Most youthful pitchers nowadays don’t have much of an off season due to the rise in popularity of travel teams and the mix of prep, summer and fall leagues. This has resulted in an increase in elbow and shoulder injuries at a early age for pitchers who’re not allowing themselves an off season to recover and rebuild. I became a subject of this pattern during my own career. I had rotator cuff surgery at 18 to fix a torn supraspinatus right after my first college appearance. Three of the common issues contributing to my tear, the American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI), lead by the famous Dr. James Andrews, has defined as the reason for the increase in elbow and shoulder injuries in youth pitchers inside their Position Statement released this season.
3 common factors of most pitching injuries:
- Poor pitching mechanics
- Poor strength and conditioning
This is important to be aware of since injury prevention needs to be the principal focus associated with a in-season pitching system. According to this information a great in-season pitching system ought to include a minimal amount of throws to prevent too much use, drills to preserve good throwing mechanics and lastly include a fitness program which will institute good physical fitness and health.
In advance of when I layout the ideal in-season training program we must first define and number conventional methods to pitching that might fall into the category of the above common injury issues.
“Air it Out” Long Tossing (Surpassing distances of 150 feet)
This type of training, though it is very popular, includes a cautionary tale. ASMI executed a number of studies with this style of training and yes it produced elbow varus torque within the throwing arm and throwing mechanics which are not favorable on the pitching mound. ASMI urged against these type of tosses for rehabilitation and training intentions.
This kind of training can easily lead to overuse of the rotator cuff and elbow and whenever bad mechanics exist, the pitcher is even more prone to personal injury.
Weighted Ball Exercises (Over Under Load Training)
I have got no scientific studies against this type of training. I have actually employed both of these pitching practices in my career, however it was before my arm injury. This type of practice just as before falls into the three typical factors of most pitching injuries. This would enhance the level of throws and with bad mechanics, puts the thrower in danger.
Tv and Web Gimmicks
I’m not really proclaiming that every gadget or gimmick on television or the Web is useless, however, you must make sure that they do not place you within the category of the three typical factors ultimately causing arm pain while in-season. Many of these gadgets promote an increased amount of throws and poor mechanics. I advise you to coach your self on good mechanics and employ this ideal in-season training curriculum before you decide to throw away your income.
The Perfect In-Season Throwing and Strength Maintenance Program
This routine contains the 2 parts, the throwing program and the strength and conditioning program. You will need to recognize that we are not trying to increase velocity or power while in-season. The foundation of any optimal in-season throwing routine is to avoid damage and to sustain strength. In the event you succeed at this you will undergo consistent velocities between appearances and you will definitely remain off of the Disabled List (DL).
This is not a one size fits all method because it is able to handle all ages, all levels of the game along with your throwing work load. Your own pitching work load includes your personal amount of throws every performance.
There is a vital component to an in-season throwing system that wont be covered below which is diet. Good nutrition supports the body’s ability to recover and repair.
Relief Pitcher Work load (According to two day Rotation)
21 – 35 pitches –> 1 day rest from pitching
36 – 50 throws –> 2 days rest from throwing
Day one (Rebuild & Mechanics)
- Dynamic Warm-up
- Throwing Exercises (Instruction Beneath) 3X Med Exercises, 3X Target throws on Pitching Mound
- Plyometrics (1 set, 20 yards) Pogo Jumps, Bunny Hopes, Frog Jumps
- Anaerobic Training (3-6 sets) Hurdles, Resistance Sprints, Standard Sprints
- Rotator Cuff Program (Tubing or 2-3 pound weights, three sets ten reps) External Rotation, Positives and Negatives, Shoulder extensions, Up and Out, Windmills
Day two (Eat, Rest and Rebuild)
- Dynamic Warm-up
- Visualization (Picturing your own self pitching perfect pitches with perfect mechanics, has been proven to be far better compared to actually practicing)
Starting Pitcher Workload (Based on four Day Rotation)
51 – 65 throws –> three days rest from pitching
66 pitches and Above –> four days rest from throwing
Day one (Maintenance)
- Dynamic Warm Up
- Plyometrics (1 set, 20 yards) Pogo Jumps, Bunny Jumps, Frog Jumps
- Anaerobic Training (3-6 each) Hurdles, Resistance Sprints, Standard Sprints
- Core Program (three sets 10 repetitions) V-Ups, Med Ball, Russian Twists, Two Leg Jack Knife, Medicine Ball Slams, Back crunches
- Rotator Cuff Routine (Resistance Tubing or 2-3 pound dumbbells, 3 sets ten repetitions) External Rotation, Positives and Negatives, Shoulder extensions, Up and Out, Windmills
Day 2 (Mechanics)
- Dynamic Warm Up
- Mechanics Drills (How to Below) 3X Med Ball Throws, 3X Target Drills on Pitching Mound
- twenty five Pitches Bull Pen around 60% effort (10 Fastball, 10 Curve/Sliders, 5 Off Speed)
Day 3 (Eat, Rest and Rebuild)
- Dynamic Warm Up
- Visualization (Picturing yourself throwing perfect pitches with perfect mechanics, has been proven being far better as compared to actually practicing)
For additional info on these drills and exercises please go to TopVelocity.net. You can get in touch with me personally at TopVelocity.net/Contact.
This area of the system could consist of any drills to help institute the motor coordination for good mechanics without the need for placing a high quantity of pitches on your arm. I have detailed two mechanics drills from the 3X Pitching Velocity program and a hyperlink to the 3X Pitching Mechanics Movie in the resource segment listed below. I highly recommend seeing the online video just before employing the 3X Exercises therefore you have a good comprehension of the approach.
3X Medicine Ball Throws (15-25 Throws along with 2lb medicine ball. DO NOT GO OVER 2 pounds)
Begin in a full stride, which is 80-90% of your height. Both of your feet should be facing the catcher. You are on the powerpads of your back leg foot with the majority of of your bodyweight on your back leg. Your shoulders are inline towards the target. The medicine ball will be behind your head, above your throwing shoulder, with both of your hands holding the baseball. Your chin is tucked and behind your belt buckle.
Pick up your front leg and triple extend your back leg before your lift leg foot lands. Triple extension is the extension of the ankle, knee and hip flexor. Land strong without the need of permitting your front leg knee move past your front leg heel. At front foot strike you will feel your hips fire open while you keep your shoulders closed. This is going to generate core torque or hip to shoulder separation which will coil your body and after that release your shoulders towards the target externally rotating your pitching arm.
You should finish with your torso out over your front leg and your chin always tucked. Release the baseball by stretching your arms out and up and don’t PULL THE BALL DOWN TO RELEASE.
3X Target Throws (15-25 Pitches with Baseball)
The significance here is to develop the motor coordination or muscle memory from the med throws into the target throws.
You’re in the very same position and stance as the Medicine Ball Throws Phase #1. Full stride, feet in the direction of target, shoulders closed. The only variation will be your throwing arm is behind your head cocked and ready along with your glove side is elbow to target and baseball glove hand relaxed. Utilize the glove side to help you line your shoulders up with the target.
Similar to the Medicine Ball Throws Step #2, start by lifting your lift leg while loading your weight against your back leg. Follow this with an explosive push of the back leg, reaching triple extension prior to the front foot lands. This absolutely should create power through your stride and launch your hips open when the front leg lands and stabilizes. The shoulders need to reside closed to produce optimal hip to shoulder separation.
Commence the pitch by allowing your shoulders to release the core torque, leading with your chest towards target. Maintain the chin tucked when your chest shoves out over your front leg and your arm externally rotates. Be sure only at that spot your pitching elbow is higher than your shoulder. End the pitch by internally rotating your 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