November 2013 Newsletter

Well Intentioned Parents Don’t Always Have It Right……Especially Myself!

Several weeks ago, I had a phone conversation with a father who was really looking forward to the upcoming baseball season. His son is 12 years old and plays on a travel team during the spring and summer. The player is a decent athlete, has a good arm and is a nice young man. ‘Tommy’ is an easy going kid who plays and works hard but is also happy just being part of the team.

Tommy’s dad is a former high school player (aren’t we all) who played infield and really doesn’t know as much about pitching……..except that he was a hitter and he saw enough pitching to know what it takes to become a pitcher.

Tommy threw 1X at practice….1X at his lesson…..and 1X at his game. That was it. No throwing at home……certainly no long toss……no warm up routine……just went out and pitched anywhere from 3 – 10 innings on a weekend depending on how his team was doing.

The most surprising thing in our conversation was the dreaded 3 months off to rest moment where Tommy’s dad said since the professionals do that then Tommy should follow their lead.

Just like I did with my sons while they were growing up.

As the famous line in Apollo 13 goes: ‘Uh, Houston, we have a problem’.


Why Does Professional Baseball Always Seem To Be More Than What It Really Is

This mindset appears to be more of a rule with players then an isolated comment from a well meaning dad. “We take 3 months off to rest”, at first glance seems to be reasonable……..if the kid wasn’t expected to throw a complete game the first weekend of their travel team season. But in many cases this is exactly what happens.

Little do we know that typically professional ballplayers end their season in the beginning of September. Some players report to spring training in February….most of pro ballplayers start in March. Then they are assigned to a team for the season whether it is in the majors……but most professional ballplayers end up in the minors. But what do they do between September and February/March?

September is typically a do nothing month. Maybe a little weight lifting but typically no throwing. Same in October though there are some pitchers I know who start throwing in October….. but maybe the weight training ramps up a little bit more.

However, most pitchers start to begin their throwing programs in November. That means they are taking 1-2 months off from actually throwing. But looking deeper into the well intentioned mindset, this 1-2 months is typically after 6 straight months of throwing every day…..over 140 ballgames….5 day pitching schedules… on long bus rides…..and sleeping in someone else’s bed for extended periods of time with a terrible eating schedule.

Our kids play maybe 3-4 games on a weekend……there is no spring training…..and maybe they play anywhere from 20 to 70 games over 8 months. Not nearly the hardships that professional ballplayers endure.

And if you are in HS or college…..forget it. It is just about 12 months of practice, throwing, playing, showcases and so forth.


Our Best Solution To Better Arm Health

The point in all of this is: taking extended periods of time from throwing is a bad, bad idea. We don’t get the time needed to build our arm strength and get our throwing motion right. We jump right into games with minimal amount of practice time.

Our arms and body need time to get acclimated to the rigors of what the game of baseball requires us to do. How much time? It depends. Is your son playing a longer season than just your average recreational league ballplayer is playing? Does he pitch a lot for his team? Is his team’s defense questionable leaving our young pitcher struggling with high pitch counts?

Taking extended time off from pitching makes about as much sense as sending our pitchers out for long runs….or running foul poles (see past e-newsletters on my take on this nonsense)…..and icing after every outing our pitchers throw because that is what they think they are supposed to do.

In fact, most throwing injuries occur because our pitchers go out and start pitching in games right off the bat without any time to build a good foundation of pitching and arm strength.

Our suggestion at ThrowZone is to do the best possible thing you can do for your child which is to get them on a conditioning program to build up their arm and body strength first, then allow them to start pitching in games after an extended period of time.

The pitching classes that we offer will help to build up this needed strength to get your child on track.

We have a few openings. Now would be the ideal time to get rolling for the upcoming season.

So, whether your player is a pitcher or infielder/outfielder/catcher, the programs we offer fit exactly what your child would need for their baseball season…….a strong arm care program and throwing strength that will get them through the season without fear of soreness or injury.

Until next time…….


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