I have noticed with people in the baseball community around me that pitchers throw a noticeable amount harder in summer leagues and travel ball compared to earlier in the year in school baseball. I know that the arm is more loose in warmer weather, but does it have that big of an effect? I see kids that throw 87-89 as an incoming junior, and then the school year as a junior they throw 85-87. Does the arm need consistent throwing of months to fully loosen up? Another thing I thought could be the effect is that the high schoolers are actually getting stronger as the season goes on. I believe this to be true because if you look in the majors, there isn’t much difference in their velocity from say May to July (granted, they are big leaguers). Anyways, I would like to get to know your guys thoughts and opinions as to why many kids throw harder in travel ball and showcases than in school baseball!
Another example is a pitcher who was sitting 84-86 topping out at 88 in his junior year reached 92 that summer. 4 mph is a great difference in a matter of months. Did he get stronger, is it merely the weather, or does the arm just take that long to loosen up?
Too many variables to make a blanket statement.
That said here comes a blanket statement. Most HS kids don’t prepare their arms for throwing. It stands to reason that the ones not sidelined with arm soreness or injury would get stronger as the season progressed.
It really does take all kinds, doesn’t it? We see this at all levels of the game—the pitchers who get off to a slow start and who need more time to really get loosened up, who hit their stride when the outside temperature gets above 80 degrees, and the ones for whom it makes no difference, they start fast and continue to pick up speed. And pitchers at whatever level seem to get stronger as the season progresses. Yes, the weather is a definite factor, and when you couple that with overall conditioning there certainly is a difference.
Same thing happens at the MLB level too. June and July are the highest avg fastball velocity months and it’s for the same reasons as HS pitchers:
Warmer weather means muscles warm up (and stay warm) faster
Better conditioning specific to pitching/throwing hard
Better (more efficient) mechanics