Nobody Cares How Hard You Throw on January 15th

April 4, 2024

A lot of my teenage athletes don't like when I say, nobody cares how hard you throw in January.

Outside of putting up a number at a showcase, you will have to repeat those numbers during the season time after time. They don't like it because they know that it is far easier to throw the baseball at peak velocity for a handful of throws at a showcase or in a training session with no batter in the box than it is for 80 pitches in the middle of May or June or July.  Once the batter enters the box and the season goes on, your velocity and command will eventually be exposed if you didn't prepare correctly.  Working smart not just working hard. Arm Health in April is one thing, Arm health in the middle of June different thing.  The foundation of velocity and performance is your arm health and working smart is very critical.

What many miss, is they are chasing velocity and think if they can make 10 throws in the middle of winter with higher velocities is that this will automatically translate to game performance.  To have game performance you must have sustainable velocity,  sustainable command, and that doesn't happen if your arm feels like garbage. The truth is "velocity training" is not a separate thing.  Velo, command, and arm health should be a constant work with arm health leading the way. Not just in the off-season.   It's a full year round plan.

What often get's missed?

A pitchers lack of a sound year round training cycle that slowly builds up to the season so he can have both velocity and command working together at the right time.  For example,  our year round cycle looks like this.....

Phase 1   Preparation Phase (Preparing the arm and body for the stress of velocity/durability)
Phase 2.  Building Phase  (Slowly increasing reps, mechanical efficiency focus,)
Phase 3.  Velocity/Push/Cycle Phase  (Increasing intensity, cycling mechanics, command, intensity)
Phase 4.  Pre Season Phase (Ability meets Skill -  Transfer velocity/command/mechanics with your skill work)
Phase 5.  In Season I. (Emphasis to get the pitcher Back To 100% for each outing)
Phase 6.  In Season II (Back to 100% with durability)
Phase 7   Ramp Down  (End of season winding down your throwing slowly)

Also, a lack of a pitchers  in-season cycle which is specifically designed to get the pitchers arm back to 100% as quickly as possible.   When the arm feels good, performances  will improve.

If you based your pitching life and throwing hard on January 15th, then you are likely an accident waiting to happen. 

If you pitch roughly once per week what is your cycle?
Here is a sample cycle (Just an example)
Day 1 Game Day
Day 2 Active Recovery Day (Blood flow emphasis)
Day 3 mechanical efficiency day lighter intensity with arm care
Day 4 Take the arm for a walk.  Easy Long toss listen to the arm.
Day 5 mechanical efficiency day with medium intensity (athletic throwing)
Day 6 Short bull pen or off day
Day 7. Game Day

This is just an example of a cycle.    The point is every day has a purpose. Every day is building the player back to getting ready for Game Day. The Main Goal is to feel great on game day.  Pitchers who also play another position need to consider the stress also associated with throwing outside of your recovery plan.

What is your plan?
Do you even have a plan?
If you have a plan, and something isn't working right, the beautiful thing is you can then adjust the plan.   If you are doing things randomly, it's harder to adjust to something different if you're not sure where you're adjusting from.

Roger Clemens once said the easiest day in his pitching cycle was the day he pitched. 

Immediately following his pitching performance his hard work began in terms of preparing for next outing.  His running and his workouts.  The days in between his game day were hard, and were intense.   He did far more than anybody else was doing around him at the time.

Nolan Ryan once referred to pitching in the big leagues like this...

Pitching in the major leagues was a dream, preparing to pitch in the major leagues was a nightmare.
Referring to how hard he had to work to get his body prepared and ready to be at peak performance throughout the season.

If you have any questions about velocity training, creating year round training cycles, or weekly in-season or off-season cycles just email fastballusa@hotmail.com

Mike Ryan

Fastball USA
www.fastballusa.com

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