Most youthful pitchers nowadays don’t have much of an off season because the popularity of travel teams along with the mix of prep, summer and fall leagues. This has created an increase in elbow and shoulder injuries at a young age for pitchers who sadly are not giving themselves an off season to recover and rebuild. I became a victim of this never-ending loop in my own career. I received a career ending shoulder injury at 18 to repair a destroyed rotator cuff immediately after my first college appearance. The 3 common issues that lead to my tear, the American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI), lead by the well-known Dr. James Andrews, has labeled as the real reason for the rise in elbow and shoulder injuries in youth pitchers within their Position Statement released in 2011.
A few common factors of most pitching injuries:
- Poor Technique
- Poor physical fitness
This is important to comprehend mainly because injury prevention ought to be the primary emphasis associated with a in-season throwing program. According to these facts a good in-season pitching program needs to include a low amount of throws to prevent too much use, drills to preserve good throwing mechanics and ultimately add a strength and conditioning program that will institute great physical fitness and health.
In advance of when I layout the perfect in-season training system we must first outline and list conventional methods to pitching that might belong to the category of these common injury factors.
Extreme Long Tossing (Exceeding distances of one hundred and fifty feet)
This style of practice, although it is very well-known, comes with a cautionary tale. ASMI executed a series of studies on this type of practice and it developed elbow varus torque in the throwing arm and throwing mechanics which were not conducive to the pitching mound. ASMI advised against these kind of tosses for rehabilitation and training intentions.
This kind of training could easily lead to excessive use of the rotator cuff and elbow and when poor mechanics exist, the pitcher is a lot more prone to injury.
Weighted Baseball Exercises (Over Under Load Training)
I have got no research against this type of training. I have in fact employed these two throwing practices in my career, nevertheless it was before my arm injury. This type of exercise once again falls into the three common issues of the majority of throwing injuries. This will increase the level of pitches along with poor mechanics, puts the pitcher in danger.
Television and Internet Gimmicks
I’m not really saying that every gadget or attention-grabber on tv or the Web is useless, however, you must make sure that they do not place you in to the group of the 3 typical factors ultimately causing arm pain while in-season. A number of these gadgets market a high volume of throws and poor mechanics. I suggest for you to educate yourself on good mechanics and make use of this ideal in-season training curriculum before you waste your dollars.
Optimum In-Season Throwing and Strength Maintenance Routine
This system includes the 2 programs, the throwing program and the power training program. You have to realize that we aren’t looking to enhance speed or strength while in-season. The inspiration of any ideal in-season pitching routine is always to prevent damage and also to sustain strength. When you succeed at this you’ll undergo consistent velocities in between performances and you’ll remain off of the Disabled List (DL).
This is not a cookie cutter method because it is intending to include any age, all levels and your throwing work load. Your own throwing work load includes your volume of pitches for every outing.
There’s a vital element with an in-season pitching program that won’t be discussed in this article and that is diet regime. Excellent diet facilitates your body’s capacity to recover and rebuild.
Relief Pitcher Amount of work (According to 2 day Rotation)
- 21 – 35 throws –> one day rest from throwing
- 36 – 50 pitches = 48 hours rest from throwing
Day I (Maintenance & Mechanics Work)
- Dynamic Warm Up
- Pitching Routine (How to In this article) 3X Med Ball Throws, 3X Target Drills on Pitching Mound
- Plyometrics (1 set, 20 yards) Pogo Jumps, Bunny Hopes, Frog Hopes
- Anaerobic Training (3-6 each) Hurdles, Resistance Sprints, Standard Sprints
- Shoulder Routine (Resistance Tubing or 2-3 lb weights, three sets 10 reps) External Rotation, Positives and Negatives, Shoulder extensions, Up and Out, Windmills
Day 2 (Eat, Rest & Recover)
- Dynamic Warm-up
- Visualization (Picturing your own self pitching perfect pitches with perfect mechanics, has been confirmed to be more effective compared to actually practicing)
Starting Pitcher Workload (Based on four Day Rotation)
- 51 – 65 pitches –> 3 days rest from pitching
- 66 pitches and more = 4 days rest from throwing
Day one (Maintenance)
- Dynamic Warm-up
- Plyometrics (one set, 20 yards) Pogo Jumps, Bunny Jumps, Frog Hopes
- Anaerobic Training (3-6 sets) Hurdles, Resistance Sprints, Regular Sprints
- Core Program (three sets 10 reps) V-Ups, Med Ball, Russian Twists, Two Leg Jack Knife, Med Ball Slams, Back crunches
- Shoulder Routine (Tubing or 2-3 lb dumbbells, 3 sets 10 repetitions) External Rotation, Positives and Negatives, Shoulder extensions, Up and Out, Windmills
Day 2 (Mechanics)
- Dynamic Warm-up
- Mechanics Drills (Tutorials Below) 3X Med Ball Drills, 3X Target throws on Mound
- 25 Pitch On Mound around 60% effort (10 Fastball, 10 Breaking Balls, 5 Change-ups)
Day 3 (Eat, Rest & Recover)
- Dynamic Warm-up
- Visualization (Picturing oneself pitching perfect pitches with perfect mechanics, has been confirmed being more effective compared to actually practicing)
For more knowledge on these drills and exercises make sure you visit TopVelocity.net. Anyone may get in touch with me personally at TopVelocity.net/Contact.
This area of the system could include any drills to help develop the motor coordination for good mechanics without the need for adding a high quantity of throws on your arm. I have detailed a couple of mechanics workouts coming from the 3X Pitching Velocity program and also a hyperlink to the 3X Pitching Mechanics Video in the resource section below. I highly suggest viewing the video before utilizing the 3X Drills therefore you have a excellent knowledge of the approach.
3X Med Throws (15-25 Throws with 2lb medicine ball. DO NOT Exceed 2 pounds)
Begin in a complete stride, which is 80-90% of your height. Both of your feet should be facing the target. 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 medicine ball will be right behind your head, above your throwing shoulder, with both of your hands holding the ball. Your chin is buried and behind your own belt buckle.
Pick up your front leg and triple extend your back leg before your lift leg foot strikes. Triple extension is the extension of the ankle, knee and hip flexor. Land strong without the need of letting your lift leg knee move past your front leg heel. At front foot strike you will feel your hips slam wide open while you maintain your shoulders closed. This will generate core torque or hip to shoulder separation that is certain to coil your body and after that release your shoulders towards the zone externally rotating your pitching arm.
You must end with your torso out over your front leg and your chin still tucked. Release the baseball by stretching your arms out and up and don’t PULL THE BALL DOWN TO RELEASE.
3X Target Pitches (15-25 Pitches with Baseball)
The importance here is to program the motor coordination or muscle memory through the medicine ball throws towards the target throws.
You are in the very same position and stance as the Medicine Ball Throws Step #1. Total stride, feet towards target, shoulders closed. The only difference will be your throwing arm is behind your head cocked and ready as well as your baseball glove side is elbow to target and glove hand relaxed. Use the glove side to help you aline your shoulders up with the target.
Much like the Medicine Ball Throws Phase #2, start with lifting your lift leg while loading your weight against your back leg. Carry out this by having an explosive push of the back leg, acquiring triple extension before the front foot lands. This absolutely should create power through your stride and launch your hips open when the lift leg lands and holds. The shoulders need to stay closed to produce ideal hip to shoulder separation.
Begin the throw by letting your shoulders to release the core torque, leading with your chest in the direction of target. Keep the chin tucked when your chest pushes out over your lift leg and your arm externally rotates. Be sure at this position your throwing elbow is above your shoulder. Complete the throw by internally rotating your throwing arm and stretching your elbow up to release.
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
3X Pitching Velocity Program
Ideal Pitching In-Season Training Program