Perfect In-Season Pitching and Strength Maintenance System

Perfect In-Season Pitching and Strength Maintenance SystemNearly all youthful pitchers these days do not have much of an off season due to the popularity of travel teams along with the mix of prep, summer and fall leagues. This has brought on an increase in elbow and shoulder injuries at a early age for pitchers who are not allowing themselves an off season to recover and rebuild. I was a subject of this never-ending loop throughout my own career. I had rotator cuff surgery at 18 to fix a torn rotator cuff immediately after my 1st college start. Several common causes contributing to my tear, the American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI), lead by the legendary Dr. James Andrews, has defined as the explanation for the rise in elbow and shoulder injuries in youth pitchers inside their Position Statement released in 2011.

Three common factors of most pitching injuries:

  1. Excessive use of the Pitching arm
  2. Poor Throwing mechanics
  3. Poor strength and conditioning

This is important to be aware of since injury prevention ought to be the principal focus associated with a in-season pitching program. Based on this information an excellent in-season pitching method should include a lower number of throws to avoid too much use, drills to sustain good pitching mechanics and ultimately include a fitness program which will institute great health and fitness.

Counter Productive Training

In advance of when I structure the ideal in-season training method we have to first outline and record conventional techniques to pitching that will belong to the category of these common injury issues.

Extreme Long Tossing (Surpassing distances of 150 ft)

This kind of training, even though it is rather popular, includes a cautionary tale. ASMI completed a number of research on this form of training and yes it produced elbow varus torque within the throwing arm and pitching mechanics that were not conducive to the pitching mound. ASMI urged against these kind of throws for rehabilitation and training intentions.

This kind of training could easily bring about overuse of the rotator cuff and elbow and whenever poor mechanics exist, the pitcher is even more vulnerable to personal injury.

Weighted Baseball Training (Over Under Load Training)

I actually have no scientific studies against this style of exercise. I have actually used these two throwing methods during my career, however it was ahead of my arm injury. This kind of practice yet again falls into the three common issues of the majority of throwing injuries. This certainly will enhance the volume of pitches along with bad mechanics, puts the thrower in danger.

Television and Net Gimmicks

I’m not really stating that every gizmo or attention-grabber on television or the Internet is junk, nevertheless, you need to ensure that they don’t put you into the class of the three common factors ultimately causing arm injury while in-season. Many of these products promote a higher number of throws and weak mechanics. I suggest for you to coach yourself on good mechanics and employ this ideal in-season training program before you decide to waste your income.

The Optimal In-Season Pitching and Strength Maintenance Program

This program includes both the programs, the throwing program and the power training program. You will need to realize that we aren’t trying to enhance velocity or power while in-season. The foundation of any optimal in-season pitching program is to avoid injury as well as to preserve power. Should you do well at this you are going to experience consistent velocities between performances and you will keep yourself off of the Disabled List (DL).

This is simply not a one size fits all program because it is able to include any age, all levels plus your pitching workload. Your own throwing workload includes your personal volume of throws per performance.

There’s a crucial element with an in-season pitching program that wont be discussed in this article and that is diet. Effective nutrition supports your body’s capacity to heal and rebuild.

Relief Pitcher Workload (Based on 2 day Pitching Rotation)

21 – 35 throws – 1 day rest from throwing
36 – 50 throws – 2 days rest from throwing

Day one (Rebuild and Mechanics)

Dynamic Warm Up
Mechanics Routine (Instruction In this article) 3X Med Ball Exercises, 3X Target throws on Mound
Plyometrics (1 set, 20 yards) Pogo Jumps, Bunny Hopes, Frog Hopes
Anaerobic Conditioning (3-6 each) Hurdles, Resistance Sprints, Standard Sprints
Rotator Cuff Program (Tubing or 2-3 lb dumbbells, 3 sets ten reps) External Rotation, Positives and Negatives, Shoulder extensions, Up and Out, Windmills

Day two (Eat, Rest & Recover)

Dynamic Warm Up
Visualization (Picturing yourself throwing perfect pitches with perfect mechanics, has been proven being more beneficial compared to actually practicing)

Starting Pitcher Workload (Determined by 4 Day Pitching Rotation)

51 – 65 pitches – 72 hours rest from pitching
66 pitches and Above – four days rest from throwing

Day one (Maintenance)

Dynamic Warm-up
Plyometrics (one set, 20 yards) Pogo Plyos, Bunny Hopes, Frog Hopes
Anaerobic Training (3-6 each) Hurdles, Resistance Sprints, Standard Sprints
Core Program (3 sets 10 reps) V-Ups, Med Ball, Russian Twists, Double Leg Jack Knife, Medicine Ball Slams, Back crunches
Shoulder Routine (Resistance Tubing or 2-3 lb dumbbells, 3 sets 10 reps) External Rotation, Positives and Negatives, Shoulder extensions, Up and Out, Windmills

Day 2 (Mechanics)

Dynamic Warm-up
Mechanics Exercises (Instruction Beneath) 3X Medicine Ball Exercises, 3X Target Drills on Pitching Mound
twenty five Pitch Bull Pen 60% intensity (10 Fastball, 10 Curve/Sliders, 5 Change-ups)

Day 3 (Eat, Rest and Recover)

Dynamic Warm Up
Visualization (Visualizing oneself pitching perfect pitches with perfect mechanics, has been confirmed to be more effective compared to actually practicing)

For a lot of information on these types of drills and exercises please visit TopVelocity.net. You can contact me privately at TopVelocity.net/Contact.

Mechanics Drills

This part of the system may consist of any drills to help institute the motor coordination for good mechanics without putting a high volume of throws on your arm. I have listed 2 mechanics drills coming from the 3X Pitching Velocity program as well as a url to the 3X Pitching Mechanics Online video in the resource segment listed below. I seriously suggest seeing the online video just before employing the 3X Drills so you possess a good comprehension of the methodology.

3X Medicine Ball Throws (15-25 Throws with 2lb medicine ball. DO NOT Exceed 2 pounds)

Med Ball Throws #1Phase #1

Start in a complete stride, which is 80-90% of your height. Both of your feet need to be pointing towards the target. You are on the ball of your drive leg foot with most of your body weight on your drive leg. Your shoulders are inline to the catcher. The med ball will be behind your head, above your throwing shoulder, with both of your hands controlling the ball. Your chin is tucked and behind your belt buckle.

Med Ball Throws #2Phase #2

Raise your lift leg and triple extend your back leg just before your lift leg foot lands. Triple extension is the extension of the ankle, knee and hip flexor. Land strong without the need of allowing your lift leg knee push past your lift leg heel. When your front foot lands you will feel your hips fire wide open as you maintain your shoulders closed. This is going to create core torque or hip to shoulder separation that will coil your body after which release your shoulders towards the target externally rotating your throwing arm.

Med Ball Throws #3Phase #3

You must end with your chest out over your lift leg along with your chin still tucked. Release the baseball by extending your arms out and up and don’t PULL THE BALL DOWN TO RELEASE.

3X Target Throws (15-25 Pitches with Baseball)

The significance at this point is to program the motor coordination or muscle memory from the med ball throws towards the target throws.

Target Throws #1Phase #1

You are in the exact same position and stance as the Med Throws Step 1. Total stride, feet in the direction of target, shoulders closed. The only real distinction is your throwing arm is behind your head cocked and set and your baseball glove side is elbow to zone and baseball glove hand relaxed. Make use of the glove side to help you aline your shoulders up with the target.

Target Throws #2Phase #2

Identical to the Med Throws Step 2, begin by picking up your front leg while loading your weight on your drive leg. Carry out this through an explosive drive of the back leg, reaching triple extension just before front foot strike. This should create power through your stride and fire your hips open once the front leg touches down and holds. The shoulders need to stay closed to create optimal hip to shoulder separation.

Target Throws #3Phase #3

Begin the throw by allowing your shoulders to release the core torque, leading with your chest towards target. Keep the chin tucked as your chest shoves out over your front leg and your arm externally rotates. Be sure at this spot your pitching elbow is higher than your shoulder. Finish the throw by internally rotating your throwing arm and stretching your elbow up to release.

Resources:

3X Pitching 101 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJOM_TOkCoc
3X Pitching Velocity Program http://TopVelocity.net
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
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