Foot positioning is very important for a number of reasons. First and foremost, correct balance and foot positioning can help you avoid injury. You want your feet to be flexible, strong and precise in movement. Avoid extra unnecessary movement to reduce fatigue and stay consistent. An important and easily overlooked element is that of the seat you are sitting on. Balance is key, and a good solid seat is necessary to stay centered over your legs and feet. Also, avoid any over-extension of the knees. Make sure your kit is comfortably in front of you. When I sit at the drums, my knees and thighs are at about a right angle. I’m sitting at a comfortable height, neither too high nor too low. This is key.
Right Foot: Strong leg muscles are important for many reasons. With the right foot, and both feet when using a double kick pedal, control is the goal. Having strong thighs, calves, and foot muscles will allow you more control, power, and overall endurance. This uses the foot extensor muscle group. I play with my right heel up most of the time. I find that the heel up technique delivers the most power and volume. Heel up technique uses the full weight and strength of the leg. The subject of balance is of utmost importance again. I would recommend and the heel up technique in general, and especially for those who sit medium to high above their drums. When playing heel up, avoid ‘burying’ the beater. In other words, after the beater strikes the head, lift your foot slightly so the head can breathe. ‘Burying’ the beater refers to the beater being held to the head until the next stroke. This is a very difficult habit to break. Use your balance and allow your foot and leg to lift slightly after the stroke.
I have experimented with the heel down technique as well and found it useful for lower volume settings. This technique offers control, but generally less volume and power than the heel up technique. You will be using your foot flexor muscles, your shin muscles. This could be a good technique to try if you are seated low at the drums. Try both techniques and decide which one works better for you.
Left Foot: You will need to develop endurance in your left leg and foot muscles to hold the hi-hat down and clap the cymbals together. Correct positioning will allow you to be most efficient. I play with my left heel up most of the time. Certain techniques require your heel down also. When holding the hi-hats closed, I’m applying more pressure to the pedal. For a medium loose hi-hat, apply less pressure. For a full open hi-hat, apply no pressure, or balance on left heel. This may be a bit akward at first…GO PRACTICE!