College pitcher's throwing program


#1

Hi guys:
I was talking with a AA baseball pitcher last summer, and he was telling me about a college pitching program that consisted of throwing a regulation baseball, a football(to notice spin) a tennis ball , a whiffle ball (to notice arm acceleration) and I’m not sure, but he may have included a softball. This was supposed to be from a college in the Carolina’s.
He had to run into the dugout for the game start, and I never had a chance to ask the sequence’s of the program. S/A throwing distances,
Regular baseball first , then football? or lighter ball first?. Have any of you guys heard of a pitchers program like that. If so could you post it, including which ball firse , 2nd ,3rd etc. plus distances and how many pitch’s with each ball.
Appreciate any info. you can give.
Thanks Bill.


#2

Just common sense here----I dont think distance would be important with the football,tennis,or whiffle balls,since these are drills designed to reinforce different aspects of throwing a ball.I do not agree with throwing a whiffle with velocity.Without weight,the arm will snap too violently,and I cannot imagine that being a good thing.Just remember not to fix what isnt broken,you may do more harm than good.


#3

I’ve never liked pitchers throwing footballs for three reasons: first, it can be a strain on your elbow; second, you can jam your pitching fingers when catching the return throw; and third, you don’t throw footballs in a baseball game.

The whiffle ball drill I’m not sure about, but agree with Bennysdad – can’t be a good thing.

Softballs I find very useful for curveball drills; trying to get on top of the larger ball and get the good 12-6 spin is very difficult and requires perfect mechanics. However, my pitchers only do this drill from very short distance (15-25 feet), few reps (10-25), and with slow arm speed. It’s more for teaching arm action than building strength – and I’m not sure how a softball can help with anything other than keeping the fingers on top of the ball.


#4

Joe:
I read your post, got into your web page, and I feel you know a lot about the game. Don’t know about your opinion on the foot-balls though. I mean this guy I was talking with was in AA ball, and was in the pitching program from Carolina and it did’nt seem to hurt him. The foot ball was thrown so it went end over end , not a spirel type pass.
I would just like to see a print out on the program s/a how many pitch’s each ball , what distances, what ball’s thrown 1st. 2nd. 3rd. etc.
I’m not asking if the program is good or not, I’d just like to have a written copy of how it’s done so I can experiment with it.
Hope you or someone can help me here.
Thanks, Bill


#5

[quote=“Bill Chapones”]Joe:
I read your post, got into your web page, and I feel you know a lot about the game. Don’t know about your opinion on the foot-balls though. I mean this guy I was talking with was in AA ball, and was in the pitching program from Carolina and it did’nt seem to hurt him. The foot ball was thrown so it went end over end , not a spirel type pass.
I would just like to see a print out on the program s/a how many pitch’s each ball , what distances, what ball’s thrown 1st. 2nd. 3rd. etc.
I’m not asking if the program is good or not, I’d just like to have a written copy of how it’s done so I can experiment with it.
Hope you or someone can help me here.
Thanks, Bill[/quote]

Without disrespecting the guy you spoke with, I don’t necessarily qualify drills or theories based on whether or not they played/coached at the pro level. For example, Tom House has been telling pitchers to throw footballs for years, and I still don’t agree with his philosophy behind it. Part of my problem with House is the fact that so many pitchers had serious injuries immediately after working with him – most notably Nolan Ryan, who never spent a day on the DL until working with House. Anyway, this isn’t about House, it’s about you.

Throwing the football end over end sounds interesting, though. I’d like to learn why … I’ll ask around and see if I can find out anything.

As far as a pitching program, it all depends on what you’re preparing a pitcher to do. For example, with my college pitchers I would have different programs tailored to the weekend (league) starters, the weekday pitchers, and the relief guys. All pitchers would throw every day with one day of rest, but the number of pitches per day depended on their role. We’d work in the softball, pickoffs, and other drills as part of the per-day pitch count.

So I guess my question is, what is the eventual role of the pitcher in question? Two starts a week? One? several relief appearances? At what level? Maybe with some of that info, I can conjure up a rough program.


#6

[quote=“Bill Chapones”]Joe:
I read your post, got into your web page, and I feel you know a lot about the game. Don’t know about your opinion on the foot-balls though. I mean this guy I was talking with was in AA ball, and was in the pitching program from Carolina and it did’nt seem to hurt him. The foot ball was thrown so it went end over end , not a spirel type pass.
I would just like to see a print out on the program s/a how many pitch’s each ball , what distances, what ball’s thrown 1st. 2nd. 3rd. etc.
I’m not asking if the program is good or not, I’d just like to have a written copy of how it’s done so I can experiment with it.
Hope you or someone can help me here.
Thanks, Bill[/quote]

Without disrespecting the guy you spoke with, I don’t necessarily qualify drills or theories based on whether or not they played/coached at the pro level. For example, Tom House has been telling pitchers to throw footballs for years, and I still don’t agree with his philosophy behind it. Part of my problem with House is the fact that so many pitchers had serious injuries immediately after working with him – most notably Nolan Ryan, who never spent a day on the DL until working with House. Anyway, this isn’t about House, it’s about you.

Throwing the football end over end sounds interesting, though. I’d like to learn why … I’ll ask around and see if I can find out anything.

As far as a pitching program, it all depends on what you’re preparing a pitcher to do. For example, with my college pitchers I would have different programs tailored to the weekend (league) starters, the weekday pitchers, and the relief guys. All pitchers would throw every day with one day of rest, but the number of pitches per day depended on their role. We’d work in the softball, pickoffs, and other drills as part of the per-day pitch count.

So I guess my question is, what is the eventual role of the pitcher in question? Two starts a week? One? several relief appearances? At what level? Maybe with some of that info, I can conjure up a rough program.

ps thank you for visiting my site. I hope you find it helpful.


#7

joejanis:
No problem here, I don’t remember the players name, never saw him again, talked with a dozen or so players since. It’s just I happened to remember this player telling about this Carolina program, and I’m very curious to see it on paper. At this time I don’t have any pitcher in mind to do it. I’m just one of these guys that if I hear of something different I just gotta try it myself.( Im pushing 70 so that don’t include jumping off a bridge ha ha) I like to help kids one-on-one with their parents yet with baseball, so I’d just like to find that Carolina program and try it myself and see what I feel about it. Thanks for your post on the subject. :o Bill


#8

[quote=“Bill Chapones”]joejanis:
No problem here, I don’t remember the players name, never saw him again, talked with a dozen or so players since. It’s just I happened to remember this player telling about this Carolina program, and I’m very curious to see it on paper. At this time I don’t have any pitcher in mind to do it. I’m just one of these guys that if I hear of something different I just gotta try it myself.( Im pushing 70 so that don’t include jumping off a bridge ha ha) I like to help kids one-on-one with their parents yet with baseball, so I’d just like to find that Carolina program and try it myself and see what I feel about it. Thanks for your post on the subject. :o Bill[/quote]

I’ve seen a lot of different programs over the years that incorporate the use of light balls and heavy balls – the theory of the light balls was to teach fast-twitch muscles to move more quickly – and wonder if that’s where the whiffle balls come in. I’m intrigued and like you, always willing to try something different … so will ask a bunch of smart people some dumb questions and see if I can uncover anything. If so, I’ll post my findings here.

:slight_smile:


#9

Joe,

I find this comment about House and Ryan rather odd because I believe House worked with Ryan late in Ryan’s career and, in fact, Ryan supposedly thanked House for adding some years to his career. It seems plausible that Ryan’s injury could have been due simply to his age and how hard he threw.

But I wasn’t involved in baseball back then so I don’t know one way or another. Do you have any references documenting the issues to which you referred? If so, I’d like to read them.

Thanks,
Roger


#10

Joejanis:
Thanks for trying to help on the carolina pitching program. One thing I forgot to mention to you was the method for the foot-ball throwing.
In the football throw, the player does not throw a spirel type ball.
They use a youth size football(about 1/2 the size of a regulation football)
and they make it spin end over end. They put their pointer and middle finger on the tip or end of the football with the seam’s facing the palm, The thumb holds one side of the ball and the ring-finger and little finger hold the opposite side. They throw the ball like a baseball, and get positive feedback by the spin (end-over-end) if they’re keeping their hand on top of the ball . fastball spin , curve ball spin and so on.
Mike Marshall uses a foot-ball too for his players to check the spin on their fastballs,curves etc. I say his training tape and that’s how his players throw it. Bill


#11

Joe,

I find this comment about House and Ryan rather odd because I believe House worked with Ryan late in Ryan’s career and, in fact, Ryan supposedly thanked House for adding some years to his career. It seems plausible that Ryan’s injury could have been due simply to his age and how hard he threw.

But I wasn’t involved in baseball back then so I don’t know one way or another. Do you have any references documenting the issues to which you referred? If so, I’d like to read them.

Thanks,
Roger[/quote]

My opinion on Tom House should be taken with a large grain of salt. As they say, “first impressions are lasting,” and my first impression of House was in the mid- to late 1980s, when he was first turning heads as an unorthodox pitching coach for the Texas`Rangers. At the time, the Rangers had some remarkably talented young arms in their system – headed by Juan Guzman, Bobby Witt, Edwin Correa, Kevin Brown, and Mike Loynd. I have a clear memory of an SI article with photos of these young guns posing with footballs in their hand, among other things. By the time Nolan Ryan came on board in 1989, Guzman and Witt were starting to fight career-long, chronic arm issues and Correa was out of baseball due to a career-ending arm injury. In '89, Jamie Moyer missed most of the season with shoulder issues, after joining the Rangers. And then Ryan was on and off the DL from 1991 till his retirement.

It is absolutely probable that it was just dumb luck or bad timing that brought on all these injuries at the outset of House’s career as a guru. However I have this idea in my head that the 1985-1992 Ranger pitchers served as lab rats for House’s experiments, and can’t shake it out.

I also don’t completely buy into Ryan’s issues being due to age, regardless of how much sense the explanation makes. I know older bodies break down more often, but Ryan was a freak of nature with an unbelievable work ethic (i.e., Clemens, Seaver) and have this illogical belief that Ryan would have pitched injury-free seasons at the end of his career had House not been around to tinker with him.

As it stands now, House seems to go away from the football throwing drills, and some of his other nutty ideas. I have to give him respect for being man enough to change his mind as time goes on and more evidence becomes available. In addition, I point to the ASMI and NPA all the time as legitimate authorities, and House is a prominent figure with both organizations. So really it comes down to my issue of not gettng over House’s early career.


#12

[quote=“Bill Chapones”]Joejanis:
Thanks for trying to help on the carolina pitching program. One thing I forgot to mention to you was the method for the foot-ball throwing.
In the football throw, the player does not throw a spirel type ball.
They use a youth size football(about 1/2 the size of a regulation football)
and they make it spin end over end. They put their pointer and middle finger on the tip or end of the football with the seam’s facing the palm, The thumb holds one side of the ball and the ring-finger and little finger hold the opposite side. They throw the ball like a baseball, and get positive feedback by the spin (end-over-end) if they’re keeping their hand on top of the ball . fastball spin , curve ball spin and so on.
Mike Marshall uses a foot-ball too for his players to check the spin on their fastballs,curves etc. I say his training tape and that’s how his players throw it. Bill[/quote]

Interesting! Thanks for the description!

This could be really useful for teaching … though I’d probably prefer that the balls be thrown at a net rather than to another player, because of the susceptibility of jammed fingers when trying to catch the ball. Though, Nerf balls would be pretty safe, and fairly close to the weight of a baseball.

Thanks again.


#13

Joe,

Thanks for elaborating and sharing your insights.


#14

I play college ball and Ive never heard of anyone throwing wiffle balls although when I play wiffle pall it forces my mechanics for accuracy. I threw a tennis ball when I was young and while the scientific idea of getting your arm velocity up sounds fine (it’s used in other sports too) I can’t say I like this, it was also killer on my arm. And the football thing I think is fine, kind of like what Ellis wrote on the main page, except I enjoy doing it so I dont consider it wasted practice, unless I guess it’s instead of a baseball. I throw a football in the offseason.