Advice for Overcoming Fatigue

I’m really in shape. I’m 6’1 and 170 pounds, I run just about every other night for miles at a time but my mechanics just seem different when I pitch more than a few innings. I haven’t video taped a whole game yet to actually compare the differences, but I will next time I start. I just don’t know why I feel different in later innings. It effects my accuracy a ton and my fastball doesn’t feel the same anymore. Any Advice?

By all means, videotape yourself pitching a complete game so we can see what’s going on. Meanwhile, I remember a story about a major league pitcher who was experiencing the same thing. Everything was fine, his mechanics were sound, but he just couldn’t go deep into games—until one day his manager got the idea of using him in relief in the late innings to protect leads, and that solved the problem. That pitcher just was not able to pitch a complete game, but as a late-inning reliever he was just fine. The tightness of the game didn’t bother him as long as his arm stayed loose.
I would suggest, however, that you cut back on the running a bit—certainly don’t run the day before you’re going to pitch. All you’re doing is knocking yourself out. Use that day to do a light bullpen, throw all your pitches to see how they’re working, and if you find that one of those pitches isn’t behaving itself, put it back on the shelf and go to your other stuff that you know is working, and the day after you pitch get together with your pitching coach and address the problem. 8)

Running for long distances and pitching explosively for short bursts over time are two completely different energy systems. You need to cut down on the long distance running and focus on explosive conditioning movements. Most importantly, you need to increase your volume of bullpen pitches. How many pitches do you throw per session? Per week? If you aren’t conditioned to throw 80, 90, 100 pitches per session, how do you think you will be able to consistently do this in games without getting fatigued?

Agreed, running is good though, even long distance running is good. But sprints are better for the explosive conditioning, as well as plyometrics. A good distance jog is good after the end of an outing if you still have the energy to do it.

…no one throws that many pitches in a bullpen session…

How do you know no one throws that many pitches in a bullpen session? Maybe that is why so many pitchers are fatigued - they aren’t accustomed to throwing that many pitches per outing. My 14 year old son throws this many pitches 2-3 times per week. He’s very capable of pitching a complete game every time out with no soreness because he is fit to do so. As it so happens, he has never thrown over 100 pitches in a game - the most in a 7 inning outing was 97.

Throw right, throw often - all bullpens are 100% game intensity; practice like you play.

ask any high school, college, or pro coach how many pitches per session their pitchers throw. i promise you it isn’t 100…thats ridiculous.

yeah i find that hard to believe… you will wreak your arm if you throw 300 pitches a week… cut it down to like 50-60 a session. then do long toss for a bit… i can throw a complete 7 inning game at 14 doing this routine 3 times a week. 300 pitches is ridiculous

I am taking the stance that many pitchers these days don’t throw enough. I am aware that the overwhelming majority of current pitchers from all levels do not throw a very large volume of pitches per week; but I believe that mentality may be a mistake. Assuming a pitcher has very good full body mechanics and knows how to move fast to place less stress on the arm, then the number of pitches thrown is pretty much a non-issue. Of course, many youth pitchers do not have good full body mechanics and they do not know how to throw so they have little to no stress on their arms, and in these cases, it is not possible to throw a very high volume of pitches consistently over time without consequences - they will most definitely will stay sore and eventually injure themselves.

Now, consider some MLB pitchers who consistently pitch into the later innings - Lincecum, Halliday, etc; they often pitch twice over a seven day period and they will throw 100-120 pitches per outing. Throw a bullpen or two in between those starts and look how many pitches they are throwing per week.

Consider someone like Dice K who was accustomed to throwing 300+ pitches per week before he came to America. Once here, the Red Sox shut him down and “protected” his arm and wouldn’t let him do what made him successful - instead they had him throwing footballs. Stupid.

Nolan Ryan once threw over 200 pitches per game for a period of 10 straight starts! Now, I am not saying someone can just go out and throw 200 pitches in a game - what I am saying is to get your mechanics right so there is little to no stress on the arm, throw with the lower half, and work up the volume of pitches per session. You’ve got to throw frequently - after all, pitching is the ultimate in target practice; no different than darts, skeet shooting, archery, tennis, or any other sport that requires precision placement of an object at a specified distance. Practice, practice, practice (because perfect practice makes perfect!)