I had an idea that crossed my mind the other day about gaining strength to increase velocity. In running, to gain speed you run everyday, stretch, and maybe a little weight training. The majority of running speed comes from running very often and with purpose. Can this be used in pitching too? Should pitchers be throwing everyday with purpose to gain velocity? Not sure if this makes sense to anyone else
Makes total sense.
Intent matters as much as anything else. If you want to sprint faster you don’t jog slowly for miles…maybe at first to establish a base of cardio and basic leg strength. Beyond that to run fast (to use your example) you need to generate power. You need to get strong and practice running fast. You sprint to sprint. Not much different with throwing.
Running brings another example to mind. Sprinters vs marathon runners. Look at the bodies of high level sprinters. These are powerful, explosive athletes and have the bodies that show it. Marathon runners look like they need to eat something (thats not a put down, my wife runs marathons). Pitching is an explosive movement. Train the body to be explosive, balanced and powerful. Establish a good base of throwing first, then, every throw should have a purpose.
Throwing is a highly-specific, near-maximal effort and to get better at it you need to train with at near-maximal intensities (i.e. “throwing with purpose”). No one ever developed a 90 mph fastball by just tossing a ball around.
This doesn’t mean you have to throw max effort everyday to develop velocity. (But you should practice it often.) Even elite sprinters don’t do sprints @ 100% intensity everyday.
The act of throwing a ball fast and accurately is a highly-complex motor skill – and I’m not even talking about pitching! – to get really good at it you have to practice it frequently. (This should come as a no-brainer.)
Throwing at sub-maximal velocities will develop the work capacity needed to be able to practice (and recover from) throwing more frequently and at greater intensities but it will also help your brain (the control centre for all skilled movement) “figure out” the most effective way to achieve its goal of throwing a baseball fast and accurately when done “with purpose”. (In this case when I say “with purpose” I am referring to what Daniel Coyle calls “deliberate practice” in his book, the Talent Code.)
Take-away message: Practice throwing the ball hard frequently but not every time you throw. And always throw “with purpose”.
Hope this helps.
Many pitching coaches recommend throwing every day, and with good reason. Even if it’s just 20 to 30 minutes of playing catch, this is one of the best ways to build up and maintain arm strength and flexibility. In my playing days I used to do this; I would get a catcher and we would just go at it, and it was also a good opportunity for me to work on one or another pitch, and a lot of fun besides. And twice a week I would do a full bullpen with a catcher (more often than not it was my pitching coach, who wasn’t half bad behind the plate), so I could see how my stuff was doing.
This my be a little rough around the edges but…
I had a pitcher who, in the very early part of the preseason, made a passing remark out of the side of his mouth …" There’s got to be an easier way to do this…"
I stopped dead in my tracks, picked my head up from whatever it was that I was writing, singled him out from the others and took him to the side.
I remember my comments to this day.
" Son, if this was easy anyone would be here… but it’s you. Easy is not in the game plan, nor is it a career path from a player that I’m looking for - get it. Easy is clearing out your things, getting a ticket to ride in a different direction then where you’re standing right now."
So, Easy way to train, you ask? There is no easy in this game. Never was, never is. Easy is for those that have no definition of who they are in this sport.
Running is a good conditioner when it’s done right and for all the right reasons - but easy isn’t one of them.
I apologize up front if this comes down on the hard side of a response. On the other hand, I’ve read some of your past posts and you impress me as someone with a positive demeanor in whatever aspects of this sport your with. So, I’d lose this easy thing.
Running … find a hill, a street, a place in a public park that goes up hill. Throwing is a activity specific for pitchers that requires a plan, detailed by a reasonable before - during -and after.
Not taken the wrong way at all. I guess easy wasn’t the right word, maybe an overlooked way to train