Long tossing has been a heated debate on TopVelocity.net in the past month. The day I posted my first article against the practice of "Extreme Long Tossing" I was contacted by Alan Jaeger with Jaeger Sports. Lets just say he wasn't happy with my research.
The problem is Alan Jaeger and I have totally different back grounds. He played a little college baseball and I played a little pro baseball after developing a program to overcome a rotator cuff tear. Jaeger is a yoga instructor and I am a biomechanics analyst and a strength and conditioning coach. Yes, I completely disagree with most of his approach but that is the best thing about this country we can have different approaches and all still get along.
The Truth About Long Tossing
The article on TopVelocity.net that has been getting a lot of attention and the one that Jaeger is not happy with, is the article called Long Toss and the Placebo Effect. You can view it by selecting the title. The comments are below the article. Everyone thinks that I am against Long Tossing and the truth is that this isn't true. I believe in Long Tossing up to about 120 feet. What I DO NOT agree with is "Extreme Long Tossing" like Jaeger promotes which can exceed distances of 350 feet. I feel that this is reckless because if you do not have efficient throwing mechanics you are taking a big risk with the health of your arm, at these levels. This is why I preach against Jaeger's Long Toss program because he does not work intently on correcting mechanical flaws before pushing his pitchers to these extreme distances. A great example is Joel Zumaya. This is Jaeger's claim to fame, whom he has put all over his website. Just this past MLB season Joel Zumaya broke off his shoulder bone. This is a major mechanical flaw that caused Zumaya's shoulder bone to snap and you would hope his pitching coach could have prevented this major shoulder injury. If I was his pitching coach, I would have at least taken responsibility for his injury and spent the rest of my career finding the answers so I could prevent this from happening again.
Another reason I do not support this "Extreme Long Tossing" is because I like many other pro pitchers, did not use this in my professional career. Actually before I tore my rotator cuff in college, I would perform extreme long toss. I am not saying that this is why I injured my arm, what I am saying is I never used it again and was able to add 8 mph on my fastball which got me into pro ball.
The day I broke 90+mph post surgery, which I had at 18 years old when I was throwing 86 mph with horrendous mechanics, is because of a new program I was on for about 6 months 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 who is a well known pitching coach and Doctor and Kurt Hester who is a nationally recognized strength and conditioning specialist. 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 8 mph increase in velocity.
I wasn’t long tossing past 150 feet plus. 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 one hour later. 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 during practice and before the games. 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.
A Long Toss Alternative
The program I used is now the 3X Pitching Velocity Program. I am aware that this program isn’t for everyone and that, just because it worked for me, doesn't mean it will work for you. I understand 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
The Proper Research on Why Long Toss is Bad for your Arm
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.
Olympic lifting Increases Pitching Velocity.
I am glad that "Extreme Long Tossing" is getting this much attention with this site and Jaeger's but I hope that those who are using this approach are educating themselves on the dangers. I also hope those who use my approach are educating themselves on the dangers as well. Which are, just like learning good throwing mechanics before you try to throw your arm off, you must learn good lifting mechanics before you try to move a house. Be smart, work hard and always listen to your body!
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