HS Pitcher - Long Toss to Increase Velocity?


#1

My son is a high school senior and a 3-sport athlete (football, basketball, baseball). We live in the Northeast and football season just ended yesterday (Thanksgiving Day game). So, with roughly four months until baseball season, we started throwing today and setting goals for the spring

Last year was somewhat of a disappointment, in that he did not really improve much from his sophomore year (still 79-81 MPH with a decent change up and curve). He really wants to get up to the 85 MPH range this spring. He is working out with a personal trainer during basketball season with this goal in mind (legs, core, shoulders, rotator cuff, …).

Now, my question is … what is the right long toss program? How many days per week, how many throws, what distances, how much rest between sessions, when/how to mix in mound sessions, …

He is 5’ 10" 175 lbs. Very strong and knows how to pitch. The college coaches he has talked to like his make up, expereince, competitiveness, mound presence, etc. But they all say he needs to get his velocity up. Any advice on a long toss program would be very much appreciated!


#2

I like Jaegers, but only as a portion of a balanced conditioning/throwing program. On this site and HSBBWeb (On HSBBWeb they tend to recommend it as the “only” method) you can search it and see it displayed, also on YouTube. If he’s strong, what have you done to ensure he’s throwing as efficiently as he can? Some times just correcting throwing inefficiencies can lift velo to some extent. I would say that in my experience with this question, when you get a kid “stuck” in this velo range (I know it is somewhat a generalization but it more often than not is the case), the kid is not effectively using his lower half to A) generate the momentum and B) Use it as the leverage mechanism to drive the body to the plate. As has been the case here lately the kid gets the top half looking good and is almost all arm and torso in delivery.


#3

My two cents.

I agree with jd that inefficient mechanics can cause the stagnation of velocity. If he’s relied on pure arm strength to get to where he is better mechanical effieciency would likely help.

Not every trainer really understands the rotational athlete. Be sure your personal trainer tests for and emphasizes training for functional movement and joint specific mobility. Strength training is great but strength without flexibility and range of motion leads to accuracy with reduced power.

Besides a long toss program you may want to look into overload/underload training using weighted balls. Opinions are mixed on the results but if you google “Decker Velocity Balls” you can judge for yourself.


#4

I agree 100% with the statement that in order to increase velocity a pitcher has to get his whole body into the action and not throw with just the arm and the shoulder. I learned to do this many decades ago, when I would watch the Yankees’ Big Three in action, and I saw just how they were doing it—they were all driving off the lower half of the body, using the legs, the hips and the torso in one continuous motion so that the arm and shoulder were, in effect, just going along for the ride. Not only did those guys get more power behind their pitches, but also they were taking a lot of pressure off said arm and shoulder. I picked up on this, worked with it, and I found that not only was I getting more power into my pitches, I was also throwing harder—and faster—than I had been doing. And not a sore arm, or a sore shoulder, or a sore anything else! I even wound up with an 81MPH four-seamer which my pitching coach said was, for a finesse pitcher like me, a fast ball! 8)


#5

Well if you want get stronger in your arm, you need to throw more(pre-planned bull pens with full energy, pitch counts and throwing your pitches to locations) Long toss has been proven ineffective in helping the arm get stronger, the throwing motion for long toss is completly different than pitching, for example release point, shoulder angles and foot work. If you would like info on this go to pitching.com by Dick Mills former pro who has researched this with Dr. Brent Rushall, and written a book about it and mechanics of pitching. The bottom line is pitching is not how strong you are it ism PURELY MECHANICS that do it. Tim lincecum, Roy Oswalt, Roy Halladay, are not big guys and they throw hard, well into the nineties, PLEASE RESEARCH WHAT YOU ARE GONNA DO, SOME PEOPLE JUST WANT TO SELL PROGRAMS AND DON’T CARE IF YOU DO BETTER OR NOT. Last thought Let science help you, not belief based coaching. thank you Mike