How has strength training helped you?


#1

I was wondering what kind of improvements you guys have seen in your pitching after training. Dick Mills for instance states that strength training won’t help pitchers improve velocity. I don’t know if this is fact or not, according to him it is. That’s why i wanted to hear from you guys on your experiences with strength training.


#2

My opinion is that is Mills’ opinion - it is not fact. I’m not an expert on Mills but from what I know of his teachings, he believes velocity comes from momentum built up during the stride. But I ask, is there no strength required to stride in such a way as to build up a good amount of momentum? Is there no strength required to maintain good posture and balance during that stride? Is there no strength required for the front leg to brace after foot plant? Is there no strength required to keep the head and shoulders stacked into release? To me, all of these things (and more) have an indirect effect on velocity. It takes functional strength to perform the mechanics properly and that, in turn, affects velocity. For example, a posture or balance problem might cause you to open up early which robs you of power and prevents you from achieving your maximum velocity.

It is also important to note that the things that allow you to perform the mechanics properly also have an effect on consistency as well as velocity.


#3

Functional strength is movement strength. The benefit is that instead of training muscle, you target sport specific movement, such as that perofrmed on the field.

Strength training helped me go from a no-look college guy to a 12th round draft pick in 2000 and an 18th round selection in 2001. But my training focused on movements; scapular stabilization, shoulder conditioning, core stability, agility, balance, plyometrics, and good recovery. (I learned all of this at the International Performance Institute in Bradenton, Fla., the fall before my breakout junior season in college. If you can afford it for your kid, it’s worth every dollar.)


#4

Strength training is very important in developing velocity. But remember velocity is the amount of force applied over a specified distance (for greatest affect you would want a straight drive line). If you look at the pitching anatomy you have muscles that accelerate the pitching arm and muscles that decelerate the pitching arm. It is imperative that when considering strength training to definitely consider these muscles. Also strength training not only increases muscle mass but bone mass as well and this is important because in allows the arm to take greater stresses.

As for striding look at your lower body as an axis that the upper body uses to rotate from ready through release. Therefore I wouldn’t stride to far but rather would try to stand as tall as I could and rotate the upper body then release the ball as far out in front of me as I could.

I’m 54 years old and have a workout program in which I work those muscles and throw 105 pitches every day. I throw 24 curves, 24 sinkers, 24 screwballs, and the rest fastballs. The neat thing about it is I have absolutely no pain and great movement on my pitches. Due to my age I’m only able to get to 74-78 mph but I throw strikes and the movement more than makes up for any loss in velocity.

This isn’t rocket science but there are alot of folks that would love to get your money.


#5

[quote=“Roger”]I’m not an expert on Mills but from what I know of his teachings, he believes velocity comes from momentum built up during the stride.[/quote]True.

[quote=“Roger”]But I ask, is there no strength required to stride in such a way as to build up a good amount of momentum? Is there no strength required to maintain good posture and balance during that stride? Is there no strength required for the front leg to brace after foot plant? Is there no strength required to keep the head and shoulders stacked into release?[/quote]Mills’ answers to all of the above would be yes.

[quote=“Roger”]To me, all of these things (and more) have an indirect effect on velocity. It takes functional strength to perform the mechanics properly and that, in turn, affects velocity. For example, a posture or balance problem might cause you to open up early which robs you of power and prevents you from achieving your maximum velocity.[/quote]Mills agrees.

[quote=“Roger”]It is also important to note that the things that allow you to perform the mechanics properly also have an effect on consistency as well as velocity.[/quote]Mills agrees.

[quote=“Billy2001”]Dick Mills for instance states that strength training won’t help pitchers improve velocity.[/quote]This is correct and incorrect at the same time. That’s Mills. He has this uncanny ability to say things that fire people up against him that are only partly what he means. Mills believes in all of things Roger said and also in what Steven said (see below).

He has an entire DVD dedicated to strength and conditioning for pitchers but believes that only a certain amount is required. Overall strength and fitness. It’s like he believes there’s a point where you go past the point of significant benefit.

The other thing he believes is that the arm is really only the “control device” and that it inherits it’s momentum from the rest of the body. Now, I don’t think anybody here would disagree with the statement about the rest of the body passing on energy to the arm. The contentious issue is the arm being ONLY the control device. It is this particular point that makes him say things like strength training will not improve velocity.

Many times when he says that, he’s talking about arm strength. he quotes Jobe’s studies that, according to him, state that there is little to no muscle activity in the arm and shoulder. I disagreed with that assessment of Jobe’s writings. His first study kind of said that but his subsequent writings said otherwise.

Another example of Mills’ ability to make statements that tick people off because of technical inaccuracies is staying closed until landing. He really doesn’t mean that the hips are aligned with home and second when the foot lands but his language would take you there. He knows that’s not the case but he says it anyway. That’s the frustrating part of dealing with him. He says it anyway. He really wants you to stay closed as long as you can but knows the technical details of the hips being open at landing. It’s more of a strategy thing with him. The problem there is that he’s really just giving his detractors ammunition.

So, he says strength won’t increase velocity but there’s more to it than that. He really means “arm” strength.


#6

And also every “guru” has to be at least somewhat different in order to sell their product. Even if they all studied the science of pitching and all came to the same conclusion, they would still explain it in their own different way so that they can make money.

While all of the “gurus” are doing great things in advancing pitching, I think we forget sometimes that there are also 30 major league pitching coaches, 30 minor league pitching coordinators, and numerous other pitching coaches in minor league baseball and college that know a whole lot about pitching they just don’t market their knowledge. Some of them are traditionalists, some are progressive, some don’t really have a clue, but there is definitely something to be learned from at least some of them, but we only know of those that sell products.