November 2021 eNewsletter: ‘Tis The Season

As hard as it is to believe that November has arrived, it’s equally strange to see our television sets broadcasting commercials with Thanksgiving and Christmas themes each break. Time waits for no one. You look up once and see the temperature is going to 100 degrees in the summer, and the next time you look up it’s already the holidays.

At this writing, Thanksgiving is almost three weeks away with Christmas and the holiday season six weeks from now. The year has moved fast, and with the way our world operates these days, it’s not surprising that we’re coming close to another year’s end.

One of the joys of the holiday season for high school players is that games are being played at a fast and furious rate. Every Saturday, doubleheaders are commonplace for our local Santa Clarita Valley schools. For the younger players, tournaments are being played all through the final months of the year.

Typically, players tend to slow down around this time of year. However, here in sunny Southern California, the baseball season never ends. November weekends with 75 degree weather is the perfect time to play multiple games through the week, and even December tends to be filled with tournaments and such up until the final days before Christmas. Then, what happens at the beginning of 2022? Baseball season is “officially” underway with MLB Spring Training beginning 6 weeks from the start of January. And then the cycle repeats.

Training is something that our players do on a year round basis. However, how do you approach training when an injury occurs in the throwing shoulder or elbow? Very slowly.

This time of year, when games are going and our pitchers are in full pitching mode, it’s common that soreness, fatigue, and the occasional shutdown is needed for pitchers. In college, this is all too common as a few of my D1 guys are down and just beginning to ramp back up. You want pitchers to be ready for the start of the season in February and not necessarily in October and November!

It’s imperative that once the pitcher is shut down for a throwing ailment, they follow this template:

For every week a pitcher is shut down, you need to double that amount for him to come back and pitch in a game again. Meaning, if a pitcher is down for two weeks, they need four weeks to build back up again and get to full strength and then pitch in a game.

Now, during that 4-week period, the pitcher needs to ramp up his arm strength for the first 10 days, then begin a bullpen routine of pitching to a catcher every five days until that pitcher can throw up to two sets—I call them innings where I work—with 15 pitchers each inning.

Once that 4-week period is done, the pitcher gets one inning with 20 -22 pitches max, then builds up his pitch count until he’s back to his normal routine of pitching once per week. Of course there are situations that arise that can throw off the routine, but as a general rule of thumb that’s what I advise my pitchers to do and how they build back up at their respective schools.

Pitchers HAVE to be honest with their coaches and not just try to “suck it up” because the coach says so. It’s unbelievable how many coaches get mad at a player for taking this much time. I tell them it’s better to miss four weeks now than four months later during the season.

Hopefully this is something you can work on with your son and his coaches, particularly travel and rec ball coaches. The player in high school may have to sit down with his coach to convey his message about the injury and the recovery road he’s going on.

As a first mention, we’ll be hosting our annual holiday throwing camp at Throwzone the weeks of December 20th and 27th for those players who want to continue to ramp up their workload and be ready for the rigors of many games come January. More information will follow, but it’s our annual event that sells out each year.

Please know we’re thankful for you—our clients—and wish you the very best Thanksgiving with family and friends. We can’t wait to continue on to an exciting holiday season.

Until next time…

Jim