Steven Hi Caoch, I saw an article by Dick Mills that stated static stretching before pitching is not advisable, and if anything decreases velocity. He also mentioned icing after pitching does nothing for the athlete and actually, some MLB pitching coaches are trying to stop the practice. Is any of this true. It really gets frustrating when there is so much contradicting information being passed around. My 13 year old son pitches and I’d like to think the information given to him by coaches is accurate. Your thoughts?

“Frustrated Dad”

Dick Mills is quite the extremist and says a lot of stuff to try and sell his producs. He knows his stuff but its hard to tell if he is saying what needs to be said or what people want to hear.

I can’t go in debth for what you have said becuase I do not have the information. If you stick around here its the best possible play for inforamtion. A lot of opinions but no one trying to sell anything, the only thing is Steven Ellis for this website has a workout book called “Tuff Cuff”. Nothing to do with mechanics so if you want the real information you might have to stick around here.

If I had a nickel for every bit of misinformation I’ve heard and seen around these parts, I’d be a millionaire ten times over. Your best bet is to stick with Steve and the administrators, all of whom know more about these things than you could shake a curve ball at. And there are some of us here on these boards who know enough about these things to know what’s going to work and what isn’t going to…some of us who have pitched and who therefore have first-hand knowledge of these matters. So you should go with what the people who know what they’re talking about have to say.

Your absolutely right about multiple directions and do-this … no wait,do that, that circles the instruction market, not to mention the coaching ranks of your son’s age group and up and down the amateur baseball ladder. And you’d think that somewhere along the line there would be some level ground … unfortunately, it’s mostly pot-luck. There areexceptions to be sure… but rare.

Now, mostly what I just said is something that you already know, so there’s very little words of wisdom here.

However, if your son has a reasonable talent for observing, reasoning, trying for himself this-n-that, you’d be surprised at just how much a kid can actually teach himself … up to a point. The problem with a youngster taking that route is … they try to throw like a howitzer right out of starting gate and leave reasoning side of the equation stuck in starting blocks. Pitching is a very unnatural act for the human body to demand on itself… and anyone who thinks otherwise has never gone through the agonizing experience of trying it. Why? Because it takes stamina, I mean real stamina to undergo the same thing … over and over again, in the dead heat of summer, chill of fall, and still there’s work to be polished off, skills to be honed. True pitchers never stop practicing their craft.

Also, most youngsters who really want to pitch have a certain knack for it. In other words, it’s not something that requires a lot of …do this, stand this way, now turn … (you get the idea). Youngsters that want to pitch but find it awkward to put one foot in front of the other, usually end up at some other spot on the field. And it’s not that they couldn’t pitch if they wanted to … but the process of natural selection has a lot to say about it, believe me.

If your son is tall and slim for his age, may I suggest you both watch some video (YouTube) of Orel Hershiser. If he’s tall and stocky, may I suggest the same site … watching Roger Clemens or Jeff Suppan.

There is however, no substitute for hands on coaching, I must agree. But until that time, let your son go slow and easy does it with his development phase. When a good coach comes along, that coach and your son will have the raw material to work with that will aid both in bringing your son as far as possible … at that point in time. And on that note, that’s exactly what every successful pitcher – amateur and pro has done since day one. Ready themselves as best they could with what natural talent they had until the opportunity came along to capitalize on the time of the moment – good coaching.

Now, the real center of gravity with your question has to do with finding a reasonable pitching coach to bring your son along. In that regard, may I direct your fact-finding to a post I made on this site under the heading of YOUTH PITCHING… and a question asked by Dave’sdad entitled … “What to look for in a Good Pitching Coach.” I made a post there directing attention on how and what to look for in a youth pitching coach. I hope you find it helpful.

Coach B.

You’ll never go wrong if you look for the wisdom of folks like Coach John Baker.
I can only add some of the stuff I did. First I looked around my local area and found a program with repute that was accessable to the public (Me…), I was able to do that (I’ve heard of others that cannot find or access a quality local program). I then invested in instructional clinics provided by this program (Generally finacially reachable and less expensive than going directly to a personal coach)…What this did was see what quality instruction was and also see how my son stacked up against a larger cross section of talent…(It also gave him a benchmark as to where he stood…imo this is critical…it is one thing to like to play and beat the guys in your local Little League group, but if you are in the upper reaches in a major metro area…then you can start talkin about personal coaches and things like that). I then did stuff like having him go to camps provided by the program and taking some time off of work to shadow and study the methods of training that the program provided…I also did stuff like having lunch at least once during the week (When I didn’t take the whole week off) and just chatting with the coaches to get ideas of how they trained.
I was also able to initiate a relationship with that program and the little league association my son played for and actually to my surprise they agreed and showed up for a couple of clinics at the association (Also providing a coaches clinic…which was golden).
Once I realized that my sons talent had exceeded my capabilities to provide coaching in which he could prosper more…and determined that a further extension of his baseball life was a passion of HIS not mine (Around 15/16), we actively sought a personal coach…through contacts with the quality program we were already associated with, we got an outstanding personal coach, made the investment in comittment and time and funding and stuck with him…believe me that was by far the best choice…but we did receive considerable resistance from his High School coach and really most of his team mates who expected Roger Clemons like infallability because he was getting “personal coaching”, it will take a bit of sticking to your guns and ignoring know-it-alls.
As to the internet, gurus and books…they are great sources of information, can have excellent input and be great as a BS detector…I would just recommend that you look around, don’t buy what you can get for free, shop for information, compare more than one place and if it doesn’t fit what you know is right…move on.
Most of all…You be sure to take every moment and cherish it…let him have fun…you will too. Let him and his desire determine the course and you just be there to facillitate where you can…be his biggest fan…I wish I could go back for another round of it all…maybe I’ll get to participate with my grandson…

going back to the original question because i am very interested in your guys answers, do you think that static stretching before pitching will decrease velocity or increase chances of injury? does this go for only your arm or stretching the whole body?

Mills is basing what he says about static stretching on some research he’s been exposed to. I do have the same question he has, that being “why do you need to stretch the loosest joint in the body?” Laxity just may be more of a problem than tightness, generally, that is. There are always examples of those who have been professionally diagnosed with tightness there but, on the most part, it is an inherently loose joint.

dm’s statment makes sense. Similar to how when I work out in the morning if I run 5 mins at the end I was comfortably be able to get to about 7.5 whatever it is. When I workout after school walking around all day I can easily start at 7.5 without any discomfort or forced anything. Makes me rethink only running 5 minutes to warm up my legs in the morning for olympic lifts.

going back to the original question because i am very interested in your guys answers, do you think that static stretching before pitching will decrease velocity or increase chances of injury? does this go for only your arm or stretching the whole body?

Since the topic of stretching comes-n-goes in this discussion and the pros and cons posed by various coaching styles and opinions … if you will reason the process out with me here, I’d like to toss my hat into the ring
and add my two cents worth.

I strongly conduct, watch and monitor every session that a rotation has under my jurisdiction during mandatory Static Stretching sessions… and I deliberately phrase it just that way. And Static Stretching is a must do with my guys… no exceptions.

And to answer your question of:

The answer is of course not to both topics in your question… also, Static Stretching is a complete set of exercises for the entire body, and I’ll expand on that below.

And here are MY reasons for conducting, watching and monitoring:
 have you ever woke up in the morning and sat at the end of the bed or stood up and stretched? Of course you have. Your muscles are telling you something that age, the way you positioned yourself, so on and so forth are letting you know … a good ole stretch in the morning is
just the ticket for that …. AAAhhhhh… … that felt good… it got the kinks out… sort of speaking.
 Then, one morning your going to go through the same routine and …oops… what’s that tug in your side, that discomfort in the small of your back, and that stiffness in your shoulders … all about??? Sometimes, after a workout doing yard work, moving the furniture around in the living
room, and other chores … uses muscles that haven’t been used that way in a long time. Now, doesn’t it make sense to experience this …oops, what’s that tug in your side, that discomfort in the small in your back, and that stiffness in your shoulders when your doing your morning stretching
routine as appose to actually trying to engage in the same activity on day two? Of course it does… it makes perfect sense… because now you’re more in tune with what you can and can not expect from that body of yours, before actually putting it to work. For all pitchers, this is the litmus test for readiness without going through the physical movement (in motion) that says the same thing. And it’s a heck of lot safer too, you can bank on that, believe me.
 Static Stretching allows a player to literally “test” the quipment (the body) first before demanding kinetic physical activity just moments later.
 When I see a player of mine who can’t complete, reasonably a simple set of static stretching exercises… I want to know why… then and there… no if –and-or- buts! The first thing out of my mouth is “how come son… give me an answer. Some players will actually try to hide sprains and injuries just to say in the game. Allowing them to do so is not only a bad idea, it’s also irresponsible.
 To say Static Stretching is not necessary as a blanket statement … or to highlight Static Stretching as a non contributor to something else is totally missing the point of the discipline all together… in my opinion.

By the way, the post that JD just made is an excellent template to follow and I would recommend it highly. This man has gone through what you’re about to experience, and his success rate is one to admire. It’s that good. Also, other Administrators like ROGER is very gifted at explaining the pathways of advising, coaching and guiding dads like yourself. Between JD, Roger, DM59, and others here you’ll have a wealth of support coming and going. My sincerest best wishes for you and your

Coach B.

Tom House teaches a dynamic warm-up (google that) before a performance and static stretching afterwards while the muscles are still warm. He also teaches that light cardio after a performance in mandatory while icing is optional.

A youth baseball team I coached for two years did a dynamic warm-up before games/practices and cardio (light jogging) afterwards. We had no injuries during those two years.

I agree with the first post of this thread, but I do have to say that Tim Lincecum’s dad was opposed to icing down his arm when he was a kid. I dunno if the Giants force him to that down or if Rags has changed that, but personally I think that icing is good for a pitcher’s arm.

Agree 100%. The “rope program” in TUFFCUFF, starting on page 76, is the dynamic flexibility program I did prior to pitching. I was a closer in pro ball, so I’d do the flexibility routine in the clubhouse in the 5th inning, just to be prepared. It’s adapted from a dynamic warmup routine that renowned strength coach Mark Verstegen of Core Performance (www.coreperformance.com) taught me in college. Here’s a sample: