There is a reoccurring topic that orbits the majority of questions here, and elsewhere, and that is about mechanics. Often, the topic doesn’t really start off as… “what is my problem with my mechanics?” Instead, the major concerns are:
1> Elbow pain.
2> Shoulder pain.
3> Lack of control.
The response of many, are a mechanic issues. As would be expected, this answer is assumed to be a closed end response without further deliberation. In other words … post some video, do-this, do-that.
Pitching is not exclusively a mechanics issue. Far from it. However, the immediate needs of:
1> I have tryout in a week.
2> Everyone is pitching in the 80’s, why not me.
3> My son wants to be on this travel team.
4> I have to go more than 2 innings to be a pitcher.
I’ll be the first to admit, the list above is a short on… but I think you get the idea.
If you want to pitch for the sake of playing the game, and that’s it, you’ll be terribly disappointed in any appearance that you make … excluding those that are naturally gifted.
So, if pitching is on the horizon for you or your son, nephew, grandson, …. and let’s not exclude the ladies in all this… then a bigger picture has to be part of your perihelial vision. In that regard, consider these:
1> Pitching is one of the most unnatural body movements that you can make. Said movements require constant balance, progress movements timed just right for each individual, and the body must be willing to adapt to this choreography repeatedly. Not fun. This stuff is a serious pattern of behavior that the human body was never really designed to do. And if all that wasn’t enough, there’s a very small space to stand on, allotted to the body, that has rules and “can’t do this-or-that.”
2> There is no program, training facility, coaching and advisors, that can force you to address all the preparation that satisfies all the particulars mentioned in 1>. There in is the black hole that literally draws out all the potential success of begin the pitcher that you want to be.
Why? Here’s why:
1> Your physical makeup is a reality check that a large percentage of potential pitchers don’t understand. Your age, physical endowments-and lack thereof, is the starting point for this journey of holding down this position. Far too many expect too much of themselves at the outset. To make matters worse, demanding stress factors on the body while that body is still going through growing spurts, puberty, social interaction, lifestyle and home environmental conditions, just add to the list of demands.
2> The second important issue to address is the diet and nutrition part of this sport, pitching in particular. Baseball is divided into 3 seasons for amateurs. They are - preseason, prime playing season, and finally the postseason. Each season has weather and environmental considerations. Often overlooked too are the environmental influences like flue season, allergies, and so forth. Keeping your body’s immune system up to par is not easy, nor is it cheap. Dedicated discipline, mandatory attention to meal plans, hydration, food content that has timed released nutrition as well as energy can be a fulltime job. Also overlooked is sleep management. The body is like a storage battery in your family car. Drain it beyond it’s ability to recharge passes down the line the failure of other functions and systems.
3> Physical conditioning is one of the most misunderstood parts of pitcher’s training. For one reason or another, demanding physical training, that mirrors the kind of stuff that a Texas A&M football player goes through, seems to entice a lot of amateurs. Physical training for baseball and pitchers in particular is so unique and specialized to the individual. Age, health history, addressing the nutrition plans mentioned in 2>, is just the tip of the iceberg here. A trained and credible professional in this sport, will automatically address specific parts of the body that must be conditioned first, then build up from there. As I mentioned heretofore, individual uniqueness is presented first, then work from there.
4> Finally, after all the preparation from 1> to 3> are addressed and sustained for the individual, a coach that has experience in bringing pitchers along is brought into the picture. Now this coach has something to work with that worth working with. Sometimes this preparation takes a year, sometimes longer. The problem here is not addressing this preparation period and diving right into the pitching process - then this pops up … "My elbow hurts…" ( sound familiar.)
5> Now after all the “i’s” have been dotted and all the “t’s” have been crossed… you walk onto a pitcher’s mound that resembles a National Guard Bombing Range, and you wonder why or why… your elbow hurts, you have no control, you’re no where near the velocity that you want to be.