As far as I know Will Carroll has no technical qualifications (training or experience) that are even close to what would be considered even rudimentary biomechanical qualifications. The same can be said for kinesiology and for someone who supposedly has a medical expertise appears to have no understanding of basic physiology as applied to stress and force development of/by the body.
Carroll has made his “name” as an injury prognosticator “expert”. Several years ago he was asked the following question regarding his qualifications as a medical expertise:
[i]John (Oakland): What are your medical qualifications to be making injury diagnoses?
Will Carroll: I am not a doctor and I do not play one on TV. I have an extensive background in sports medicine, literally growing up around team physicians and training rooms. I think my dad used athletic tape to make diapers for me. I also have a great network of physicians, physical therapists, trainers, and other professionals that help me interpret the information I come across. While it’s my name on the byline, UTK is very much a group effort. I’ll also say that most trainers and team physicians take the time to make sure that I have my information correct and that I understand what they’ve told me. As I said earlier, sports med is an almost criminally uncovered area and giving these professionals their due is one of my loftiest goals.[/i]
And as far as I know Carroll didn’t also grow up around a lot of biomechanical engineers. Also as far as I know he has no degree that hints of medical or scientific expertise. This is not to say that you have to have a degree to be knowledgeable but this man (Carroll) is one of the best examples, my opinion, of building a career by preying upon the fear of injury. That’s how he built his reputation on baseball prospectus (injury reporter). Which somehow made him an expert injury “prognosticator”.
Now he fancies himself as a biomechanical expert.
In his book “Saving the Pitcher” his biomechanical perspective is based almost totally on interviews with Mike Marshall. As in birds of a feather do flock together.
Carroll’s comparison of Loriano to Santana i.e. Loriano whips his arm a little too much is ridiculous. How does one differentiate between whipping your arm enough versus whipping your arm too much?
Again everyone should have Greg Maddux “mechanics” (the gold standard of the you are going to throw your arm off “chicken littles”). How about Greg Maddux’s brain? How do we copy that? Or Greg Maddux’s nervous system? Or how about Jamie Moyer? Why doesn’t every pitcher just simply throw 80 mph max fastballs?
Exactly what is the equation/relationship that explains the difficulty of making pitches that are near perfect which is what you must do to get by without velocity to making pitches with velocity that are less perfect? Exactly what is the relationship in terms of difficulty between the two and how do we find players that exhibit this capability? In other words is it possible that pinpoint control is as rare talent as being able to throw 100 mph? And that the ability to have pinpoint control may be as genetically predisposed as the ability to throw 100 plus miles per hour??
A significant portion of a thrown ball’s velocity is the result of whipping action of the arm. does Mr. Carroll actually understand how whipping action is created? I know a lot of physicists who struggle with understanding how the whip is actually capable of “cracking”. How often have we heard someone say “stop muscling up”. The reason muscling up being bad is that it takes away the whipping action of the arm. Which begs the question of what constitutes a good arm whip versus bad arm whip? and the even more fundamental question of how does whipping action of the atom actually occur ( how do you actually do it and more portly control it??)?
Creating whipping action is where “using the body” to throw the ball comes from i.e. developing momentum that can be converted by the whipping action of the arm. But whipping action (effect) of the arm is almost exclusively determined by rotation of the upper body. You cannot effectively develop rotational momentum by attempting to guide that momentum toward home plate in a straight line i.e. linear throwing. And in fact this (linear throwing) is what I believe (see) Kerry Woods and Mark Prior doing. Both are good examples of throwing with their arm because quite possibly they have been told that they need to focus all of their efforts body movement activity) two home plate.
Stated differently, effective use of your body to throw (create whipping arm action) the baseball is indicated by following through towards first base (right handed pitcher)and not continuing on towards home plate after releasing the ball. Moving toward first base ( right-handed pitcher) is an indication that the pitcher has converted momentum into rotation. Again we are talking about maximum transfer of momentum to create whip effect which is synonymous with throwing hard which is NOT what Greg Maddux does (throwing hard).
As far as the specific injury mechanism, I concur that in most cases is simply the result of repetitive trauma. I also believe that one possible explanation is that many players today do not know how to deal with even small amounts of muscular fatigue because they never push their body beyond a certain point. And I also believe that it is generally accepted in the medical community that a primary reason for connective tissue injury is the inability of the muscles to maintain stability of the joint(s) either through weakness and/or fatigue (hence pitch count).
Blood from the training community ( physiology) the SAID ( Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand) combined with the principle of acclamation (body quickly adjusts to imposed demand) would dictate that one must go beyond normal (what is normally expected) levels of stress in order to better prepare for what is normally expected. That injury prevention requires the ability to have physical capabilities above and beyond what is normally expected. Which says that in order to throw 100 pitches effectively one must train to throw more than 100 pitches effectively.
It is also possible that the risk of injury increases in a nonlinear fashionas one attempt to throw harder. And yes it becomes even more necessary that hard throwers have highly efficient mechanics.
Also from a motor learning perspective throwing with fatigue is a different motor program (preparation) than throwing without fatigue i.e. it is something you learn how to do. Which again brings into question the whole issue of pitch counts. And we all know that young players today do not throw anywhere near as much as young players did 30 or 40 years ago ( there is no such thing as playground baseball anymore).
I was told that at one time Jim LeFevre while on a trip to the Dominican Republic, out of his own curiosity, counted how many times a young player who was playing pickup baseball through the ball during the course of the day. The number of throws exceeded 800! And this was one days total in the player was out there the next day and the next day and the next day doing the same thing…
From a purely movement perspective there are over 400 muscle groups in the body. That combined with the number of joints says that they are is an infinite number of ways to achieve the same movement result. Exactly how does one quantify what is good muscle movement and what is bad muscle movement??
I struggled to find anything of value in Carroll’s verbiage. The only thing that I could find in Carroll’s injury/mechanical diatribe that that had a possibility Rich Harden’s follow through being somewhat too abrupt i.e. did not have a long enough deceleration path of the arm after releasing the ball. But even this is total speculation as with 99.9% of the injury predictions that 99.9% of the so-called experts attempt to make or should I say foist on the unknowing an unsuspecting public. and in the process are killing all chances (for those who listen to them) of young players ever achieving anything close to their maximal throwing capabilities…