Posts Tagged ‘training for pitchers’

Years ago some major league teams limited the long toss distance for their pitchers to 150 feet. Needless to say the organization’s injuries increased by some astronomical percentage that is escaping my mind at this time. Other organizations that allowed their pitchers to throw long distances saw their injuries decrease. I personally think 150 feet distance is short for a pro level pitcher. I personally feel much looser after a nice extreme long toss. Alan Jaeger is the master of long toss and I love his concepts on Extreme Long Toss and Therapeutic Long toss.

Arguments against Long Toss at greater distances

  • messes up release point
  • the angle at greater distances creates different angles than you would pitch at
  • not proven to increase speed
  • a pitcher throws 60 feet and should train at 60 feet

Why the above is not true

  1. Your body makes adjustments based on how far you need to throw the ball therefore within 3 to 5 throws on various surfaces or at various distances your body will adjust.
  2. Yes true but who cares about the angles….see Number 1
  3. Maybe not proven but it does stretch the muscles out and elongates the muscle therefore prepping the body for the explosive throwing process
  4. As mentioned above a pitcher needs to stretch out the muscles. This theory of training at 60 feet only is something a “guru” said a few years back to be contrary to other “gurus” Simply ridiculous.

How to implement long toss

  • use as a warmup
  • only use the amount of energy needed to propel the ball the distance you are at
  • continue to “lob” the ball at greater distances until you need to gradually add more effort. This will ensure that you are not throwing too hard too quick. Lob the ball while moving back (every 5 to 10 throws) until you reach a distance where you cannot lob it anymore. This will get you to a point where you are “starting” to stretch
  • From this point you can continue to move back until you are completely loose

Those are the basics please email me with questions

As promised I said I would give some insight into workouts for aspiring college and professional players. As a former professional pitcher I can say that I was not blessed athlete. I was not gifted by any stretch. I had to work hard and push myself to limits that many are not willing to go to. Most players are afraid of failure therefore they never push themselves. The attitude I here a lot is “these kids are not going to the major leagues”. Who are we to tell them they can’t. I am living proof that someone can play professional and make a career out of baseball through sheer hard work. I made myself a pro and how did I do it?

In preparation to make myself better I needed to break down the different aspects that would help my performance and I created different workouts for each part. Then I mapped out a weekly plan. The key here is to map it out, stick to it and write down a training log. This will only help you keep track of your results. If you want to be the best you need to make this your life or at least a huge part of it.

1. Weight Training – This is the basis of all strength and conditioning programs. I designed full body workouts 3 times per week for myself. This allows the whole workout to be done in 1 day and also to make room for the other days of the week.

2. Cardiovascular Training – Great for general health and keeping your heart strong. Also helps with cutting any excess body fat for those of us with thicker frames. Also a great way to build endurance and mental toughness. I would usually do cardio after weight training. One to get it out of the way but secondly to help burn more fat after lifting weights.

3. Rotator Cuff/ Arm Care – Essential for all pitchers to have a rotator cuff program and this needs to be done 2 to 3 times per week. Usually can be accomplished on the days you perform your weight training and cardio.

4. Sprint Training – Sprinting 2 times per week on days that you are not doing the above 3 is essential to making a pitcher throw harder. See my last post.

5. Plyometrics and Medicine Ball Training – Explosive movements such as these are essential to making the pitcher throw harder and faster. This is really important to have this as part of your Sprinting day.

6. Throwing – Long Toss and Bullpen work. Great to do this on your Sprinting days as well. Since you are not lifting weights  on these days you are eliminating a load on the muscle therefore you can us 4 and 5 as a warmup for throwing.

7. Rest – The most underated part of training that athletes neglect. Take an extra day off here and there. Listen to your body. more importantly take 1 day off weekly and make this day a day that you do not do anything at all except rest.

So try designing your workouts this way. 1,2,and 3 on Mondays, Wednesday, and Friday. 4,5,and 6 on Tuesday Thursday and Saturday. Sunday is a rest day. Try it, it’s not easy.

As mentioned in a previous post, I said I would talk a little about sprinting for pitchers. When I was in college I was told as many others were as well, to run distances for leg strength. Now many pitching coaches will say that running distances is a “waste of time” because pitchers are expected to use short bursts of energy in order to pitch a baseball. This article is not about distance running but I will at least say that distance running does have its place in a pitchers routine.

Benefits of distance running

  1. Flushing the system of lactic acid the day after a start
  2. Endurance
  3. Mental Toughness
  4. Strengthening of stabilizing muscles in the hips and legs.

Now Distance running is not an end all be all, and shouldn’t be but as I have said many times: Many things have their place and time when training for Pitching. Just like the HOLDS I blogged about. Are they and end all be all? No, but should they be part of an arm strength program? Yes.

Now back to the sprint training. Back when I was on my journey to play professional baseball a good friends of mine who played professionally, told me to run 10 yard sprints. This was back before anyone started talking about the short bursts that pitchers need to train in order to throw hard. The idea was to try and get to top speed by your 3rd step. This ensures that the focus is on short intense bursts. I liked the idea and utilized this as part of my conditioning program. Did it help? I believe it did. It is one of the many components to Velocity Training.

10 yard sprints – 10 to 15 reps at 3 times per week (alternating days) Make sure you recover fully in between sprints in order to focus on the quality of the work you are doing. Add this into your training. Next blog will be about my 7 different workouts that any aspiring pro pitcher needs to have!

– Bill Bethea