I've read your post and the reactions of the other people and I just want to give my opinion on all the topics. I'm studying physiotherapy in Belgium so I know some stuff of the human body, I also play baseball and I'm a pitcher too. I also have the dream to become a professional pitcher or throw at least 90+ mph. But it's a bit harder when you live in Belgium because baseball is not e famous sport here So I'm working hard as well to do as much as possible to reach my dream, that's why I want to give you my advice to a fellow hard worker! Also sorry for the bad english
So that's that
Ok, first of all I've looked up some studies on what biomechanical component every high velocity pitchers have and I've found these results:
- Pitchers with larger body mass tended to throw the ball faster than those who weighed less. Muscle gain
- Pitchers who demonstrated shorter time intervals from SFC (stride foot contact) to MER (maximal external rotation) also exhibited greater ball speed.
- At the instant of SFC, throwers who displayed greater throwing elbow flexion and stride knee flexion angles threw the ball faster than those with more extended knees and elbows.
- Those pitchers who exhibited less knee flexion at REL (ball release) threw with higher ball speeds. You can practice this by throwing up hill
- At REL, the athletes who displayed greater forward trunk tilt threw with increased ball speed when compared to pitchers who displayed a more extended trunk. You can also practice this when throwing up hill
- Pitchers who kept their weight back longer during the pitch by keeping the head behind the hips, threw with greater ball speed.
- Those athletes able to rotate the shoulder externally to greater degrees at the end of the cocking phase also showed increased ball speed
- Increased angular velocity of the upper trunk and elbow extension also resulted in higher ball velocities
- The faster you are able to stop your forward momentum, the more force is generated. The faster you stop yourself, the more force you create, and the harder you can throw.
- A good linear drive towards the home plate will increase velocity as well.
To practice these components you can use the driveline program! Why? Because when you throw with weighted balls your body wants to take the easy pattern, so your body will automatically try to fix your flaws! You throw the ball with everything you got, so in order to do that your body has to correct himself to throw the ball as hard as possible. BUT in order to throw with weighted balls you HAVE to have good strength in your stabilizers of the shoulder and elbow! this is crucial otherwise you will definitely get injury's!! That's why some people don't like driveline, because it puts a lot of stress to you shoulder and elbow joint.
These are the importend stabilizers you have to train in the gym:
- Serrates anterior
- Rhomboid major and minor
- Middle and lower trap
- rotator cuff: infraspinatus, supraspinatus & teres major (they do external rotation and are importend to slow the arm down when releasing the ball)
- Biceps is also an importend muscle to slow your arm down
- Wrist flexors (to help your elbow against valgus stress)
train these muscle excentric, concentric isometric and plyometric!!
Note: The lats and Pecs are importend accelerators in the shoulder when throwing, so train these muscle with power! Not only strenght. But watch out that these muscle won't over rule the stabilizes, so first make sure that the stabilizers are strong enough!
Now my opinion on longtoss, I've also found an scientific article on how longtoss correlates to pitching and found this result:
Hard, horizontal, flat-ground throws have biomechanical patterns similar to those of pitching and are, therefore, reasonable exercises for pitchers. However, maximum-distance throws produce increased torques and changes in kinematics.
So that's why you first increase your distance little by little until you've reached your maximum distance and then decrease your distance with the same intensity as your max-distance throw but you now throw the ball in a straight line! You probably already did this but now you know why
You should also watch the video's on youtube from Brent Pourciau, he tells a lot of interesting stuff about pitching and the use of the legs! In my opinion driveline focus more in the upper body, that's why I watch Brent, he talks a lot about lower body!
Keep doing what you're doing in the gym and keep working hard and maybe we will see each other in the majors