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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The reason the 3X Extreme Pitching Velocity Program works is because it is based off of science and it has been proven to develop the 90+mph fastball on thousands of pitchers. It isn’t rocket science or voodoo, it is the real deal! The program comes with a high level workload of drills, lifts and exercises scientifically programmed to enhance throwing speed on the mound while developing an efficient pitching delivery. The format of the 3X Pitching Velocity Program is similar to the same approach Olympic throwers have been using for decades to increase throwing velocity. This approach isn’t new to the sports world but it is new to baseball.
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I like Your comments on The Adventures of Long Tossing and your open minded attitude on the subject, Your recovery program was very successful for you and I personally, certainly would if necessary and knew about it contact you and get right on it, There has to be a starting point somewhere along the way so why not grab on to a very successful rehab. program such as yours and run with it? Through my personal experiences as a youngster prior to signing a professional contract, I played various positions and spent many hours, two practices and two games per. wk. plus good weather day's in between throwing from all positions on both sides of the field including pitching during those times I spent a considerable amount of time throwing from the outfield, which I consider extrme long toss which I also do not consider to be beneficial to pitching mechanics from a mound. I am "77" and can still throw decent batting practice to high school and college players here in my area, At "40" to "50 Ft. of course, I contribute this to all of the day to day throwing I could get in when possible along with playing basketball and other sports as a youngster.
My sentiments exactly on your "120 Ft." maximum throwing distance and your reasoning behind it, also I am a firm believer that practice sessions must correlate with game conditions and as I view over and over when observing various age groups and levels throughout youth, high school and college players is the fact that they spend entirely too much time on extreme long toss and other drills in substitution of constructive bull pen's and mound work. An acquaintance of mine pitched for Texas when Tom House was there, he told me that their pitchers came up with chronic sore arms caused by Tom's flat ground and other throwing teaching methods, I do not know about that, I do know that as he taught you pitching is a side ways forward linear movement to front foot touch down with the stride matching the body height and that, then "THE HIPS LEAD THE WAY," which is as you mentioned the hip to shoulder separation for the shoulders to finally rotate and follow suit while bringing the throwing arm into and through the throwing process, other wise known as the "3" pivots, #1.THE HIP PIVOT". #2. THE COLLAR PIVOT," #3. SHOULDER PIVOT," An important lesson from "TED WILLIAMS," "THE HIPS LEAD THE WAY." as you say working on and correcting the mechanics is first and foremost important. Sandy Koufax and Tim Lincecum, both of who I have beautiful front pitching movements views of and who so many narrow minded people who are afraid to get out of their comfort zone boxes would say these two guys are freaky contortionists are great examples of how these very important movements should be executed and how our potential pitchers and pitchers of today could improve their pitching tremendously. If it aint broke leave it alone is "BULL" "IS NEGATIVE," "IF IT IS NOT BROKE," "IMPROVE ON IT," "GET OUT OF THAT NEGATIVE COMFORT ZONE BOX AND GET TO YOUR POTENTIAL" virtually injury free.
I have a distinct different opinion than most people of which I feel is most important on the main cause for the enormous unnecessary numbers of chronic sore arms and surgery's acquired by those from the malor leagues on down into our youth players as young as 12 yrs. old, which is the total lack of "EXPERIENCED, KNOWLEDGEABLE AND COMPETENT "PITCHING " "TEACHERS" who have taken the time to learn and to become keen students of the individual and team skills of the game which in the process allows them to learn how to, in particular, "TEACH," a potential pitcher or so called experienced one how to properly use his/her whole body from the ground up in a side way's linear movement to front foot touch down with a stride length matching one's body height, then how to execute the " 3" necessary pivots, #"1. HIP PIVOT" Hips leading the way, "#2." COLLAR PIVOT" "#3" "SHOULDER PIVOT." so as to alleviate the enormous "TENSION, STRAIN and ABUSE created on the throwing arm, muscles and other body parts involved during the execution of throwing a baseball, If people could view the animated sight of the fore arm explosion upon the release of a fast ball and how the skin blows up like a balloon and appears as if the elbow and fore arm are coming loose their eyes would pop right out of their sockets, To me it is a very scary sight, and everyone talks about the curve ball being the culprit which certainly is when one reaches out front with fingers on the sides of the ball and jerks it off.
It is my opinion that the chronic sore arms and various unnecessary surgery's will continue to escalate until knowledgeable and competent pitching "TEACHERS" become more predominate within our sport within all levels and age groups combined with all of the other necessary practice procedures which enables self improvement to materialize.
i agree with this long toss hurts your mechanics and arm. you shouldn't have to put air under your ball ever as a pitcher if you play long toss dont play anything longer than what you can throw on a line and that s it