Long Toss and the Placebo Effect

Long Toss and the Placebo EffectLong toss is praised by many and shot down by few. I have heard the likes of Alan Jaeger preaching long toss as the secret to velocity and the likes of Dick Mill’s trying to prove scientifically why you should never do it again. I have reflected on this topic for some time now. In my career, I did a lot of long toss but rarely did I notice any difference in velocity. I refuse to tell you that long toss is a waste of time but what I will do is share with you the Pros and Cons of this kind of practice. It is then up to you to make your own decision on using long toss in your training regime.

When I speak of long toss, I mean throwing the ball more than 120 feet. This means throwing the ball farther than from home to second base. To make this easy to understand and for you to base your opinion, I will break long toss down into a list of pros and cons.

The Pros of Long Toss:

It is a max effort exercise which is pushing the body to generate more force to the ball. If performed with total body mechanics, this can train and help develop the total body.

The long distance toss increases the chance of error in locating the target. This is training accuracy for long distance.

The Cons of Long Toss:

It is a max effort throwing exercise which is putting a lot of stress on the arm. Especially the decelerator muscles. If a pitcher has poor mechanics and throws with more arm than body, then long toss can be very destructive to the pitcher.

It is training long distance accuracy which is a different release point than 60 feet pitching accuracy. If performing long toss, it is important to finish throwing  from at least 60-65 feet after throwing long, to re-establish your pitching release point.

The mechanical difference from long toss to pitching on the mound, is almost the same difference as playing home run derby as opposed to hitting off of a live pitcher. There is a mechanical adjustment from hitting slow pitches intended for home runs, to hitting hard pitches intended to strikeout the hitter. This adjustment is proof that throwing long toss to pitching has a placebo effect (A placebo is anything of no real benefit which nevertheless makes people feel better.) For example, hitting the home runs in a home run derby would build confidence, which then would effect how you perform against a live pitcher. Just like throwing the ball 350 feet would give you more confidence when you start throwing the ball at 60 feet. It is now a shorter distance and it requires less effort, so you feel a lot more powerful. This is because throwing the ball 350 feet gives a visual measurement of your strength. To help you understand this point, I ask this question, “Which way do you think it is easier to tell who is throwing harder, the difference between a pitcher throwing 85 mph to a pitcher throwing 90 mph, or the difference between a pitcher throwing 310 feet to a pitcher throwing 350 feet?”

There is a difference in mechanics for a pitcher throwing at max effort from 70 feet away to 350 feet away. The difference is in the release point. A pitcher should always throw with the same release point because it is crucial for velocity and accuracy. Continuously changing release points from throwing long toss to pitching on a mound will effect a pitchers consistency. Therefore, the only reason to perform long toss is for the placebo effect. It is just like taking an over the counter supplement that says it will increase your muscle mass. It gets you all excited and pumped up, but this doesn’t mean it is actually working. If this feeling is all that matters to you, then keep playing long toss. Otherwise, if you feel the placebo effect is a waste of time and emotion, then I would suggest you train your pitching delivery the same ever day. Constantly making mechanical adjustments to increase your velocity on the mound, without putting a lot of throws on your arm. You will see more velocity gains from a total body training program than from a long toss program any day.

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Comments

  1. Drew says

    wow brent after reading alot here i can see that you dont really have much of a clue to what really happens when u throw the baseball.. you need to understand what jaeger is saying about long toss. the idea of breaking false limitations by using no effort to fling the ball 300+ feet is correct. by making that 300ft throw an effortless movement of the body. yes everyone can agree one needs efficent and healthy mechanics in order to be healthy. zumaya had problems before jaeger, and he also throws 99 mph. understand 95+ is extremely dangerous due to one milisecond of bad mecanics = damage to the arm itself

    the key to long toss is effortless movement, followed by a correct and functional pull down phase. pulling down the baseball (we have had this discussion) is not like yanking a rope from a ceiling. using the lats (biggest back muscles) to accelerate the arm through release point

    the ultimate benefit of long toss is conditioning of the arm. this makes sense due having to throw a ball 88mph+ to reach 300ft.

    http://faculty.tcc.fl.edu/scma/carrj/Java/basebal

    the point of placing the body under this stress is to be able to handle whatever pitch count during preformance. condition the deacclerating muscles by accelerating them and make them work harder and build

    rest is key to long toss, dont be an idiot and gun it on a line everyday. you will fail

    learn how to throw right using the body, then learn how to pitch

    with all due respecti am quite disappointed in your philosophy, hopefully you use this knowledge and better yourself sir

    i know my opinion does not mean much, but i have improved to throwing 300+ without much effort, just good flow and athleticism of my body that i have strength trained my posterior chain which helps my kinetic chain to throwing the ball.. the videos of the last year or so is quite amazing

    cheers, drew

    • says

      Drew,

      You are no different than the other Jaeger droids who have no life but to post Jaeger's Voodoo on my website. You obviously have drank the Koolaid over at Jaeger Sports. You guys always claim that we do not have the science to back it up and it is actually Jaeger and his droids who never mention anything analytical about pitching mechanics. The only words you guys use is vocabulary taken from the dummies book to Yoga. This isn't even an argument anymore because of the ASMI comprehensive long toss case study they just released to the public here http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21212502. I just gave you a link to this article on the last Jaeger propaganda you posted on my site. You obviously didn't read the study because you didn't even mention it in your post here. Do you plan on reading this study that the whole world is now aware of or are you just avoiding the issue because you are afraid it is going to make you look like a gullible imbecile? If you don't want to read the entire study then all that is important is that you at least read and actually retain the conclusion of the study. Here it is. I want you to write this down and then print it on a t-shirt and mail the t-shirt to Alan Jaeger.

      Maximum distance throws produce increased torques and changes in kinematics; caution is therefore advised for use of these throws in rehabilitation and training.

      So please go sell your Jaeger snake oil somewhere else.

  2. says

    Your missing the point of the picture of Josh Beckett. The picture illustrates the different release points when throwing off the mound as opposed to "Air it Out" long toss. It has nothing to do with his throwing program.

  3. says

    One other comment about the pros or cons to long toss. I suggest in the future you use a different pitcher to make your point. You typed, "Here is a picture of Josh Becket in both throwing positions which illustrates this case study. You can see how the body is less involved in the long toss position than when pitching on the mound." Are you suggesting that Josh Beckett long tosses. I think it would be better to use a singe A pitcher to state, "see if you long toss you whind up like this guy", not use one of the best pitchers in baseball today to state he long tosses, provide the photo of him doing it, then comment that you will get know where doing what he does.

  4. says

    Yes, anything is possible. It just matters how hard you are willing to push it without hurting yourself. If you asked Alan Jaeger this question he may tell you to work your "Air it Out" long toss to 400 feet and that will get you to 87mph. My answer is a lot more scientific. Velocity is a mixture of two factors, mechanics and your athletic ability. Mechanics has to do with how well you can generate torque and momentum in your entire body and then being able to transfer that energy into the ball. Your athletic ability has to do with your genetics and if you do not have the genetics required then you must remodel your body to develop more fast twitch muscle fiber with a serious strength and conditioning program, so your body is more explosive when generating power. Once you have both of these ingredients for Velocity you must then mix them together. This would be learning to use your new muscle development within your mechanics. This is what I have tried to map out in the Ace Pitcher Handbook and it has been successful. Best of luck!

  5. Josh says

    I can throw the ball 340 ft max but im out of season and throwing 83, what is my potential and how can i reach it.. i hope to be throwing 87+ during this spring.. is this possible??

  6. says

    This thread has been going on for some time now so I don't feel bad coming in (5) months after the last post. I noticed most that have spoke their mind conceeded they held little knowledge in physics/mathmatics and most of their experience/expertise was in biology, kinesology, or anatomy. Sorry about the spelling, my major was engineering; obviously not english – and this doesn't have spell check. I am an outsider looking in, meaning I do not have the experience of the school of hard knocks as Brent and others have had pitching at very high levels, becasue I never played baseball at these levels. I didn't get the teaching or drills etc.. that you have had over the years so i don't know what works and what doesn't. However my son plays youth travel ball for a competitive tournament team so I had decided years ago I was going to consume myself in learning the science of pitching, hitting, etc… Since this article is about pitching i will limit my thoughts and opinions only to that. Additionally I do not claim to know anything about the kinetics of body motion or the forces they can sustain; but I understand motion and forces on a purely physical level, i.e. physics so i feel my input has some level of expertise.

    First off to say "velocity calculations is a fuzzy subject" is purely false. Equations of uniformly accelerated linear motion have been around longer than the sport of baseball has been played. We use these equations (precisely) to determine what speeds, forces, and angles are required to launch rockets into space and back, how to build race tracks so cars don't fly off the turns, and how to predict how long it will take you to fly from NY to FL. This is an exact science, not fuzzy. However what you may have been trying to relay is that the variables can be unknown in the equation thus making the resuly unreliable. The basic variables needed for the equations of motion are; initial speed, acceleration, distance, and time. These are the variables needed for the classic version of the equation you teach high school students etc… but we are not discussing rocket science in this thread so they are appropriate for this.

    Brent, you are correct to say distance does not equal velocity, however velocity does not equal distance either. Note they have different units. For example one is in terms displacement if you will, i.e. miles; while the other is in terms of displacment over a period of time i.e. miles per hour. However the equation is equal and assuming all the other variables of acceleration (gravity), and time etc… are the same then distance can solve for initial velocity, and initial velocity can solve for distance regardless of which direction you solve the algebraic equation. For example if i told you i was traveling 60mph and i drove for (3) hours then we can calculate that we traveled 180miles. Just the same, if I said i traveled 180miles in (3) hours than we can calculate that we travel at a rate of 60 mph. Again this is assuming every variable was constant and the same, i.e. we were not accelerating to 80mph and then slowing to 40mph during the traveled time etc…

    So what is my point. My point is to argue that becasue you can "throw the ball 250 feet doesn't mean you are throwing 85mph" is a statement without any conditions. Sure I can put my (5) year old on top of a 250 ft building and ask her to throw the ball off. Assuming gravity does not accelerate the ball to 85mph we can still claim the ball traveled 250 at a speed of less than 85pmh. Just as i can state that I can throw a ball 100mph and it will not displace (travel) 250ft. If i throw that 100mph ball straight up into the air then it comes back down it went nowhere. Getting back on point, velocity does have something to do with distance if every variable is the same. If i throw the ball at a known velocity, and a know angle to the ground, in a knowm amount of time assuming no drag coefficient etc… then i can calculate how far the ball will travel. That's how the ball goes into the upper deck in home run derbys and they know how far it would have gone had it not been caught. Applying that to throwing a ball if the angle were the same and i knew how far it traveled (same amount of time etc…) then I can calculate the velocity. This is how radar guns and spedometers are made. So yes I think we can conceed that if you can throw the ball from the ground a distance of 350ft on a point on the ground somewhere else that you must have some amount of force (velocity) to do that. I child who throws 45mph can not throw the ball 350ft (in this application – not the building example).

    To conclude that outfielders don't stride as far or has a different release point etc… therefor practicing those types of throws to me is absud. If i was throwing a runner out from deep right field and threw the ball 90mph straight into the ground 5 ft in front of me then that would not have served my purpose at that position, so obviously yes i must have a higher launch angle to get the ball to travel further. Just as a pitcher throwing 90mph does not mean the ball would have ultimately traveled 60ft – 6". Unless he released the ball to fall into the ground, it would continue to travel. It stops because the catcher stopped the ball, not because it was his release point.

    What you have not mentioned at all is angular rotation. That is the rotating of your hips and core. This creates a force and it is the same regardless if you release the ball high or low if the speed of rotation is the same. I suggest that outfielders rotate just as violently as pitchers perhaps even moreso when they launch there bodies into the air in the direction of their throws. However they perhaps stride (linearly) less than a pitcher becasue time is of the importance. When a pitcher strides with no runners on base it doesn't matter if his stride takes 1 second or 2 seconds. But the difference in one second to the outfielder could be the difference in the runner scoring or not. That means if the thrower consistantly throw 90pmh a given distance, the only other variable they can change is (time) which means the outfield must stride shorter and release sooner to get that runner out.

    Your example of Josh Beckett throwing is not in context. That is a still picture of a a pitch and a still picture of him throwing the ball somewhere else. Why was he striding shorter? Is he only 20ft from his target, is time of the essence to get a runner out, is he warming up or is this game time? None of these questions are answered in the photo. I can speak again about physics and math that if you stride a certain distance on a flat ground, and then you make that same length stride and then drop it down the distance of the pitchers mound it will be longer. Pythangorian thereom, thus it does appear that he is striding further. But another reason was also never mentioned why pitchers stride longer. It goes back to our motion equation. If i decrease my distance from the mound to the plate, and i am throwing the ball with the same velocity, then the ball will get to the plate faster. The velocity of the pitch didn't change, the distance did, therefor the time it takes to get to the plate was faster and the batter must react quicker. To assume that the stride puts you in a more powerful position is just common since. Look at the phots you supplied, now put a 200lb bar bell on their shoulders which stance would you prefer to use your legs? Obvousily the more upright stance, which goes back to angular velocity. The longer stride allows your body to rotate at the core longer and generate more power. The linear motion to home plate does not add that much power in comparision to rotating.

    I've exhausted my time, sorry so long, would love to hear all of the comments.

  7. says

    I answered this question in comment 38. I said 1-2 mph but it would take a dynamic before static stretching program and it would take a very long time. The problem here is that you should never just focus on one thing to increase velocity. You should use every tool you have which would be a fast twitch muscle fiber focused training program with anaerobic conditioning, mechanical adjustments in your pitching delivery to develop momentum and torque through total body movements, dynamic and static stretching routine, joint integrity program, nutritional support and a mental edge.

    Most cheap radar guns pick up the highest speeds. More advanced and expensive guns can pick up all different moments of speed in the path of the ball. The velocity speeds you see with MLB pitchers on TV are picking up the highest speeds.

    How far you can throw to velocity calculations is a fuzzy subject because science shows that velocity equals distance but distance doesn't equal velocity. Programs like Alan Jaeger's long toss to velocity is very misleading because of what I just stated. Just because you can throw the ball 250 feet doesn't mean you are throwing 85 mph. If someone is selling you this then this is a SCAM.

  8. mariners says

    yes.. but i'm asking if an increase in flexibility can add velocity to your ball. Also.. when a major leauge ball player pitches, do they get clocked at release point rather than when it crosses the plate?

    And do you think the "how far you can throw" to velocity calculations are fairly accurate?. for a poor man's radar gun?

  9. mariners says

    are you talking about stretching before a game?? Or gaining flexibility over time a long period of time? sorry if i am confusing… i'm not sure how to word this properly

  10. says

    No not 8-10mph. 1-2 mph maybe but this is a sensitive issue. Cold static stretching has proven to actually damage muscles and decrease elastic energy effects. Therefore this would lower velocity. Cold static stretching is static stretching when your body temperature is cold. This means poor blood flow.

    Dynamic stretching into static stretching done properly will increase the range of motion in the joints along with building joint strength. This will increase your ability to generate more torque with good mechanics, like the 6 components to pitching in the Ace Pitcher handbook. The Handbook also has a full Dynamic and Static Stretching program.

    Good question!

  11. mariners says

    what about stretching? i've heard claims of 8-10 mph gained just by adding flexibility. Can flexibility really do this?

  12. BM32 says

    I am currently a college pitcher and we use the jaeger long toss program. I cannot long toss to 320 ft. but off the mound I am 89-92 and touch 94. Without a doubt this is because I can use my body more efficiently off the mound.

  13. says

    I respect your passion on this issue because I have your same passion when it comes to getting the edge with velocity.

    I as you, tried all of these experiments with trial and error using long toss and weighted balls. I exhausted myself with these experiments for over 10-15 years pre surgery and post surgery. I would even take this approach into my pitching delivery. There is nothing I haven't tried when it comes to pitching, except for steroids.

    The day I broke 90+mph post surgery, which I had at 18 years old when I was throwing 86mph with horrendous mechanics, it happened because of a new program I was on for about 6months to a year. The day I found this program was the day I decided to stop making this stuff up and seek professional help from those who I felt knew what they were talking about. I found Tom House and Kurt Hester. Tom House taught me about hip to shoulder separation, which I had none and Kurt taught me speed and strength like you wouldn't believe. With this combination I experienced an 8mph increase in velocity.

    I wasn't long tossing past 200 feet. I wasn't using weighted balls. I was performing the Olympic lifts, plyos, and sprint work, 1 hour a day, 5 days a week while I was playing for a travel team in the summer. If I pitched on a day of a lift, I would not change my program. I would lift at full intensity and then pitch a 7-9 inning game. This is because the lifting program was lower body dominate. I wasn't pounding my arms. I was pounding my legs. I also was working on good hip to shoulder separation before the game. I thought at this time, that with the lifting intensity and the pitching of 7-9 innings that my body would give out and it did the opposite. I would finish a 9 inning game with higher velocities than in the first inning. I continued this program and it is what I believe put me into pro ball after doctors told me I would never be able to compete again.

    The program I used is now the Ace Pitcher Handbook. I am aware that this program isn't for everyone and that just because it worked for me it may not work for you. I get this but you will never know if a program like this will have the same effect on you if you don't give it your best.

    I also believe that the reason arm injuries have increased by 700% in the past ten years is because pitchers are training outside of the mechanics of the pitcher. Extreme long toss mechanics is a lot different than on the mound mechanics. I explain this here

    http://topvelocity.net/the-proper-research-on-why

    This is also the case in the weight room. This is why I believe the Olympic lifts are the only intense lifts you should use because they have a lot of similarities in mechanics to pitching. You can read more about this point in the first article I wrote on this site.

    http://topvelocity.net/olympic-velocity/

  14. Iwillhit100mph says

    I would like to introduce a little bit more practical approach than Canseco sized chickens and baseball on the moon. This discussion will cover two topics which will correlate into one that will pertain to long toss and weighted balls. The first will go over a semi-experiment that I tried yesterday with another another pitcher. We got nice and loose by running a mile, doing 20 minutes or so of stretching and warmed up the throwing muscles of the arm with some bands. We got loose for about 20 minutes, starting at 30 feet and extended to 300 feet. We were on a turf football field here at the college so our measurements were easy. Every 5-10 throws we extended our distance 10 yards. We were goal line to goal line and decided to air it out a bit more so we moved to the back of each end zone, 120 yards or 360 feet. We weren't quite making the throws the full distance, which we weren't taking a huge crowhop, just a simple sidestep. We were getting it around 330 feet for 10 throws. Here comes the variable, we grabbed a softball and decided to throw it 10 times and switch back to the baseball. Some stats about these two balls are: given the rulebook of baseball, it should weigh no less than 5 ounces and no more than 5.25 ounces 142-149 grams.. The softball weighs between 6.25 ounces and 7 ounces 178-198.4 grams. Given these stats we have increased the weight 25-40%. We didn't let up on our throws, but didn't try to over throw, we used the same throwing motion. Our first couple throws landed around the 20 yard line from the opposite goal line for 240ft, which is a 27 percent decrease from our distance from the baseball. This was understandable, we increased the weight >25% and decreased distance 27%. We added 3-10 yards on our next few throws until I landed one on the goal line for a 300ft throw on my 9th throw. Not only did this excite me because I knew I was getting close to the same distance with the softball as I was with the baseball. I knew what this would equate into by switching back to the baseball. By the end of throwing the softball it was traveling 91% the distance of the baseball even with the >25% increase in weight. Another factor with the softball is the size, it's circumference as we all know is bigger which creates more resistance, which in turn causes a faster rate of deceleration causing less distance. Now I don't know if I had a 6.25-7oz baseball, that I would have made it back to the 330ft I was reaching with the 5-5.25oz baseball, but I am certain that the distance would have been slightly increased. So this puts the 91% maybe up to 92-95%, but I can't formulate the exact. What I can tell from this distance increase is that my body adjusted to the increase of weight allowing me to achieve a greater distance. While I don't know the exacts on how this happened, I'm sure that there was lengthening of the muscles going on allowing for my arm to accelerate and put more force behind the ball creating a longer throw. This relates to Olympic sprinters having long lean muscles to generate sped and quickness, if you have ever been at a meet they are constantly stretching and keeping their muscles long and warm. Our muscles were beyond warm from throwing and the softball gave us a slight stretch allowing us to get a little bit longer in our throwing motion. The split second extension of our actual throw was in our extension, and the higher amount of time we have to accelerate our arms, the high velocity we can attain or further length in this case. Now I'm sure you all are wondering what happened in our next few throws. Anyone that has thrown a weighted ball will understand that moving back to a lower weight will greatly affect your release point. To me the lighter ball almost feels like one of those styrofoam balls we used in elementary school to make those solar system models. Knowing this I moved to the back of the end zone under the uprights and gave about 80-90% of my previous throws. This throw came out lower than my previous throws from the adjusted weight and short hopped the base of the field goal 360ft away. This throw was approximately 355ft or 7.5% further than my last throw with the baseball. This throw seemed a lot easier at 80-90% than my last throw of closer to 95% and went further. For my next throw I decided to put a bit more on it and threw it through the uprights about 20 past the base. Because there are no markings beyond our 360ft field we walked it off to be about 380ft. My throwing partner was also now getting it beyond the end of the end zone to around 365ft. We also noticed as we got closer to the end of our ten throws our distance is shortening. Possibly because of fatigue or possibly our muscles were shortening back to where they were with the baseball or a combination of both. This will be a test for future dates. I could look up studies performed or test results on muscles stretching and lengthening to supplement the results for this throwing session, but it won't be necessary. I will look into it more, but I'm sure this is going off of the same principle of stretching the arm and warming up to throw by throwing to warm up. In other words a pitcher can't go out and toss the ball his maximum distance or maximum velocity on his first throw. This is proven from my throwing and I have it on video, but will it apply to the next time I throw? Will a steady program of weighted throwing eventually give me an increase in the long term? This I don't know, but the results will be included in the end of my program. I don't know the exact velocity on these throws because my stalker is messing up but I have another one on the way. When it comes in I will have a chart based on distance thrown to velocity at release. An interesting question about this topic would be, why is the baseball 5oz and what if it wasn't? Does throwing a heavier or lighter apparatus really cause harm to the arm? What if the baseball was 4oz or 6oz, would this weight become the norm in muscle memory and a 5oz baseball become the enemy and heavily scrutinized? I don't have it in my program, but what if a pitcher threw a 6oz ball for an extended period of time? Would it have a more beneficial impact on the muscle memory and extension when the 5oz baseball was reverted back to? Although I won't be finding the answers to these questions, my second topic relates to them. Back in college a fellow pitcher and I were having a "college" weekend and ended up at our pitching coach's apartment. We saw his radar gun and decided to take it out and mess with it. We started clocking the cars on the freeway and then for some dumb reason we starting throwing the little charcoal bricks out of the bag. After throwing them for about 5 minutes we noticed they were coming out at a pretty high velocity. Obviously we weren't thinking about why, we were probably thinking that whiskey was our new pitching steroid or something. Nevertheless, I started getting into the mid 90's and my friend was hitting around 90. This was on average about 5-6mph harder for the both of us. I eventually got up to 98mph, and my friend up to 92mph. Not sure about the exact weight of a brick of charcoal, but it is probably around 1.5-3oz. Obviously this increase is do to the body and arm having to move less mass; less mass meaning there is less weight to hold the arm back from accelerating. This was about in the middle of my college season, which was pretty dumb, but my arm was in great shape and very used to the weight of 5oz for throwing. What if we took this same approach to the baseball as the charcoal. What if the body got into shape with a higher weight and then as the season approached we introduced the 5oz ball, making the 5oz ball the version of the charcoal? Definitely an interesting approach to take. I hope that these two examples has shed some light on the aspect of using weighted balls to extend your throwing distance which relates to increasing velocity. Also into the physics of how the arm is conditioned with a typical 5oz ball and how the mass of the ball affects the velocity of how it is released and at what velocity.

  15. says

    Good information. If I am coaching 13 to 16 year olds the O lifts, based on their physical maturity, I have them work with a stick or the bar because I am not focusing on hormonal enhancement at this young of an age.

    I used these lifts for a good five years during the time I was recovering from rotator cuff surgery and I never had an injury but I do recommend you have a certified strength and conditioning specialist coach you through the lifts.

  16. says

    Brent, I like the idea of increasing the testosterone level naturally because of all the synthetic estrogen in plastics, pesticides, ect. Breast cancer, uterine cancer, prostrate cancer and E.D. are taking their toll from these xenohormones. We are all being hit hard with excess estrogen. A warning on Olympic lifts comes from the Hughston Clinic in Columbus, Ga.

    see link:
    http://www.hughston.com/hha/a_15_2_2.htm
    Quote:

    "Olympic-style and competitive weightlifting are very dangerous for any age group and should be avoided entirely in the prepubescent and adolescent age groups. Olympic lifting movements, such as the power clean, "snatch," and clean-and-jerk, are associated with low back injuries and spinal defects such as spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis and are not appropriate for these age groups."

    Another Doctor at Emory University in Atlanta says squats and other Olympic lifts cause pars fractures in adolescents.

  17. says

    Iwillhit100mph my position that the G force on the chicken wasn't the reason for the growth is because it was only apart of the process that lead to the growth. The growth actually occurred after the damage to the anatomical systems and the hormonal response of the chickens when placed in the centrifuges.

    Iwillhit100mph where you are missing the big picture here is that resistance is key but it must be applied to big muscle groups. Applying resistance to small muscle groups is not as effective in developing power. Weighted balls applies resistance to small muscle groups. I use medicine balls with my pitchers. My velocity drills consist of med throws with two hands, focusing on generating torque and momentum but these drills are for mechanic work, they do not apply enough resistance to the big muscle groups to cause enough damage for the body to respond with a dump of GH and Testosterone. Weighted balls will not do it either. You must use functional total body lifts with intense levels of resistance where you are working for both speed and strength. This would include Olympic lifting, plyos and sprinting at high intensities. I have posted countless articles on this site covering this material. I suggest you read more.

  18. Iwillhit100mph says

    Well the majority of my last post was not pertaining to these birds so I take it I was on point with the rest. The most important piece of information was a given since it was mentioned back in my first post. The point was adaptation, you just broke down the conditioning of adaptation due to a stress on the full body. I'm loving the analogies though, I see increased gravity training the same as runners training in higher altitudes to adapt to lower oxygen levels so when they compete they can do more with less.

    "The chickens didn’t grow bigger because of the increased force of gravity but because this increased force was breaking down their muscular and skeletal systems faster than when they were outside of the centrifuges."

    I don't understand this claim in it's entirety, you state it's not because of the increased force, but it IS because of THIS force that is break down? Now wouldn't it be the increased gravity that is causing all these things? It's kinda like a cause and effect and you are stating there is the effect without the cause. The weight training and resistance training is similar, so wouldn't weighted balls be a type of resistance training? It focuses more on the arm, but by throwing them with a throwing motion it causes the entire body to become active to compensate for the overload causing the GH and test to aid and heal. The entire body is used and the same muscles, tendons, and ligaments are forced to a higher extreme when more weight is moved, thus creating this reaction. I see you're not a fan of the weighted balls due to the injury factor, but do you think there could be an acceptable medium to use them? I believe so; each individual has a different limit of where this medium could be, some could be extremely high to where others would be low. I believe that most pitchers my age, who have physically peaked as far as growth who maintain a strong base and core will have a higher threshold for weighted ball and long toss throwing because the body can support it easier. I'm not just about these two types of throwing as you can see I believe in numerous different activities that are beneficial to pitchers. I believe that the better athlete, the better the pitcher. In my study I'm not trying to gain velocity by just doing these two types of throwing, I have a lot of different programs intertwined into one. If the increased resistance on all of the bodies systems could in fact return increased velocity, I would try to figure out what to do if someone couldn't afford to throw pens in NASA's gravity chambers. If we had this chamber what exercises would benefit the most, throwing of course. The best way to become a better pitcher is to pitch, an explosive full-body movement. So explosive drills could be the key. Without this chamber how could we do explosive movements with increased resistance? By adding resistance, and resistance bands are my lifeblood, I am more true to them than my belief of throwing long. We could increase resistance by throwing with weighted balls, jogging with ankle weights, doing plyo's with a weighted vest, sprinting with a chute, doing throwing drills in and under water, doing jump squats with a barbell, using a rice or sand bucket. I believe all these fit into the same category, all with their advantages and disadvantages, but for our purpose of increasing fast twitch and explosiveness have their place. I know Dicks teachings well and based my mechanics off of Ryan's demonstrations. I credited him with me setting 7 high school state records, but as I became more knowledgeable I had to look past his teachings. Do you really think that anabolics can add to velocity? I haven't looked into it much, did a couple papers on it in my undergrad, but I always saw them more beneficial to pitchers as a recovery agent. I believe that they can help a pitcher train harder and longer, thus providing whatever results are attained from the type of training they have partaken. I enjoy conversing on here and find it very intriguing. Your rebuttals spark thoughts I would have otherwise not had, which I hope will very beneficial for my program. As for physics I am a layman, but biology and kinesiology are my knacks. I understand to achieve the best results, all of these fields must be brought together. It's not that I don't understand the points you are making, I just didn't include them, kind of like when I only included long toss and weighted ball training in my first post. Even though I didn't mention all the other programs included in my overall training, doesn't mean they weren't there. Where do you stand on resistance tubing, can you see it adding to velocity or more of a prehab-rehab or a combination?

  19. says

    This chicken and G force study is my point exactly. Why spend all of your time trying to make the arm grow instead of the entire body? This would be like a race car driver spending his entire career trying to find the perfect tires to increase his speed when everyone else, who is kicking his ars, is always working to enhance their engine performance. Power is generated from the ground up through the big muscle groups, not from the shoulder up through the small muscle groups.

    Now back to your chicken and G force study. You never explained why the chickens grew bigger. You made a great point and left out the most important piece of information. The chickens didn't grow bigger because of the increased force of gravity but because this increased force was breaking down their muscular and skeletal systems faster than when they were outside of the centrifuges. This damage to these anatomical systems triggered the endocrine system to produce higher amounts of growth hormones and sex hormones like testosterone to heal and protect the body so the chickens could escape death. Now we are on to something! This chicken and G force study proves that when adding more gravity to your body, like weight training or resistance training, your body will produce more growth and sex hormones to heal the damaged area. This would also prove why illegal hormonal supplementation like steroids is so effective in generating speed, strength and hypertrophy which increases velocity and bat speed. Great examples of this are everyone on the Mitchell Report who has been banned from the MLB, and Dick Mill's says working out will not help a pitchers velocity! He needs to read the chicken and G force study.

    Iwillhit100mph I like your research and hope you continue to bring more of it here to TopVelocity.net. I would recommend that you study as much biology and kinesiology as you do physics because you are missing the boat on some of these issues.

  20. Iwillhit100mph says

    I wasn't trying to name drop and I didn't mention any other names besides Alex, just to support my knowledge on Jaeger's program firsthand. I never said I agreed with his program, just that I agreed in going long. His program takes a playing players approach versus a researchers. In some ways I agree with his approach because the player has experiences firsthand and can feel, understand, and read his body thus knowing what works best for him. I am going off what works best for me for my thesis, I'm sure if Dan was doing a thesis he would advocate pectoral development and equal development of supporting muscle groups to the extreme. In college I would lift heavy with my upper body, just because I love it, I would bench 300 for sets. I knew Nolan, Farnsworth and other hard throwers had above average bench weights for pitchers, so why not try it? I noticed that my pec, in the armpit area was constantly fighting for elasticity. When I would bench and it would grow it would tighten up, then when I would go throw the fibers would stretch and start popping or tearing. I finally realized that the arm supports throwing easier by being extremely loose and limber acting like a whip. Would you want your arm throwing like a whip or a grapevine? Why would I want my rubberband becoming tighter and then trying to stretch it the same length? I didn't get into my supplemental training with arm bands, body blade, weight training, med ball drills, plyometrics, cardio, ab and core program, yoga, stretching, agility, mechanical video analysis, etc because this was mainly on long toss. I know the direct benefits of a strong base and core and know this one of the main components of pitching. I cannot agree with your claim that poor mechanics affect velocity, look at k-rod when he was in the mid 90's. What is he 160 soaking wet and his back is to home after his delivery if he is not on the ground. I'd love to take PFP's with this guy, but anyway, he gets everything possible out of his body, similar to what a guy would have to do to throw to the extent of his capabilities. Now mechanically, who would teach it? But even though he is out of control, he has become familiar with it and has succeeded at doing it his way. I am one for do what works for you as a pitcher. I know that by stretching the subscapularis then you are able to have a greater ROM, but do you now agree that by stretching out the extensors of the forearms, delts, lats, tri and bi of the arm will allow for greater extension and an actual longer lever. A longer lever at the same acceleration will create more velocity, I'm sure we've all ready the Johnson and Wagner lever approach to why different size guys can throw with equal velocity. I have looked into javelin throwers a lot for training and mechanical techniques, because those guys can throw for good velocity if you put a ball in their hand, and their whole sport is throwing long. For the weighted balls, I'm not talking about going 200ft with a 9oz ball, I use them in shorter distances with a non violent throw with all the heavier ones, increasing putout as the weight goes down. This also stretches the arm out creating the same effect of long toss, with a component over overload training. Why do guys swing a weighted bat or with a doughnut on? To overload their muscles to become quicker when less weight or stimuli is presented, same concept similar approach. As far as astrology is concerned I don't even venture into that nor have I, gravity deals with physics and throwing a baseball is physics. So I think I am on the right page here, unconventional yes, but relevant nonetheless. I'm sure Edison had people telling him to just improve the candle because that was the best way for light. Gravity is basically the force exerted between masses and the attraction between the two. Adding more stimuli such as a weighted ball is a way similar to that of a gravity theory. I'm sure you are starting to see why the gravity increase is a topic to me. Adding a weighted ball is only adding more stimuli to mostly the arm while the stimuli decreases down the body to the supporting muscles. Since you are completely right about the entire body being involved in pitching then you should agree that if stimuli was increased to the entire body then it would have a more profound effect than just a weighted ball to the arm. I'm not pro gravity training or not, just curious and like to hear other opinions. Check this study out and apply it to a pitcher:

    "There was the hyper-G work done on chickens, for example, by

    Arthur Hamilton ("Milt") Smith in the 1970s. Milt Smith was a gravity specialist at the University of California at Davis who wanted to find out what would happen to humans if they lived in greater-than-normal G-forces. Naturally, he experimented on animals, and he decided that the animal that most closely resembled man for this specific purpose was the chicken. Chickens, after all, had a posture similar to man's: they walked upright on two legs, they had two non-load-bearing limbs

    (the wings), and so on. Anyway, Milt Smith and his assistants took a flock of chickens — hundreds of them, in fact — and put them into the two eighteen-foot-long centrifuges in the university's Chronic Acceleration Research Laboratory, as the place was called.

    "They spun those chickens up to two-and-a-half Gs and let them stay there for a good while. In fact, they left them spinning like that day and night, for three to six months or more at a time. The hens went around and around, they clucked and they cackled and they laid their eggs, and as far as those chickens were concerned that was what ordinary life was like: a steady pull of two-and-a-half Gs. Some of those chickens spent the larger portion of their lifetimes in that goddamn accelerator.

    "Well, it was easy to predict what would happen. Their bones

    would get stronger and their muscles would get bigger–because they had all that extra gravity to work against. A total of twenty-three generations of hens was spun around like this and the same thing happened every time. When the accelerator was turned off, out walked . .GREAT MAMBO CHICKEN!

    "These chronically accelerated fowl were paragons of brute

    strength and endurance. They'd lost excess body fat, their hearts

    were pumping out greater-than-normal volumes of blood, and their extensor muscles were bigger than ever. In consequence of all this, the high-G chickens had developed a three-fold increase in their ability to do work, as measured by wingbeating exercises and treadmill tests

    SOURCE: http://yarchive.net/space/science/g_tolerance.htm

  21. says

    I am not worried at all. Why should I be worried? I have already had a career in baseball. I developed TopVelocity.net to show pitchers of interest how I gained enough velocity to make it from surgery in college to pro ball. I can see how this website is a threat to your buddy Alan Jaeger because it goes against his program which costs him money.

    I am all for his Thesis paper. I would like to even post it on this site if he would give me permission.

    I think Rob you have me all wrong. I am not angry or bitter about anything. I believe in science and how it has changed baseball. It just continues to shock me how uneducated coaches and players are in this game. I am just trying to educate those who are looking for the education.

    Your quote "The thing I continue to not understand about what you are postulating is that thowing 95 miles per hour off of a mound is somehow less stressful on your arm than throwing long distance long toss." The reason is because as stated in the ASMI case study on flat ground throwing ( http://www.asmi.org/asmiweb/research/usedarticles… ) "At ball release, the trunk was most upright during long-distance (120 and 180 ft) throws." This means that throwing the ball 180 feet is more of an all arm throw than throwing the ball on flat ground. Therefore it is less of a total body movement which means the arm is taking more stress. The case study also states that "elbow varus torque was greatest during 180' throwing."

    <div style="display:block;width:100%;"><img class="alignnone size-medium wp-image-1633" title="beckett" src="http://topvelocity.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/beckett-300×140.jpg&quot; alt="beckett" width="300" height="140" /></div>

    Here is a picture of Josh Becket in both throwing positions which illustrates this case study. You can see how the body is less involved in the long toss position than when pitching on the mound.

  22. Rob says

    Sounds like you are a little worried about what this guys thesis will turn up. Why not let the guy do his study and see how it turns out? You don't need to try to talk him out of doing his theseis. Maybe he will prove you right? Maybe he will prove you wrong?

    I think he made a lot of sense. The thing I continue to not understand about what you are postulating is that thowing 95 miles per hour off of a mound is somehow less stressful on your arm than throwing long distance long toss. Don't you realize that as you work on your legs and your core as you suggest, that all that power you are producing with "strong" legs like all the pitchers have, will produce greater arm speed, which is why the ball goes faster. Don't you agree that the ball goes faster because the arm is moving faster? Shouldn't you train for that? With long toss?

  23. says

    Iwillhit100mph I appreciate your comment here but I would like to save you a lot of time with your thesis paper. If you approach velocity by just training the arm, like Jaeger does, you will not produce the desired effects. I know this because after I tore my rotator cuff and doctors told me I would never play again, I took this same approach you are taking and I almost had to have surgery again.

    For you to say "long toss and weighted balls good for velocity but bad for mechanics" is poor logic. Creating bad mechanics will majorly effect velocity. This is why all professional organizations use pitching coaches who analyze pitching mechanics.

    As for dropping names, I have worked out and played with major League ball players as well. Some of them are Ben Sheets, Dan Miceli, Jack Cresend who I never saw or heard throw the ball more than 200 feet for training. Dan Miceli is a 14 year major leaguer and his training program involved a 2 hour lift where he would bench press over 400 pounds and squat over 500 pounds. Then he would throw a pen. I know this because we trained together in Orlando Florida for the 2002 off season. I also run a baseball academy called Guerilla Baseball in Louisiana with a hitting instructor. He was drafted in the 12th round by the Cubs and his name is Chuck Hickman. He never throws the ball more than 100 feet and he can today get on the mound and throw the ball 90+mph. I am 33 and I am still around 90mph myself. Chuck and I train using the Fusion System in the Ace Pitcher Handbook. it focuses on total body functional strength.

    The problems with your program is that you are over training the subscapularis. This is one muscle that is the main contributor to internally rotating the arm. This is the main muscle that you are talking about in this sentence from your post above "Going long is exactly that, not only are you extending the distance you are throwing but you are extending your ROM, extension and muscle length." This is why the weighted ball programs are risky because you are putting a lot of high risk stress on the subscapularis. You are also creating elbow varus torque with the extreme long toss and weighted balls which I talk about in this article with a reference to Dr. Andrews study on this problem. http://topvelocity.net/the-proper-research-on-why

    The main issue with this type of training, that you and Alan Jaeger are advocating, is that it does not focus on momentum or building torque in the big muscle groups of the body. Like the core and leg muscles. You will notice that the one thing all hard throwers have is extremely strong legs. They will all tell you this. If you agree with this statement then you need to ask yourself why am I not focusing on core and legs in my approach to gain velocity?

    I also have a pitcher Jonathan who is with the Angels in low A ball and he had Tommy John surgery two years ago. Before and after the surgery he was throwing long toss and pushing his distances. His velocity was not recovering. Once he stopped the extreme long toss his velocity started to come back. This is because pitchers who have damaged their throwing arms must learn to take stress away from the arm and put it into the big muscle groups on the body if they are ever going to throw hard again. This is the reason not to follow programs like yours and Jaegers because you are putting the health of your arm at risk like Jaeger's claim to fame, Joel Zumaya. Once you damage your arm, extreme long toss will continue to damage your career.

    If you really want to learn velocity you need to spend more time studying biology than astrology. Learning about gravity and the moon will not help you learn how to develop more power on the mound.

    Don't just take my word for it. Here is a quote from Wes Pennington, a student researcher with Dr. Andrews, on ASMI's forums. In this post he was responding to my article on long toss research. To read the entire post visit http://asmiforum.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=ge

    "Throw, throw, and throw with short, medium, and long toss to tolerance. Distance magnifies mechanical mistakes and increases risk of injury due to poor strength, low endurance, or muscle failure. Tolerance means athletes should throw at distances where perfect mechanics and functional strength and endurance match up. [A small, weak athlete with poor mechanics should throw at shorter distances; an athlete in muscle failure from a previous outing should throw only at a distance where stiffness or soreness doesn’t affect mechanics." – Wes Pennington

  24. Iwillhit100mph says

    Hey guys, very compelling argument from both sides. I am currently about to begin my thesis for my masters,and guess what it could be! Gaining pitching velocity! I am a current minor league pitcher who normally throws 89-91 and have touched 94-95. About the long toss, it will definitely be implemented into my program. I have constructed a 10 week and a 90 day preseason workout/throwing program to maximize velocity. I have a couple friends who are mlb starters and relievers along with numerous minor league guys and managers I have inquired about their training and what they see most beneficial to each of them pertaining to achieving their peak velo each season. I am also good friends with Alex Merricks, who if you have seen Jaegers videos on youtube, was one of his main students who swears by the program. Alex and I played together for a year and we both feel the same about going long, do it! Going long is exactly that, not only are you extending the distance you are throwing but you are extending your ROM, extension and muscle length. I can honestly saw I am up about 3-5mph after going 325-350ft and coming back in to 60-70ft. I am making a video documentary of this on a stalker gun to show results. I also believe in weighted ball training because of the extra extension, and force that has to be exhorted. With that said, neither long toss or weighted ball training helps with actual pitching because it will actually make a pitcher less accurate and both diminish mechanics. If all these are used together then an athletic medium can be gained with added velocity. The sprinter to pitcher analogy is rather irrelevant in my mind because you are taking two explosive movements, pitching and sprinting, and extending the sprinting distance compared to throwing length. Now each stride is one full explosive movement, just as one pitch or throw is one explosive movement. So by extending your 100m to 500m would be like extending 10 throws from 320ft to 50 throws from 320ft. We are talking about endurance over the individual explosive movement. Which is much needed, but doesn't really pertain to the situation. A much more relevant analogy I have always wanted to test would be gravity training and on paper it would have to work. It's kind of out there but logically it would provide better athletes in all sports. For example, the moon has 1/8 gravity of our earth, so if I'm throwing a ball 300ft here, I can throw it 2400 on the moon. But my body being adjusted to less gravity, my body muscles would deteriorate and I would be throwing less distance each time. Hence, astronauts loosing massive amounts of muslce mass while in space while working out. It's the gravity, bc our mass weighs less, the muscles don't have to work as hard to do any and all movements. Now think about it if an athlete, pitcher for example could live, breathe, eat, sleep, train in a gravity altered environment with an increase in gravity. Our body would be heavier and our muscles would have to work harder just to accomplish what is stored in muscle memory as a norm. Think about throwing with this alteration. Adaptation would result to the altered environment and just imagine once the individual was returned to normal gravity. Say the gravity was increased 10%, if the individual reached the same efficiency in the increased environment then that would prove to be a 10% increase to the original environment. So take a pitcher throwing 92, 92*.10=9.2+92=101.2mph, could it be possible? Thats just a theory I have, I'd love to see it applied in experiment. But yea, overall, long toss and weighted balls good for velo, bad for mechanics. Videos to come soon on youtube for program

  25. says

  26. Rob says

    You have no idea what my approach is…Old School? Incredible! I am sure you want to be thought of "New School" so your business sounds cutting edge. I challenge you to put up a video clip on your site and explain why you think who ever you choose to analyze, throws hard. I would like for you to show me what mechanics are being performed in the act of throwing the ball. Be specific. Don't say – "He using his whole body as one unit", or "He has trained his core muslces." Take me frame by frame on an analysis of what is going on in the mechanics. I would love to hear what you have to say.

  27. says

    "You have really taken the “ripping your arm out of your socket” comment and run with it!. "

    This is because your comment is the reason I started this website and it does a great job proving my point in this arguement. This comment along with your next one, "Throwing overhand is an unnatural act" is what I like to call conventional wisdom. Throwing overhand doesn't have to be unnatural if you understand how the body can work together as a single unit. This means each muscle group taking on as much of the stress as possible to distribute this stress across the muscular system as evenly as possible. Therefore training a pitcher does not involve throwing the ball as hard and as far as you can, so your arm is forced to deal with a lot of damage and stress because if you are going to throw 90mph this is the kind of stress you are going to have to handle. Training a pitcher properly involves teaching the body to work as a single unit and during training applying stress evenly across the body with the focus on developing more fast twitch muscle fibers without putting varus torque on the shoulder and elbow. Which occurs during longing tossing 180feet plus on flat ground. Which is listed in the case study I have asked you to read but it seems you have not.

    http://www.asmi.org/asmiweb/research/baseball.htm

    I do not know how else to paint this picture for you. Maybe this will help. Your approach is more "Old School" and my approach is more "New School." There, I can live with that!

  28. Rob says

    You have really taken the "ripping your arm out of your socket" comment and run with it!. However many times you use that quote against me does not take away from what is happening when you throw the ball. Throwing overhand is an unnatural act. The idea is the build up as much momentum as you possibly can to generate the most violent arm action possible. I am not saying that it should fell like that, all I am saying is that you better train your arm to so that is ready to handle that type of force. That is why I advocate long toss because it trains your arm to do that. If you think that long toss is going to hurt someones arm because it is too stressful then that same arm is not going to be able to maintain it's health when trying to throw the ball 90 MPH plus from a mound. And I agree that mechanics have everything to do with it.

  29. says

    There is a lot more to this website than just pictures and words. I have been playing this game all of my life and I have been studying pitching for the past 10 plus years because of my rotator cuff tear.

    Pitching is harder on your arm than not pitching at all but it shouldn't be a performance of trying to rip your shoulder out of it’s socket; as you put it. If you learn to pitch, with the body as a single unit and building momentum and torque from the ground up then your shoulder will not feel like it is being ripped off. Before I had rotator cuff surgery, every time I pitched it felt like my shoulder was going to rip out of socket and during my first college appearance it actually did this. Doctors told me I would never pitch again. The only reason I was able to pitch again and throw in the 90's was because I learned total body mechanics and my arm no longer felt like it was being ripped out of socket.

    The reason I am allowing other opinions to be voiced on my site is because I want my viewers to know that this site is more than just pictures and words, as you put it. I appreciate you acknowledging my efforts!

  30. Rob says

    I have no affiilation with Jaeger, none. It just bothers me that someone can create a website and just because it has pictures and words people are supposed to believe them.

    If you do not get that pitching is hard on your arm, even though there are copius injuries to pitchers constantly then you probably don't understand how to train for it. It is obvious that bantering back and forth like this is not going to change your mind, or mine (no chance), but at least you are allowing other opinions to be voiced on this blog. So, I applaud you for that. Thanks for allowing an alternative view to yours be displayed.

  31. says

    Once again Jaeger has sent his posse for me. I guess 94mph post surgery doesn't mean anything to you. I see your reference and raise you mine http://topvelocity.net/mlb-folds-under-pressure/. I also guess Dr. Andrew's case study proving that long tossing 180 feet plus is bad for your arm doesn't mean anything to you either. I have to say it proves my point when you say that pitching is trying to rip your arm out of socket. Best of luck to you!

  32. Rob says

    I am sorry but you just don't understrand what it takes to throw the ball hard. The reason some people can throw long or hard from long distances is because of the momentum you get from stepping or crow hopping into the throw. The reason that those same people cannot throw hard off of a mound is because they cannot create the momentum that they need from the mound, because of inadequate mechanics from the mound.

    When you pitch you are basically trying to rip your shoulder out of it's socket everytime you throw the ball unless you are a knuckle ball pitcher. The arm must be trained to do that. That is where long toss helps. You must do shoulder exercises to create strength in the rotator cuff muscles to prevent elbow and shoulder problems. And you should do long toss, as Nolan Ryan advocates in order to keep your arm strong and prepare it for the rigors of pitching.

    http://roundthird.blogspot.com/2009/09/boost-for-

    It is crazy to point to one pitcher who had an injury and blame it on long toss. I can cite dozens of pitchers who have had arm problems and say it it because they did not long toss.

  33. says

    I am sorry if it sounds like I am talking down to you here but your logic is way off. Your quote,"The ability to throw the ball a long distance takes a ballistic movement just like throwing the ball hard from a shorter distance." This isn't exactly true. Throwing the ball on flat ground at distances of 300 feet uses different throwing mechanics as throwing the ball 60 feet on a mound or declined surface. This is proven in the ASMI case study I reference in this article http://topvelocity.net/the-proper-research-on-why….

    Your quote, "The same fast twitch muscles used to propel a ball 320 feet are used to throw a ball 90+." This isn't exactly true as well and the reason is in my previous statement above.

    Your quote, "Your argument supports mine." isn't true either because even if you were using the same fast twitch muscle fibers, and I will say it again, "Throwing long distance is a poor training program for Fast Twitch Muscle development and it puts unnecessary stress on the elbow and shoulder."

    You and Jaeger can argue this until you are both blue in the face but the point here is that using the "Air it out" training method to develop good mechanics and increase velocity is reckless and inefficient because the mechanics used to perform these throws are different from the mechanics pitchers use on the mound. It also puts more stress on the arm as stated in the ASMI case study. A great example is Joel Zumaya. He broke his shoulder bone pitching. This is Jaeger's claim to fame and he ruined his arm because of his all arm mechanics, more than likely developed from lots of "Air it out" long tossing. You don't have to take my word for it, here is an article on Chris Oleary's website about Joel Zumaya's bad mechanics http://www.chrisoleary.com/Projects/Baseball/Pitc… . If this would have happened to any other pitching coach like Dick Mills or Tom House these Coaches would have changed their program but did Jaeger change his, it doesn't sound like it!

  34. Rob says

    The sprinter to longer distances analogy is ridiculous. The ability to throw the ball a long distance takes a ballistic movement just like throwing the ball hard from a shorter distance. Your argument supports mine. The same fast twitch muscles used to propel a ball 320 feet are used to throw a ball 90+. It takes more than 5 times as long to run 500 yards as it does to run 100 yards, unlike the throw from 320 vs. the throw from 60 ft.

  35. says

    If your son was a sprinter and he competed in the 100 yard dash, would you have him stretch out his running program to distances 5 times that of 100 yards during training? Velocity is measured in muscle fibers. Those who have more fast twitch muscles fibers and longer limbs, throw harder than those who have less fast twitch muscle fibers and shorter limbs. Throwing long distance is a poor training program for Fast Twitch Muscle development and it puts unnecessary stress on the elbow and shoulder. Alan Jaeger contacted me about this article and pretty much said what you just said above and I followed up this debate with this article for Mr. Jaeger. I highly recommend that you read this article here http://topvelocity.net/the-proper-research-on-why… . If you are really looking for a correct throwing program then I also Highly recommend the Ace Pitcher Handbook http://www.TopVelocity.net/Ace-Pitcher-Handbook/

  36. says

    Alan Jaeger is right on with long toss. He does not promote anything other than throwing easy until you reach max distance. I have used my own made up long toss program to protect my son's arm. He has never had arm trouble except when some bonehead Coach threw him too much. They do not get a second chance. Bash Jaeger if you must but at least report the correct throwing program. The body throws the ball and our conditioning must be geared to holding the arm together because it is along for the ride.

  37. Joe Borders says

    Rob said:

    "The whole idea of pitching is to throw the ball as hard as you can. If your arm cannot handle a throw of 320 feet then it will not be able to handle throwing it 90 mph. A total body workout will not train your arm to withstand throwing the ball 90 mph. Building your arm up to being able to throw 320 feet will."

    Throwing the ball as hard as you can is not even close to encompassing the whole idea of pitching. Pitching deals more with the changing of speeds and location. Although speed plays a significant role, it is not by any means the "whole idea".

  38. rob says

    What I am saying is that not everyone can throw the ball 320 feet. If someone can only throw the ball 250 feet in long toss they will not be able to throw 90 MPH from the mound. I think you are assuming a player can throw the ball 320 feet. I am saying the if you do not train your arm to be able to move fast enough to throw 320 feet, then you will not be able to throw the ball 90 MPH.

    The whole idea of pitching is to throw the ball as hard as you can. If your arm cannot handle a throw of 320 feet then it will not be able to handle throwing it 90 mph. A total body workout will not train your arm to withstand throwing the ball 90 mph. Building your arm up to being able to throw 320 feet will.

    I am not against a total body workout. All I am saying is when you generate enough force to throw a ball 320 feet, your arm is moving the ball 90 mph. This is the same force you a generating on the mound to move the ball 90 mph. The way you do that is with proper mechanics that generate the same force that you have by stepping into a throw in long toss that will produce the 320 foot throw. The trick to pitching is to be able to generate the same momentum from the mound as you do stepping into a throw.

    Either way your arm is going to have to be able to handle the force applied to it.

    • says

      Rob,

      Thanks for the response.

      You need to understand that someone who throws the ball 90 mph isn't doing that with just his arm. The arm is made up of the deltoids, rotator cuff muscles, the biceps, triceps and forearm muscles. These muscle do very little in generating velocity in a 90+ mph pitcher. They mainly act as a guide for the pitch location. What generates the velocity is the rotation of the hips and shoulders which is building torque in the core and the momentum created from the leg lift and stride. You need to read my articles on Building Torque and Loading to understand more about how the total body generates velocity as a single unit http://topvelocity.net/pitching-torque-and-the-3-http://topvelocity.net/lift-for-show-load-for-doe… .

      My point about your original statement is that it is a risky strategy to use long toss to develop velocity because if you believe that your arm generates your velocity then the stress of trying to throw the ball 320 feet with just your arm could end your career. This is coming from a pitcher who had rotator cuff surgery because I also believed my arm generated my velocity. There are many more effective strategies to reaching your Top Velocity than using long toss. All you have to do is read the articles on this site and it will show you the way.

  39. rob says

    If you cannot throw a ball ~320 feet then you cannot throw a ball ~90 mph. However, because you can throw a ball ~320 feet, it does not mean you can throw a ball ~90 mph.

    If you cannot generate the ~320 foot distance in long toss that means your body, including your arm, cannot generate a ~90 mph pitch. It is a fact that it velocity equals distance and in order to throw a ball ~320 feet, it reaches a speed of ~90MPH

    So, it is not a placebo effect. In order to translate a ~320 foot throw into a ~90 mph fastball you must have the proper mechanics off of the mound. That is why outfielders who can throw ~350 feet cannot always throw 90 mph on the mound.

    So, in order to throw a ball ~90 mph, you have to be able to long toss ~320 feet and you have to have proper pitching mechanics from the mound to take advantage of your ability to propel a ball 90 MPH.

    • says

      Rob,

      I appreciate the comment.

      Based on your logic.

      90 mph is equal to 320ft

      320ft is not necessarily equal to 90mph

      You helped reinforce my point. Someone who can throw the ball 90mph already has the ability and mechanics to reach their top velocity. Therefore they are capable of throwing the ball 320ft but if an athlete is only capable of throwing the ball 320ft this doesn't mean they are throwing the ball 90mph. Based on this logic long toss has no effect on velocity. Which is also stated in your second sentence "However, because you can throw a ball ~320 feet, it does not mean you can throw a ball ~90 mph."

      Long toss is a placebo effect, because when throwing the ball that far it makes you feel strong and powerful because you are using more of your body to throw the ball the long distance. This gives you a boost of confidence when you shorten the distance, because you are using the same mechanics of the long distance for the shorter distance. The point of the article is to say that there is a lot of risk in using long toss to train your body to use more muscle groups when throwing the ball, because if your body does not recruit more muscle groups during long toss then the arm is forced to handle all of the stress. You can get the same and better training from total body workouts and using short distance drills to train the body to recruit more muscle groups when throwing the ball.

  40. Kyle Moloney says

    After reading your article on long toss, it made a lot of sense and had truth to it. I was wondering how you felt about the overload and underload training technique when it comes to throwing. Here is my training for throwing:

    Warm-up by playing catch with a regular 5oz ball

    120 feet with 6oz ball 10-15 throws

    60 feet with 6oz ball 10-15 throws

    120 feet with 4oz ball 10-15 throws

    60 feet with 4oz ball 10-15 throws

    Cool down by playing catch with a regular 5oz ball

    The 6oz ball is designed to build arm strength by overloading the rotator cuff muscles and the 4oz ball is designed to increase arm speed, as if you were performing plyometrics for your rotator cuff muscles.

    Your thoughts?

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