Almost all beginning pitchers nowadays will not have much of an off season because the popularity of travel teams and the mix of prep, summer and fall leagues. This has brought on a growth in elbow and shoulder injuries at a early age for pitchers who definitely are not allowing themselves an off season to recover and rebuild. I became a victim of this trap throughout my personal career. I received rotator cuff surgery at 18 to fix a torn rotator cuff right after my 1st college appearance. The three common factors that lead to my tear, the American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI), lead by the legendary Dr. James Andrews, has labeled as the explanation for the rise in elbow and shoulder injuries in youth pitchers in their Position Statement released this year.
Several frequent issues of all pitching injuries:
- Poor pitching mechanics
- Poor strength and conditioning
This is significant to comprehend because injury prevention should be the major focus of any in-season pitching program. Based on these facts a great in-season throwing system ought to include a reduced amount of throws to avoid overuse, drills to sustain good pitching mechanics and lastly include a weight training program which will institute good physical fitness.
Before I layout the perfect in-season training method we need to first determine and number traditional approaches to pitching that would belong to the category of the above common injury issues.
Extreme Long Tossing (Surpassing distances of one humdred and fifty ft)
This style of training, though it is very popular, comes with a cautionary tale. ASMI completed numerous scientific studies with this form of training and it rendered elbow varus torque within the pitching arm and throwing mechanics which were not conducive to the pitching mound. ASMI urged against these type of tosses for rehabilitation and training purposes.
This type of training can easily result in overuse of the rotator cuff and elbow and whenever bad mechanics exist, the pitcher is a lot more prone to injury.
Weighted Ball Training (Over Under Load Training)
I have got no data against this type of training. I have in fact used these two pitching methods in my career, however it was ahead of my arm damage. This kind of training once again falls into the three common factors of the majority of pitching injuries. This will raise the amount of throws along with poor mechanics, positions the thrower in danger.
Television and Web Gadgets
I’m not really stating that every gizmo or attention-grabber on television or the Web is crap, nevertheless, you must make sure that they do not place you within the class of the three typical factors ultimately causing arm pain while in-season. Some of these gizmos market a high number of pitches and weak mechanics. I advise you to coach your self on good mechanics and use this ideal in-season training program before you decide to throw away your money.
The Optimal In-Season Throwing and Strength Maintenance Program
This routine includes the two parts, the pitching program and the power training program. You will need to realize that we’re not wanting to enhance speed or power while in-season. The inspiration of any optimal in-season throwing system is to protect against injury and to maintain strength. When you succeed at this you’ll experience consistent velocities between performances and you will definitely stay off of the Disabled List (DL).
This is not a generic program as it is able to handle every age, all levels of the game along with your throwing work load. Your own pitching work load includes your personal amount of pitches for every outing.
There exists a critical element to an in-season pitching program that wont be discussed below and that is diet regime. Effective nutrition facilitates your own body’s capacity to restore and repair.
Relief Pitcher Work load (In accordance with 2 day Pitching Rotation)
- 21 – 35 throws – 24 hours rest from pitching
- 36 – 50 throws – 2 days rest from throwing
Day one (Rebuild & Mechanics Work)
- Dynamic Warm Up
- Pitching Routine (Instruction In this article) 3X Med Ball Exercises, 3X Target Drills on Mound
- Plyos (1 set, 20 yards) Pogo Plyos, Bunny Hopes, Frog Jumps
- Anaerobic Training (3-6 each) Hurdles, Resistance Sprints, Normal Sprints
- Rotator Cuff Program (Tubing or 2-3 lb dumbbells, 3 sets ten repetitions) External Rotation, Positives and Negatives, Shoulder extensions, Up and Out, Windmills
Day two (Eat, Rest and Recover)
- Dynamic Warm-up
- Visualization (Picturing yourself throwing perfect pitches with perfect mechanics, has been confirmed being far better as compared to actually practicing)
Starting Pitcher Amount of work (Determined by 4 Day Pitching Rotation)
- 51 – 65 pitches –> three days rest from throwing
- 66 pitches and more –> four days rest from pitching
Day one (Maintenance)
- Dynamic Warm-up
- Jumps (1 set, 20 yards) Pogo Jumps, Bunny Hopes, Frog Hopes
- Anaerobic Conditioning (3-6 each) Hurdles, Resistance Sprints, Normal Sprints
- Core Routine (three sets 10 repetitions) V-Ups, Medicine Ball, Russian Twists, Two Leg Jack Knife, Med Ball Slams, Back crunches
- Rotator Cuff Program (Resistance Tubing or 2-3 pound weights, 3 sets ten repetitions) External Rotation, Positives and Negatives, Shoulder extensions, Up and Out, Windmills
Day 2 (Mechanics)
- Dynamic Warm Up
- Pitching Exercises (How to Beneath) 3X Med Throws, 3X Target throws on Pitching Mound
- Twenty five Pitches Bull Pen 60% intensity (10 Fastball, 10 Curve/Sliders, 5 Change-ups)
Day three (Eat, Rest & Rebuild)
- Dynamic Warm-up
- Visualization (Visualizing yourself throwing perfect pitches with perfect mechanics, has been confirmed being far better compared to actually practicing)
For a lot of information on these drills and exercises please go to TopVelocity.net. Anyone can make contact with me privately at TopVelocity.net/Contact.
The following part of the program could incorporate any exercises to help develop the muscle memory for good mechanics without placing a high volume of pitches on your throwing arm. I have outlined two mechanics exercises from the 3X Pitching Velocity program and a link to the 3X Pitching Mechanics Video in the reference section listed below. I highly advise watching the video before using the 3X Drills therefore you possess a good comprehension of the method.
3X Medicine Ball Throws (15-25 Throws together with 2 pound med ball. DO NOT Exceed 2LBS)
Start out in a full stride, which is 80-90% of your height. Each of your feet must be facing the catcher. You sit on the ball of your back leg foot with nearly all of your weight on your back leg. Your shoulders are closed towards the target. The med ball is behind your head, over your throwing shoulder, with the two of your hands holding the baseball. Your chin is buried and behind your belt buckle.
Raise your front leg and triple extend your drive leg before your lift leg foot strikes. Triple extension is the extension of the ankle, knee and hip flexor. Land strong without letting your lift leg knee push past your lift leg heel. At front foot strike you are going to feel your hips slam open as you maintain your shoulders closed. This is going to produce core torque or hip to shoulder separation that is certain to coil your body and then launch your shoulders towards the zone externally rotating your throwing arm.
You should end with your chest area out over your lift leg and your chin always tucked. Release the ball by stretching your arms out and up and do not PULL THE BALL DOWN TO RELEASE.
3X Target Pitches (15-25 Pitches with Baseball)
The significance at this point is to implement the motor coordination or muscle memory from the med throws towards the target throws.
You are in the exact same position and stance as the Med Throws Phase 1. Total stride, feet in the direction of target, shoulders closed. Truly the only distinction is your throwing arm is behind your head cocked and set along with your baseball glove side is elbow to zone and glove hand relaxed. Use the baseball glove side to help you aline your shoulders up with the target.
Similar to the Med Throws Step #2, start with lifting your front leg while loading your weight on your drive leg. Carry out this by having an explosive drive of the back leg, acquiring triple extension prior to the front foot lands. This will create power through your stride and fire your hips open as soon as the front leg touches down and stabilizes. The shoulders should reside closed to produce ideal hip to shoulder separation.
Commence the pitch by allowing your shoulders to release the core torque, leading with your torso in the direction of target. Keep your chin tucked when your torso pushes out over your lift leg plus your arm externally rotates. Ensure only at that position your pitching elbow is above your shoulder. Finish the pitch by internally rotating your throwing arm and stretching your elbow up to release point.
- Position Statement for Youth Baseball Pitchers http://www.asmi.org/asmiweb/position_statement.htm
- Biomechanical Comparison of Baseball Pitching and Long-Toss http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21212502
- 3X Pitching 101 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJOM_TOkCoc
- 3X Pitching Velocity Program http://TopVelocity.net
- In-Season Pitching Program for all Levels