Building a Beast

In the fall I’m transferring to Central Michigan University to complete my Public Relations major. I’ve worked with my younger brother for the past 6 years, mainly just building a base of mechanics. He made JV as a freshman this spring. He’s a big kid, 6’2", 185 pounds (he turns 15 in a month). Without really any weight training or velocity training he throws about 80 mph. We’ve just started long tossing for max distance this spring, he hits about 270 feet. He has both some positives and negatives with his mechanics. He has a rather efficient arm action in my opinion and maintains the qualities you look for in “connection”. A big negative is being front-leg dominant which in turn leads to some disconnections up the chain.

With me gone next fall, I want to leave him with a guide to continue getting better without me being there. It’s time for him to get more aggressive with everything he does. The word I’m using is adaption.

Mechanically, a lot of correction gets made with his direction/alignment, rhythm, lower half use and posture. What I’ve realized is, a lot of this would clean up if he sped up his tempo from the peak of his leg lift to landing. That takes mobility, stability and quick-twitch muscles.

When it comes to velocity training, I want to implement progressive overload concepts. Baseball myth got the best of me for a while and a part of me was always a little reluctant to throw weighted balls. A lot of questions and reading up on case studies and research on the topic sold me on the concept. Arm efficiency (improving arm path/pattern/remapping), endurance, strength (posterior shoulder and pronator-flexor mass), arm speed and intent. Wrist weights as well.

What I’m doing is building a beast. I’m wanting to take a kid who was blessed with some natural size and arm talent and turn him into something. So what this forum will be updated time to time through the summer. I’ll ask questions on weighted balls, wrist weights, programming in vs. off season, core stability, baseball specific training, strength training methods, ATP/quick-twitch muscle building, recovery, etc… I’m a sponge. Anything you give me will be processed and appreciated. Thanks guys.

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The most important part of the process you are already engaged in…finding out information for yourself. I have had coaches tell me “NO, NO, NO…NEVER throw weighted balls” then two sentences later suggested throwing a football to build arm strength. When I questioned the logic of saying a 7 0z ball is dangerous and a 15 oz ball is not, I was reminded that I never played beyond high school and the coach did…um, ok. Another coach told me overweight balls were very dangerous for young players but underweight balls were safer…the opposite is true of course. When I finally figured out the relative danger of throwing under or over weight balls has to do with arm speed and not the weight of the ball it all made much more sense. But, coaches that we were going to see and paid money generally just spewed non sense about it.
There is always room for discussion, the more the better. There is more than one way to skin a cat, what works well for one person may not work well for another. That is what makes it interesting. Your brother is fortunate to have such an advocate in his corner.
Keep up the research and please share as you go.

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I’m pondering how I want to plan the next year for my brother (August 15’- August 16’). His summer season concludes at the end of July. This will be the most he’s ever thrown on a day-to-day basis. Pitches/year will be down though as he actually threw more pitches as a 12 and 13 year old. He’s really making some strides on his own, especially in the intent and throwing every pitch with conviction. He’s rarely sore, every once in a while his posterior shoulder/triceps get a little tender. So, I think some wrist weight work would be great for him. He’s also done barely any upper body work in his life. Some pushups and rows are about it.

By no means is he going to take anything more than a week or two off. I’m debating how long I want him to be off throwing a 5 oz. baseball. I think a certain amount of time this offseason is going to be given to help arm capacity and build up those muscles through the arm. Improving his quick twitch muscles would really help him too.

I know I want him to be building up his long toss in November through December. I really don’t want to rush his prep for next season. But what he does August through October is still up to debate. Thoughts?

Is he playing any other sports?
What is his biggest weakness?
Great time for building that foundation…general strength, quickness, agility ect.

Biggest weakness would be in the speed continuum. A lot of that is awareness and making it a point to have a quick tempo from start to finish but having quick twitch muscles and being more a more explosive athlete is a priority for any pitcher. Being explosive takes general strength though, so making sure that’s up to par is the first step.

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