It isn't easy and sometimes it feels impossible to increase throwing velocity in-season. The problem is your body is trying to survive the massive amounts of eccentric loading you are putting on your back, shoulder and forearm. Trying to add on top of that more loads most of the time in-season it is counter productive. The key is to understand what your body is going through so you can give it exactly what it needs at the exact moment.
If you are a young pitcher or position player in your late teens or early 20's then you do not have enough experience with your body to know what it needs and when it needs it. Promise me, someone who has been living in his body for almost 40 years and is still throwing and training pitchers and position players to throw harder, you need help! You need a program for all seasons, an anthropometric and performance evaluation and a support line to go to when in need of help. If you are trying to figure your body out on your own it is going to take you a lot more time than the time you have to play this game.
In this article, I will give you the 3 strategies to increase throwing velocity in-season. I will also go over the best format for these strategies in-season and last I will give you the best programs that will give you the proper in-season training, so you can get what you need right away!
Why Are You Not Increasing Velocity In-season?
The biggest challenge in season is helping the body to recover following a game or a high volume of throwing. This is where most pitchers and position players go wrong in-season. Most uneducated coaches would say, "adding a weight training or anaerobic conditioning program on top of all this throwing would make it harder for the body to recover." So instead they make you run 5 miles, Brilliant! Well that is just wrong, if you want to support recovery you have to stimulate Testosterone not destroy it.
Runners demonstrated significant decreases in testosterone and a proportionate decrease in free testosterone with no disturbance of gonadotropin values (4).
There is a balance to everything but everyones balance is different. It is based on their intensity level, athleticism and there training regimen. If you get out of balance you fall into the issues of overtraining but more concerning is when you fall into the death spiral of under-training which consumes most of baseball.
First let's look at overtraining:
Overtraining is an imbalance between training and recovery. Short term overtraining or ‘over-reaching’ is reversible within days to weeks. Fatigue accompanied by a number of physical and psychological symptoms in the athlete is an indication of ‘staleness’ or ‘overtraining syndrome’. Staleness is a dysfunction of the neuroendocrine system, localized at hypothalamic level. Staleness may occur when physical and emotional stress exceeds the individual coping capacity. However, the precise mechanism has yet to be established. Clinically the syndrome can be divided into the sympathetic and parasympathetic types, based upon the predominance of sympathetic or parasympathetic activity, respectively. The syndrome and its clinical manifestation can be explained as a stress response. At present, no sensitive and specific tests are available to prevent or diagnose overtraining. The diagnosis is based on the medical history and the clinical presentation. Complete recovery may take weeks to months. (1)
Yes, we all overtrain our arms but that isn't the real problem. The real problem is what is supporting our arms? Our bodies, which we are neglecting and under-training and is the source of the real problem.
Under-training is not a medical term. I am actually probably making it up at this moment for baseball players. It is when underuse of the body and overuse of the arm turns into weakness or better described as joint laxity. It is when the pitcher or position player throws so much and neglects the training of the rest of the body and the outcome is a tired and weak shoulder to the point it leads to a sulcus sign.
Regarding laxity testing, 61 % of dominant shoulders in pitchers had a sulcus sign, as compared with 47% in position players. Also, this degree of inferior laxity was significantly greater in pitchers than in position players. Differences in range of motion and laxity exist in the throwing shoulder of athletes involved in overhead throwing motions and should be considered in rehabilitation protocols and surgical repair (2).
The symptoms for overtraining the entire body are very different than just having joint laxity due to overtraining just the arm. Here is a list so you understand the difference:
Overtraining symptoms: Lack of motivation, anxiety, depression, irritability, change in sleep patterns, loss of appetite, fatigue and inability to concentrate (3).
Based on my experience, most baseball players show the laxity symptom and not the overtraining symptoms. Yes, many baseball players over throw but most under-train when it comes to total body development of the athlete. Let's now look at the most effective way to train the body in-season
Three Ways to Increase Throwing Velocity In-Season
Now that you have a good understanding that the reason you are not gaining or even losing velocity in-season is because of more under-training than overtraining, let's look into the 3 best ways to gain throwing velocity in-season.
- Heavy Resistance Training - By training at a maximal, or near maximal, level of force output, there is a greater potential increase in type II muscle fiber recruitment, motor unit firing, and synchronicity, as well as possible cross sectional fiber area development (5).
- High-Velocity/Plyometric Training - High-velocity/plyometric training drills are designed to promote the ability to use maximal force as quickly as possible by means of training muscles to rapidly switch from eccentric to concentric movements and shortening the delay time (amortization phase) between these movements, thus allowing more work to be done in less time. These movements have the potential to create increases in rate of force development and efficiency of the stretch-shortening cycle, as well as increase the speed of muscular contraction during movements against moderate-to-minimal resistances. This is essential to improving the velocity component of power output (5).
- Complex Training - The complex training technique, which consists of performing a heavy resistance exercise immediately prior to a high-velocity/plyometric movement with a lighter resistance within each set, has been shown to provide significant increases in peak power levels. The heavy resistance component focuses on training the muscles’ ability to produce high levels of force, whereas the high-velocity component trains the muscles’ ability to exert force as quickly as possible through rapid eccentric-concentric transitional movements. By preceding the high-velocity movements with heavy resistance exercises, the neuromuscular system is theoretically ‘‘super stimulated’’. The neuromuscular prepares to lift another set of heavy resistance and instead moves a lighter resistance at the previous force output, but with the ability to produce a much higher contraction velocity. In doing so, both force and velocity components of power output are being developed (5).
The Best Training Format for Increasing Throwing Velocity In-Season
It is obvious that complex training is the best approach to increasing power production especially in season:
Chu suggests that complex training is highly valuable prior to peaking for competition where an athlete can experience small but maximal gains in a short period and is best used as an excellent short-term method (4–8 weeks) for improving power (5).
We also know that Olympic Lifting is an effective form of complex training:
Power-lifting style movements, such as squats and deadlifts, may have resulted in less than explosive fiber utilization and adaptation, as evident in the research, whereas the inclusion of Olympic style movements, such as cleans and snatches, may have induced type IIA to IIB changes and the subsequent transference to performance (5).
Therefore the best format to fit this form of Olympic based complex training into is a periodization model that uses 2 sessions per week to prevent under-training and stimulate more HGH in-season has been developed here at TopVelocity.net
You can use the 3X Extreme Pitching Velocity Program and its in-season program to have this exact training format for pitchers and you can also use the 2X Velocity Program with some modifications for position players to increase velocity in-season. If you have any questions on these programs please contact me above!
- H. Kuipers, H. A. Keizer - Overtraining in Elite Athletes - Sports Medicine. August 1988, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 79-92
- Bigliani LU1, Codd TP, Connor PM, Levine WN, Littlefield MA, Hershon SJ. - Shoulder motion and laxity in the professional baseball player. - Am J Sports Med. 1997 Sep-Oct;25(5):609-13.
- Stone, M. H.; Keith, R. E.; Kearney, J. T.; Fleck, S. J.; Wilson, G. D.; Triplett, N. T. - Overtraining: A Review of the Signs, Symptoms and Possible Causes. - Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: February 1991 - Volume 5 - Issue 1 - ppg 35-50
- Ayers, J.W.T, Komesu, Y., Romani, R.A et al. - Anthropometric hormonal and psychological correlates of semen quality in endurance trained male athletes. Fertility and Sterility 43-917-921. 1985
- Hermassi S1, Chelly MS, Fathloun M, Shephard RJ. - The effect of heavy- vs. moderate-load training on the development of strength, power, and throwing ball velocity in male handball players. - J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Sep;24(9):2408-18.