Training the Power Pitcher

power pitcherWhen it comes to training the power pitcher, you must not only have a good understanding of pitching mechanics but strength and conditioning. The problem is most pitching coaches have a very poor understanding of strength and conditioning and most strength and conditioning coaches have a very poor understanding of pitching mechanics.

The Cycle of Ignorance

I usually ask those pitchers who are in a top level college program where the college has a strength and conditioning coach and a pitching coach, “If these two coaches were in the same room together, would they have much in common? Would they spend much time together?” The answer is always, NO! These two coaches have nothing in common and in most cases they never speak to each other. This lack of communication and education between these coaches is a major problem for the pitching staff. What this creates is pitching coaches who deter their pitchers from using strength and conditioning programs by giving them misinformation like; strength and conditioning will only make you bulky and less flexible. The reason most pitching coaches are misinformed is that they are teaching their pitchers exactly what their pitching coaches taught them. I like to call it the “Cycle of Ignorance” and baseball has been caught in this cycle for a very long time.

Now that pitchers are throwing harder and there are more hard-throwing pitchers, this “Cycle of Ignorance” has forced pitching coaches into the belief that they must reinvent the wheel to develop the power pitcher, so they can produce competitive pitchers in today’s game. This re-inventing of the wheel is seen in pitching training programs where the pitcher is required to push tractors and carry old tires to help them develop strength and power. A strength and conditioning coach, who is certified in the science of exercise fitness, who has an above average  understanding of physiology and kinesiology, does not need to re-invent the wheel when training a power pitcher in this way. This coach would use power movements like the Olympic lifts or resistance sprints to develop the same type of power and strength in the pitcher, instead of having to use a tractor and an old tire. Ultimately, the Olympic lifts and the resistance sprints are a better and safer method for developing the power pitcher because it comes with a series of proven techniques to help prevent injury while developing strength and power because these techniques have been developed by a large organization of strength and conditioning coaches over the years.

I am not saying that all out of the box training programs are re-inventing the wheel but I do find a lot of risky training methods that could be a lot safer and better for the pitcher if they first looked for an exercise or drill from the strength and conditioning field. If a pitching coach was to study and learn from the strength and conditioning world or actually get to know that strength and conditioning coach, he would find that it has all been done. More than likely his head would explode and he would eventually question why he never opened his eyes to this type of training in the first place. This was my experience in my career when I started to learn from the strength and conditioning world like a pitcher. I felt like a fool! I listened to the baseball community my entire career and they were telling me I should not pay attention to these “Gym Rats” or “Meat Heads,” because pitchers are not power athletes. Once I realized pitchers were power athletes and strength and conditioning coaches have been improving and building power athletes for years, I then bought into their methods and started learning more about performance than ever before. Now, when I work with pitchers as a pitching coach and strength and conditioning coach myself, I can’t believe how uneducated most pitching coaches are and how much of a disservice they are doing to the pitching community.

Strength and Conditioning the Power Pitcher

The most effective way to develop a power pitcher in the off-season as a strength and conditioning coach and a pitching coach is to separate the training program into two parts. The first part is the motor coordination training and the second part is the strength development training. Most strength and conditioning coaches, who do not have the pitching experience, fail during the motor coordination training. This is because this training must involve developing the motor coordination around the pitching mechanics and most strength and conditioning coaches have no clue of good pitching mechanics. I would even say most pitching coaches have no clue of good pitching mechanics but this is for another article. This means the motor coordination training must involve drills to help develop the motor coordination of good pitching mechanics. You do not want to include strength development during this motor coordination training. After training motor coordination you then want to move into strength development. This would involve drills and exercises that help breakdown the big and small muscle groups in a controlled environment to promote a higher hormonal production which in return will build the athlete bigger, stronger and faster. This increase in muscles growth based on this style of strength training also remodels the muscle fibers and grows more motor units. So, not only does the pitcher has more powerful muscles but more motor units to control these powerful muscles. This is the ideal strategy in developing the power pitcher and it should not be seen as an “Out of the box” approach or unconventional because this is the same strategy the strength and conditioning world uses with all the power sports.

The 3X Pitching Velocity program has been developed around this approach to training the pitcher at the youth and professional levels. This is why the 3X program has been so effective in meeting its claims of adding 5-10mph in 16 weeks. If you are willing to look outside of the conventional wisdom of the game for a complete approach to increasing velocity then you must check out the 3X Pitching Velocity program TODAY!

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