Time to finish the relay throw to home plate after part 1 discussed the first of 3 parts of a routine for baseball players, with the “pre-throwing routine”. In part 1, the three components of a complete throwing routine were laid out along with component 1 - the pre-throwing routine. The pre-throwing routine is composed of self-myofascial release aka foam rolling & tissue quality, a full dynamic warm-up, and pre-throwing band work. The other two components are your actual throwing routine and your post-throwing routine.
As you may already be thinking, the throwing routine component involves…you guessed it, throwing! BUT there is more that goes into throwing than you might already believe. First and foremost, one of the most important yet neglected aspect of a young baseball player’s throwing routine is throwing with a PURPOSE. If I had a nickel for every time I saw a young player just throwing to throw and not working on something, I would probably have around to $50. Remember, your throwing routine consists of plyoballs, catch play, long toss, flat grounds, pitch grip work, and mound work. Two pitchers that I have worked with that do this best just so happen to be our own Ben Gross and Jose Lopez. This is a big reason why they've been as successful as they've been through their careers.
Side note - intent and intensity vary. Intensity is how hard you rev the engine or channel your 100%. Meanwhile intent is your ability to do something with a purpose. Not every throw needs to be 100% intensity, but your intent should always be 100% to accomplish what you are trying do with the next throw you make.
The main goal and focus with progressing through a throwing program is the ability to overcome stress, while increasing various performance factors (arm strength, arm speed, mechanics, etc). In order to overcome stress better we need to progressively overload the stimulus. Ways we can overload the throwing stimulus in a variety of ways: increasing the distance we’re throwing at, increase the volume or number of throws we’re making at a given distance or in total, increase the frequency or how often we throw, and increase the throwing intensity. As we get closer to the season, all four of those factors should be increasing whether it’s one or two at a time. It would be unwise to continually increase all four at the same times. Find a qualified coach to help you get on a structured throwing program this off-season. We will be incorporating an 8-week on-ramping throwing in conjunction with our training this winter at TNL.
The third and final component of a complete throwing routine is the post-throwing routine AKA cool-down. Just like with a warm-up, the cool-down is not a one size fits all approach and should vary by the player. One player may have thrown 105 pitches as a starter and another only throwing 15 to close the game out. The starter would go through an extensive cool-down because they will be shut down until the next start Vs the closer would go through a cool-down that keeps them fresh for a potential outing the next day or day after. Within the cool-down we have a few elements: mobility, weight room session (strength training), conditioning, and recovery.
For mobility, we are trying to restore ranges of motion we lost from throwing and also improve tissue quality to reduce the likelihood of getting knots that can lead to spasms. All mobility work is based off your individual needs. If we were that pitcher that just threw 105 pitches, we’re trying to get into the weight room as soon as possible. Most likely the next day or in some cases that day so that we can consolidate stresses and get back on the mound at as close to 100% for the next outing. If you’re going to do any “conditioning” after an outing it should be sprinting or some higher intensity bouts of exercise at shorter durations of time. You’re better off trying to solve a Rubik’s cube than running mindless poles or 10 minutes of jump rope after an outing. You could also invest in a device like a Marc Pro or Compex units to promote activity recovery or decrease pain.
At the end of the day we’re tying to build habits for our everyday routine. These are habits that we do both ON & OFF the field. Outside of the direct “throwing routine” we need to be in a structured strength & conditioning program that is going to take our game to the next level (plus extra work at home), be sleeping 8-10 hours every night, and doing our nutrition justice. 4 parts to a meal: handful of carbohydrate (rice or potatoes), handful of protein (meat), handful of fruit or veggies, and a thumb sized fat (avocado or nuts). You need to be COMMITTED, CONSISTENT, bring the juice (EFFORT), have SELF-AWARENESS, and PATIENCE with our habits to be successful.