As summer starts to move towards the start of school this month, I’m reminded of all the baseball that’s been played over the past two months by players looking to be seen by high schools or colleges.
Yes, high school coaches are looking for players who might help their program win. Private schools are scouting youth games to find their next standout and entice that player with a financial aid package (scholarship) to join their high school program. However, this is a topic for a later newsletter.
Players have continued to play most every weekend against good competition to better their chances of being seen by either college of professional scouts. Unfortunately, this might occur for only about 2% of the players playing summer ball.
Playing for your high school program really only benefits the head coach of the program. That coach can get a sense of who he sees fitting in next year. College coaches almost NEVER show up for high school summer games because it’s usually a waste of their time. Plus, why go see one player at a high school summer game when they can see 30+ players in the summer travel program and get more “bang for their buck”?
Playing for a summer travel or select ball team can be of more benefit with more coaches showing up to events like that, but it also comes with a lot of expenses, not to mention that families are typically away from each other for long periods of time.
Either way, the constant playing of games comes with another price tag—an injury waiting to happen. Playing games over and over may be solidifying bad motor programming (bad throwing and/or bad hitting mechanics) and also increases the chance of an injury occuring.
I worked with a player who spent seven weeks with me correcting what I knew was a faulty throwing issue. I mentioned to the player during our first meeting that if we didn’t correct the issue, then an injury was waiting to happen. Fortunately, we corrected said issue before he went off the play almost two months of summer games. We just didn’t have time with his busy schedule to continue monitoring his throwing mechanics.
Meeting with him for throwing work after those two and a half months of games, he mentioned that his shoulder felt fatigued, which isn’t out of the ordinary. However, after watching his initial video, it was apparent that he’d regressed back to his old throwing motion with an even more severe pattern being created. It was just a matter of time before something serious happened. And fortunately, we were able to catch it.
When we play games continuously, we also continue to solidify bad motor mechanics, and then it becomes impossible to change or takes a long time to instill permanent changes whether it’s throwing a ball or swinging a bat.
As I continue to preach, I’d rather have players work on their throwing delivery and get multiple reps and video feedback than play in a meaningless summer game where you might get as little as a single inning to pitch. That situation has happened a lot with some of my pitchers.
If an infielder takes 100 groundballs daily (300 total) from multiple places on the diamond over a 3-day period, then his chance of improvement is considerably greater than playing in 3–5 games over a weekend and getting maybe 5–8 ground balls each game. The same goes for hitting.
But when we play with a fatigued body, including playing in summer heat without proper nutrition, hydration, and sleep, then an injury is right around the corner.
Now, we can never predict injuries. Think of a car accident: we never know if it will happen, but if you drive fast and swerve in and out of traffic and don’t wear your seatbelt, then the likelihood of an accident is much more likely. It’s the same with injuries in sports.
Athletes in sports like track and field, figure skating, and gymnastics train over and over to work on correct form and technique in order to ready themselves for that one performance of a lifetime. Even football is similar. Yet in baseball, we just assume we’re doing the right thing. And this is why pitcher injuries are much, much higher than in any other sport. Performance takes precedence over development and training in baseball more than any other sport.
We must be better at training so as to lessen the risk of injury. This is why most of our Throwzone players stay healthy—it’s due to the development and training they do multiple times a week in our facility, even after their practice is done for the day. It’s also why hundreds of our players move on to college to continue their baseball career.
You’ll absolutely lessen the risk of injury if you train and develop at our facility. Playing over and over is going to get your player hurt, so please ask us how we can create a program for your son to become the best player/pitcher they can become. You’ll be happy that you did.
Until next time…
P.S. Our annual Elite Pitchers Boot Camp with Coach Ron Wolforth and the Texas Baseball Ranch is taking place September 23–25. Go to the Throwzone website for all the details and registration form. It’s our best event of the year!