Maximum distance throws produce increased torques and changes in kinematics; caution is therefore advised for use of these throws in rehabilitation and training.
This was the conclusion of the ASMI's case study, Biomechanical Comparison of Baseball Pitching and Long-Toss, released to the public January 2011. This is everything I had come to a conclusion with using all of their previous studies on flat ground throws and elbow injuries. Here was my article about this when Alan Jaeger contacted me to tell me he was upset with my stance against long toss as the "be all, end all" to pitching velocity, back in July of 2009.
The Proper Research on Why Long Toss is Bad for Your Arm!
This is me now gloating! I am only gloating because Jaeger's supporters have been all over my website posting comment after comment about how great his program is but when challenged they have no real defense. I just don't get it. I was completely shocked when Nolan Ryan hired Jeager to coach his long toss program with the Rangers pitchers. At this point it would be fair to say yes, I am a little jealous of his success when I feel that my program is a much better program but that is life, no worries! I wish Jaeger the best but I feel that this ASMI case study will slowly bring his reputation down. This has more to do with who ASMI represents than the information in the case study. If you do not know who ASMI is then let me tell you. This is American Sports Medicine Institute which includes Dr. James Andrews, Dr. Glenn Fleisig, Dr. Andrews' son and tons more highly qualified sports medicine professionals who work on some of baseball's greats, along with one of the best sports medicine and analysis facilities in the country. If you don't know who Dr. Andrews is then you do not watch much baseball. He works on every great baseball player and athlete in today's games. You could say that he is the Man! You can also see why this study will have a tremendous impact on Alan Jaeger's Long Toss program to the Stars.
The Aftermath of the ASMI Long Toss Study
Just surfing the web only a few days after the study was released the baseball forums went nuts over the case study. All of those who bought into Jaeger's Voodoo are trying to spin the news. They are saying things like, "Well this study only says it is risky to long toss, weight lifting is risky but it is being used in training," or "ASMI didn't do the study correctly. When they threw the ball 300ft it was on a line. This would hurt any bodies arm." I assume that this spin is going to continue on for some time while the baseball world continues to digest the news and hurries to catch up with the times of the advancements in strength and conditioning and the science of the game.
What will come out of all of this is the fact that effective training in any sport and position involves a fusion of different components. It is and never will be just one drill or program based around one type of exercise. Long tossing is not the key to pitching velocity. The latest pitching aid represented by the current most popular MLB ballplayer is also not the key to pitching velocity. The key to pitching velocity is in a complete program that addresses everything from mechanics, to training, to the mental game, to nutrition. This is why I have had success with all types of levels of pitchers using the 3X Pitching Velocity Program. I am not advocating that long toss is poison and should be avoided at all cost. My point is that long toss should only be used when you want to mix it up a bit and it should be used more like the 3X Power Throws. Specifically long tossing at 150 feet or more should not be used in a training or rehabilitation program for pitching as the ASMI case study suggests. Before you buy into a program that is based around one thing, make sure you do your homework first. Do not wait until after you learn that it was a waste of your time and money. This could be too late!