Throw Hard by Summoning Superhuman Strength

I’m not sure I understand…

Again, from just the bits I have read on him, he does teach traditional high level throwing mechanics. It’s just that he seems to really focus on the details by eliminating movements that slow a pitcher down or don’t direct him to the target, and adding movements that make a pitcher faster and more explosive -

Regarding his looking the other way, I just think he is a proponent of mechanics over those other things - In fact, I believe there are also studies that say there is little benefit to long tossing, weighted balls, and strength training. I know I didn’t do any of those things back in the day and I never heard of the great pitchers of yesteryear doing any of those things. Again, I believe Mills’ big thing is to put the emphasis where it belongs and that is optimal mechanics.

I read an article a few months ago regarding Mills’ former protege, Barry Zito. Apparently, since he has joined the Giants he has decreased his stride, is moving slower, and is on a long toss program - and his velocity has markedly decreased. Of course, there can always be other factors to attribute to his loss of velocity but it seems to be a common theme.

Personally, I’ve never been a big proponent of the “bigger, stronger” philosophy that is necessary to throw harder. I like the lanky, fast-moving guys who maximize their deliveries with low, long strides. To me, technique wins out over strength every time - that’s not to say one shouldn’t be fit and athletic, but let’s not get crazy with all the workouts. Pitchers need to work on improving the skill of pitching; as long as one has the functional strength necessary to control his body, the workouts should be more about pitching and less about lifting.

From what I’ve seen, I think Mills is not too far out there and is probably more on the right track than most.

has dick mills been getting results?

Is the way dick mills teaches mechanics the most effective way for producing high level throwers? Why doesn’t he ever brag about all the incredible results he must be getting? Looking through his newsletters it’s always “this kid is coming to me for advice, he is easily losing 5 mph at this part in his delivery. I expect him to throw 90 mph after implementing these changes.” He rarely shows concrete results that he has gotten.

He focuses on momentum and a long stride. If this approach worked he would have lots of impressive results to report. Sure, a fair amount of high level throwers have good momentum and long strides, but is this what all of the focus should be on? How does justin verlander throw 100 with a short stride? This can’t be the answer…

Then there is the other line of thought: focusing on the arm action while strengthening the arm and body as much as possible to prepare it for the violent action of throwing a baseball 90 + mph.

ron wolforth, using the backwards chaining approach (arm action first) has turned out so many 90 mph throwers I’m sure he’s lost count.

Heck, I just came across these videos a couple weeks ago of Air Force using a similar approach in their training and seeing some ridiculous results.

first off i cant believe cardswins actually said pitchers should only pitch

the act of pitching is location and executing off speed/ situation pitches

the act of throwing is, well, throwing.

pitchers throw the ball, not pitch the ball… so train on throwing the ball so you can bring it to the pitching mindset

  1. There is no such thing as good pitching mechanics, simply because no one can agree as to what they constitute. What does exist are good throwing mechanics as defined by physics, biomechanics, kinesiology, physiology and motor learning and control. Throwing a 95 mph fastball, no matter who throws it, requires the same physics.

  2. Pitching is doing everything necessary to defeat the batter. An important (most important?) aspect of pitching skill is throwing the baseball. It becomes a lot easier to get the batter out if you possess speed, location and movement. Speed, location and movement are a result of effective development and use of the kinetic chain.

barry zito claims his velo loss on slacking on the long toss… which makes sense since his throwing deficiency has gone down, so has his pitching ability

structordoc, you would be suprised at how much strength those tall “lanky” guys possess…

im dumbfounded how you think somebody thats not strong or has ability can just whip out a ball 90mph

[quote=“LankyLefty”]Because he looks the other way when presented with evidence that long toss, weighted balls and strength training can help to improve velocity as well. He is completely stubborn and close minded.

His claim to fame is his son (who I happen to have a clip of from the CWS). Fun fact: Ryan Mills’ mechanics actually do resemble high level throwing mechanics, which is why he threw 95, and look nothing like anything Dick Mills ever preached. In fact, he looks more like a Paul Nyman student if anything. [/quote]

And what do long-toss advocates do when presented with evidence that long toss, weighted balls, etc., are not the main cause of improved velocity? They look the other way of course. They’re stubborn and close minded, refusing to listen to medicine and sports science.

Dick Mills is the one who coached his son.
So how could he look nothing like anything Dick Mills ever preached?

[quote=“Drewski”]first off i cant believe cardswins actually said pitchers should only pitch
The act of pitching is location and executing off speed/ situation pitches
The act of throwing is, well, throwing.
Pitchers throw the ball, not pitch the ball… so train on throwing the ball so you can bring it to the pitching mindsetbarry zito claims his velo loss on slacking on the long toss… which makes sense since his throwing deficiency has gone down, so has his pitching ability
im dumbfounded how you think somebody thats not strong or has ability can just whip out a ball 90mph[/quote]

I never said that pitchers should only pitch.
They can play other positions as well. Just, when practicing pitching
they are going to improve more if they pitch from off a mound and correct their mechanical mistakes, rather than improving by long-tossing, etc. which requires different throwing mechanics.
The act of pitching includes location and executing on speed/situation pitches. It also encompasses the pitching delivery and the motion of delivering the ball to the plate. Do pitchers pitch or throw?
They should be pitching. Why else are they called “pitchers”? Because they pitch. Throwing is what fielders do. A third baseman throws to first, not pitches to first. (at least, that’s the latest I’ve heard)
Just because Barry Zito claims his lack of velocity is because he slacked off on long-tossing doesn’t mean he knows what he’s talking about.
Just because a major-leaguer can pitch 90mph doesn’t mean he can teach someone how to correctly pitch 90mph (or any speed for that matter) or discern why he is losing velocity.
Tim Lincecum can pitch over 90mph and he’s not that big and strong.
He has said before that he pitches with his body, and his arm is “just along for the ride” (which is essentially true).
What are you guys going to do if the new ASMI study shows that long-tossing is more harmful than beneficial to pitchers?
You have choices: you can listen to medical and sports science research
or you can continue on doing what you’re doing, knowing that it’s not good for your body.
Some people will just not listen.

[quote]You have choices: you can listen to medical and sports science research
or you can continue on doing what you’re doing, knowing that it’s not good for your body. [/quote]

I agree.

Why does Dick Mills not follow this, then? Weighted balls and training for power using medicine balls and traditional strength-based implements have been shown to increase fastball velocity in multiple peer-reviewed studies.

Pitchers do pitch, yes. But getting the most out of your arm involves learning to throw as well. This is one of Nyman’s most important contributions: You must learn to throw before you learn to pitch.

cardswins seriosuly you think lincecum is not strong? haha the man can walk on his hands with near perfect balance

you have to know how to throw before you can pitch

people have great mechanics, but dont have the strength to apply it so what do you do?? keep pitching on the bump and pray?

insanity = repetition without achieving any progression

ive read dick mills stuff, and stopped when he starting changing ideas every 6 months or so… how can you follow a guy that only has HIS SON as his ONLY success prodigy?? idk kyleb has a great point

Mills has Zito, too.

And I have no one, really. (One guy pitching semi-pro and college baseball. Woohoo!) Yet people listen to me for some reason. :slight_smile:

It does not take a lot of strength to throw a 5 oz. object - period. That is not to say that people (or pitchers, for that matter) should not work out. Sure, Lincecum is strong - but what kind of strong? What is is max deadlift? What does he bench? I bet not so much - nor does he care. It’s not his objective. Always go back to what your goal(s) is - what are you trying to accomplish…

I am a big advocate of working out - but to what sacrifice? And how to best work out? What are the goals? If it is to be a better pitcher, well, if I am already a fully developed athletic male (which I am), then I may not do much other than to pitch. I would want to spend my time perfecting my craft (a skill activity). But, I am interested in long term development and improvement of my physique and fitness abilities so I choose to work out regularly.

That being said, I think youth athletes should also exercise with the goal of developing long term fitness. So my suggestion is to learn how to train for the big picture - not just for baseball. To get stronger has a lot of different meanings and lifting weights is a very small part of the puzzle (maximal strength). Athletes should place equal focus on things like explosive strength, starting strength, acceleration strength, strength endurance, high speed conditioning, reactive strength, speed strength, and flexibility training. Now, as a young athlete playing a sport(s), you need to spend time practicing your skill(s) for your sport - not spending all your time in the gym, so workouts need to be short, yet intense.

Ultimately, I believe that once a pitcher knows how to control his body movements (functionally strong), he is strong enough to pitch. From there, it is perfecting mechanics and target practice. There is no “specific” muscle to train to make one throw faster. It’s all about speed of movement and elastic energy, not muscular contraction. The arm is just the delivery device of the accumulation of strored elastic energy from the larger muscles of the legs, the hips, the abdominals and the trunk. This stored energy is transferred from one part of the body and handed off to the other. When mechanics are efficient then the arm will get most of that stored energy and that stored energy will convert to arm speed from trunk rotation. Sure, there are studies that say this and there are studies that say that (both for and against long toss and weighted balls and strength training, etc.) but most of these studies are seriously flawed; you just can’t make a study out of young athletes due to the fact that the overriding factor in their progress is due to natural growth and development. The only real studies pertaining to sports should be applied only to high level, fully developed athletes (collegiate and/or professional).

Look, my kid is 13 years old - 14 in a few months. He has barely touched a weight and has never long tossed and never picked up a weighted ball. This year he started working out 3-5 times a week in the off-season by doing all kinds of varied workouts; speed work, flexibility work, explosive movements, etc. He can do a split and he can do handstand push-ups, one arm push-ups, and one legged squats. He can rip off pull-ups like crazy and he can do 100 burpees in record time. His workouts are fast and furious - 20-30 minutes (never more than 40). But mostly, he pitches. In the off-season we start with once a week indoors - 50 pitches or so. After a month or so, we go to twice a week, gradually increasing the number of pitches. In February he goes to 3x per week and will be at 80-90 pitches per session - and it’s all about mechanics (videotaping) and target practice.

All this being said, my kid, for the last two seasons was 5’ 2" and barely 90 lbs - as a 12 year old he was barely hitting 60 mph, yet last season he was near 70 (before ever working out). He is now almost 5’ 7" and 115 lbs - still skinny (just now has a deeper voice and is the second tallest member of the family). My point is that he doesn’t care about packing on pounds or getting bigger and stronger - he just wants to be fit and agile and athletic. But mostly he focuses on what he has to do on the mound. He doesn’t concern himself with size or strength or how fast he throws - he knows all that will come - in time. It still comes down to making pitches; executing one at a time to the best of your ability.

unless now im confused, i did not know where were talking about teenagers

their is a difference between a 12-13 year old maxing DL at 150lbs vs a 20 to 25 year old men doing it…

think about stuff for a second before making commitments… and i know every father wants their son to locate and make pitches… but from firsthand rejection experience if you dont throw over 85 (here in Florida) you dont play after highschool

kyleb, so Zito does work with Alan and Mills? idk i dont think so

One of my points is that it doesn’t matter what age you are - natural growth and development and an understanding and execution of proper pitching mechanics are, by far, the most important aspects of pitching - including increasing velocity.

I’m confident that if you posted a video of you pitching here, there would be at least 3-4 identifiable flaws in your mechanics that are directly related to decreasing potential velocity. If you worked at changing them, you would throw faster - it wouldn’t take hours in the gym, just hours on the mound.

From what I read, Mills worked with Zito and his father in high school and college and was briefly consulting in the minors/pros. Apparently, Zito has abandoned much of what Mills taught him.

i did post my mechanics here, and the reason was my body was inefficient in throwing hard because i was just “placing” the ball at 60 ft instead of throwing it into those places

a strength and conditioning program is huge for any high school, college, and pro player of any sport, even golf

that being said, im suprised there are people here who dont care for getting strong… they think its just a 5 oz baseball how hard can it be :roll:

[quote=“Drewski”]i did post my mechanics here, and the reason was my body was inefficient in throwing hard because i was just “placing” the ball at 60 ft instead of throwing it into those places

a strength and conditioning program is huge for any high school, college, and pro player of any sport, even golf

that being said, im suprised there are people here who dont care for getting strong… they think its just a 5 oz baseball how hard can it be :roll:[/quote]
You are right, but the biggest thing is that people need to remember that baseball is a sport that requires you to be well rounded. You need to be strong, quick, aggressive, patient, intelligent, reactive, and hard working. We talk here about the 3 things that make a baseball player good as a team player. Attitude, Team First, and Work Ethic. Every little part of what we do as pitchers needs to be carefully looked at. Not just strength, not just pitching mechanics. They work in harmony because the body is a whole!

ya i agree with you

i only emphasize strength because without being strong, you cant be quick, reactive, or aggressive

[quote=“Drewski”]
i only emphasize strength because without being strong, you cant be quick, reactive, or aggressive[/quote]

Actually, I don’t think that’s true.
I don’t believe that you have to be strong to be quick, reactive, or aggressive.
Strength enhances those capabilities, but strength is not required to be quick, reactive, or aggressive.
For instance, aggressiveness (aggression) is mostly a mental attitude.

[quote=“Drewski”]
a strength and conditioning program is huge for any high school, college, and pro player of any sport, even golf
that being said, im suprised there are people here who dont care for getting strong… they think its just a 5 oz baseball how hard can it be :roll:[/quote]

I think you may be misunderstanding some of us.
Strength and conditioning is important,
however, a person does not have to be excessively strong to play baseball. Big, strong guys will usually have more power,
and smaller guys will generally be quicker and hit more for contact.
As for pitchers, whether small, big, strong, whatever- they all have to be quick (have good reflexes and body flexibility).

Which is probably why he (Zito) doesn’t have very good velocity anymore
and has suffered some in recent years as a pitcher.

[quote=“kyleb”]
Why does Dick Mills not follow this, then? Weighted balls and training for power using medicine balls and traditional strength-based implements have been shown to increase fastball velocity in multiple peer-reviewed studies.
Pitchers do pitch, yes. But getting the most out of your arm involves learning to throw as well. This is one of Nyman’s most important contributions: You must learn to throw before you learn to pitch.[/quote]

Actually, Dick Mills (or what I take it from what he says)
doesn’t like to use weighted balls, medicine balls, towel drills, etc.
because they can have negative effects on a pitcher’s mechanics.
Pitching is based on throwing (to some extent).
Pitching is essentially a modified, more intricate form of throwing.
People can talk about what pitching really is,
but pitching can mean anything from the delivery of the baseball from the mound to the plate, the mental aspect of being in control on the mound,
etc. There are many aspects to and about pitching.

zito is currently doing long toss and was throwing 85-88 last year… so getting away from dick the thief did him well

we’ll see if he gets back on track…

pitching = competitive situation to execute pitches

throwing = skill in launching/whipping an object to a distance with accuracy

cardswins no matter what you call it you cant pitch without throwing the baseball, buddy

Zito, who is 6’4" and 215 lbs, threw 93 as a college freshman. He has averaged 85-86 since leaving Mills. Keep long tossing, Barry!