4thGen's Progress

Thanks Steve for making this forum available. I’ve enjoyed your tips and blog and I’m looking forward to an exchange of ideas here to assist my son and the pitchers I coach.

I’d like to post information and questions on my son’s, (4thGen), progress. He is an incoming freshman at a large school here in the Phoenix area. He has been in active rest since he pitched his last game July 29th. He has not picked up a ball or bat but has been doing conditioning and is playing Freshman Football.

Monday, Labor Day he will start his off season workouts for baseball and his HS baseball experience will begin. I’ll try and post what we are doing and would welcome feedback. :smiley:

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Currently 4thGen is doing his conditioning work with the football team. simple body weigh exercises and lots of sprints. Once a week, Thursdays for now, he is doing the exercises his PT gave him last year when he developed a muscle imbalance in his pitching shoulder. 10 exercises using light weights, jelly balls, med balls and tubing for his shoulder joint.

The off season ends on Monday. We’ll start baseball related work with a couple of days of long toss for the first two weeks. He has a trowing program from his PT that gradually has him working back in terms of distance and # of throws. He’ll start working with his PC again throwing bullpens and working on pitching mechanics once he’s had a month of long toss. He’ll be adding the breaking ball this fall to the 2 FBs and 2 CUs he throws. He’ll be 15 on 9/27 and is shaving now maybe once a week. At 5’ 11" 140 lbs with long limbs he’s still looks awfully skinny but his mechanics and command have always been good so we think its safe to add the BB. :smiley:

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3rdgen,
Given that today is their birthday I thought I’d post a comparison. CASon was measured at 5’8" this morning but will be down to about 5’7-1/4" by evening and weighs in at 125. We clocked the fastball at 68-70 throwing to a target (probably overthrowing a bit) and 70 to 71 throwing for the gun a few days ago. His arm is now fine after trying to come back from a layoff too quick and coming down with a mild case of pitcher’s elbow. He continues conditioning work with the HS and light throwing along with only an occasional bullpen. We’ve got a scrimmage coming up on Friday and a tournament the next weekend. Once my arm heals from all the BP I threw during all-star season we’ll begin the long toss program again. Happy B-day to 4thgen.

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Once again, Happy Birthday to your son. It’s funny but 4thGen was about the same height and weight as your son last year if I remember. He was 5’ 11", 140 lbs at his football physical about 6 weeks ago. He dropped a couple of pounds at first, but now is up to 144 lbs. About the time of his last outing in July someone told be they had him hitting 81 mph max with his 4 seamer, most of them in the 77-78 range. His 2 seam FB was 72-75 most of the time. I don’t think he was throwing any harder then CAson at this time last year. Over the past year he worked hard on maintaining his mechanics, staying healthy and getting stronger. I am most pleased with the discipline with which he’s approached things and how efficient he was on the mound. The arm care, running, strength training and flexibility work he’s done add to the base of mechanics he has continued to work on with his PC. All of that work allows him to take the, “what are you doing standing up there waving that stick around?”, attitude to the mound.

Let’s hope for another healthy and enjoyable year for both the boys.
:slight_smile:

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3rdgen,
Growth spurts can be tough. Once his arm felt fine he started having problems with a muscle pull in his lower back and wasn’t able to long toss out past about 180’ without tweaking his back. In our last tournament I had him start the first game so that I knew he wouldn’t be going in with any back stiffness. I pulled him after 2 innings with us up 2-0 expecting to win easily. We ended up winning 2-1. I didn’t use him in on the mound in any of our next 3 games.

His back felt good enough to throw a pen last night and he was 69-71 throwing for command. We let him throw for velocity and everything was at 71 but he just couldn’t get past 71. Looking at my last post that means he’s probably up about 1/2 mph in the last month which is about what I’d expect him to average over the next year, although I wouldn’t mind if he picked up a bit more and was able to match where 4thgen is now by this time next year.

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Glad to here that CADadJr. is back throwing in the pen and at least a bit in games. I’m betting that within a few weeks his back troubles will be a distant memory. As for his velocity, it he can avoid injuries and continue to work hard, he’ll be fine by spring for Freshman or JV ball.

I have not updated this post on 4thGen’s progress because there has not been much to talk about. Just about the time of my last post 4thGen suffered a high ankle strain at football practice. He missed all football practice for 10 days then limped through a few games. His straight ahead speed was almost 100% by the end of the football season but he could not cut off his injured ankle. He was pretty bummed out because he had just started to assert himself on the football field, playing both ways and having multiple catches every game. We had to stop all baseball related activities until the season was over. This week is the first time he has been lifting, throwing and working on his baseball skills. We’ve limited his long toss to 120’ and his anaerobic work to riding the stationary bike since it does not seem to aggravate the ankle. He’ll just workout and long toss again next week then start throwing pens with his PC. We are scheduled to play a tournament over the Thanksgiving weekend, but I’m not sure how much he’ll be able to pitch. :smiley:

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I’m looking for suggestions with something that is not purely about baseball pitching. 4thGen is busy training every day, lifting whole body three days a week, long tossing three times a week and working on his hitting and fielding skills 6 days a week. His energy system work has been limited to the stationary bike because he is still recovering from the ankle injury, but next week he should be able to start running at higher intensity.

Here is the issue. 4thGen’s football coach has asked him to prepare himself to help out at quarterback next fall. They are aware of his arm strength from his pitching. My son took it as a great compliment. One problem, he can’t throw a football very well. He would like to work on his FB throwing mechanics while preparing for and playing HS baseball. I’m trying to figure out how and when he can do that so it compliments his pitching, rather then detracts from it. One thought I had is that he typically has an easy throw day after pitching, or bullpens. He might take at least some of that time to throw the football instead of the baseball? We’d sure appreciate your ideas.
:smiley:

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3rdgen,
No ideas as to football. Just haven’t done that. The back problems came back for CASon. Probably just a muscle pull but the symptoms are close enough to something called Spondylolysis that I’m going to have a sports medicine doctor check him out. In the meantime I’m not letting him pitch in this weekend’s tournament which will leave me without enough pitchers and may not let him pitch over Thanksgiving. If it really is Spondylolysis he may have to rest it for as much as 4 months, although a few weeks off followed by a gradual return to hard throwing is a more likely case.

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Though I’d heard of “Spondylolysis”, I had no idea what it was. I’ve read up on it a little and I see that it is common in teens going through a growth spurt. Many people don’t require treatment for it, but I got the sense that it may be related to overuse.

It is an interesting question when one of more of your pitchers is not available to pitch in one of these weekend tournaments. You can’t ask one of your pitchers to take one for the team by being used or overused, so you often end up asking one or more of your kids to take one for the team by getting overexposed. Having your 3rd or 4th pitcher throwing against the best team you face, or asking kids to give you innings that don’t pitch much. We are scheduled to play a tournament over the Thanksgiving weekend and 4thGen is not ready to give us more then 3 innings or so and our 1A is really in the same boat. Everyone on the rooster will have to give us a few innings. Guess we’ll have to swing the bat. :smiley:

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This coming weekend’s tournament is our freshman team and we’ll be missing my son as well our other pitcher who just finished football and isn’t ready to pitch yet. We have little or no chance to win the tournament in any case, the only problem is that it is a 4 gamer so I’m going to have to hope we can do some hitting just so we run into time limits and don’t have to throw as many innings. I was hoping for that with our 14yo team last time out and we played three 7 inning games and a 6 inning game despite a no new inning after 1:45 time limit. My big worry is that some of these kids are going to get knocked around so much that they won’t be able to pitch more than an inning or two before I have to take them out based on pitch count.

We’re also playing a local tournament over Thanksgiving weekend with the 14yo and I’m hoping that my son will be OK to throw 2 or 3 innings but I’m not counting on it. I’ve got enough other pitchers to get through that one which should be fewer games anyways.

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Got him into the doctor yesterday afternoon. Good news and bad news. Good news is that we probably caught it early although we won’t know for sure until after today’s MRI. Good new is when you catch it early there’s a good chance that you can get the bone to heal completely. Bad news is that it takes 4 to 6 months to heal.

If it was an old injury with little chance for it to heal then the down time would only be 2 to 4 weeks until the pain went away. Oh well, it is better that it happens during his freshman year than any other.

The school had another player who was a catcher who broke his leg and had to sit out an entire season. He came back as a pitcher and pitched on JV as a junior. He got a scholarship to a D1 before his senior season and was the school’s ace.

Maybe my son is following in his footsteps. This will certainly give his arm a chance for full recovery.

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Sorry to hear about the set back for CADad JR. When you have the MRI results please let us know what they tell him he’ll need to do and any cause if it can be determined.

You may want to focus on the things that he can do rather then the things he can’t. If he can’t throw for a while there may still be plenty of things he can do to develop his athleticism. If he can’t play baseball at all this spring, I’m sure the track team would welcome him. 4-6 months sets him up up to be able to throw for the HS summer team where he can quickly catch up with his teammates. Good luck, get medical help you can trust and keep his spirits up. :frowning:

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3rdgen,
The MRI results were pretty encouraging. He does have Spondylolysis and it is bilateral. However, we seem to have caught it quite early and the doctor says that he should only be out from 1 to 2 months.

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Well, that’s good news for the spring season. It will be interesting to find out what “out for 1-2 months” means in terms of activities he can do. Even if he can ride a stationary bike that would be helpful. Perhaps running in a pool? Whatever the case, I’m sure he will get good medical advice and do the work required.

4thGen pitched on Saturday for the first time since July. He has been working with his PC on lengthing his stride a little bit so he said he felt a little uncomfotable. He did not have his normal control, but was throwing hard. He went three innings, no runs, 1 hit, 5 Ks, 3 BB, 1 HBP and picked a runner off first. The highlight was striking out the 3, 4 and 5 hitters after giving walking the lead off hitter of the game and giving up a hit to the #2 hitter. For the fist outing of the season not too bad, he has something to work from. :slight_smile:

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Sound like a nice way to start. Keep up the good work.

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3rdgen,
I expect CASon to be put on a therapy program including stationary bike riding and hamstring stretches right away once he gets his rigid brace. That is supposed to happen Friday. I’m not sure when they’ll start him on the ab work, etc portion of the physical therapy. The normal protocol for this is to let him start playing baseball again, in the brace, after 4 to 6 weeks in the brace if he is pain free on provocative examination. The total period in the brace would still be 3 months or more if necessary. I don’t know what this doctor will prescribe and I don’t know how he’ll take into account the 2.5 weeks he already been on restricted activity and the 1.5 weeks of that he’s been in a soft brace. We’ll find out more when he gets the brace on Friday and then sees the doctor.

The 14u team did pretty well without him in a local tournament over the Thanksgiving weekend. They won their first game in pool play vs. a weak team then lost pretty badly to a USSSA major team when I didn’t throw our better pitchers. We turned around and faced the same team in the semifinals except they brought in a kid who had been a stud 14yo last year with a May birthday to pitch for them and brought in a strong player from a stronger USSSA major team in the middle of the game (I let them get away with it because we were ahead and I didn’t want the team to get distracted in the middle of the game.) We ended up winning 3-0 in the semis behind a 2 hit shutout from our #1 pitcher.

The championship game was against the team with several of the players from the 2004 LLWS US championship team. They threw the stud pitcher against us (at 54’) and he was hitting low 80s but having to dial it down a bit to throw strikes, plus not hitting the strike zone with what looked to be a slider. We fell behind 2-0 on poor defense, a combination of errors and infield hits on plays that should have been made. I really would have liked to have CASon on the mound to start the game because he doesn’t have to rely on the defense quite as much as the pitcher I had out there even though that pitcher threw a pretty good game. I also would have liked to have CASon at third once we brought the other pitcher in. We tied it up in the third inning with some timely hits and then fell apart defensively after that with the pitcher from the previous game making an error on a routine grounder at first and then messing up on bunt coverage on the next two plays to start things going downhill. I think he was mentally exhausted at that point. After that I had to bring in a moderately hard throwing pitcher with so-so control and a flat fastball who got hammered for the next couple innings.

On the positive side, once CASon was put on restricted activity he grew almost 1/2" in 2.5 weeks after not growing much for the previous month or so.

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CA:

Since you’ve said you have faith in the MD he is seeing, the next step is to be sure you get CASon referred to a PT that understands young athletes, particularly throwers. Your understanding and communication between the MD and the PT is critical. I’d even suggest you set up a notebook where you can record questions you want to ask and keep track of information you need to share with one or the other. You may well find that going through this turns out to be a plus in some unexpected ways. 4thGen became much more committed and disciplined in his training habits after working with a PT because of an imbalance in his shoulder.

Congratulations on making it to the championship game! Interesting about a hard thrower with a slider at 14. I just have not seen a 14 year old catcher that can handle that.

My kids lost in the Semi’s last weekend in a Triple Crown event. 4thGen took the loss. He went 4 innings, (65 pitches - too many for this time of year), 3 runs, none earned. I was out of town, but he said he felt pretty good, just out of gas at the end of the outing.

This week 4thGen has started long tossing and running a couple of days a week with the pitchers and catchers from his HS team. He is ahead of most of the kids right now with his conditioning, but it’s a long way to May.

Please update us on CASon’s progress and I’ll let you know what is going on here in AZ. :smiley:

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It went pretty much as I expected. 4 to 6 weeks in the rigid brace with no activity other than physical therapy. If he is pain free on provocative exam at the beginning of January he’ll be allowed to start playing baseball again - with the brace on. I believe they’ll trim it down some at that point as he wouldn’t be able to play much at all with it as it is now. He’ll have to go another 2 months with it on from the point that he is pain free.

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“4 to 6 weeks in the rigid brace with no activity other than physical therapy”

Good news that he can start PT right away! It also opens the question of if the MD and PT will consider allowing him to do some form of exercise, stationary bike perhaps, tubing? In any case, six weeks is not the end of the work at 15. Once he can start baseball related activities with a modified brace it will be a month before the start of the HS season in CA won’t it? He may end up with a fresh arm to add to the team in March and April. I’d encourage the two of you to find as many positives about this delay in started his HS BB career and put those to work for him. Just a few thoughts that occur to me; he can use the down time to really get on top of his academics so he’ll have a easier time when BB starts, they may let him sit and work the rice bucket so he can start the season with stronger hands and forearms, maybe he could chart pitches at your games and get ideas on how he will attack some of the same hitters when he faces them in HS, he could read Nolan Ryan’s and Leo Mazzone’s books on pitching, he could review DVDs on pitcher’s defensive responsibilities. I’m sure the two of you can come up with a number of things that are good about this experience and end up making him a better, mentally tougher player. Good luck, I wish the best for him. :slight_smile:

3rdgen,
Thanks for the good suggestions. I’m certain that a stationary bike will be an integral part of the PT along with ab work and hamstring stretching. He’s scheduled to see the PT on Wed. afternoon. I plan to check with the doctor on the advisability of tubing work and light throwing in a couple weeks. I want his arm to have at least a month with no throwing at all and then would like to be able to bring his arm back into shape very gradually before he starts practicing with the team again.