the pitcher's toolbox, fall 2011
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DESCRIPTIONA magazine for pitching instruction
A Few Drills for the Pitching Process ITP for Baseball Players Greg Madduxs Front Door Fastball
Managing Tension, Jitters & Anxiety in Pitchers Off-Season Throwing Program for Inclement Weather
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Fall 2011 Table of Contents
Managing Editor and Publisher
Cover Photo: Jim Vatcher, President, Jaeger Sports. Photo courtesy of Jaeger Sports.
Photography in articles courtesy of the author unless otherwise noted. Stock photos are from the Microsoft Corporation.
2011 by The Pitchers Toolbox. The Pitchers Toolbox is a bi-annual publication, intended for the collaboration of sound, fundamental teaching practices for the skill of pitching. The statements and opinions expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect those of The Pitchers Toolbox. Any advertisements in this or any other issue of The Pitchers Toolbox are not an endorsement of the product or company.
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The Pitchers Toolbox
4 A Throwing Program for Inclement Weather (Fall/Winter) By Alan Jaeger, Jaeger Sports 8 Greg Madduxs Front Door Fastball By Chris Welsh, Cincinnati Reds 12 Managing Tension, Jitters, and Anxiety in Pitchers By Jim Meier, Championship Thinking Coach 18 A Few Drills for the Pitching Process By Fred Corral, University of Memphis 22 A Visit to the Mound with Tim Dillard, Milwaukee Brewers 24 Interval Throwing Program for Baseball Players By Dr. Allen F. Anderson, Tennessee Orthodpaedics Alliance
Born and raised in sunny, southern California, you might wonder why I feel a need to write an article about a throwing program in inclement weather. Well, the truth be told is that this question has come up a great deal in the past few years. Coaches and players are beginning to realize that being confined to a limited space, indoors, for an extended period of time in the Fall/Winter months (3-5 in some states) can significantly limit the conditioning and development of the ar. This reality is especially hitting home for those coaches and players who have experienced the tremendous benefits of distance throwing (Long Toss), and are now realizing how disadvantageous it is to suppress the arms need to stretch out, lengthen and condition properly during this 3-5 month window.
This 3-5 month window, which can start as early as October and can last as late as March, often forces players to train indoors in facilities that may be significantly limited by height and distance constraints (e.g. basketball gym). As you will see throughout this article, this 3-5 month window, when coaches and players often feel that they cant get the necessary work or conditioning in because they are forced indoors, is one of the most important periods in the calendar year. Quite simply, it represents a huge chunk of time
when players can either build on their base, or face the real possibility that their arms will either stagnate or regress.
The reality is that while warm weathered parts of the country have the luxury to train outdoors, without throwing limitations, schools that are forced indoors for long periods of time are a major disadvantage come Spring time if they dont know how to insure that players get the necessary conditioning indoors (distance throwing/Long Toss). Going indoors can seem very limiting when it comes to maintaining a good throwing program but with a little creativity players can find ways to get the necessary distances of 200-300 feet even if the length of the indoor facility is no greater than 120 feet.
Considering that the key to any throwing program is to build the base of the arm correctly (September/October), the next most important factor is to ensure that this base is maintained or enhanced through the remainder of the Fall/Winter (and eventually, into the Spring). This period between November and March is a critical time to not only deepen the base that was built in September/October, but to insure that the players make a smooth transition once they get outdoors in early Spring., without having to rush into shape. The arm should be in shape
Off-Season Throwing Program for Inclement Weather (Fall/Winter)
By Alan Jaeger
Alan Jaeger and Michael Montgomery (Kansas City Royals) demonstrate the J-Band exercises at Grenada Hills High School (CA).
The Pitchers Toolbox
because of how it was properly conditioned throughout the Fall/Winter months, despite the fact that it was confined to indoor throwing.
This article has been written with this in mind.
Two Keys to Conditioning Indoors: Surgical Tubing and Long Toss
For those players or teams that have used the first two months (September/October) to condition their arms well on a Long Toss Throwing Program, the last thing you want to have happen is for your players to go from a great conditioning mode to underconditioning in 3-5 months because of being limited indoors. The arm needs to continue to train in a manner that allows it to fully condition, and that means it needs to find a way to stretch out (Long Toss) to distances that are consistent with the distances that are provided outdoors.
There are two key factors with regard to developing and maintaining the health, strength, and endurance of the arm through the Fall/Winter months- number one is distance throwing or long toss and a close second is surgical tubing exercises. There isnt anything thats a close third other than the pitchers getting the necessary work off the mound at the appropriate time.
Building a base, progressively and thoroughly, is the most important principle in developing arm health, strength and endurance. And maintaining this base by conditioning properly throughout the Fall/Winter is of extreme importance if you want to use the Fall/Winter to strengthen, rather than deplete this base. Proper conditioning starts and ends with Long Toss and Surgical Tubing-these are the only two factors that are not optional.
Once a team is forced to go indoors due to inclement weather, these are the two essential ways to maintain your conditioning through the Fall, Winter and into the Spring. If you are fortunate enough to have an indoor facility (field house/football field) that allows you to consistently get out to 200 feet or more, then simply follow your routine as if you are outdoors. But for most of the schools out there, a basketball gym, etc. seems to be more of the norm, and getting distance is a real issue.
Key #1: Surgical Tubing
Though you may be limited by the distance (e.g. 120 feet) and/or the height of your indoor facility, you can still effectively supplement the conditioning of the arm by adding repetitions to your surgical tubing exercises prior to, and independent of your throwing program.
Fortunately, the net effect of increasing your reps helps the arm make up for the lack of throwing each day. This is especially effective by adding reps to the forward throwing motion (literally, the same throwing motion used as if you were throwing the surgical tubing like a baseball), which is the last surgical tubing exercise done prior to that days throwing session (see YouTube: j-bands exercises). This forward motion exercise bests simulates the arms throwing motion because, quite simply, the arm is getting the sensation that it is throwing.
There is actually a Long Toss effect without even picking up a ball because throwing the tubing in a progressive way (start with low resistance and slowly add resistance) allows the arm to open up progressively with each passing repetition, in the same manner that you start out by playing light catch, and slowly add more effort to each throw. Because the arm has had a chance to measure, for example, the first 25 reps as a stretch, adding reps begins to challenge the arm as if distance behind the throws is increasing.
Again, this is all done in a safe manner because the arm is progressively being asked to throw through more resistance after the arm had already been safely warmed up (the increased resistance is created by slowly moving away from the fence or object that you have clipped the surgical tubing on to).
Find amazing videos of Jaeger Sports in action at YouTube.com.
Off-Season Throwing Program for Inclement Weather (Fall/Winter)
Over time, a player may actually increase from a distance of 3 feet from the fence and 25 reps, to 4 or 5 feet from the fence and