My opinion on arm injury,


#1

I was talking to one of my sons past coaches the other day about what and where and how my son was doing. For some reason this just came to me. I need to give a little back ground to help make my point , I’ll try and make this short as I can.
To start my son throws from a very low 3/4 arm slot and has sense he was old enough to pick up a rock and throw it at the telephone pole at the end of our drive. Going through Little league ,semi travel, and rec league ball till he was about 10 yrs old coaches told him his arm would be gone by 16yrs old. “He needed to throw over the top” bla, bla bla. One coach wouldn’t even pitch him because he didn’t want to destroy his arm he said. With that being said volosity was never his strongest strength movement was. Don’t get me wrong his volosity was decent just not blow you away stuff, but he got some wins and saves and noticed by better teams and more experienced coaches where he moved to play for. Once he got to those teams his innings went up by a LOT!! Every year from the age of 12 he’s led his team in innings pitched, including high school, summer travel and fall travel. He’s 19yrs now freshman in college and still pitching and still low 3/4. To date other than occasionally sore, no arm issues at all. Hes also never been the kid with bag of ice tied to him after an outing either. He always said if it don’t hurt why Ice it. He’s seen some pitching coaches but with the terms of working lower body machanics only , not changing his arm slot.
Now here’s where I make my point. Everywhere you look for pitching help, coaching conditioning ext. it’s always volosity coaching, Change your mechanics to throw harder. In my opinion every kid has a natural arm slot, I think we can all agree on that. Some kids just throw harder from the same arm slot as another kid does, again I think we can agree on that. I’m thinking these “volosity based coaches” are taking kids out of their natural slot that they have probably thrown for years before seeking help and disturbing everything in their arm/ elbow that nature intended for them. I (Please don’t misunderstand to a point) am leaning toward it has nothing to do with innings on an arm but coaches changing the natural movement of an individual arm.
I do agree that their are some fundamental pitching mechanics that need to be followed, but arm slot is not one of them. Everybody’s different!!!
And that’s my thoughts thanks for the read.


#2

Great analysis. I totally agree with your son’s motto: if you don’t need to ice, don’t ice. I didn’t ice either until college and pro ball, and when I did ice it was more to give the trainer something to do, rather than a real need to chill the arm.

I think we are actually seeing a lot more low-3/4 pitchers than even 20 years ago. It sort of ebbs and flows each decade. But look around the majors and you see tons of great low-3/4 guys.

One of the reasons (there are a few different reasons, in my opinion, but this is one) that velocity is so important and such a major focus is that it doesn’t require a “good” scout to recognize it. The gun says 94 mph, you don’t even need to know anything about baseball and you could fill out a scouting report on a kid. But take a kid throwing 88-90 mph from a low-3/4 slot and a kid’s projectability becomes much more difficult for a scout. For these kids, the scout must ask, Will he throw harder, Will he get injured, Will I look like a fool around my colleagues if I recommend this kid???

Either way, I’m a fan of sticking with what God gave us and maximizing it to our ability. I’m glad your son hasn’t changed his arm slot. He’s still got a lot of baseball left and it will be exciting to see how much improvement he will continue to make!


#3

Velo is a major factor is guys getting interest to move on…whatever the next level is for them.
Most guys don’t know how to improve it much and it is the easiest box to check. Despite what coaches will tell you I have not really seen one that could teach command either. What you get a lot of is coaches changing deliveries including arm slot try to influence command (and velo). The “cookie cutter” approach to mechanics is often misguided. Im glad you son kept his arm slot and is doing well.
A quick little velo story. Went to a fall scrimmage at my sons college several weeks ago. Most of the kids were in that same velo bucket 79-84 (small college). One RHP was sitting 88-89 touching 90-91. He was all over the place. Hitting 3 or 4 batters and walking 3 more in two innings of work. The D1 scouts that were there talking to him after the game, not all the kids with 82 mph fastballs.
So, yes, it matters.


#4

Thank you for the response, I very much so value your opinion. My wife subscribes to your pitching tips and we read every one. You are spot on with the scouting. In a very truthful moment a D1 scout told me " if I bring a kid in throwing 87/88 and he doesn’t work out I’m a fool,no matter how good he did when he seen him. I bring back a kid throwing 90/91 and he doesn’t work out, I thought we could coach him". My son at this scouts advice took a full ride at a JUCO school to see how things progressed and get as much mound time as he could get. They are still in communication for a Jr. Transfer. I’ve known a lot of really good pitchers give up after high school because they might not have been ready, physically or mentally for D1 and think that JUCO is too big a let down. That’s a totally new topic though.
Thanks again I really look forward to those email tips


#5

Went to a Perfect Game pitchers catchers showcase. Seen some really good talent but the big attraction was a kid coming in from Texas who could hit 92/94 on the gun. I made a point to go see him throw, samething. Hit 3 batters in a row, 1 guy twice. I lost count on how many balls to strikes. Now he might just have been having a bad day it happens we’ve all seen it. What got me was the wite up Perfect Game gave him the next week. Graded him a 10 for the day. Lost all respect for PG after that!


#6

The scrimmage I went to the coaches went as far as having the PC stand behind him behind the mound while the game was going on…crazy.
What PG is grading a lot of the time with their grades is potential. If a kid is hitting 92-94 he certainly is a pro prospect. If he is hitting that at a relatively young age even more so.
Basically, hard throwers are hard to find. Hard thrower being defined by me (just my number) as 88 +. Soft tossers are common, soft tossers with good command less so but still pretty common, hard throwers who are shotgun are harder to find but way more common than a hard thrower with command. So, velocity counts higher in the grade than some other things. If a guy has good command of three pitches but his FB is sitting 80 he is not a D1/Pro prospect unless his command or something else (arm angle/deception) is exceptional.
In your post to Steven I think you are right about scouts. This is in part because of how freaking bad baseball is at developing players. Not long ago a 86 MPH fastball with something else could get a LHP drafted. No more. But, this is due to players doing their own work generally. Baseball as an institution is really bad at developing players skills.
Even House with his Million Dollar Arm experiment went searching for genetically gifted players. Why would that be? Granted he was aiming at getting one or both of them a pro contract. A lot of coaches fail at getting an average high school pitcher (6’ tall, 79 mph FB) to the college level.
As an aside, kids can be very unrealistic. D1 is just not attainable for the vast majority of high school kids. Not going to happen. D2, D3, NAIA and JCs all offer very competitive baseball at different levels. If a kids ego/arrogance is so inflated that he thinks he is above playing anything but D1 then he probably was not that committed to begin with.


#7

Sorry for the last off topic post, it’s just a very sensitive subject for me. My point of the original topic is so many articles on youth arm injury and how and why. I truly believe in my opinion that parents and kids are looking for that quick fix “magic bullet” in a coach. Once that arm slot has set in don’t change it!! Learn to work with what God gave you and put in the time and WORK as a pitcher!!! Practice your fundamentals lots of pfp’s. My son through hard work has increased his volosity to 87/88, and on track and working to get to 90 by spring. Again countless innings at a low 3/4 slot and NO arm injury!!!


#8

I agree.
A lot of ads out there about an 8 week program to gain such and such velo. The approach of a 2-3 years in a program is probably better. I also agree arm slot should not be changed unless it is clearly injurious. It is a personal thing to each pitcher.


#9

jwhite,

I don’t agree that there is a natural arm slot. There is no real evidence for it. Do you have any, outside of your son not being injured?

Ted


#10

Trust me , as injury goes just a theory of mine. As far as a natural arm slot I think that’s a given. other wise all pitchers would look identical. Arm injury in general all the way up to DR James Andrew I think is guess and theory, I don’t think anyone has hard set proof. I’ve just haven’t ever heard anyone discuss mine. Remember ,things in the human body no one is identical or react the same. I just think when you take a kid who may have been throwing for maybe up to 5 to 7 years from a slot and then you change the motion it disrupts joints and muscles, tendons that have been shall we say already broke in. Kinda like getting a new pair of shoes and getting a blister. I also believe maybe some kids no matter what happens will have injury to the arm while some kids will do everything wrong and never have an issue at all. So to answer you “nope just guessing” lol


#11

Thanks for the response. I am envious of your humility. I was in a hurry and my post wasn’t as friendly as it should of been. I think most people develop a slot based on a combination of imitation and coaching or just throwing and adjusting based on feel and results. Pretty much everyone needs to have their arm within +/- 10 degrees of parallel to a line through their shoulders at extension. This has been well established for over 30 years. Any variation in slot greater than that is a almost always a result of shoulder tilt. I agree that changing slots after a long established development could lead to injury but I don’t think it happens often. Unless some fault in arm action occurs with the change. Of course, I am mostly guessing too, or trusting what I have been taught.

Ted