1 (no matter what the age or the experience level of the pitcher) and just have her pitch like normal. You will then progressively turn up the spring setting, lesson after lesson, after she achieves the double-click at the current setting. From my experience the only time I’ve seen any kind of frustration with this device was when the girl was trying to much to make the double-click happen instead of just focusing on pitching her pitch. My students seem to have fun on this thing honestly and usually ask for me to bring it out in lessons, because they like the feedback and it’s something most of them don’t have at home.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *