So you want velocity huh? Obviously, otherwise you wouldn’t be searching for answers. But wanting and searching only gets you so far; it’s the actions, the changes you make, that ultimately determine if you get what you’re looking for. The question remains: what will it take for you to throw harder in 2014? To help us find the answer, we must borrow from The Trust Edge, a book by David Horsager wherein he outlines the tenets of trust in the workplace and life. In it, he describes a process he uses for practically everything: the 90-Day Quick Plan, which is a series of six questions that elicit answers that we can utilize in our pursuit of your top velocity. With a blazing fastball in mind, grab a sheet of paper and something to write with, we’ve got work to do.
5 Questions to More Pitching Velocity
Question #1: Where are you now?
This is your baseline and it’s simple: where are you with velocity right now? Numbers are key. If you haven’t had a radar gun on you, I highly suggest it. If you don’t know your numbers in the weight room: your power clean, your squat, and your vertical to name a few, you’ve got some work to do. Everyone starts somewhere, but stop and realize a key truth before we go any further. Numbers never lie. Pitching improvement only happens when something changes: physically, mechanically, or both. “Insanity,” famed physicist Albert Einstein noted, “is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” Where you are at now is a reflection of what you’ve been doing, or haven’t done. Humbly accept this, get excited about the opportunity to improve, and we’ll move forward.
Question #2: Where do you want to be?
The second question puts our goal of top velocity into focus. Where do you want to be? How hard do you want to throw? Brent’s alluded to this quite a bit. Know your number, your velocity target. Is it 90mph? 92mph? 94mph? You won’t actualize it until you put it in your mind, on paper, and reach for it in all you do day after day. That way, we can start inching upward from the answer in question #1 to your new velocity here in question #2. With a specific number in hand, we can have measurable, tangible results, the change that we’re looking for.
Question #3: Why are you after this goal?
Like the first two questions, the third is just as simple, but even more profound: why do you want to throw as hard as you do? Write your gut reaction down. Whether it’s to make the team, get a scholarship, get drafted, or another reason, your why will tell you your reason for everything. It’s why you get up in the morning, sorer than the day before, to go lift when you don’t feel like it; it’s why you refuse to eat junk food and stick to your meal plan when all your buddies are eating endless boneless wings in front of you; it’s why you push yourself to get a little better mentally, physically, and emotionally day in and day out. Here’s a little tip. Make your why personal and individual. John Wooden, the famed basketball coach, was noted for his definition of success: “Peace of mind, attained only through the self-satisfaction and knowing you made the effort to do the best that you are capable.” Never try to be better than anyone else, but be the best you can be. That personal kind of satisfaction is much more fulfilling in the long-term than overtaking anyone in anything in the short-term. In summary of question #3: know your why, write it right under your velocity number on an index card, and look at it every day until you get there.
Question #4: How are you going to get there?
Let’s recap: we know where you’re at, where you want to be, and why you want to be there. The million dollar question is, how will you actually get there? As I’ve said before, you need to change: physically, mechanically, or more likely, both. So first, we need to get you better physically.
Question #5: How are we going to get you better physically?
Enter the 3X Velocity Program. The 16-week Level 1 program is perfect for velocity development for pitchers of all ages. Physically, it will train you to become a more explosive athlete in the weight room by improving your power-to-weight ratio with power cleans and other big lifts like the squat and bench. Building up the strength through the progressions in the program is the necessary foundation in achieving high velocity mechanics and throwing harder. It’s been said that pitchers are the best athletes on the field. When it comes to athleticism, proving that statement true is a must in reaching your top velocity number and being strong enough to incorporate the second how: improving mechanically.
Question #6: How are we going to get you better mechanically?
The 3X Velocity Program employs mechanical drills that target specific elements of the pitching motion: triple extension into front foot strike and optimal hip to shoulder separation through a series of medicine ball and target throws. Additionally, it provides models of MLB pitchers that exhibit the concepts in the program. As I mentioned in my article “The Multitasking Coach,” a lack of focus from a program or coach is detrimental toward your progress as a pitcher. Practicing one thing at a time is paramount to improvement. As the rules of deep practice dictate: pick your target, reach for it, evaluate the gap between your target and reach, and repeat. If you practice these mechanical drills on top of consistently developing your athleticism through a velocity-focused weight training program, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your top velocity.